Matthew Dean

Replicating Lego Bionicle's Sand Tarakava Accurately

What is the Sand Tarakava?

The Sand Tarakava was a prototype of the Bionicle Tarakava set. We only know about it because Darvell Hunt, a software developer for Saffire which worked on the unreleased Legend of Mata Nui game, won it as a prize during a bowling team event and later sold it on eBay to Mark from Mask of Destiny who took pictures of it and posted them online. For a complete account account see Emily’s The Full Story of the Sand Tarakava.

Fans like to recreate the model as it was built with generally available pieces with the exceptions of:

These two pieces were never mass produced in those colors though the latter was purportedly included in some early releases of the Manas set.

What are common inaccuracies when replicating the Sand Tarakava?

While recreating the Sand Tarakava I referenced several fan reconstructions and noticed common inaccuracies. It is possible these are due to fans making do with what pieces they had rather than mistakes but I wanted to share this information to help those who strive for accuracy.

1. Incorrect wheel hubs

In every replica I have seen, pairs of Technic Wedge Belt Wheels are used to hold the treads. These looks fairly accurate but do not hold the tread as tight as the original model. The correct piece is Wheel 30.4 x 14 VR.

Left is original, right is replica with incorrect wedge belt wheelsLeft is original, right is replica with incorrect wedge belt wheels

2. Excessively long eye stalks

Most recreations assume that the tubes holding the Sand Tarakava’s eyes in place are the same length as the production Tarakava set (9L) when they were actually 8L. Thankfully the tubes are easy to cut and can be trimmed down to size.

Left is original, right is replica with 8L and 9L eye stalks for comparison

3. Missing connector between two bottom wheel hubs

All replicas I have seen assume simple pins should be used to anchor the hockey stick-like liftarms at the bottom of the model. However no light is shining through the center of where the pins would be which suggests pieces are blocking the way. The recently leaked Legend of Mata Nui model of the Tarakava, which is nearly identical to the Sand Tarakava with exception of modified back levers, shows a rod spanning the gap.

Tarakava model from LOMNTarakava model from LOMN

Based on this I suspect that this area was bridged with two 3L pins and a pin connector as it would be the most solid way to connect the two sides.

Can you share a part list or instructions?

I’ve created a BrickLink Studio file here.