One of my questions in the recent Bionicle quiz has sparked a discussion and I decided to make a standalone topic dedicated to this.
In the realms of Bionicle collectibles there is this group of 2001 Kanohi commonly known as “UK misprints” or “european misprints”. These include Kaukau in trans-yellow and trans-light blue colors, and Matatu and Ruru in Toa colors. However what most people don’t know is that these are not misprints at all. What I mean by this is that they were not produced by accident. They are in fact older versions of the masks for certain elements intended to be sold in mask packs and were later changed to their current colors. All of them were a part of promotional display in Legoland Windsor. I do not wish to repeat myself so check the following topic for the picture and extended explanation:
Now that this is established the new question is why do we not see other noble masks in Toa colors? There are multiple scenarios one can imagine with different order of events back in early 2001, but we cannot tell for sure.
For some time now I have been researching a lot about rare Bionicle collectibles (masks and others) and I have learned much obscure information including the true nature of these “misprints”.
What intrigued me is that there are actually super rare examples of other noble masks in Toa colors we would expect to exist, but these are nowhere near as widespread as the Matatu and Ruru. Examples include brown Komau and white Huna.
My idea was that all of the masks were originally intended to be produced in all 12 colors instead of just 6. So in addition to what we got, you would have noble masks in Toa colors and possibly great masks in Turaga colors. The few afformantioned examples we have could be prototypes/test runs for this concept (do not confuse with prototype molds - all of these have final retail molds).
But then I acquired a treasure trove of information. @Wolk has been kind enough to share with me a passion project document assembled by Aanchir back in 2012. From what I have been told, this is sourced from the Lego customer service part replacement, which, at the time, drew from the Lego internal part database. It is not an exhaustive list, just a spreadsheet of parts the author decided to include, but it is Bionicle-oriented.
There are design and element IDs for each entry as well as the color IDs. It includes parts we all know and love, but there are numerous examples of Lego pieces in colors we have never seen before including Kanohi masks. It is assumed that all of these were produced in physical form at some point.
Interestingly, these include all of the "UK misprints we DO KNOW exist. Likewise the few ultra rare Kanohi owned by uber collectors can also be found here, such as brown Komau and white Huna. I have sifted through the document and cross-checked each entry of interest with Bricklink and Brickset to compile a list of all 2001-2003 Kanohi that SHOULD exist.
Would do we find here? First of all there are indeed the remaining noble masks in Toa colors (Huna, Rau, Mahiki, Komau) of which brown Komau and white Huna were already known to exist as I mentioned.
Then there are great masks in Turaga colors (except for Kaukau), but not all of them. Hau, Pakari, Kakama, Akaku and Miru should exist in tan, lime, light blue and orange. Out of these we already had light blue and orange Pakari but those are found in sets. However just 5-4 months ago, the community got its hands on first ever genuine light blue Kakama! Three independent copies. This checks out with the prediction of their existence. If I were to write this half a year ago, we would confirm it a month later.
But that is not all. There are several exotic color variations for the masks outside of Toa/Turaga pattern. Few of these are just colors very similar to other colors such as medium lime Miru (Lego color ID 115) almost indistinguishable (from the pictures I have seen) from regular lime (119) but it should be a little brighter. These might have been tests for ideal lime color, but who knows.
There is also medium orange (105) Komau, brighter than regular orange (106). Then there is evidence of Huna existing in violet (110) which is different from Onepu purple (104).
Next we have more masks produced in specialized but still Bionicle colors: teal (like Kongu) Matatu, burnt orange (like Huki) Mahiki, sand blue Pakari, dark red (metru red) Akaku, purple (like Onepu) Hau (Nobua lives!).
Lastly there are masks in extremely exotic and unique colors not really used for Bionicle: sand green Rau (we possibly see this one in Legend of Mata Nui), sand violet (136) Kakama , trans-purple and trans-neon green Kaukau!
There could be more, as I said it is not an exhaustive list, but these are the masks predicted to exist and some of them have been confirmed (even very recently). This means there are plenty of things for collectors to hunt down! (if they still exist)…
If anyone happens to have seen any of the predicted colors let us know
PS: Scroll down to find color coded spreadsheet of all known 2001 masks.