Character Detailing

Moderators, please have mercy on my profile.

Allow me to start off by asking a question:
How much detail does a character need in order to define who they are?

It’s been a debate for a while now in the Bionicle community that detailing in sets is of some sort of importance. I’d like to go in depth of how I feel about this debate, and hopefully gain some understanding.
I’m not asking you to change your mind about something; I’m not trying to be persuasive in any way:
I just want to give you my perception of both sides, as well as my own.

Let’s start off with the sets themselves. A lot of people in the Bionicle community feel that the new sets (2015, for those unaware) are not as good as the old sets (from 2001-’10) on the basis of small detailing. Older Bionicle parts had small, intricate details, and many believe that the resurrection of the characters in CCBS, the newer system, sacrifices those details and overall makes the sets look bad. To me, bad and hate are such strong words (especially now that I have taken a Developmental Psychology course, so… back on topic! he he). Why must we throw these words around like nothing today?

I digress.

The point I am trying to make is that characters truly are not defined by small details, but sometimes small details can be distracting. Some people dislike the keetorange on Lewa’s chest plate. I’m okay with that; sometimes it bothers my eyes, too. When some say that small details made the characters better is where I have a problem.

Take, for example, the new picture of Jared Leto as “The Joker”. The picture reveals that the new iteration of the villain has several tattoos and markings while keeping the same green hair and white makeup from the original design. What is distracting to me, you ask? Answer: the teeth. When I look at a picture of a character, I usually look at their eyes first, but on the picture in question, I began at the teeth. Not the best first impression in my opinion.

I digress. Again.

The new Toa bring something great to the table: they pull off the character designs with no need for small, insignificant details. Just look at Onua. You can tell without reading his biography that he looks strong and heavy. A similar response can come for any of the other characters introduced thus far.

Then there are the summer sets. There are even complaints about those sets not being detailed. Because apparently the bone aesthetic parts (being the ribcage, printed chest plate, skulls, and “bones” on arms/legs) aren’t enough. To me, they get the point across that they are the villains in the world just by overall design alone. Even LOSS gets the point across. After all, spiders are more often than not the villains.

So what are your thoughts? Are small details necessary to define a character in most cases? Let me know!


But isn't one of the Joker's defining traits his smile?

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I think he means the fact that they're capped

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But then his smile is all the more shinier...

In all seriousness, I feel character detailing adds more substance to a set. Not having some of it doesn't break a set, but I feel it keeps it from looking as good as it's capable of being. Is it possible to have too much. Sure, as many MOCs have shown. But the G1 sets had a decent balance. The lack of detailing and texture on the G2 sets doesn't make them bad, just not as good as they could be.


I for one actually prefer a more solid sharp look(which is why I like Exo-Force, you know, besides the mechs),

yes, I'm saying I actually prefer the new sets and CCBS's aesthetics in general more than the old system.

That said, I do like detail, just a balanced amount of detail, which the new sets, imo, pull off beautifully,

don't get me wrong, I like the old aesthetics just fine, but the over-saturation of grebbling on certain parts(EX: metru thigh armour) is a little too gappy and textured for me to really like it,

what I like most about the old designs was the pistons and gears which gave to characters a feel of realism, like, this is how they move, using these mechanical parts to push and pull their body,
which is something they brought over into the new designs.

Really, it all comes down to personal preference on how much detail, and what aesthetic you like the most, I can understand people liking the more detailed old technic constraction system, but I can personally see why people prefer the look of CCBS.


I like the new look; it has this sort of feel to it.

The contrast that the plating provides makes the greebling look all the more intricate. With the old bionicles, they had little to compare the detailed parts with, making it all sort of blend together.


When fanboys usually talk about the level of detail in the new sets versus the old, they're usually referring to the fact that all of the old pieces had bits of detail molded into them. The pieces themselves weren't complicated or hard to put together, they were just greebly-looking. This annoys the karz outta me and I immediately ignore anyone who uses this as an argument, but I digress too stuck_out_tongue

But as for the details on the new Toa, there are things about the characters that you can tell just by looking at them. As you said earlier, Onua is incredbily bulky which gives the impression that he's the strong-man of the group. When I got Pohatu, I could tell that he threw with his right arm due to both the armoring and how the gear-function worked. There are a lot of small details that I feel get missed about these sets which give them a lot of personality.


In my opinion, small detailing can sometimes be distracting. I've seen too many MOC's that have a bunch of parts seemingly just "slapped on" where they don't need to be. My opinion on the redesigns is this: They have good articulation and friction for posing. Lewa's head and shoulder area is a bit wonky, but I home-brewed a fix for that. The characters are distinct from one another, aside from just coloration. For the most part, I agree with the aesthetic changes to the Toa.

