Review: Official Set - Rahaga
We’re on to 2005. And to kick this year of Bionicle off we’re going to be starting with the Rahaga, which are 6 smaller sets released in this line of Bionicle. The Rahaga were formerly the Toa Hagah up until Roodaka morphed them with her Rhotuka spinners. The result was this combination of Rahkshi and Toa Hagah, hence the name Rahaga.
Each of the Rahaga sets comes with 28 pieces and is advertised for ages 7+.
The front of the box is mostly occupied by an action shot of the Rahaga. In the background there’s an image of a Metru Nui region that is covered in webs thanks to the Visorak. The front of the box also includes the specific name of the Rahaga inside and a small graphic highlighting the new spinner function that is incorporated into each of these sets.
The sides of the box don’t offer much, but do have some green webs patterned along them which is a nice detail to include. The most noteworthy thing about the sides and tops of the boxes are that they all correspond to the color of the Rahaga inside, which adds a bit of flare to each and every Rahaga set packaging.
The back of the box showcases all 6 Rahaga that you could get at the time, and also gives us a preview image of the combination models you could build by obtaining the online instructions. There is also a diagram showing how the main play function for the spinners is operated.
The contents inside consist of a small bag of pieces, the Rhotuka spinner “stick” and the instructions. The instructions match the format of most small Bionicle sets where one side is the instructions and the other is a poster.
Base Model Review
Since these are such small models, there isn’t a whole lot to say, but I’ll start off by saying that I’m glad I had low expectations going in. The base models don’t offer us much of anything other than a new set to buy. Their pieces and feature are all things we’ve seen before other than the new spinner pieces. And while you can highlight that and say that’s a new, cool feature, it’s included in every set from 2005 so once again, nothing exclusive going on here with the Rahaga.
I do like the finished look of these sets; I just can’t help but feel disappointed that they do nothing new to stand out. They’re designed well and have good articulation options, but they give me the feeling that they were rushed at the end of production in order to simply have a cheap set available as a part of this wave. Since we’re still in Metru Nui there’s no point in releasing new Matoran, so they clearly just went to this concept and used it to fill in as the cheapest set option for 2005.
The positives to these base models are pretty centralized around the spinners. The function, while like I said is not exclusive, is a lot of fun to play with. I spent 10-15 minutes launching the spinners, picking them up, and repeating the process over and over. The Rhotuka spinners can go impressively far, without a doubt 50+ feet can be achieved by operating the function. The way the function works is by pulling out the “stick” piece the spinner rotates and eventually the lift force on the spinners blades thrusts it into the air. I do feel inclined to mention though that this is a ton of fun to use, but since the spinners are so light there’s no shot at them actually knocking parts or masks off of an enemy.
A unique feature across all six Rahaga is that the spinners are all different colors. This pleasantly surprised me, I would’ve fully expected to get the same color spinner in each of these sets. I do have a feeling though that this was done because the designers knew that they had some very weak models and at the last minute decided this would be a way to still draw people into buying the set by promising exclusive spinner colors.
Combination Model Review
I am happy to report that the combination models are far better than the base models for these sets. Each of the combination models represents a Rahi Beast, and really does a nice job of making two distinct models.
One of these combinations is a four-legged Rahi that includes very fresh articulation options. The midsection includes a ball joint which allows you to rotate the model as if it were turning a corner, and I think this is the first time we’ve gotten articulation like this in a model’s midsection.
The other combination model stands upright on two legs and makes great use of the spinner assembly pieces. Rather than go the easy route of leaving these pieces aside, the designers found a way to implement both the “stick” and spinners into the model to give off the impression that this Rahi is like an archer with spare bows, just instead with spare Rhotuka spinners.
The issues that I have with the combination models don’t actually apply to their construction, but rather area a result of the cards dealt to them by the base model parts. For one there is simply too much orange, especially in the blue, white, and brown Rahi, to the point where it’s extremely distracting and I have to think about which color Rahaga were actually used in that combination. The orange works much better with the colors in the black, green, and red model, but they still are the first thing that catches your attention.
The other issue with these models is formed because of the base model assembly. The base models all have orange eyes made up of thin technic liftarms. The liftarm that ends up fully inserted to the headpiece is simply impossible to remove. I actually almost broke one of the head pieces attempting to remove one before giving up and sparing the condition of these sets. Because of this the heads are very weak on the combination models since they have an extra piece occupying the eyes, and they’re also orange when they shouldn’t be. I just wonder how a design flaw such as this could have skipped over the minds of the designers and team that test builds the models.
Overall, the Rahaga flat out stink. They offer nothing new to the table that we can’t get in other sets and are pretty clearly a desperate heave at a cheap set to release during the 2005 wave of sets. The designs are nice, but there’s just no reason to buy these sets, they truly add nothing to my Bionicle fulfillment.
If you rebel against my warnings and still want to get these sets, you can get them in used condition for an average of $8 each and in sealed condition for an average of $17 each. The reason I say average is because the prices can fluctuate a bit depending on which Rahaga you are purchasing. Characters that had more prominent roles in Bionicle: Web of Shadows tend to be priced higher as one would expect. But for this price point you could get much better sets from previous years, I would again avoid the Rahaga at all costs.
I’m not sure when we’ll see sets this bad again, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rahaga end up being the lowest score of the entire theme. If it weren’t for the successful combination models, this score could have ended up in the negatives.