Review: Official Set 8952 - Mutran & Vican
Mutran & Vican mark the first of the three limited edition sets from the 2008 line of Bionicle.While the Battle vehicles were pretty much the climax for this year of Bionicle, there are a few extras we need to dive into, and we'll handle the first of these today.
Mutran & Vican form a Makuta and Shadow Matoran pairing much like the rest of the 2008 theme. Their specific purpose was to guard the shadow leech vats and experiment on new trials. The Toa Nuva eventually found the Shadow Leech Hive, which led to a series of battles against Mutran. Vican, just like the other Shadow Matoran, was once a typical Matoran before coming into contact with the Shadow Leeches. Following the Battle of Bara Magna, his light was restored, but he chose to keep his mutated form.
The front of the box shakes it up a little bit with somewhat of a 3D display. An insert within the box contains the background and graphic of Vican, which gives off a really unique appearance being recessed like it is. The bottom includes the set information and piece count, as well as a graphic showcasing the ability to combine the two characters. There’s also a stamp that highlights this set as a limited edition set.
The back of the box is much more standard with a larger image of the two characters combined, along with visuals of the various play functions. The bottom shows off all of the Phantoka sets and Av-Matoran.
Vican comes off as a pretty standard Shadow Matoran, he honestly might be a little underwhelming if compared to the others. The color scheme is pretty attractive, and there’s definitely a good amount of articulation, but it’s about as bare as you could get. The wings sticking out the back don’t feel proportional at all.
The biggest highlight here is the mask mold, which really embraces a bug-look with the large open eyes and smooth curves. It’s a pretty creepy look, and breathes a lot of life into an otherwise dead model. But there’s a hiccup, we’ve already seen this mask before in the Shadow Matoran review, so that’s a bummer.
Now jumping over to Mutran, this model has a much more monochromatic look, but still includes some subtle pops of lime green. I feel like there could’ve been a touch more of lime green, but there’s an important balance to keep to avoid making him look too much like he belongs with Le-Koro.
The overall look is extremely reminiscent of one of the Phantoka sets, Chirox. The mask mold is the same, the extended wings don’t distinguish it at all, and the color schemes aren’t too far off from one another. The only major difference is the hand and weapon selection. Mutran has a built-out claw on each hand along with a blade in one hand and a spear in the other. Unfortunately though the hands are a bit clunky to me and are tough to position with the weapons in-hand. The large spear can be a little frustrating since there’s no friction holding it in place, so don’t bank on being able to have a lot of flexibility when trying to pose this model for display.
Just like the Phantoka sets, Mutran is able to drop a Tridak pod with shadow leeches. The main play feature with this set is being able to snap Vican onto Mutran’s back and connect the two. The other main play feature is being able to position the wing pieces with quite a bit of versatility.
Current Pricing & Final Thoughts
When it comes to pricing for this set, I’ll be very straightforward, they’re high for what this set is. In used condition this set currently goes for around $75, and in sealed condition you can expect to pay at least $200. The limited edition factor definitely plays a role, but for what this set is I feel it’s overpriced. That being said this would be a really cool set to have in sealed condition as a part of your sealed collection just because there’s some neat packaging.
At the end of the day, this set is a pretty clear remake of two sets we already got, just with a few lime pieces and slight differences. There are no exclusive molds or innovative designs, which makes the whole label of “Limited Edition” feel like a massive fugaze. There aren’t many times where I feel like LEGO® ripped me off and is probably laughing behind the scenes, but this is one of them. When the packaging is the best thing about a set, there’s issues.
In terms of recommending this set, I would say only go after it if you’re a big completionist or fan of the character. Otherwise you can go with Chirox and Kirop and save a good amount of money for essentially the same sets.