You may have already noticed that we love LEGO here at The Test Pit. During our time sweating over this hotbed of a review website, we've acquired quite the collection of bricks, studs and plates (not to mention tiny yellow-skinned people who seem to turn up in the strangest of places). But recently we were sent a horde of LEGO that was just plain different. No blocks, no plates, no clamp-handed people... this is LEGO, Jim, but not as we know it. It's the new LEGO Bionicle Masters and Protectors.
And boy, are they big. We were pretty impressed with the size and detail of the Hulk Buster model we reviewed last month, but these guys are huge. They also contain fewer pieces than a set like the intricate Hulk Buster, but as the parts are usually long(ish) limbs and bulky cast armour, they go a long way. On average, the Master figures stand around eight inches tall and feature 90-100 parts, which, for 12 quid, is pretty good. Outside of the Masters and Protectors, there is also the Lord of Skull Spiders set, a giant spider model which weighs in at 145 pieces and costs £12.99.
We really enjoyed building the few models we were sent, and found it quite different to traditional LEGO builds. You start from the centre-out, adding limbs and a head to a fairly simply core. The Masters feature a mechanism by which their arms can rotate at the twist of a switch on their backs, but is a very easy thing to put together and nothing as complex as a Technic set from which the parts are drawn.
The Protectors also feature a pretty unique action by which they can shoot single stud pieces from a Gatling cannon-like weapon. The characters use these weapons in different ways, with the likes of the Protector of Earth having it integrated into his chest, and the Protector of Jungle carrying it like a bow. However it is incorporated, giving it a quick twist can shoot those studs a good couple of feet.
But... is it all really LEGO? Well, yes it is. Despite most Bionicle sets being closed off (ie. the sets will usually only be used with each other) the pieces still do accommodate the traditional LEGO parts, albeit in slightly less accessible ways. Those interested in building LEGO mecha will soak up these sets, as the parts are geared towards humanoid shapes, while LEGO diehards will enjoy populating their parts stores with new and really interesting shapes.