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Who is your favorite Toa?


EXO Marks The Spot
Posted by Purple_Dave on July 2, 2002 at 10:29 PM CST:

The box artwork for this set might actually be a detriment to the product, though I don't see any way to have avoided this. It shows very clearly that there is no pilot and no new KANOHI. It also doesn't suggest a lot of articulation, but there's a reason for that.

Of course, there is no pilot in this set, so this is the natural look of the set. This might not be a bad thing, for anyone who wants to buy enough to equip all of their TOA without having a horde of one TOA waiting on the sidelines, but this is the only set that has been released that needs another set to be complete, excluding the KANOHI and KRANA packs.

Perhaps as a way of making up for the lack of included pilot, there is a head-like section that can be flipped forward when the EXO-TOA has no pilot, and the result is something that evokes images of the giant robots in sci-fi movies from the 50's and 60's.

To open up the pilot cavity, you flip the head onto the back and push the "belly-button" to pop open the chest plate. The interior that is revealed can be seen above. Now, I've been telling people for close to five months (ever since my Toy Fair trip, in fact) that POHATU could not fit in the EXO-TOA without one of them being extensively modified, but many people chose not to believe me. Here you can see exactly why he won't fit. There is a small orange nub sticking out of the interior surface, and that nub has to plug into the hole on the back of the TOA's pelvis. Above that orange nub is a large recessed area where the external gear system fits. Since POHATU's torso is inverted, his gears would land squarely on that orange nub, resulting in him sticking out way too far for the chest armor to close.

Anyways, once you've got your chosen pilot firmly installed in the pilot cavity, all you have to do is flip the chest armor up and you're ready to defend just about anything on the island.

Obviously, EVIL TAHU insisted on having another chance to strap himself into the EXO-TOA, even though it required the removal of his shoulder spikes. The more I look at this, the more I keep being drawn to the fact that this model, even moreso than the two BOXOR models, lacks any visible means for the pilot to control the suit. It's possible that it's supposed to use some sort of mental interface, thus getting around the fact that the poor pilot's arms are basically pinned to his/her side.

The footpads don't really do a good job of keeping the pilot's feet locked into place, but they do have a small towball sticking out of them to keep the feet from sliding off to either side. Also, since the only leg joints are above the footpads, placing a pilot in this rig pretty much eliminates the usefulness of those cool new joints from the Super Battle Droid. If you spin the legs more than a couple of clicks, the footpads will not be able to line up with the pilot's foot, and if you bend them too far, they will swing out of reach of the pilot's feet.

On the plus side, dropping a pilot into this thing really serves to emphasize just how massive the EXO-TOA would be in real life. If the TOA were six feet tall, this machine would give them a good extra four feet of height, and pretty much double their width. (And it would really hurt if it stepped on your toes) I think my favorite aspect of this is the fact that when the pseudo-head is flipped out of the way, it looks very much like a back-mounted power system, with the gears and hoses and such.

The attacks are fairly simple, with the left arm having a projectile launcher that fires a rubber-tipped dart, and the right arm having an accordion-style grabbing attack. Unlike the other accordion-attacks that we've seen in the BIONICLE? line, this one is designed in such a way that the hooks actually swing forward and flip out at the same time. This attack vector gives it a great advantage if the hooks can slip behind an undefended KANOHI, as instead of pulling straight back (and possibly letting go), it will peel the KANOHI off to one side. This should also come in handy when facing off against the BAHRAG, since it will result in a much better grip on the chest piece that locks out their attack.

Okay, now we get to the controversial part. As is suggested by the instruction booklet, TAHU is the model intended for use as the pilot. LEWA and KOPAKA both fit quite nicely, but since they have skinnier shoulders, they tend to flop side-to-side a bit. GALI mostly fits, but that hip-joint mounted to her chest gets in the way of the BOHROK faceplate on the chest armor, and closing it up pushes back on her upper chest and pulls her off the orange mounting nub a bit. This also results in her feet being pulled off the footpads a tiny bit. Even flipping that piece upside-down when strapping her in would help a lot in this regard, and she'd fit just as nicely as TAHU.

Now we get to the problematic pilots. ONUA only fits if you pop his head off, which makes him understandably cranky. The chest armor covers up the plus-hole on the TOA chest, and that's where his head is supposed to be attached.

Of course, POHATU is even worse. Not only did I have to remove his head, but I had to flip him upside-down to fit him in the pilot cavity. The result is that he flails his legs wildly, and I'm not sure he's forgiven me for embarrassing him in this way...

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