Review: Official Sets - Bionicle Stars
The Bionicle Stars were released in the Winter 2010 wave, and were more or less a bittersweet look back at some of the theme’s previous sets and evolution. It was announced prior to the release of these sets that it was going to be the final wave of Bionicle, which feels like the right thing to do and builds more hype for a look back on some of the fan-favorite characters and sets. I took a look back at videos posted when this news broke, and the overall feeling I saw was devastation and just a footnote that the Stars were going to be the final sets. The larger focus was on Bionicle ending. Golden pieces were featured in each of these sets to incentivise collecting all 6 to create the Golden Bionicle, which was just a juiced up Tahu.
The packaging for these sets is of course going to be canisters, anything else to cap off Bionicle would’ve been a mistake. The front of the canisters show off the buildable figure in front of a constant background consisting of a large gold Hau mask. It reminds me of the Mask of Light where there is the large Hau shaped gate. The bottom includes various set information as well as the featured golden piece included in each set.
The back of the canister is more or less just an advertisement for the Golden Bionicle. We get an image of the Tahu set equipped with all of the armor with callouts highlighting which set each of the golden pieces come from.
First up is Toa Tahu. Seeing that mask again is just magical, regardless of the fact that it’s proportioned ever so slightly different. Something that’s going to be a theme for all of these sets but we’ll discuss now is that it feels a bit alien seeing a set that’s supposed to be 2001 Tahu, but is clearly not that. The base colors are of course the same, but aside from the flame sword and the mask, the pieces are completely foreign. The flame sword does have a slightly different take on it with not only a new part mold but also a silver guard on the underside.
Gresh naturally is going to look very similar to the original set given that the part molds are very close to the style of the original. The mask is different in that there is no gradient on this mask compared to the original which featured a dark green mouth area. The weapons in this Stars set are silver, and fit in well, but it should be noted that in the original set these were also a gradient of dark and lime green. This version of Gresh does feel much smaller than the original. It’s essentially an Agori meant to be Gresh.
Next up is Takanuva, who is built to represent the 2008 version of the set given the silver Mask of Light. At first I was a bit stumped as to why they would go this route instead of the 2003 figure, but then it clicked that if they included gold pieces to recreate the 2003 version, well there goes a lot of significance for your Golden Bionicle promotion. Takanuva does carry one weapon in each hand, which I love the handles for in their dark gray style rather than a black axle, they just fit the set much better. Once again this set is absurdly smaller than the original, and really throws you off.
The Piraka comes in as one of the more creative remakes. The color scheme we’ve seen before with a Piraka, but the spine and face are very unique and certainly built for the scaled-down 2010 version. It almost feels like if they modded this piece a little bit more that they could claim it to be an entirely new species. Just a side note to those of you who hate stepping on a brick, the spikes are SHARP. Not cut your skin sharp but they’re pretty prickly.
With the Skrall, at first I thought this was an exact remake of a 2009 set, but essentially it’s a blend between the 2009 Skrall appearance and the part usage and construction of the Atakus Agori, but also in the color scheme of Tuma. I guess you could say it’s a summary of the 2009 antagonists. The pops of lime green given off by the double pin piece are immaculate, and one of my favorite parts of this wave. Fun fact, this is the only set ever in which this part comes in lime green.
In a wave that is supposed to be remakes, the Rhakshi is actually my favorite set of the bunch because it branches off of the original and gives us something completely new with the yellow color scheme. It would have been more consistent with the rest of the wave to make this brown since we got a brown Rahkshi in the past, but I’m not complaining. It did throw me for a loop that the back piece and the spikes are connected. I was hoping for a classic opening feature like we had with the 2003 Rhakshi.
I can’t lie, the Golden Bionicle is awesome. The gold maybe clashes a touch with the orange, but this version of Tahu truly looks invincible. The golden mask is incredible, and has such a nice reflectivity to it. The other gold pieces are simply swap outs for the existing armor pieces and then a supplemental gold shield, which is a cool throwback to Gahlok Kal. I find it really interesting that three of the golden parts are identical. So you don’t really have to get all six of them, you could obtain all of the necessary golden parts by just stacking up on three of any of the sets that contain the shoulder and chest armor.
Current Pricing & Final Thoughts
Unlike the previous, what, 8 sets, these ones are rather affordable! In used condition each of them can be found for around $10, while in new condition they’ll typically be listed for around $40. Tahu is a little bit more expensive than the others because well, it’s Toa Tahu, and this is the set with the gold mask.
When I look at this wave of sets as a whole, I can appreciate that this was done as a final wave rather than abruptly ending after the final 2009 sets. It’s a bit of a thank you to the fans. But at the same time, I understand why people were very unhappy at the time. Not only were fans dealing with the end of a decade-long theme close to them, but these are a bit of flops when it comes to remakes. I can’t imagine what the reaction would be like today if we found out they were remaking 2001 Tahu, Takanuva, a Rhakshi, and a Piraka, only to receive these. I would have wanted nothing less than a true rerelease of the original sets with some flared up packaging.
At the end of the day, this is a bad wave of sets. They’re all shells of their inspiration set. But at the same time there’s new molds and a clear effort to recreate the old sets in some way. It’s a bit confusing to me, but at the end of the day I feel quite unsatisfied with the individual sets, but at the same time have a lot of appreciation for what the design team was attempting to achieve with the minimal budget they probably had.