Review: Official Sets - Glatorian
Continuing with the 2009 line of Bionicle are the Glatorian. The Glatorian are a group of skilled warriors who inhabit the desert planet of Bara Magna. Due to ongoing conflict between the tribes, the Glatorian represent them in arena battles to resolve disputes and conflicts, rather than resolving to all-out war. This method of fighting was seen on Earth in civilizations such as Ancient Greece, Midieval Europe, and in Norse Mythology where individual combat served as a form of combat resolution for the fate of an entire region. The Agori think of them as their protection and see them as their tribe’s champions. The combat has a lot of nobility, respect, and fair play.
As would be typical Bionicle fashion the packaging consists of canisters with removable tops colored to match the sets inside. The front of the packaging shows off the sets and their environment, while the back gives us a uniform sand background with the Glatorian and accompanying Agori featured for reference.
Just like the Agori we’re going to go set by set and then collectively go over them all at the end.
The obvious standout with Skrall is the black and red color scheme, it’s just sinister. I love this change from the typical dark gray and black color schemes, the red accents just look incredible. There are a ton of armor and weapon pieces that have a high level of detail which really adds some depth to this set. The helmet is a similar one to what we saw with Atakus, but definitely feels a bit more mature. The bladed shield is probably one of my favorite pieces used in a Bionicle set in recent memory. As you would assume there is a lot of articulation with this model along with the other two play features which are the Thornax Launcher and the Life Counter. The Thornax Launcher works pretty well, I figure with this set being in used condition it may not have quite the explosiveness it once did, but it does its job. The Life Counter is in relation to a game you can play against an opponent where hitting your opponent docks off their life count.
Moving on to Malum this guy is a lot bulkier than our typical set of this size, and I’m all here for it. It’s a nice variation, and reminds me of the Hulkbuster. I do think the dark gray could have been swapped out for an orange color to make it more vibrant, but this color scheme matches the accompanying Agori set. Malum has two large claws on each hand which look both deadly and useful for scaling some cliffs. Malum’s helmet has a similar style to the one we saw last week where there is a red to orange gradient which just looks perfect for a fire tribe set. As will be the case with all of the Glatorian, Malum has a Thornax launcher and a Life Counter.
Next up is Gresh, who has a very contrasting, lanky look to him. While I do desire some more detail with this set, I think it flows very nicely altogether and nails the color scheme. The black parts used as the inner limb structure really hides well behind the lime and dark green parts. This is accompanied by a very pleasant translucent orange face and one of my favorite helmets so far in 2009. Once again we get a nice gradient of color, and the anatomy of it has so much life and expression to it. Unfortunately my Gresh is missing a key piece which would form either an akimbo dagger or shield. Massive disappointment on my end for that, but I can’t hold that against the set, just the seller.
In what looks like one of the most prestigious water-affiliated sets we’ve ever seen, Tarix comes in with a beautiful blue and gold color scheme. Of all the Glatorian sets this one feels the most like previous ones we’ve seen. The air tube really takes me back to Mahri Nui, but not in a pleasant way. I want to join this new story and look at Bionicle not look back at what’s the past. But that can be forgiven with the unreal weaponry in each hand. The trans-light blue matches great with the gold, and the actual shape of the weapons is some of the best we’ve ever gotten. While I’m not the biggest fan of Tarix there is a lot of detail and great part usage. I just wish it was a bit more progressive to the story.
Moving on to Strakk, this guy really shakes up the construction compared to other sets in this line. The torso is constructed to be angled with the hips rather than straight up, it’s a nice and creative change. Once again we see some amazing new molds and colors at the shoulders and the helmet. The helmet carries a bit of a d-bag vibe, but if this guy is to be associated with Metus at all, yeah he’s a d-bag. And just as I get done with praising the weaponry on Tarix, we get an amazing Ice Axe which once again has some incredible geometry and detail. Not to mention the color gradient which looks absolutely incredible.
Last but not least is another cool design variant with Vorox. Vorox has a lot of the typical construction but also is equipped with a sharp tail coming out of his back. I’m just so happy to see tan pieces once again in Bionicle, and this set is loaded with them. The helmet has no shortage of detail and looks quite fragile with all of its smaller segments protruding from the center. The tail truly is the big standout with this set alongside some of the armor pieces which give us a pleasant tan-brown gradient at the arms and legs. I imagine this set is a MOC-builder’s dream for a Po-Koro build.
Current Pricing & Final Thoughts
When it comes to pricing for these sets, in used condition you can anticipate a price tag of just over $20, with that value bumping up to $65 for one in sealed condition. While it’s nearly 3 times more expensive to get these sets in sealed condition, I would recommend it solely based on my experience with the broken and fragile parts. If you do go used, just be prepared to fire up bricklink to get some replacement parts.
If you can manage to look beyond the fragile parts, these are truly one of the best groups of 6 we’ve gotten from Bionicle. The designs are all unique enough from one another to not just be clones, but also feel like they belong together as a group of 6. Each of the sets has something special about it, and the new molds for this year continue to pleasantly surprise me.
At this point I’m really just bummed out that I didn’t get to experience these sets when they first came out. They’re breathing so much life into Bionicle after a long period of moodier models. It’s just sad to have the knowledge that they’re some of the last sets we’ll ever see. The possibilities feel endless.