The earliest LEGO Bionicle sets were drastically different from much later sets in the series, along with the constraction (constructible action) figures of today. The classic Rahi set Tarakava that inspired this revamp by [Jack Frost] uses barely any ball joints or specialized weapon elements from the Bionicle theme. Despite this, I feel it embodies the spirit of Bionicle more than the theme’s later releases. This build is part of a series of Rahi set re-imaginings, of which we recently featured Muaka and a Colony Drone.
I love how the builder kept all the iconic pieces of the original set (or rather half of the set, as there were two creatures in the original), such as the dark turquoise Kanohi mask and claw weapon used to form the creature’s huge fangs. Then there are the older-style Technic panels on the face, which keep the model as silly-looking as the set from 2001. The repetitive use of other teal elements also adds a lot of spiny character to this amphibious predator.
The tables have been turned, and our alien overlords are getting a taste of their own thorax salve.
This wonderfully detailed insect prisoner by Poor Disadvantaged is more than just a great LEGO creation. It is part of a collaborative project to re-imagine early Bionicle-themed sets with a fresh perspective. The chunky wheel part makes a perfectly unpleasant shackle. Another awesome detail is the multiple robot arms used to create a very detailed mouth complete with feeding mandibles.
Inside-out car tires and those rocky parts used for the manacles are another fun detail. If the prisoner didn’t look so deadly I might even feel sorry for him.
A small group of Bionicle builders have been reworking sets and themes from the early years of the Bionicle theme. They have just recently released pictures of another collaboration in my favourite Bionicle subtheme – Rahi (basically “animals”) from 2001. This build is Muaka from the 8538-1 Muaka & Kane-Ra set, reimagined by Red.
There is so much to love in the set’s reinterpretation. The builder stays faithful to the original with hoses on front legs and treads on the hind ones, but integrates them perfectly to achieve a smooth flow. And speaking of smooth flow, the tail is quite organic, made out of a 3mm flex tube element going through yellow 2×2 dish pieces and small tyres. My favourite part is the use of giant arms on the mouth, giving it the feline look that the original set lacked (which always looked more like two T-rexes…).
LEGO constraction (construction action figure) themes like Bionicle have introduced a broad range of parts, which many builders have leveraged to create organic-looking creatures. Such is the case with this lovely Ghekula Frog built by Djokson, which they describe as “an amphibious swamp-dwelling Rahi.” I suspect the red-eyed tree frog inspired the build, as is evident in the lime green body, white underbelly, and red eyes. Of particular interest are the feet, which utilize blue robot arms and minifigure arms as toes. The end result is one lively amphibian.
Years after being discontiniued, Bionicle remains a strong and very much autonomous theme in LEGO fan builds. Unique pieces and almost complete freedom of angles set it apart from most other styles, but was it always so? Jayfa and Andrew Steele bring us back to 2002, a time when Bionicle was still searching for an identity and was for the most part a sub-theme to Technic. The glorious titan set Cahdok and Gahdok was a load of gears, rubber bands, liftarms and most importantly, play features. I do not think this re-imagining has much of those, but it does capture the spirit of the Bohrok queens.
Click to see Cahdok and Gahdok compared to the original set
Out beyond the stars there’s a world of terror, and sometimes it comes closer than you might wish, especially if you live in a Lovecraftian tale. Among the worst terrors of that place is the legendary Cthulhu, imagined in LEGO form by Hongjun Youn. A multitude of Bionicle Kalmah masks gives the perfect tentacled element for otherworldly shaping for the head and torso, while Dino tails fill in for the larger tentacles.
With its uncannily flowing shape, it’s no small wonder losing one’s sanity was the most common reaction to the dread horror.
The other day I took a visit to LEGOLAND California, where they still have a Bionicle ride, along with statues of some of the Bionicles themselves, and got a pang of nostalgia for the days of old when Bionicle was still an official LEGO theme. Unfortunately, its unlikely the theme will ever be revived. Luckily, as long as the parts still exist, we will always get to enjoy fan made creations from the theme, case in point: Toa Gathu by Mitch Phillips.
I particularly like all of the small details on this figure, such as the brown minifigure backpack as a utility pouch, and the usage of lots of small pieces to achieve a trim, athletic shape for the Bionicles torso. This Bionicle has certainly been hitting the gym, unlike many of the official sets whose legs and arms were quite spindly and thin. Lastly don’t miss the nice usage of a gold LEGO Duplo door piece as the shield.
Who needs riches when the best part of your day is food? This plump little guy is all about his next meal rather than gold. Sassafras the “Happy-Go-Lucky” dragon is the work of Mitch Henry, who designed him for a dragon building contest hosted by Jayfa, an excellent builder we’ve featured numerous times. This adorable creation caught our eye for its unique character and parts usage. Do you have an idea for a cool dragon? Give the contest a shot!
This LEGO dragon tamer by Jayfa may not be a reference to everyone’s favorite dragon-taming movies by Dreamworks (or the books that preceded them), but it’s nonetheless epic. The tamer himself is a mashup of claw- and tooth-shaped elements that somehow weave together into awesome armor, and there’s no denying that having greaves made of dragon skulls must give you an edge in intimidating the beasts.
But the real masterpiece here is the dragon with its vivid magenta highlights. From the exceptionally clever brick-built eye (made with a white rod element flanked by two yellow minifigure hands) to the armor plating down the neck made of robot arms and teeth, everything works together beautifully to give the creature grace and personality.
Whether Mewtwo or Lukatwo is a good name for a baby is an open parenting debate, but DanielBrickSon‘s LEGO Mewtwo is a powerful and undebatably expertly built. In public perception, this Pokémon has a strange place. Die-hard fans will love it, but people with passing interest in the franchise may be scratching their heads, as it was difficult to obtain in the games and was a plot device in a few episodes of the anime, as opposed as some better known Pokémon (looking at you, Pikachu!), which were proper characters.
Daniel has captured Mewtwo’s curved shapes perfectly, using constraction armor parts and round system elements. The purple stripe and tail deserve some attention, as the curve on the belly appears to be made out of Bionicle masks. The build is mostly Bionicle and constraction based, but includes just enough System bricks like minifig helmets and horn pieces, to smooth out some rough edges. The builder even added some light-up features to make Mewtwo’s psychic attacks even more intimidating.
I’m always thoroughly intrigued by the build process and parts when a LEGO build does not have its signature sharp edges and squared-off parts. This build by mocworld bears a lot of resemblance to the operatic performer Diva Plavalaguna from the sci-fi movie Fifth Element. I never knew there were so many translucent light blue or cyan pieces in the LEGO arsenal of parts. The few that stood out to me include the head construct and the dress piece of which both are Bionicle parts. What impressed me the most was the head, which is actually made up of two separate pieces to form the headpiece and the crown-like feature.
Vortexx 2.0 is a stunning display of craftsmanship by Andrew Steele. It follows his amazing mighty Talos we featured recently. I get major Transformers Beast Wars Waspinator vibes from this model, but with a deadly serious twist instead of comedic incompetence.
Thanks to a beautiful blend of minifigure blasters, horns, robot arms, armor, chains, and a prize trophy stash of Atlantis treasure keys, this model jumps off the screen. This is actually my favorite shot of the model; the dim lighting and beckoning pose add to the feeling of emotion dripping off this hyper-detailed Bionicle/System creation.