Friday, January 20th, 2023 at 1:58am by Jason, BZPower Reporter
One of my first thoughts when I saw Tahu in the Bionicle tribute set was "Where are the other Toa?" Tahu may be the most popular Toa, but the theme centered around six Heroes, not just one. So, this eventually led me to wondering if I could recreate the other Toa in this same style. But do the parts exist in the right colors? Read on for more details on this thought exercise.
So I'll lay down the premise of my idea here. Can I recreate the system Toa design used on Tahu in other colors to recreate the other Toa? Although the rest of the Toa Mata had slight variations, they were mostly clone sets, utilizing the same torso, feet, and limbs. Those elements were recreated in system for the red and orange Tahu, so would it be possible to also use that design in white, green, blue, brown, and black?
Of course, it is not necessary to recreate Tahu exactly (and you'd have to make some modest changes for the different arm types, hunched torsos, and weapons.) Of course, you could obviously build to the same scale with vastly different designs, some perhaps that would better showcase creativity. Alas, I am not going to focus on that; instead I'm looking at the pieces needed for an EXACT recolor of the build.
Some of the colors will have to be substituted, because LEGO's palate now is slightly different from 2001. Dark Gray and Light Gray would be Dark Blueish Gray and Light Blueish Gray, and Brown will now be Reddish Brown. Medium Blue is still around but less common in System, so I'll borrow from the Takua design and focus on Medium Azure instead. Blue, White, Green, Black, Lime, and Tan remain the same.
What Pieces Would You Need To Build The Toa?
The above chart showcases all the unique elements in Tahu's primary and secondary colors, as well as their availability in other colors. A checkmark indicates the part exists in the color. A bold checkmark indicates it is available currently on Pick a Brick. A hollow checkmark indicates that the piece exists in the color, but it may have been produced years ago and is out of production, thus leading to costly Bricklink purchases. (Obviously I couldn't do a bold white checkmark on a white background, so it has a light gray outline. Fun with colors.) One limiting part I didn't include was Tecnhic Brick 73109, which is built into Tahu's feet and allows for a rod connection to his surfboard. Unfortunately, this piece only exists in light gray and red, so recolors are straight out for it. But that piece can be built from other pieces, so I ignored it when tallying the parts up.
It's not too surprising that Kopaka and Onua can be easily made using current parts, given their grayscale color schemes. Each only have a couple of parts that don't currently appear on Pick a Brick, but they're fairly common parts so wouldn't be too hard to track down. Pohatu also does well, although a few of the stylized slope elements in brown are a bit older and not currently available. (I also didn't include the parts for the swinging arms in tan, because Pohatu didn't have those, unlike the others.) Gali is more problematic; some of the blue parts are not currently in production, and some of the medium azure parts just straight up don't exist. Still, she is in better shape than Lewa, who has a significant amount of pieces that just don't exist in green or lime, and most of those that do appeared many years ago. Green is just not a good color to build in!
I didn't get a chance to build the Toa in person, because I couldn't guarantee I could find the pieces in my collection. But StudIO can render an idea of what the Toa may look like, with the pieces that just don't exist remaining in red or orange. Onua and Pohatu's different body shapes would require some additional customization, and obviously the weapons and masks of all the characters would be different. But at the very least, these are pieces that exist and can be made in real life, if you so choose.
Still, Tahu wasn't the only character design we saw used. . .
What Pieces Would You Need To Build The Matoran?
Takua was a much simpler design, but he still relies on a few select pieces. However, the Matoran were var more numerous than the Toa and had many more schemes. So that means a lot of other color combinations could be utilized.
The above showcases the pieces in the primary and secondary colors of Takua, or the torso colors and the feet colors. Obviously the Mixel joints and bar elements would remain in grayscale. For the torso, with those six pieces you could get 12 different colors. (The hollow stud doesn't appear in purple or tan, but it's small enough that it could be used in a neutral color without contrasting too much.) One thing I did leave out was tiling on the front. If I used the exact design, then the colors would be further limited by the Ingot piece But really, any tile combination could be utilized to stylize the front in the provided colors, so I'm not too stressed about it. The feet have a more limited palate because the specialized pieces just appear in fewer colors.
Unfortunately, a lot of those colors don't match the named Matoran from the early years of Bionicle. Jaller, Nuparu, Hewkii (kinda), Kapura, Hafu, Taipu, and Kopeke (gray verson) could possibly be recreated. But the likes of Macku, Hahli, Kotu, Onepu, Matoro, Kongu, and Tamaru wouldn't match properly. You could still create a decent mix of colorful villagers (I threw in a few custom ones) but you couldn't exactly recreate all of them. At least, not without a bit of creativity of color swapping.
In the end, this is a strange thought exercise, because it involves recycling the same basic ideas over and over in recolors. From my experience, the MOCing Community is generally not a huge fan of recolors; more interesting would be you using other piece to recreate the other characters in your own unique styles. But Bionicle also has a factor of collectability, from the recolors of the mask to slightly different shades of Matoran. And, of course, we want a full Toa Team to show off with familiar, cohesive designs. Tahu is great, but personally he wasn't my favorite, and I would like Pohatu, Lewa, and the others to stand side by side with him. So thus I started thinking about these parts. Of course, the next step will be to get the pieces in hand and physically build them, and find ways around the missing parts for Gali and Lewa. But this is a step. And if any of this was of interest to you, hopefully it can give you an idea of what you need to build up your Toa Team too. Thanks for reading.
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