Hello, and welcome to my entries into the Toa Hagah Canon Contest!
To prepare for this task, I first read through every canon appearance of the Hagah, including their quotes in the Rahi Guidebook, taking notes as I went of character traits, feats of strength they performed, and other things that would help me make their appearance stay true to how they acted in the story.
Some Hagah, like Kualus and Bomonga, had fairly definitive characters. Others, like Pouks and Gaaki, had relatively less screen time, allowing me to be more creative with my interpretation of them.
To give a general overview of the design philosophy I followed with my Hagah, I aimed to give the whole team a similar build diversity to the Mahri or Mata, my favorite Toa teams. I tried my best to do unique things with the Metru Torso. Here is a synopsis of what I tried to accomplish with my designs:
Bomonga was to be appear the oldest and utilize an upside-down torso.
Gaaki was to be a bruiser and utilize a backwards torso.
Kualus was to be inspired by a falconer and utilize asymmetric design.
Pouks was to be the most regal of the group, utilizing a clean design.
I was also very conscious of Norik and Iruini in my design process, doing my best to not stray too far from their color blocking and design philosophy, while also keeping the two unique amongst their newer teammates. For instance, all my hagah utilize black gears, with white driveshafts. Further, all have black accents colors on different parts of their body, except for Bomonga who has grey. No two hagah have the same chest or shoulder armor, giving them all a distinct profile.
Additionally, I tried to achieve a lot of symmetry between teammates. For example, two wear Mata Nui era masks (Bomonga & Kualus), two wear Metru Nui era masks (Norik 7 Iruini), and two wear Ignition era masks (Gaaki & Pouks). I created this pattern as a meta decision to give each the Hagah the appearance of being from different regions of the universe.
I also went with the classic 3:3 Silver/Gold split, reducing the number of painted parts required for my team down to just six (Kanohi and two Rhotuka). The recipients of the gold and silver armor were also carefully chosen, so as not to make Kualus and Gaaki appear and Toa of Light and Psionics.
And now, we get to my allowances to the art portion people:
I give consent for my mask to be altered in the final group art if the artist chooses: No.
I give consent for my metallic color choice to be altered in the final group art if the artist chooses: Yes.
I give consent for my spear tip to be altered in the final group art if the artist chooses: No, not substantially. The Avalanche and Seismic Spears can be changed to make them look closer to an actual, singular Bionicle piece, but they will still need to retain some form of a hammer and pickaxe design.
(By the way, all the gearboxes are still functional for all you out there who, like me, love functions!)
And now, I will go into each hagah individually.
Gaaki's Design Details
Gaaki’s Mask of Clairvoyance was particularly important to choose, as the Kanohi is said to have a more symbiotic relationship with its wearer than other kanohi. Sometimes it is a burden, granting Gaaki visions of terrible futures that may yet come to pass. I did my best to choose a mask that appeared weigh down on the user. The Kanohi in question is KhingK’s Inorganic Finned Kadin, link below.
Of course, with a mask forged in the shape of a Kanohi Kadin, her armor is made in honor of Toa Jovan’s. Gaaki’s Clairvoyant mask has made her more spiritual than her brothers in the Hagah, leading to a clearer design lineage from her armor to Jovan’s, intended to invoke his legendary spirit. This lineage can be seen with her double armored thighs, her spear tip having lightning elements, her Kadin, and her Inika Shoulder chest plate.
Speaking of her chest plate, it was attached to the Metru Torso by flipping the torso backwards. This backwards torso gave the armor a tighter fit than other Inika Shoulder chest plate builds have. It also allowed for a more compact friction joint to be added onto her back. The additional friction allows her to heft her titanic Tidal Spear into dynamic poses.
The Tidal Spear’s titanic size was specifically chosen to emphasize Gaaki’s power; she is a bruiser, and she knows it. Additionally, attached to her tidal spear and shoulders are bleached Suukorak parts, trophies taken from her first major victory against the horde.
These white pieces were designed to look as though they were modded on by Gaaki herself. Particularly, the 3L axle with the stud stopper was chosen to emulate the look of a rivet or bolt, adding to the custom mod look.
In all, Gaaki is a powerful warrior, sure to win any fight against Makuta, Visorak, or Skrall!
Pouks' Design Details
Pouks’ Kanohi was tricky to decide. Eventually, I chose a Faxon to evoke to power of “The First Toa”. This specific Faxon was designed by KhingK, link below.
Pouks’ armor was forged in the shape of The First Toa’s legendary Nui Armor. However, by Pouks’ time, it had been dozens of eons since The First Toa was last seen by anyone. As such, there was large debate among archivists on what Kanohi The First Toa wore. Some believed it was the Hau, others thought it was a Pakari, and strangest of all was the theory that it was a Mask of Psychometry. However, archivists of the time eventually decided that it was most likely that The First Toa wore a Faxon, as records show that the leader of the Toa Cordak, the first Toa Team, wore a Faxon. Unfortunately, no one from that ancient, war-stricken time could possibly have survived to correct the history books, right?
It was challenging to get the gold armor to work well on Pouks’ Metru Brown limbs. Eventually, I settled on counter-accenting the gold with the Hagah’s trademark black accent parts. The result is a sleek color scheme that helps bring us to the nice, 3:3 armor ratio I love! Those black counter-accents also allowed me to fill out the gap formed in the upper chest section formed when attaching a Nuva Chest Plate to a Metru Torso.
