LEGO BIONICLE is back – seven years after the original constraction theme last appeared on the shelves of toy shops (aside from a cameo in 11021 90 Years of Play). 40581 BIONICLE Tahu and Takua pays tribute to the classic theme as a gift with purchase set that is free if you spend £90 / $100 / €100 at LEGO.com from January 27.
Many traditional LEGO fans look down on BIONICLE, which launched in 2001, as the theme focused on buildable action figures with elements that could be described as LEGO System ‘adjacent’, although several pieces introduced are still used today. It shouldn’t be discounted though, as BIONICLE pushed forward several aspects of LEGO themes that still continue today; an understanding of the end consumer, a multi-media narrative, depth of story, decodable characters and carefully though out elements.
Blocks magazine recognised this in Issue 85, first published in 2021. That year marked the 20th anniversary of BIONICLE, so Blocks spoke to many of the people who were originally involved in the theme’s creation. The issue is still available in the online store and reveals fascinating tales from the development of this epic theme, illustrated with beautiful concept art.
40581 BIONICLE Tahu and Takua details
|LEGO set name||40581 BIONICLE Tahu and Takua|
|Price||Free if you spend £90 / $100 / €100 at LEGO.com|
Due to the constraints of a monthly deadline, 8570 Gali Nuva had to appear alongside the original 2001 BIONICLE characters on the cover, meaning that rather than the six classic figures, one of them was the odd one out. The BIONICLE community was rather frustrated about the switch, as they are sticklers for detail. They will be irritated by the instruction book for 40581 BIONICLE Tahu and Takua, which incorrectly names BIONICLE writer Greg Farshtey as ‘Farstey’.
That inaccuracy aside, the instructions will be familiar to LEGO System fans and unusual to BIONICLE fans. This is a modern depiction of the classic 8534 Tahu set – as a simple gift with purchase model, it doesn’t see the return of pieces from 2001. Instead, it uses typical LEGO elements to depict the character in a more traditional way.
If this were billed as the return of BIONICLE, it would be a disappointing set. As a tribute to the now classic theme though, it ticks the boxes. The shape, colour and vibe of Tahu is conveyed as well as possible using the LEGO System. Hinges and ball joints give the character some poseability, while the brick-built base acknowledges that the fans who grew up with BIONICLE are now adults and want to display the model.
For LEGO fans who grew up with BIONICLE, this is a pleasant nostalgic throwback to theme’s origins. For LEGO fans who never quite understand BIONICLE, this is a way to access the theme’s legacy through traditional elements. It isn’t classic BIONICLE though, it’s merely a tribute; and if ‘proper’ BIONICLE is what you really want, then you can buy the original set second-hand online for a pretty fair price.
VERDICT: This is a great interpretation of Tahu and a fun way to offer some BIONICLE nostalgia – plus it doesn’t require an obscene spend to get it.