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Growth Spurt
Posted by Purple_Dave on February 17, 2003 at 11:25 PM CST:
Above is a shot of HUKI with his KOLI gear. Not that you'd immediately recognize him, since a year ago a MATORAN was really small, and KOLI was played with a boulder. Now they look like they've all been pumping iron...and I'm not talking about the new KOLI mallets and pucks.




I have to be honest about one thing. I don't like the new MATORAN design. It's not because this means I'll likely never see any new sources for the old MATORAN pieces (or the chance to finish building certain groups of characters). It's not because they look out of scale with everything else in the line. It's because the entire design looks awkward and slightly painful. They're bow-legged, with arms that look permanently curled inwards, and they've got giant gear mounts sticking out of their backs (bigger even than what the TOA had).

Anyways, the first two images show HUKI from front and back, so you can get a better idea of how the design works. Turning the little knob on the back will cause the arm-rack to spin wildly from side to side. With the KOLI mallet as a two-handed weapon, this attack form seems like it should work fairly well (as evidenced by the sheer number of sets that incorporate the same attack). Hanging out with HAFU are a few familiar faces (HAFU, MAKU, and MATORO), and one that we've never seen before. I bumped into Swiftone (pronounced "swift-tone", not "swift-won") who works for LEGOŽ Direct, and he informed me that this new white/grey character is supposed to be KOPEKE.



The PEWKU crab is a rather unusual little beastie, with a unique action feature, though not any attacks that I was able to figure out. Pushing it back and forth will turn gears that cause the legs to articulate as if it was walking. This set is supposed to come with TAKUA, though not at all like anyone would be likely to remember. This is the third color-schem for the little guy, and the first to use blue legs.




Finally in the MATORAN lineup, we have the GUKKO Bird. This marks the first use of revised colors for two weapons: KOPAKA's original sword (a light orange) and LEWA NUVA's air katana. One interesting thing to note is that while the mocked-up box sample states that it includes "JALLER", the character seen riding it (on the same box, even), is listed as "JALA" in the 2003 product book that was given out in the showroom lobby.

The bird itself has a wing-flapping motion, activated by a trigger-pull when you hold the tail. There's also another lever that pulls down from the tail itself, but I was unable to quickly identify a purpose for that.



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