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Bionicle Mistika
by Artemis

By your command, Imperious Leader.

With four powerful jet rockets, a high-speed rotating blade and his Nynrah ghost blaster, Tahu Nuva can move fast and strike hard throughout the Karda Nui swamp.

With Toa Tahu, our reviews here at OAFEnet of the 2008 Toa Nuva are complete - in the Phantoka battle in the skies we've had Pohatu (bruiser), Lewa (all-around hero) and Kopaka (F-22 pilot), and taking part in the Mistika swamp skirmish have been Onua (stone-cold killer) and Gali (sex symbol)... and now Toa Tahu, or as he's more widely known, "the one who looks like a Cylon." But is he really an emissary of a long-forgotten machine race who've learned to make themselves look like... well, different kinds of machines, in this case... or am I just making this stuff up as I go? Guess.

Tahu's robotic-looking in more ways than just his face - with his torso free of any sleek chestplate piece, leaving the techy workings of the shoulder and hip pieces showing, and his armour on thighs and biceps a rectangular, mechanistic kind of design, there's not a lot on this guy that looks biological, even by Bionicle standards. Furthering the machine look he's got his quad jets, mounted above and below the shoulders - they connect by a single Technic plug, and they're not locked from swivelling, so while they look natural enough laid against the shoulders and sides (top and bottom jets respectively), there's nothing stopping them being knocked out of place while you're posing the guy, which is a bit irksome. He also has spines extending backward from his shins - I'm not sure I like those, they don't seem to have anything much to do with his overall design.

His mask - the Hau mask of shielding, according to the Bionicle wiki, which can protect against any attack provided it's not caught by surprise (no, really) - looks kind of like a cross between a Cylon Centurion and Optimus Prime. There is a central strut in the visor area, but with the brow casting it in shadow it looks so much like a single slit that I really expect to see a little red light bouncing back and forth in there (it's like the Centurion's ears are playing Pong!). The standard Bionicle head of 2008 has a bit of a forward slouch naturally, with its balljoint mounted right at the back, and Tahu's mask adds to this, giving him a hunched look in spite of his upright body.

Besides the more or less ornamental swivels on the jets, Tahu has the usual articulation: balljoint neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. Both hands are a bit restricted by his weapons - the right has the spinning shield, which is just a simple swivel-mounted tri-blade, with no fancy gearing or anything to make it turn without just moving it by hand; the left holds the Nynrah, which works just fine as a firing weapon, but is mounted on its top port with the hand angled downward to hold it, making it look kind of like it's hanging off his wrist, rather than firmly in his grip. It's not as good a look as the other Nynrah-wielding Toa Nuva, who hold theirs in both hands.

Tahu's Matoran buddy is Solek, who looks pretty good on his intended partner Toa Kopaka, and should stay there. On Tahu the white doesn't mesh well with the Toa's brick red, and their masks get in each other's way when you try to have Solek looking over Tahu's shoulder.

The jets are a neat idea, but overall I can't say I like them - not for what they are, but for what they take away, since the parts count necessary to mount them on the body are probably the reason why Tahu doesn't have a proper chestplate. Without that he doesn't quite look right - the body doesn't match the feet and mask, and overall I don't find he's a great match for the other Toa Nuva as a group.

-- 06/13/09

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