Review: Official Set 8621 - Turaga Dume & Nivawk
The third of the 2004 Titan sets comes in the form of set 8621, Turaga Dume & Nivawk. Turaga Dume, former Toa of Fire, is the famed leader of Metru Nui that we get to see in Bionicle: Legends of Metru Nui. Of course, Makuta poses as the Turaga and turns Metru Nui into an island of chaos. Nivawk serves as Makuta’s pet and is a bird species of Rahi.
This set contains 179 pieces and is recommended for builders ages 8 and up.
The packaging more or less matches what we got with both of the previous 2004 Titan sets, with a few small twists. The front box art includes an image of Nivawk busting through a wall, whereas Nidhiki and Krekka’s box art had them running across rooftops. The same skyline of Metru Nui is apparent in the background though. The top right corner shows off the scale of this set by giving a comparison of the heights of Turaga Dume and Nivawk. The back of the box is laid out a bit different than the other Titan sets, but still consists of images of the set functions as well as a preview of the combination model that we’ll get to build next week.
Since I bought this set in used condition, I received simply a bundle of parts along with the instructions.
This build clocked in at 20 minutes, which falls right in line with a set of this part count, so no surprises there. The first thing that needs to be discussed is the design of Turaga Dume, or the lack there of. Turaga Dume is essentially the same build as the Matoran of Metru Nui, with the only difference being the arm and leg pieces being Bohrok limbs. It’s pretty disappointing that this is the case because the design is very clearly quite unique from the Matoran in the movie, so it would have been nice to reflect this in the set. The only thing Dume has going for him is that his mask is top-tier. The marbled effect of the black and dark red mesh really well together and the mold is also quite nice and new, resulting in one of my favorite masks to date. I’m still partial to the infected Hau mask from the Muaka & Kane-Ra set, but this one isn’t too far behind.
Nivawk on the other hand has much more going for it. The design was put together well, and the end product is much larger than I imagined it was going to be based on the box art. With the wings open Nivawk is quite the looming presence and is certainly one of the larger sets we’ve seen this far into the theme. My favorite part about Nivawk are the legs. The designs are fresh, the articulation is perfect, and the unique pieces in the thighs really make this build stand out. I experienced no issues with my socket joints being in used condition, which if you remember from the Krekka review, those socket joints had deteriorated over time.
The head design also stands out to me in this set for its minimalist design that still manages to achieve nearly all of the marks of a good head design. The eyes really pop with not only their trans-neon orange color, but also the black eyepieces that sit above them help draw attention to the eye shape and help to make them a little bit more defined. The head is attached on top of a neck piece that allows for articulation of the head which always appreciated. The only issue that the minimalist head design causes is the inability to include a mouth that can open and close. The mouth is stuck shut, which isn’t uncommon for bird Rahi that we’ve gotten in the past, but at some point I would like to see the designers figure a better solution out for the beaks.
Now let’s talk about those wings. The wings are skinny, but that doesn’t bother me at all with this model, the fraying out at the end of them provides enough volume for my liking. The issue with the wings is not in their aesthetic, but in their function. The wings are able to open and close using a function similar to what we saw in Nidhiki’s legs, but for this set it doesn’t work nearly as well. The function is quite stiff, and the wings move rather slowly, which in essence destroys any possibility of being able to make the wings flap.
A smaller detail that I find to be an important plus is the color scheme. Sometimes Bionicle sets don’t do a great job at balancing the color scheme, particularly when silver parts are involved, but the designers nailed it this time around. The black and silver are apparent in a very good balance, without one color standing out too much. It’s a little thing, but it goes a long way for the display aesthetic of this set.
Overall, Turaga Dume & Nivawk present a fun set that without a doubt is one of the more fierce designs we’ve gotten thus far, but this set more or less shoots itself in the foot in a few areas. Wings that can’t flap (at least as they’re designed to) combined with no mouth movement hold this set back a bit.
The current price for this set runs around $35 in used condition and $70 in sealed condition. This may actually be one of the few sets I’d say where sealed makes a big difference. The socket joints with added friction tend to deteriorate over time, and could potentially have no friction left if you go with used condition. That’s what happened to me with Krekka, and it was a big letdown. So if you want to guarantee that your model has no friction issues, then you have to pay the extra money to get this set in sealed condition.
A nice way to round out the 2004 main line of Titan sets, falling somewhere right in between Nidhiki and Krekka.