Review: Official Set 8811 - Toa Lhikan & Kikanalo
In 2004, Bionicle released 3 sets that made up the “Titan” wave of sets for this year: Nidhiki, Krekka, and Turaga Dume & Nivawk. On top of that though, there was also a fourth large-boxed set released, which brings us to the topic of this post, Toa Lhikan & Kikanalo.
Toa Lhikan was a Ta-Matoran turned Toa Mangai, turned Turaga. In Bionicle: Legends of Metru Nui, we see the final caps on Lhikan’s arc where he sacrifices his Toa powers to create the Toa Metru, and then sacrifices his Turaga state to save Vakama.
As for the Kikanalo, they’re a species of Rahi that are famous for traveling in herds and causing stampedes that leave villages destroyed. While certainly a tragic event, the Po-Matorans actually make light of their stampedes because the aftermath generally leaves around some protodermis for them to scrap up.
This set, which comes with both Toa Lhikan and a Kikanalo contains 214 pieces and is recommended for builders ages 8 and up.
One thing that makes this set stand out from the get-go is the packaging design. It’s quite bright with a greenish-gold background behind the action shot of the set, along with an image on the side of Toa Lhikan soaring through the skies. The front of the box also features a seal that makes this set feel a bit more exclusive, which holds the set name along with images of the two builds side-by-side. The sides of the box have nothing special to them other than the Metru Nui skyline behind the same set image we get on the front seal. The top of the box includes some screengrabs from Bionicle: Legends of Metru Nui, most of which feature either Lhikan or a Kikanalo in action. The back of the box has a large image of the set, a diagram showing how Lhikan’s weapons can turn into a board, and advertisements for the 3 Titan sets of 2004.
Since I bought this set in used condition, I received simply a bundle of parts along with the instructions, but if you were to buy it in sealed condition you would receive 2 numbered bags along with the instructions and advertisement material.
The build time was longer than expected coming in at 30 minutes, but these 30 minutes were an absolute blast. This was one of the most fun I’ve had with a Bionicle build.
Starting off with Lhikan, there isn’t a whole lot to say about him because he’s more or less another Toa Metru Build. What Toa Lhikan does manage to do though is to stand out and still feel incredibly fresh. The gold accent pieces are exquisite and attribute to the exclusive feel that this set has. His mask design is up there with some of my favorites so far with its sleek, slim design that when molded in gold really makes him pop. The weapons on this Toa are no joke either. The large swords that he carries are almost as tall as himself, and it’s clear that the designers went the extra mile to give us some new weapon molds rather than shoeing it in with something we’ve already seen. Lhikan’s main play features include his swinging arms as well as the opportunity to turn his weapons into a board that allows him to soar through the skies. I think the board attachment could have been done better so that both feet sit on top (One sits below since the weapons snap into the ankle), but that’s quite honestly the only negative thing I have to say about Toa Lhikan’s build.
Moving on to the Kikanalo, another great build. The Kikanalo is incredibly sturdy and quite possibly the best play model given that there are no frictional weaknesses or stability issues that you face with this model. The posing possibilities are endless with the Kikanalo, and I imagine in 2004 it was one of the stars of everyone’s collections. My favorite part of the design is the head, which is constructed using a variety of building techniques that produce great geometry across the head. The red eyes give it the necessary pop, and we even get more new silver piece molds for the sides of the head.
Something that cannot be ignored when it comes to the Kikanalo is that the designers managed to use almost entirely pieces from 2001-2003. There’s a few parts that were not made until 2004, but aside from them everything is done using parts we’ve already seen in other sets. This to me is one of the things that the Boinicle system is all about. The parts made for this theme present an amazing opportunity to expand on the known lore and create models such as the Kikanalo without waiting for a new set to come along to perfectly craft what’s in your mind. The Kikanalo simply exemplifies this point, ignites a feeling like you’re a kid again, and genuinely made me want to go dump out a bin of parts and get to creating something of my own. It balances the MOC feel with the reality that we needed some dang good designers to produce something this good for a set very well.
While there is a ton of praise to throw around at this set, there’s also a few minor issues I want to point out. First off, the mounting of Lhikan on the Kikanalo’s back is a little frustrating. There’s no clear connection point for Lhikan, and there was certainly room to create a mounting system that utilized Technic pins or axles to really lock him into place. As it stands, Lhikan can fall of sort of easily, which brings down the playability of this set just a hair. The second thing that got to me was the color scheme of the Kikanalo. It’s really just black, dark bluish gray, and silver parts, which does match the general vibe of the 2004 storyline, but it feels a bit bland while building. Ever since the 2002 Titans I feel like we’ve seen a few too many sets with this color scheme, and I would have loved to see some bold colors mixed in to really make it pop.
Overall, Toa Lhikan & Kikanlo give us one of the best Bionicle sets I’ve gotten to build so far. Their designs captivate me back into the world of Bionicle and leaves me wanting to build even more. Whether it’s the gold parts of Lhikan or the ingenious design of the Kikanalo, there’s positives almost everywhere you look on this set.
The downside to such a good set though is that the price is a bit high as well. If you’re looking to get this set in used condition you can expect to pay around $80, and if you’re feeling bold and want it in sealed condition it will run you around $150 in today’s market. To be honest it’s such a sturdy design that I wouldn’t worry at all about getting it in used condition and saving the extra money. Compared to the other 2004 Titan sets I would tell you that this one should be the priority. Sure it’s more expensive, but the prices are only going to continue to go up, and rightly so given how great of a set it is.
Without a doubt it’s my favorite Titan set from 2004, and also one of my favorite Bionicle sets period.