LEGO 40581 BIONICLE Tahu and Takua gift-with-purchase review

The latest nostalgic classic LEGO set tribute GWP is all about BIONICLE, offering an interesting take on how the theme could officially exist today.

Recent LEGO gifts-with-purchase seem to be focused on recreating classic sets with 40581 BIONICLE Tahu and Takua following 40580 Blacktron Cruiser and 40567 Forest Hideout. This time, the nostalgic lens has been pointed towards BIONICLE, a legendary theme in LEGO history that brought the company back from the brink of bankruptcy, but has struggled to find its footing in the modern day.

Available now with orders of £95 / £100 / €100 on select themes until February 9, 2023, 40581 BIONICLE Tahu and Takua doesn’t recreate any one set directly, though takes clear inspiration from one of the theme’s first builds.

The Tahu figure (the big red character) and the pose from the box art are reminiscent of 8534 Tahu from 2001. 22 years later and the construction figure has been transformed into a model using just System elements as the CCBS (Character and Creature Building System) parts have been mostly missing from the portfolio for a few years. It’s not perfect but it’s a great tribute to the iconic LEGO theme, more so than Tahu’s figure in 11021 90 Years of Play, though the two don’t compare by design.

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The articulation of the Tahu figure is excellent and when paired with his lava surfboard on the sturdy and displayable base, he should look great on a shelf, desk or another surface, especially alongside the original figure.

However, Tahu isn’t the only character in 40581 BIONICLE Tahu and Takua. As one of the original Toa, it makes all too much sense that he is represented but Takua is included too. Takua is an interesting character for BIONICLE enthusiasts and was only ever included (in this form) in one set. However, Takua went on to become the seventh Toa after a long and exciting journey in the theme’s original run. His inclusion here means technically two Toa are featured in the GWP, even though one has a long way to go to be the Toa of Light.

Similar to Tahu, Takua’s articulation is good but not quite as free. However, it is a lot more dynamic than the original Takua figure from the day of CCBS, which opted for a mix of Technic and specialised elements that didn’t have quite as much movement. Notably, the character’s yellow feet seem to be inspired by his appearance in movies and games, rather than the physical figure in 8595 Takua and Pewku which had blue feet.

There is one other aspect of 40581 BIONICLE Tahu and Takua to keep in mind. As well as Tahu and Takua and the lava surfboard base, a small assembly with a stack of tiles and an egg is included. For BIONICLE enthusiasts you may recognise this as the Amaja Circle, a pit used to tell the story of Mata Nui and his brother’s betrayal. The circle is adorned with the Mata Nui stone as represented by an Egg and the Makuta stone with a stack of single-stud plates.

It’s not all good news for the GWP, as functional as the stickers are, they don’t compare to the moulded masks of the original BIONICLE. We’d have liked to see an attempt at recreating them using standard parts, but we do enjoy being able to remove the masks and see the original heads underneath, an iconic feature of the original BIONICLE figures.

While not perfect, 40581 BIONICLE Tahu and Takua feels like a more appropriate tribute to LEGO BIONICLE than the figure in 11021 90 Years of Play, as adorable as it is. For the (relatively) low price threshold, the details and volume of the set feel fair too, but not overly generous. We’d advise keeping the instructions too as there’s a bit of background for the theme as well as an excellent tribute to one of BIONICLE’s most recognisable posters.

You can pick up 40581 BIONICLE Tahu and Takua for free until February 9, 2023, with orders of £95 / £100 / €100. However, that’s unfortunately only on select themes, including CityMonkie KidFriends, Classic, NINJAGODOTS and Creator 3-in-1. Thankfully, there are some relevant sets within that selection.

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