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Posted by Purple_Dave on August 1, 2002 at 11:41 PM CST:

This is a set that I have been waiting to see for over half a year. Originally intended to have been publicly released in October 2001, this set turned out to have been cancelled before the TOA even arrived in North America. Only through the persistence of certain LEGO® employees did it see the light of day. Even then it's a Shop At Home exclusive. That's probably my biggest gripe about this. I have a feeling that it would sell a lot better if it was on retail store shelves where it would be subject to impulse buying.

One box, containing about 100 pieces, has instructions for how to build 15 different creatures. Of course, you can't actually build them all at the same time. In fact, I'm not even sure if you can build any two at the same time. Of course, most of them use some fairly basic pieces, so a lot of people will be able to build a fair number of them at once, even though it might require tweaking the color schemes a bit. The included creatures are as follows:

From TA-KORO we get the HIKAKI dragon and the HOTO firebug.

From ONU-KORO, we get the KOFO-JAGA scorpion and the USSAL crab (seen in the MNOLG).

From PO-KORO, we get the VAKO rhino, the MAKIKA cave-toad, the FUSA kangaroo, and the HUSI pecking bird (also of MNOLG fame).

From GA-KORO, we get the RUKI snapper-fish and the TAKEA shark.

From LE-KORO, we get the KUNA snake, the HOI turtle, the TAKU eaglet, the GOKO-KAHU (aka KEWA, from the MNOLG as well), and the third instance of the FIKOU spider (black version previously seen in the LEGO® Mania Magazine and the TRU promo CD-ROM).

From KO-KORO, we get...we, nothing, apparently. Sorry, no snow-dwelling creatures here.

A lot of these creatures suffer greatly from the dark-grey/orange/red color scheme that everything gets stuck with, but that's one of the advantages to working with LEGO®. If you don't like the colors, you can use different pieces. Speaking of pieces, this set is one of two sets that contain the orange PAKARI (8556 BOXOR being the other one), and it's the first set to include a dark-grey TOA foot or a red THROWBOT® torso. You'll also find it to be a more cost-effective source for red GALI hooks than MUAKA/KANE-RA, though a less cost-effective source for orange ONUA claws than the NUI-RAMA.

I'm very happy to finally have access to the official USSAL design, though I did find a few ways to tweak that design as well as a few of the other 14 creatures. I also found that changing the color schemes will do wonders to improve the vast majority of these creatures. I mean, orange turtles? That's just not right.

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