This is the first in a series of revamps I’ll be showing off here that I’ve whipped up in my spare time. 2009 is one of my favorite years in terms of canister sets. The figures had a wide range of colors and a culture 2 them, so this is already a strong base to build upon.
One thing that’s always bugged me about the sets is they weren’t very story accurate. In the books and serials, the Bara Magnans are mostly organic beings with a few cyborg upgrades here and there to enhance their performance in the ring and in the wilderness. The sets didn’t convey this very well because they mostly used the same pieces we’d had for years. With the mostly mechanical Toa, Matoran and the like, I could at least pretend you could fit some organic scraps in there, but it’s always been such a stretch for these guys. Elements like CCBS shells, as much as people may expect them to clash with older, more detailed visual elements, are surprisingly effective at making these characters convincingly more organic from most angles.
Let’s start with Gresh.
I like what they went for with Gresh. His mask matches those spiky triple-fins, you’d think they were made just for him. That and his coloring, lime green layered over dark green over black give him a striking identity. I don’t care much for the build, though. He’s spindly and gappy to a point that was probably intended to look athletic and nimble, but just makes him look unhealthy to me. So I filled him out and bulked him up a bit.
Now we’re getting somewhere, huh?
Probably the most surprising part (to me) is seeing how snuggly the Toa Metru chestplate fits underneath the Inika one, like this.
And while I don’t care much for the CCBS “clown shoes,” they do help some. The spikes make good skirts when freed up from his legs. Also drew some inspiration from his prototype.
I don’t think we’ll ever be able to make a COMPLETELY organic looking Glatorian figure, such is the nature of these pieces, but we can at least convey the effect of them being “alive” far more effectively than Lego did at the time. Who knows? If Bionicle went on for another year or so, this may’ve been where it went, introducing CCBS with these fleshier characters.
Next up, Strakk.
Here’s my version.
I’ve always loved Strakk. We’d had many Toa of ice over the years, but he somehow conveys “ice is my element” better than any of them, I think, and all with just a few parts. I kept some of the older visual elements (shins with pistons an’ whatnot) to give the impression that he’s been in more fights that went badly for him and so he probably has more mechanical parts in his body than Gresh-from-the-fight does. I also love how much his feet look like snowshoes, and Metus’ shield, while not giving much coverage from flying Thornax fruit, would be extremely effective at catching opponents’ blades between the spikes and kinda completes his look, almost like he’s the Bionicle equivalent of a viking.
I always liked his hunch, but didn’t really like how… “rigid” he looked. So I threw in a waist joint. As much as I love that icy shoulder armor, it leaves the rest of his upper arm bare, but that leaves plenty of room to stick a CCBS shell on the back, giving him some proper muscle.
Also threw a dark blue foot on his back. Looks good as a backpack or just… a really ugly hench.
I changed the neck to a “throwbot arm” because it looks unnerving as heck, like he once received a neck injury so bad that he needed a new one… however you’d survive such a procedure. I went with a blue one instead of a white one because I like selling the feel that this is a blue-skinned character wearing white armor.
I should note Strakk is still a work in progress. I’ve ordered some dark blue liftarms to replace the grey ones he has and will switch out a coupla’ other tiny things when I can. I’ll upload some updated pictures then.
Last but not least, Malum.
Malum is probably my favorite. He ain’t a hero by any means (his name literally translates to “BAD”) but he sure has a cool backstory and look.
That said, he had some BIG problems. He has the same problem of shoulderpads that look cool but only cover his arms from the front in addition to a giant breastplate that the shoulders constantly collide with. This is one of the key reasons why Strakk always had such a small one, to make room for his shoulder armor. They also limited Malum’s elbow posability and his ankles were restricted because of his feet (while different and unique to him that year, which is appreciated).
So I did some plastic surgery on him too.
Now, I should note that some of these pictures were taken at different times, and I did make slight modifications between them. In this one, you see two black pins going through each arm and a third “fur” piece on his back pointing up.
In later photos, I flipped that around and only put on black pin in each arm, making room in the black liftarms underneath for two grey pins to connect the other fur add-ons there.
Along with making him look slightly more organic (giant horrifying cyborg meathooks aside) I tried to enhance that power “fire and brimstone” feel he always had. At one point, I switched out all his grey bones for keetorange ones, and… let’s just say it looked loud and obnoxious and weird. The highlights he already has are enough. I can just say he’s orange skinned with a grey undersuit covering most of his body.
I also love how the inika feet suit him as well. The grooves on the sides look like grills, as if fire would spew from his feet (if he had elemental powers) as he gets riled up and starts running.
So, a big red angry orc man is running your way. What do you do?
While his set didn’t include a sword (not sure how his hooks are articulated enough to grasp one) he is depicted as have one numerous times in the story. I like to imagine him lazily dragging it along the ground like Pyramid Head, just to get to people.
And now, the fateful reunion between these old enemies.
Strakk goes for the kill from behind, but Malum blocks and backhands him in the chin.
“This is our how our old battle was always going to finish.”
And here is his flipping Gresh off because he felt like it. …Not sure how that’s supposed to work when you only have a left finger and a right finger. Whatever.
One of the most appealing things about Malum is how unconventional he is, including the fact that he’s short and bulky. While I’ve add a couple of notches to his height, with his added bulk he still fits alongside the other Glatorian because, well, my upgrades have given them a collective height boost too.
So it all works out. Oh yeah, another thing I’ve always loved about these characters? Put two or three of them on the same shelf, and they compliment each other’s colors BEAUTIFULLY. Like, dang.
That’s it for now. I do plan to revamp the others down the road and upload pictures of those, but it may take a while to find all the pieces needed. If I make any more changes to these three, I’ll upload pictures of them here.