Review: Official Set - Toa Metru
Before Turaga, they were Toa. This week we dive further into Metru Nui with Lhikan’s summoned heroes, the Toa Metru. As we well know, these Toa transition into the Turaga we know and love from Mata Nui. Getting to see them in their prime brings a lot of expectations to the table, expectations that hopefully are not too high.
On average each Toa Metru contains 47 pieces and are all recommended for ages 7 and up.
New Toa means new canisters. These canisters shake it up from the previous Toa canister designs just enough to feel really new, but don’t stray too far to the point where they are not necessarily associated with previous Toa packaging. The front side of each canister shows an action shot of each Toa with a rendering of their home region in the background. These backgrounds are all different from the Matoran of Metru Nui renders which helps to flesh out the different areas of Metru Nui.
Inside each canister is a bundle of pieces, the instructions, and a Kanoka card that was used as a promotional game in 2004.
The Toa Metru admittedly took longer to build than I figured. I assumed it would take somewhere around 20 minutes to complete all six of them, but in reality, it took 30 minutes.
My initial thoughts as soon as they were all completed was simply that they exceeded my expectations. The builds all strike me as very clearly a brand-new branch of Bionicle. Not much (if anything) makes me think of Mata Nui when looking at these Toa, but rather they really do a great job of bringing us into a new story of Bionicle. Many of the parts are all brand-new molds such as the legs, feet, arms, torsos, and thigh armor pieces. But even with all of those great parts, the best improvement is most certainly the new head and eye design. One of the issues the Toa Mata and Toa Nuva run into are the inability to move the head, and the difficulty of removing eye pieces. The Toa Metru introduce a head that can articulate via a ball and socket joint, and the eyes now slide into place and are secured using a Technic 2 axle.
Speaking of articulation, even though there are many, many more sets to go, I can tell that these models are close to if not the peak when it comes to articulation. They can be posed nearly any way you want them to. With joints in the ankles, knees, hips, elbows, wrists, and aforementioned head, we’ve never seen models quite as posable as the Toa Metru. The only thing that cannot be posed are the shoulders, but that is simply because they are intertwined with the gear feature that allows users to swing the arms back and forth using a mechanism very similar to the Toa Mata and Toa Nuva did.
Something else that stood out about these base models were the weapons. The innovation and design here is really remarkable. They all are very distinct from one another and feature some really intricate design details. The weapons are also to attach in multiple locations on each Toa. For the most part this means being able to sling them on the backs of the Toa, with two exceptions. Whenua and Nuju’s weapons do not attach to their backs. Whenua is able to have his attach together in the front to form a drilling apparatus, while Nuju can slip his onto his feet to form some ice/snow shoes that definitely help him maneuver through the icy regions of Ko-Metru.
The masks are really impressive in that they manage to resemble the Turaga masks that these Toa Metru will of course turn into, but without being blatantly obvious. Instead of taking the easy way out, the designers decided to use the Turaga masks as nothing more than reference material to craft masks that share some facial features, but for the most part are entirely their own thing.
In terms of negatives with the Toa Metru base models, to be quite honest there really aren’t any.
The combination models surprised me by opting out of the standard Toa Kaita models, and instead offers one build for a prototype Vahki, and another for a Rahi beast. I’m a big supporter of this idea because we’ve gotten Toa Kaita before, twice before as a matter of fact. And while it was really breathtaking the first time around, seeing Kaita for a third time would have been boring.
The combinations that we get are great when it comes to their looks. The builds are much more complex than the base models, which also makes for a fun challenge when assembling different sections.
The problem I have with the combination models are a downfall that I feel was caused by the perfect articulation of the base models. There’s actually too much articulation in the combination models, which results in a system that is quite difficult to pose the way you want to. They are just a tad bit flimsy in areas and when you try to adjust one area, another shifts, which becomes frustrating very quickly.
Overall, the Toa Metru are some of the best models produced by the Bionicle line thus far. The articulation and playability is exceptional, and they more than achieve their goal of introducing us to a new region of the Bionicle universe. They’re an incredible transition piece to a revised style of Bionicle sets and lore, and I can’t think of anything I would wish to improve with the bse models.
If you’re looking to buy these sets for yourself, there’s a very clear method to go when it comes to condition. For used Toa Metru, the average cost is right around $10 per Toa, while a sealed set from this line typically costs around $60. Some pretty elementary math brings us to the conclusion that you can buy all six Toa Metru in used condition for the price of just one sealed in its canister.
Easily the best Toa that we’ve gotten so far, and an amazing revolution for the Bioincle theme. But the combination models have weaknesses keeping them from overthrowing the Manas as the highest Bionicle set score so far.