Review: Official Set 8954 - Mazeka
Rounding out the 2008 line of Bionicle is the final Limited Edition set released during that year, set 8954 Mazeka. We've been covering this year of Bionicle for close to 11 months, so it feels pretty good to be able to put a bow on that year's line.
Mazeka is a Ko-Matoran who was employed as a spy by the Order of Mata Nui. He had a bit of a rivalry with that lunatic Vultraz, and killed him, allegedly. Except Vultraz survived and this dude had no clue. The Order of Mata Nui recruited him and gave him a role of preventing nefarious beings from carrying out their plans. He enters this storyline because he was on a mission to prevent the Brotherhood of Makuta from achieving their mission.
The front of the box presents a massive image of the set which takes up nearly the entire face. There's also a significantly sized stamp reminding us that this is in fact a Limited Edition set, and we should be honored to have it in our presence.
The back of the box highlights the different play functions and gives some well-deserved shoutouts to the Battle Vehicle sets which we previously covered.
Quickly looking at Mazeka since after all, this set is named after him, he’s a pretty basic Matoran that fits right in with all of the others from this year. Excluding the four blue axle pins later used for mounting him to the Swamp Strider, he’s composed of just 11 pieces. His mask is the same one that we saw in 2007 for Toa Nuparu Mahri. With Mazeka having a different face color than Nuparu, the mask feels slightly different, but generally speaking I would have expected us to receive an exclusive mask with a Limited Edition set.
The Swamp Strider is one of my favorite models not just from this year but from the last few years of Bionicle. The overall look feels like early Bionicle, which personally I like the best, but also including some flares of newer parts so that it still fits in with the other models from this year.
The bottom half of the model doesn’t feature much detail, but this is more than made up for with the top half, which includes some fun building techniques and my favorite Zamor sphere mount to date. The Zamor spheres are assembled with two top funnels leading into a vertical drop down into the launcher. The launcher is controlled by an extruding axle and technic connector in the rear of the model, which gives you just a little bit more imagination while firing the cannon off since the trigger is so detached from the launch point.
Mazeka can mount on top of the Swamp Strider via four axle pins, two in his hands, and two in his feet. It’s a pretty tight and secure mount, which means it’s a little tough to get him in at first, but once he’s in it looks great.
The upper half acts as a fully functional, 360 degree turret, which can rotate in a full circle, and can tilt up and down. When I was doing a quick play test with this model, I was grinning ear to ear realizing I could aim the launcher essentially anywhere I wanted, it really brings it to life. The four legs are independently posable which not only allows for lowering or raising the model as a whole, but also allows you to keep the turret level while positioning this model on an uneven surface
Current Pricing & Final Thoughts
In terms of pricing, this set feels pretty affordable compared to what we saw for the other Limited Edition sets. In used condition, this set typically runs for around $60, and in brand new sealed condition you can expect to spend around $120. Having built this set from a sealed version of the set, I can definitely say the experience was better. The parts are all in pristine condition, and there’s something so special about opening the numbered bags and building this set like you just got home from the store with it. Is it worth the extra $60 in this case, well I’ll leave that up to you, but I highly recommend picking up any sealed Bionicle set to fit your budget and get that experience at one point or another.
This is by far my favorite of the 2008 Limited Edition sets, it’s just such a complete model. The playability is top-tier, and this model gives us a vehicle design which I don’t think we’ve seen up to this point. And that’s something the previous two Limited Edition sets lacked, Mazeka actually pushes the theme forward rather than just making a general character with an exclusive piece or two. Would I have loved an exclusive mask in this set, absolutely, but when looking at the set as a whole it doesn’t feel like a big exclusion.
Referencing all of our previous scores, this is a top 10 Bionicle set at this point. With the price being pretty reasonable, I highly recommend grabbing this set now.
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