Using the parts document mentioned in the Rare Kanohi research topic, as well as some other early material, I tried to recreate what a few of the 2001 sets may have looked like at some point in development. As the title says, most of this is speculation and shouldn’t be taken as fact.
The first thing to note here is the Kanohi. While I don’t think the Toa were ever intended to have these specific masks, the element ID’s suggest these were the first ones created in their respective colours. Maybe they were placeholders?
The models are primarily based off this Legonaut segment. At first glance, they look very similar to the finals, but looking closer there are a number of differences. The most obvious is Onua’s upright stance (which can be seen in a few frames of Lomn’s cutscenes). Other differences are:
- A different axle piece in the gearbox
- Eye colour - Onua’s glow in the dark, the other Toa use either orange or lime green (like future waves)
- Tahu and Gali have Slizer limbs like most of the other Toa. (I’m not sure Gali’s were asymmetrical, though the orange in the video is strange). Interestingly, these pieces weren’t officially released until the Visorak.
Although not seen in the video, there are several oddities that made their way into the building instructions, including Pohatu’s 3rd ball, and Lewa’s green axles. I’ve also moved Gali’s pins to her legs as they appear in LoMN.
I’ve added solid versions to make the colours more obvious.
As speculated based on the “misprinted” Kanohi, Kopaka and Pohatu were probably intended to use light blue and yellow Kaukau respectively before the colours were finalized. However, once the Turaga were created, they needed to come up with 4 new mask colours, shifting them around to suit the new characters.
Why 4? I believe Nuju and Whenua were the last to be created, as their parts are grouped together later in the index from the others. Perhaps they wanted to stick to the four classic elements (you’ll notice Onewa has Whenua’s Earth drill in prototype images). Though if this is the case, it’s strange that they still had 12 Kanohi.
Regardless, there is evidence that at this point Lego had been toying with the idea of printing them in all 10 colours. With the addition of 2 greys, however, there was no longer a suitable equivalent for the Kaukaus. (The only other transparent colours left at the time were variations of green, blue and pink.) Of course, they probably also realized 120+ masks to collect was a bit excessive…
With 6 of these parts recently discovered, these are the ones I’m most excited about! Who knows if they actually intended to release 12 of these guys, but I’d like to think they considered it. There’s also no reason to think they would’ve come with tools, I just thought it would add a bit more variety.
I tried to make the colour schemes as cohesive as possible, starting with the 6 we got. (Though “Macku” uses a blue-violet rather than blue). Although we have no idea what Matoran they created from these parts, it seems like a strong possibility that Nobua, and the “wizard” from QftT may have been some of them.
I should also mention that some of the colours here weren’t listed in the document: namely dark blue, bright green, and the sand green feet. In addition, there had been brown, and dark grey feet listed that I decided not to include.