Additionally, we have a friction ball present in this build, allowing Pouks to handle the torque induced by his mighty weapon.
Designing weapons in Flat Dark Gold was quite possibly one of the biggest challenges I had in the design process. The Knights Kingdom swords don’t feel quite line with the G1 aesthetic for me, so I knew I had to pull something custom out of my head. The result I feel speaks for itself; here is my Avalanche Spear!
The Avalanche Spear started as a forge hammer Pouks used in his village on the Southern Continent since he was a matoran. When he became a toa, the tool transformed into a massive, jet-black warhammer! When Pouks was inducted into the Toa Hagah, makuta weaponsmiths plated his weapon with gold, and attached a spear tip to the top of his weapon, which allowed him the ability to produce more controlled attacks. The final result is the current form of the Avalanche Spear, a formidable dual-purpose weapon, capable of both quick jabs and crushing blows, you don’t want to be on the receiving end of Pouks’ wrath!
In totality, Pouks appears as a lean warrior, capable of defending Mata Nui from any foe!
Bomonga's Design Details
Bomonga wears a Kanohi Hau in honor of Mata Nui. However, Bomonga’s armor was not originally designed to honor The Great Spirit. In fact, it was designed to honor The Makuta of Metru Nui himself, Teridax!
Originally, I designed Bomonga to emulate Teridax because I felt one of the members of Teridax’ own hagah team would want to honor him. Notably, Bomonga utilizes Nuva Chest Plates and Shoulder Pads for his shoulder armor, just like Teri over there. Originally, I also had Bomonga wearing a Kraahkan shaped kanohi as well, however, I felt it would be a bit weird to have Bomonga wearing the mask of shadows, especially with the Hagah’s anti-makuta mission they undertake in Dwellers in Darkness.
So, I used this as an opportunity to imply worldbuilding through his build. His armor is still inspired by Teridax as seen by his pauldrons, and in fact he DID wear a Kraahkan shaped kanohi. However, after learning of Makuta’s treachery, he had his kanohi reforged in honor of Mata Nui to show his loyalty to the great spirit.
It’s a neat piece of implied lore I feel, giving him pauldrons inspired by Makuta, while also giving him a Kanohi inspired by Mata Nui.
In addition to acting as a neat nugget of world building, his killer delts also serve to balance out his thighs. I spent a good while trying to make the upside-down torso look natural. It wasn’t easy, but in the end, I think I made it work. This design concept gives him more articulate shoulders, allowing him to get into more dynamic poses with his Seismic Spear.
I’m particularly proud of this spear, as I feel it brings back part of the elemental vibe that is missing in so many Toa Tools. Firstly, it is shaped like a pickaxe, something I’m surprised we never saw a Toa of Earth wield at any point across G1 or G2. Second, its tip is a sharpened lightstone, perfect for letting Bomonga see in the dark caverns of his home wahi (or perhaps for illuminating the ancient matoran spelling of “Bara Magna” in the catacombs beneath the Coliseum).
In all, Bomonga has the hunched appearance of an old man, implying his age and experience. But don’t let that fool you, he has the strength of 100 of his younger brothers, allowing him to take on a Tahtorak Beast single handed!
Kualus' Design Details
Kualus was designed from square one to be a wildman, and what better way to evoke the wild and the freedom of flight than to give him a Kanohi Miru, forged in honor of Toa Lewa, Spirit of Air!
On top of the Miru, Kualus draws several other design aspects of Lewa. First, he has a voodoo ball on his chest, emulating Lewa’s own ‘01 “chest armor”. In addition, the Vacuum Shield on Kualus’ chest was chosen to evoke the upper profile of the Mata Torso. Finally, Kualus was given a lanky and asymmetric build, evoking Lewa yet again.
However, Kualus isn’t inspired by Lewa alone! According to my research, falconry gloves are typically put the left arm. Inspired by this, I specifically made Kualus’ left arm black to evoke the look of a falconer, as I can easily imagine a Pokawi or Ice Bat resting on his extended forearm.
His spear was also carefully chosen. It, along with Kualus’ left shoulder pad, are pieces used in a Lava Hawk, an avian combiner model from ‘06. This serves to further Kualus’ one-with-nature personality. Perhaps these pieces were from a companion from days long since passed. Kualus may have taken the parts after the creature’s passing, so that the bird could fight alongside him, always.
Or maybe it’s a cool looking spear tip, that works too.
Kualus’ odd proportions were also intentional. His stout torso and lanky limbs give him an awkward profile. It was said that Kualus was one of the first Hagah to accept his transformation into a rahagah. If he already had an odd build, that could explain why he was so quick to accept his transformation.
In total, Kualus was designed to be a free spirit. He appreciates life in the moment and will do anything for his friends. Kualus is truly one with nature.
Before I go, I would like to thank my good friend @TakuaNova, who helped me in the design process. I could not have done it without you, man!
In addition, check out these beautiful masks by @MaskMaker , which I used on my Gaaki and Pouks entries.
Good luck to everyone in the polls! I can’t wait to see what the Toa Hagah end up looking like!