As for the Skull Villains, I dislike how they ALL have bits of trans-orange in addition to their own colors. I also wish that they had more distinct masks, seeing as how we all ready have Skull Slicer's mask, and then Basher and Scorpio have the same mask, and Warrior and Grinder have the same mask, but the fact of the matter is that I just don't know enough about the sets to pass judgement. I'm going to wait until Eljay's recent reviews come out before saying that the sets are good or bad. The only set that I know for sure I will buy is Ekimu vs Skull Grinder, because it has Ekimu and the mask of creation.


why was my comment deleted? >:(

as I was saying little details molded into something do not matter to character if they are just random pistons and jagged lines

this video was on topic as it explains that the toa have character details without all of the pistons and stuff, like kopaka being very armored near the center relating to him to being a very closed off character


I like the new bionicle's detailing

But as for the sets and new designs
It really gives this modern robot design, but giving some throwbacks to the old G1 more detailed side of things
I really like the smooth texture ccbs brings.

You can easily tell the toa apart, but see them as a team, which is something that is hard to accomplish, without making clone sets of one another.
I specially like all the throwbacks to g1

Tahu having gold armour and a lava board, onua having claws, kopaka having skis
Gali having fins on her feet, lewa having his swords used as gliders like his nuva counterpart, and pohatu having the "sandals" similar to the feet additions, all of these make the sets appealing to old and new, imo

Now as for the skull villains, the main problem is the fact that they focused on function over appearance, and detail
At the same time, sets like Basher, Slicer and Warrior have great detail, and you can easily tell them apart

unfortunatly, grinder is pretty generic, and scorpio while being unique, has the same problem as I mentioned above

I look at the mata, and wonder why they are praised
as despite having unique differences, they are all very similar, without being unique.


Taking into consideration everything discussed in other peoples' comments above, I'm simply going to express what I think to be the primary issue with the sets.

Yes, they have team dynamics, yes they take a lot of inspiration from from the old bionicle, and yes they're pretty spiffy sets. However, since they use the CCBS shell pieces, they end up looking more like big, clunky robots as opposed to bio-mechanical beings.

One of the most prominent design choices the old Bionicle had was its fine detailing. Sure, they were pretty superficial, but all of the pistons and motifs added a whole lot of character, and made them look that much cooler.

The CCBS shells, on the other hand, are so clean-cut that they make the toa look more like Japanese mechs from an anime, or what have you. They look as though they're donning heavy armour on top of their bodies, instead of said armor being a part of their body.

Of course, that's not to say any of them look bad. The toa look pretty cool, and make a good first wave. The summer sets aren't a terrible second wave either. Sure, it's a step down from the toa, but they look decent enough.


this ^

I never really liked the biomechanical stuff to begin with. I got into BIONICLE in 2001 because I thought they were robots, that's what interested me (obviously I stayed in the fandom because of the depth that came with the line, but that's beside the point).

To me, the greebling details of the old aesthetic did nothing but add clutter and unneeded details to the characters that for the most part looked really ugly. It also added a layer of inconsistency between older sets and newer sets causing a blend of styles that really clashed together.

The new sets are streamlines, consistent, simple, and evoke a more imposing presence. I personally think they are the best Toa sets we've ever gotten in BIONICLE thus far.


You know...aside from the open ball-joints, articulation restriction (mainly Lewa), fragile mask-attachment, and the clunky gears system.


Which are decently hidden by the large chest plates and shoulder armor

I don't think you quiet understand what "Streamline" means...

The gear system's clunky?


The lack of detail in the 2015 sets really threw me off when I first saw them.
I'm more lax about it now, but it just feels less like Bionicle.
I really liked the "greebling".

Low Prices and specialized pieces > High prices and bland pieces


Shoulder-armor sometimes, if the set has it. Onua, Kopaka, and Tahu escape this issue altogether. Pohatu and Gali don't (and the chest pieces do little to help), and Lewa only barely avoids it while consequently having other problems.

-design or provide with a form that presents very little resistance to a flow of air or water, increasing speed and ease of movement
-make (an organization or system) more efficient and effective by employing faster or simpler working methods

Just saying, articulation restriction sounds rather counter-productive if they want to streamline the sets. Same goes for the fragility of the masks' attachment to the skulls.

By that, I mean it's fairly sluggish (as compensation for holding poses), and the arms flap everywhere due to the weapons. Say what you will about the (admittedly flawed) Mata sets, but they at least used their lack of articulation to allow for rapid, swift motions from the gears.

Bear in mind that this is coming from someone that actually likes the sets. I just find it irksome when praises are thrown about that they're "flawless".


When something looks Streamline it means it looks like it fits together and proper.

The only Toa I hap problems with using the feature on was Onua...

No one says they're flawless people just say they're better

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In which case they look streamlined without actually being streamlined. I'd bring up colors if we're going by the looks alone, but that's a different can of worms revolving around clashing gold and silver and the out-of-place silver (again, mainly a Lewa issue).

And I'm saying they're just as flawed as any other team of Toa we've ever had...except maybe the Hordika...and perhaps anything from '01 to '03 (can't forgive a lack of knees).

And I greatly disagree

I remember back when I first joined the boards and started a topic debating whether CCBS was better than the inika build and I believe @BioRaiders532 replyed on the topic after a while stating that the argument was pointless because no one would ever win and the argument should end before it gets out of hand or something....

I'm going to take his advice because I'm bored of arguing :stuck_out_tongue: