Set Number: 6228
Price: $8.99USD , 9.99 Euro
Year of release: 2012
Capture THORNRAXX without getting stung!
Sound the alarm! THORNRAXX has escaped through the black hole and is hiding on the hive planet! Get there on the double and cuff that villain! Just be prepared for his shooting venom spitter, deadly stinger and razor claws!
The new style of packaging works well for Thornraxx and gives a sense of size to the set, because the thickness of the bag is provided entirely by the pieces within. Gone are the days of less than half full boxes and canisters; these bags don’t lie or exaggerate.
I particularly like the background of Breez and Thornraxx’s packaging; a massive hive-like area presumably in/under a desert. Breez is closing in on the Thornraxx in question, but she hasn’t noticed the swarm of Thornraxx reinforcements approaching from her left! This gives me a theory on why Breez and Thornraxx aren’t featured so far in the Breakout story material – Thornraxx is a (dangerous) species/swarm, not a single escaped villain. Breez either arrived on the wrong planet for her mission or decided that Raiding bug nests was more important than capturing escapees.
Or Thornraxx has a time duplication mask.
On the back of the bag we have the usual graphical suspects; an action feature diagram, a 1:1 mugshot, chromed legal text and +200 GAME POINTS! Although I’m sure it’s been pointed out before, I’m greatly amused by the fact that Thornraxx is essentially a flying Thornax launcher. Thornraxx the Thornax thrower.
What lies within?
After you cut open the bag, you can spill out its contents; beautiful instructions, holographic Gorast wings, orange Mahri tubes and a glorious single polybag.
I’ll confess now that the trans-clear Gorast wings are a pain to capture on film, because they just about as visible as the shadows I try to avoid. Thus most of the pictures in this review are composites from different exposures so that the wings are visible. In reality the wing pieces look much better and have an awesome holographic effect that is now also featured in the Hero holoshield parts. But you should already know what Gorast wings look like from your Gorast set. If you don’t have a Gorast set, go buy one now!
Because Thornraxx does away with the large-but-essential torso bone that’s present in all of the other 2012 sets, all of the main pieces are contained within the single polybag, so bag building is possible! This activity is great for bumping up the build time and difficulty significantly, although Thornaxx is too big for the polybag due to the claws and stinger. Still, this takes me bag to the days of bag building Voyatoran and other small boxed sets.
The front of the instructions has the same image as the bag packaging. The little Thornraxx between the arm and tubing of the main Thornraxx is flying the wrong way. Daft little bugger.
The first pages of the instructions ensure that you know your Hero Core is redeemable for Game Points on the website, 200 GAME POINTS in fact. I wish it was made more clear on the packaging that a Hero Core is included in the Villain sets despite not being a part of the main model, but I think that in 9/10 cases the absence/presence of this small coded piece wouldn’t flip a villain purchase. Unless you really really want Game Points.
Thornraxx’s instructions are clear and easy to follow. I appreciate that they include helpful diagrams to help you identify when to use the only 5M shell instead of a 3M shell.
Inventory and Mugshots!
Thornraxx’s inventory page is a work of art; the colour arranged pieces fit so well into rows and around the customer service bubble. There isn’t much artistic flexibility in arranging the pieces around the inventory page, which makes me wonder if the pieces used in Thornraxx were chosen specifically so that the inventory page would look good.
For added confusion in the Breez/Thornraxx pictures, both characters are visible in the background of their opposite’s picture.
Once they’ve finished fighting, Thornraxx and Breez combine together using Kaita power to form the legendary Buff-Walrus-Scorpion-thing-with-Rockets™! We’ll reevaluate that in the Breez review; other excitement is afoot here!
Behold, the wonder of Thornraxx’s inventory! At this point I’d better remind you that Thornraxx is priced at the cost of a small Hero canister, not a larger Villain box. Instead of price consuming pieces that you already have lots of such as torso bones, Glatorian heads, chest armour/plates, feet pieces and second legs, Thornraxx leaves you only with goodness. Let me run you through the list of pieces that excite me:
- 2 Holographic Gorast wings
- 1 Solid Red Zamor
- 2 Waspix bones
- 2 Orange Mahri tubes
- 2 Orange Revised Zamor Launchers (new)
- 1 Corrupted Quaza Spike
- 4 Medium Azure Sockets (new 2012 colour)
- 2 Medium Azure 5A Bones
- 1 Orange 5M Shell (recoloured)
- 2 Orange Claws
- 1 Coded Hero Core (new)
- 3 Black Shield/Claw shells
- 1 Thornraxx head (new)
- 3 Dark Bley 5B Bones (recoloured)
- 2 Black Raw-Jaw Tusks (recoloured)
Notice that I quite faithfully read off the parts picture in order, listing 66% of the 44 pieces. By comparison, Surge would only score 36% of 39. At this stage the fact that the pieces in this set form a coherent model is entirely bonus.
I should address that Thornraxx’s blue pieces are not the Teal of 2001; instead they are a new 2012 Medium Azure, also found in the new Friends line. The colour is very similar and just as exiting, so although Thornraxx doesn’t have the selling point of reusing Teal, it does have the selling point of introducing Azure.
This new bug head also appears in Silver with Black Phantom, where it utilized the bar connection points seen around the sides of the head. Even though those points aren’t being used on this set, they don’t detract from the appearance. I’ve been disappointed countless times when aesthetic pistons and bars on BIONICLE pieces are slightly too thin or thick to be used as connection points – the only valid part I can think of from the top of my head are the Toa Mata feet, and those are over 11 years old.
Back to the Thornraxx head, there is a nice variety of surface textures; smooth and reflective around the face, a compound eye-like surface around Thornraxx’s pincers, and an organic brain-like texture on the top of the head.
If Thornraxx’s head was reproduced as a marbled two-tone piece it would fit perfectly in with the 2008 Mistika Makuta. The Barraki eyes connect to clip joints inside the head, with is a first for BIONICLE/HF heads. This works much better than the Barraki style of connection, because there is much more space for removing the eyes or fitting other pieces in for MOCs. Mahri tubes can connect to these clip joints through the eye sockets, to turn this head into backpack piece for Hero MOCs.
As you’d have probably suspected, because Thornraxx isn’t a standard humanoid Hero, he doesn’t have a standard humanoid build process! The build isn’t very long or challenging, but it was fresh and enjoyable to start with a 1x5 Technic beam and 2 Waspix joints rather than a torso bone and leg bones.
As you go through the final stages of building the set, Thornraxx suddenly gains a lot more size due to long thin extremity pieces such as the wings and claws.
Thornraxx doesn’t have many leftover pieces, but one of them is a nice extra orange claw. If you hadn’t already picked these pieces up from last year’s Ninjago Ice Dragon or Bricklink, Thornraxx is a great cheap source for this piece.
Thornraxx is a big, bold and beautiful set. Despite being a smaller villain, he sizes up well against the larger Breez. I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking here.
The underside of Thornraxx isn’t particularly pleasing, but the only time you’ll see it is when Thornraxx is descending onto you for the kill, at which point it’s against your best interests to insult his appearance. In this photo you can also see both the Azure and Black sockets/5A bones. It’s happened for shells, but I think this is the first time that a set includes two different colours of sockets and bones. Kudos to the designers for caring about the colour scheme enough to do this, although I would have been giving identical praise if they have forgone good colour placement to include 4 more Azure pieces.
Thornraxx stands up very well on thin spiky pieces, and can be easily balanced on two spikes as well.
*BRZZZBRZZZ* (Translates to “Yummy a flower!”)
*BRZGRZBRRRRZZZ* (Translates roughly to “Surrender your red honeycomb slice or die!”)
Colour Scheme - 15/10 – Orange and Black has always been a wonderful and sadly underused colour scheme, and it looks very good on Thornraxx. The Azure technically doesn’t fit well, but it’s Azure! How could you possibly want some other colour instead? The odd colours could be justified as toxic bug patterns, although I’ve never seen a wasp with this particular combination. I’m sure Front could prove me wrong though.
Parts - 17/10 – Unless you start counting red axles and Barraki eyes, there are no boring pieces in Thornraxx that I’m not glad to have more of. Thornraxx does well compared to larger villain sets such as Waspix or Drilldozer, when price wise it should be compared to a Hero canister set.
Design - 20/10 – Thornraxx is the Hero Factory remake of Nui-Rama.
Articulation - 9/10 – Thornraxx has 15 points of articulation, but I’m honestly not sure what should be expected for a non-humanoid bug creature. Historically bug figures have had many more limbs, except for the Nui-Rama of 2001, which had 8 points of articulation. Between the both of them. I’ve deducted a point from the Articulation score because the larger shells around Thornraxx’s body do obstruct motion a fair bit by getting hooked over each other.
Quality - 10/10 – All of Thornraxx’s pieces are of high quality, and there are no old-style breakable sockets. Unlike other sets, Thornraxx doesn’t have any printed pieces (expect the code core), but there is no place on the set that needs printing and you don’t miss it on this set.
Overall - 83/50 – If you only get one set in the first half of 2012, it should be Thornraxx. If you only get two sets, they should be 2 Thornraxxes. Thornraxx is a joy to build, look at and swoosh around, and once I finally build up the heart to take him apart, I know he will be a joy to MOC with, providing excellent pieces to anyone’s collection.