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Who is your favorite Toa?


 June 13, 2003

Sixteen Years In The Making...

I've never been a fan of mecha. The whole idea is rather silly. You take a nice compact fighting vehicle and add highly vulnerable arms and legs to it. By doing so you also make it really tall, which screws up its center of gravity, making it highly prone to teenagers who have run out of cows to tip. You give it the highly advantageous ability to drop its weapons in the middle of battle (hey, maybe it makes it easier to run away if you can get rid of all of that "dead weight"). Hovertanks make a lot more sense. Even so, I had a very special reason for making this one single mecha.

Made from ultralightweight yet durable Legonium alloy, the BLACKTRONICLE is the latest line of perimeter defense system for the Blacktron organization. Sleek and stylish, it has a variety of weapon systems at its disposal. The primary weapon is the large hand-held Blacktronics Mark VII Particle Cannon, powered by four magnetic accelerator pods. As a close-range backup weapon, the right hand wields a carbon-fiber reinforced Legonium alloy vibrosword. And for dealing with pesky groundtroops, there are twin chest-mounted pulse cannons and twin

A sophisticated weapons system like this requires a lot of power, so a heavily armored compact fusion reactor was mounted to the back. As an additional precaution, the reactor can be ejected and launched to a safe height with three mini thrust pods.

Of course, being that mecha are tremendously top-heavy, and very unstable at high speeds, the Blacktronics Laboratories came up with a simple yet elegent solution. Well, two of them. Ten mini thrust pods (like the two red dots in the above image) have been mounted to various surfaces to help provide stabilization when starting and stopping. Additionally, five high-speed mini gyro stabilizer pods (like the black sphere immediately to the left of the two mini thurst pods in the above image) provide supplemental stabilization. These revolutionary devices can rotate in any direction, which means that all five mini GSPs can work together to help stabilize against a fall in any direction. They can spin up to a top speed of 10,000 rpm in under 1/10th of a second, and have electronic braking systems, and with a highly tuned sensor network, they're able to react to unexpected attacks to help prevent the BLACKTRONICLE mech from being bowled over.

Sometimes working in dark places requires that the pilot be able to get a better view of his surroundings than the HUD can provide through the various inclusive sensor systems, so twin side-mounted headlights (located right above the upper thrust pod in the above image) were added.

And now we get to the primary reason behind this whole MOC. Quite a while ago I ran across Paul Coomb's Gremlin mecha, which is basically just a minifig-scale cockpit that's been crammed into a standard BOHROK frame. Of course, the BOHROK design lends itself fairly easily to this, since it can be split right down the center. The question was whether the TOA design could be modified in a similar way. Yes, there is a TOA torso buried underneath all those greeblies on the lower torso, thus proving that it is possible.

Since I've got a bunch of yellow hip-joints floating around, and Blacktron I was by far the coolest of the pre-SW Space themes, I decided to merge my favorite theme from my childhood with my favorite theme of my reluctant adulthood. While it pretty much chewed up my immediately available stock of 1x1 round plates in yellow, trans-yellow, and trans-red, the results are definitely worth it. Hidden behind the ultra-rare trans-yellow KAUKAU is one of my precious three Blacktron minifigs (which was loosely inspired by such Space MOCs as Trevor Pruden's Crusader mechs).

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