Battle of the Builders: Dell Conagher vs Nuparu

Engie-Nuparu comparison
On the left, everyone’s favourite Engineer. On the right everyone’s other favourite engineer, Nuparu.

Hopefully you’re all familiar with Mr. Conagher, the convivial Engineer from TF2. He’s the chap with an orange hardhat, a rusty wrench and a clichéd southern accent. He possesses the amazing ability to drop a toolbox on the ground, hit it repeatedly with said wrench and transform it into a Dispenser, a Teleporter or a stationary Terminator. These buildings, in conjunction with a wide selection of whack-things and shooty-things, make our Engie a formidable ally.

Today we shall put him in the arena with another famous Engineer, he who they call Nuparu. This guy is a Matoran villager from the universe of BIONICLE. Medic has mentioned Bionicle a couple of times before, but I’ll try and summarize it again. It was a popular line of story-driven Lego sets that ran from 2001-2010. In the story, most of the characters were biomechanical people and the Matoran were the main species. They worshipped Mata Nui, a sort of god who turned out to be a giant robot containing the entire Matoran Universe within his body.

Nuparu was introduced in 2002, a Matoran of Earth who worked as a mining engineer. In his spare time he played around with gears and gadgets in his hut, mostly keeping to himself and gaining a reputation as a bit of a weirdo. But then the Bohrok invaded. Bohrok were big, robotic beasts with the sole purpose of destroying Nuparu’s home island. When they attacked his village, it was flooded and he got trapped in a cave with two miners.

So what did Nuparu do? He found a disabled Bohrok or two in the cave and he took them apart. While his friends were trying to dig themselves out (and failing) he used the few tools he had to re-assemble the Bohrok shells into a mechanical masterpiece. After using it to bash a passage back to the village, he raised a fist to the invaders with his awe-inspiring line: “I’m an engineer, not a poet. I shall call this thing BOXOR!”

Nuparu (6)
And then he went home for a beer, or Bula juice or whatever the Bionicle equivalent is.

As well as the Boxor, Nuparu is responsible for inventing two generations of law enforcement robot, the Kralhi and the Vahki, as well as various tools and machines used by other Matoran. He even worked on a teleporter at one point. Rather than bash things with a heavy wrench, he works with such instruments as laser drills, heat-emitting stones and good old elbow grease. He’s the undeniable champion engineer of Bionicle. But how does he compare to Dell Conagher?

TF2 Engineer is able to fight at close range in order to protect his stationary buildings. He can seal off areas with the Sentry, keep the rest of his team healthy with a Dispenser and get them back in action with his Teleporters.

Sentry jump

As a Matoran Nuparu wasn’t much of a fighter, but in 2006 he was transmogrified into a Toa of Earth, a warrior with control over his element. He uses a massive shield, a semi-automatic rocket launcher (Cordak blaster) and a shockwave-generating blade. He also wears a mask that works like Spy’s invisibling watch, only way better. In this form he’d be able to wreck TF2 Engineer’s nest with a snap of his fingers. Along with the rest of the enemy team. Any Toa would destroy any TF2 character, no question.

Only in Matoran form could he pilot the Boxor, so how would he fare then? While the Boxor is weaker than a Sentry gun, it is mobile. Perhaps Nuparu could back up and let the solid rear end of his vehicle take the bullets, but he’s exposed from the front, so other enemies could pick him off. How about his other creations? Kralhi and Vahki no longer exist, but if he could figure out how to re-build them, he could send them to strike down Engie without ever getting into battle himself.

Kralhi were his first attempt at law enforcement bots, they were like metal scorpions that launched energy-draining bubbles from their tails. Said bubbles, if fired at a building, would probably work just like the Sapper. Only they couldn’t be removed by his weapons. If they struck Engie himself, he’d be unable to move very far and would slowly lose health.

Vahki worked in large squads and were much more successful. At one point, there were five Vahki for every one Matoran in Nuparu’s population. That wasn’t his idea, it was because their leader was actually an evil shapeshifter in disguise. Anyway, Vahki worked by pursuing lawbreakers and shooting Disks at them, with each Disk having a particular ability. Some of them could teleport a target, some could freeze it in ice, some could shrink or enlarge objects. A squad of Vahki might not survive a direct charge at a Sentry, but if they got some Disks launched, those could wreck Engie’s setup depending on their powers. Vahki were also equipped with various staffs for melee combat.

Nuparu (4)
By the way, this model of Nuparu is based on his 2004 design by The Lego Group.

However, without his vehicles and Toa strength, the original version of Nuparu would have nothing but his stones and tiny drill to fend off the might of the Conagher. He’d be toast. So in the battle of the builders, it really comes down to chronology: which version of Nuparu is going up against Engie? His post-2002 iterations would easily crush our Texan friend and all his allies. But just by himself, the Matoran would be utterly demolished. Even the Pomson would be enough.

For more info about Nuparu and about the vast Bionicle world in general, check out the pages at:

All images of Nuparu were made by me on Art of Illusion for Windows, based on original designs by The Lego Group. If you’d like to see more of my Bionicle artwork, have a look at my Tumblr page:

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