Review: Official Set 8996 - Skopio XV-1
The Skopio XV-1 is an iconic entity within the Bionicle universe, a colossal mechanical beast created by the Great Beings on Bara Magna. The war machine resembles a massive scorpion, armed to the teeth with a Thornax launcher and a powerful tail pincer. Whether controlled by skilled pilots or programmed with autonomous aggression, the Skopio XV-1 played a pivotal role in the epic moments seen in the 2009 storyline. The pilot included with this set is Telluris, who was known for his mechanical prowess and combat skills.
Taking a look at the front of the box, we’ve got a pretty epic scene set for us with the Skopio traversing some volcanic rock. The red highlights really go well alongside the set image. Along the bottom is a single image of Telluris standing next to the folded up vehicle, and next to that is some general information about the set. The top of the box contains an advertisement for Bionicle: The Legend Reborn which even includes a still of the Skopio from the movie.
The back of the box has an enlarged view of the smaller image shown on the front of the box, only in front of a much gloomier background. Along the bottom are a few images of other Battle Vehicle sets and a highlight of the folding function of the vehicle. There’s a small highlight for a code, which is so clever, SKOP10, get it? The top right shows off some of the other play features we’ll be going over a little bit later.
Being such a large set, it’s no surprise that the build time comes in at about 1 hour and 45 minutes. I’m not sure if I’ve had another Bionicle set take that long. The build experience was alright. The repetition with the four legs was a big grueling and took up over half of the total build time.
To be honest, Telluris is a bit of a disappointment. The previous few pilots we got have been exciting, and definitely fitting for these higher-priced sets, but Telluris takes quite the step back. In a year filled with bright color schemes, I’m not a fan of how much dark gray makes up this figure. The yellow and bright light orange look great, but don’t feel like the best blend with dark gray. I would have preferred even a black torso just so the bright colors could pop more.
His mask is gorgeous though. It’s super polished and smooth. I really like the slight attitude and fiery vibe this mask gives off.
Telluris does include a life counter on his back, which oddly enough is dark red. I don’t understand the choice to shift away from bright light orange for this one, but it doesn’t look terrible.
A major draw to the Skopio model is the size, and it does not disappoint. I don’t know the exact dimensions to confirm, but it certainly feels like the largest Bionicle set we’ve ever seen. The only comparison I can make is the Bahrag Spider, which was the combination model we saw way back in 2002 with Cahdok & Gahdok. But even that is a bit loose of a comparison.
The color scheme really works but I kind of wish we didn’t get red with this one. The red reminds me a little bit too much of the Axalara T9. Sure it’s pretty cool that the most prestigious Battle Vehicles from each year share the same color scheme, but thematically I don’t love that connection. As a whole the Battle vehicles hit all of the color schemes though, so not a major complaint.
The overall feel of the Skopio certainly brings me back to the first few years of Bionicle, but it also does a great job in feeling more advanced. The piston assemblies are fantastic, as are the treads on each of the legs.
Focusing on the head, I’m a bit confused here because I can’t find the eyes. The rest of it looks great, I like the Visorak-esque fangs and the smaller teeth, but if this is supposed to be a mechanical beast, where are the eyes that are shown in the art and movie?
While it sits upright, the Skopio is pretty sturdy while also allowing for some swooshing. Each of the four legs are able to be folded in as well as turned in & out, which allows for a ton of customization in your display. It also sells the effect that the Skopio truly is an all-terrain vehicle. With all of the legs folded up and tucked in, the Skopio takes on much more of a tank resemblance.
It’s very compact, but still carries a very powerful presence. It actually reminds me a lot of an old K’nex ReKonstructors set. I also like that this allows you to store the set in a smaller area, and then you can fully break it out for times it’s not on the shelf. Of course, with the vehicle in its folded mode, it can roll along on the treads. Just like the Cendox V1 though, you’re going to need some carpet if you want the treads to truly function. Hard surfaces just don’t provide enough friction to push the treads.
Jumping back over to the head, it is able to tilt. No panning side-to-side, but it does tilt up and down. The front fangs can pinch in and out, which again just brings me back to the Visorak with some nostalgia.
Perhaps the most notable function for the Skopio XV-1 is its tail which can swing up and down. I’ve had issues getting it to stay in place though, there really needed to be more friction with this function. On top of the tail is a Thornax launcher which is connected via a ball joint, so you can have full range of motion to aim the launcher. The tail also includes two Force Blasters for some extra firepower. Smack right between the blasters is a life counter, which just like Telluris sits behind a dark red armor piece.
Obviously just like every other Battle Vehicle set, the pilot mounts up in the vehicle. Telluris is attached via two axles into his hands, and two axle pins from his feet to the main chassis. The attachment is much easier with the front legs turned out. And then once he’s seated in place you can connect two hoses to the back of his head, truly connecting him with the vehicle. There’s an additional layout for him to be attached by swinging open two red panels and extending his legs straight back. I like the seated arrangement for when the legs are folded out, and the laying down arrangement for when it’s all folded up.
Current Pricing & Final Thoughts
Unsurprisingly, the largest traditional Bionicle set is quite expensive to get a hold of. In used condition, the set typically sells for about $200, and that will easily jump up to around $350 if you want to get it in brand-new sealed condition. As has been the case for all of the 2009 sets, if you want to guarantee your ball joint condition, you’ll have to purchase the set brand new, but I would be very comfortable getting this set in used condition. When you go through other sets there’s no denying that this one is high up there. It’s not in my top 3 Battle Vehicle sets from 2008 and 2009, but that’s a pretty special group of sets.
I don’t think it’s worth the price sealed, but if you can pick up this set in used condition it will absolutely stand out in your collection.