Review: Official Set 8623 - Krekka
Bionicle certainly has our definitive villains and definitive heroes, but in 2004 the theme took a new direction to introduce a new category of characters called the Dark Hunters. Dark Hunters took orders from a figure known as The Shadowed One and used their skills in assassination and theft as a means of profit. The Titan sets of 2004 grant us builds of two Dark Hunters, and this week we take a look at the first one: Krekka. A rather unintelligent being, Krekka traveled from island to island getting himself stuck in bad situations, only to escape thanks to his massive strength.
Krekka’s set contains 203 pieces and is recommended for builders ages 8 and up.
The box art for Krekka highlights the skyline of Metru Nui in the far background and of course gives us a great action shot of Krekka in the foreground as he runs across rooftops. The lighting feels very neutral on the front box art, which to me fits the category of character that these Dark Hunters are. The back of the box gives us a better look at some of the play functions as well as a preview of the combination model that can be constructed out of the parts included in the 3 Titan sets available for purchase in 2004.
I bought this set in used condition, but if you were to purchase it sealed it would come with 4 numbered bags, the instructions, and a small bit of advertising material for the 2004 collection of LEGO®.
I’m glad to say that Krekka was one of, if not my favorite Bionicle builds so far. It was incredibly original all throughout and I felt like I was learning a new technique for building as I turned each page. It in essence gave me a feeling like I was building a MOC, and for the Dark Hunters I love that aspect. When I think of bounty hunters my mind immediately races to The Empire Strikes Back where we get a look at a group of rag-tag, rogue hunters who will carry out their mission regardless of the morals as long as they get some profit. Krekka fits this mold perfectly with a dark (but not too dark) color scheme and a large assortment of pieces that were crafted in dark blue for the very first time.
There is a lot of detail throughout the model, and like I said, the entire thing feels so new and fresh compared to other Bionicle sets up to this point. There are a lot of articulation options spread across Krekka as well. Users can feel free to move his head, shoulders, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles to put Krekka in the pose they want.
Krekka includes 2 play features, which are centralized about the disk launcher and the torso. The torso rotates much like previous Bionicle sets we’ve seen such as the Rahkshi, but with a twist (pun intended). There is a singular rubber band that holds the twisting portion to the rest of the model, which causes the torso to stay straight while posing Krekka on an angle. If you remember from previous Titan sets such as Makuta, we occasionally ran into the problem of the weight from the torso overpowering the gear friction in the twisting mechanism, which resulted in the entire torso twisting when trying to lean the model one way or another. What the rubber band does is prevent this from happening so long as the tension in the rubber band is greater than the torque on the torso. For this set the twisting feature feels a bit unnecessary, but I was thrilled to see that the designers came up with a solution to the twisting mechanism issue for larger sets.
The second play feature is the ability to mount the disk launcher either on Krekka’s back or on his shoulder. Pushing down on an old Bohrok piece on the back of the model causes the disk launcher to fling up from the back-mounted position into the shoulder-mounted position. Aside from being a fun and exciting play feature what I love about this mechanism is that the designers by no means needed to do this. They easily could have settled for a ball and socket joint or a static shoulder mount, but they went the extra mile.
There’s a lot of positives to spread about Krekka, but he does have his fair share of negatives too. For me the biggest con was the friction in the ball and socket joints. I presume that this may just be my particular copy of the set that has these friction issues, but I still have to take it into consideration just in case all Krekka sets ran into this problem. The low amount of friction causes the joints and limbs to slip around when trying to pose Krekka, which puts a limitation on just how much you can customize his display stance.
The second issue I have with this set is the foot design. Plain and simple, I’m not a fan. Their rather flat on the front edge, and there are these peculiar white pieces that stick out the sides of them. I realize that the white parts are there to increase the structural stability, but couldn’t there have been a more organic way of making the feet wider? I don’t want to say the feet feel rushed or lazy, but they definitely are a weak point of this set.
The only other thing that bothered me in this set were the arms. The arms are the very last thing that you build, and so to have them be just a single piece and wrist joint after an incredible build leading up to them, they’re a letdown. Perhaps thicker arms would have been too much weight for the legs to handle properly, but there’s no reason why the Toa Metru and the Vahki should have thicker arms than a Dark Hunter known for his strength.
As a whole, Krekka is a really good set. There’s a ton to like, whether it be the innovative Dark Hunter design, or the new parts available for MOC-building, or the disk launcher mechanism, Krekka has it all. The upsides more than outweigh the downsides, and the build process was one of the most fun I’ve had building Bionicles recently.
If you’re in the market for Krekka, the price will fall right around in-line for early Titan sets. In used condition you can expect to pay around $40 for Krekka, and in new condition you should have no issue finding him for $75 or so. I bought this set used and can tell you from experience that there’s really nothing to worry about if you want to buy Krekka used and save some cash.
A very original and enjoyable set that provides us with a great introduction to a new breed of characters populating the Bionicle Universe. If it weren’t for the flaws that hold it back, this set would be one of my favorites.