The Precipice [Artwork, Color Schemes (ice), Story]

I drew a picture with the aim of working out a color scheme for the Toa/Warrior/Villager hierarchy in the Ice Tribe, then wrote a scene to go with it. Will probably end up doing these for the other tribes too, eventually.

I made a few versions with alternate colorations below. For this version, the colors for the Matoran are as follows: #199 Dark Stone Grey for the base, #001 White for the primary armor color, #212 Light Royal Blue for the secondary armor color, and #226 Cool Yellow for the eyes/decals.

Sovereign’s Pass
Carried by the howling wind, the snow fell nearly sideways this high in the mountains of Ihu. Sheltered by the peaks, the surface of the glacier was calm by comparison, but even there the wind still blew hard enough to break any creature’s tenuous footing on the ice and send it hurtling along the rough-hewn surface. No Matoran in their right mind would cross this… no Matoran except an Ihuan, that is, and surely, three small figures were carefully picking their way along the glacier’s surface. At least one was less than comfortable in the endeavor.

“Sir, the wind is getting worse!” Kantai complained. Neither of the figures ahead of him responded; had they heard him over the noise of the wind? He couldn’t be sure, and was about to call out again when suddenly a loud, ominous cracking sound from deep below stopped him in his tracks. This Matoran knew well how treacherous the terrain could be; stories of Matoran vanishing on the glacier, falling into holes or cracks without a hope of rescue were commonplace. As a scribe and record keeper, he had recorded the list of missing names. Now, he was running the risk becoming the latest name added to it. “SIR!” he called out, louder this time. No verbal reply came, but the two figures that had not stopped even for the cracking did so now. Both turned to look back towards him. Kantai hastily clambered his way along the glacier’s surface to catch up to them, trying not to mind the fact that his king was watching him with a stare even colder than the ice he was trying to gain a foothold on. It took him a minute, but he did catch up. “Sir,” he began again as he tried to catch his breath, “the wind… it’s getting worse…”

“We anticipated as much,” the king of Ihu replied. Kopaka, he was now, though Kantai had once known him by a different name. At the time, he’d been friendlier too; the elemental spirit Kopaka was said to be as cold and unforgiving as the mountains themselves, and ever since taking on its mantle, the recently crowned sovereign appeared to reflect that more and more. Equipped with full battle armor and carrying the king’s spear and shield, he at least looked every part the warrior king, and Ihu needed one, but for all his splendor Kantai didn’t find his demeanor in any way reassuring. “It will continue to get worse,” Kopaka asserted. “If we do not make it back to Cleft Ridge within the hour, we will not make it back at all. So keep moving.” With that command, he turned and was on his way again. Not in the least bit comforted, Kantai looked back and up towards the structure that they had departed well over half an hour ago: Cleft Ridge, a collection of tall buildings made of stone and wood perched on a ridge jutting out from the mountain. There, the mountainside was so steep that the glacier running down it appeared as a wall of snow and ice in a slow but continuous and visible descent, a cracking, rumbling avalanche in slow motion, split near the base of the mountain by the rocky crag on which the outpost had been built. At the top of the highest tower, a large fire burned to make the Cleft Ridge a navigational beacon; Kantai feared that soon its light would be the only thing left to see of the place in the worsening weather.

“Come on, we’re almost there,” his other companion invited. A royal guard and distinguished explorer and soldier, Matoro was far more comfortable than Kantai in these parts. Unlike the person he was tasked with guarding, however, Matoro had an apparent capacity for empathy and never acted as though he was above anyone in any way. Couple that with a reputation for honesty, and it was no surprise that an update from him did far more to put Kantai’s fears at ease than what Kopaka had been willing to offer. Relieved, the scribe picked up his pace; once they reached the precipice, the king would need him. It was the only reason why he was here in the first place; for all its hazards, this was the best route to get from Cleft Ridge to a point overlooking Sovereign’s Pass, where Ihuan king and later Toa Nuju had destroyed a large Mangaian force centuries ago. Now, history was set to repeat itself: a Mangaian army under the command of Toa Tahu was on its way, its first units already camped in front of the pass. Ihuan warriors were still making their way here to mount a defense, but while awaiting their arrival, Kopaka insisted on checking on his enemies movement himself… even if the weather didn’t exactly cooperate.

At last they reached the precipice; a fault line that the glacier, piece by melting piece, plummeted into, only to reform at the bottom and continue its slow march downhill. Kopaka walked almost right up to the edge to cast his gaze on Sovereign’s Pass below. There he stood, spear planted next to his feet, as though standing for a painting or carving, and as he tentatively closed in on the edge himself, Kantai could tell who he was presenting this image to: at the entrance of the pass, on a rocky plateau, three Mangaian units had set up camp, their red, yellow, and orange armor, banners, and tents still clearly visible even at this distance. Kopaka used the scope incorporated in his mask to zoom in and get a clearer view; Kantai pulled out his notebook and pen.

“Record three units,” Kopaka began and Kantai quickly recorded, “with two large siege engines in tow.” Kantai shuddered at the thought of the Mangaians using these machines, with the barrage of flaming projectiles that they could produce, to reduce Ihuan cities to rubble; it had happened before. “Artillery under Jaller’s command,” Kopaka continued as he picked out a distinctive yellow-clad Mangaian next to one of the siege engines. “Also… note the presence of Tahu.” Kantai noticed a change in his king’s voice as he said that… the presence of Tahu. Was he sure? Peering over the precipice and scoping in on the Mangaians, it didn’t take long for Kantai to spot the Toa of Fire himself, and he recorded his presence as such. Then he looked back to Kopaka, who it seemed hadn’t moved a muscle, except his expression had changed. It wasn’t the stoic gaze of before, no, looking at his king’s face now, Kantai saw worry. Worry about what? Compared to what was on the way on the Ihuan side, the Mangaian force was still grossly outnumbered, and they were definitely not in their element here. Ihu had more than a fighting chance, so what could possibly concern its commander so much that his stoic facade was broken, even if only momentarily? And momentarily it was; almost immediately after Kantai picked up on his change of expression, Kopaka reasserted himself, turned around, and quickly started back towards Cleft Ridge. Matoro and Kantai followed, though slightly behind as both had been taken aback by the king suddenly and quickly taking off. In fact, even going as fast as they dared to go under the circumstances, both Matoran soon realized that the Toa was actually opening up the distance between them, running across the glacier in a way that only one able to sense the movement and disposition of the ice itself could… well, could without accident.

“We’re not gonna catch him.” Matoro surprised Kantai by saying and slowing down as he did so.

“We’re supposed to be with him, though,” Kantai pointed out. “You in particular.”

“True,” Matoro admitted, “but he does this sometimes. Whenever he needs to be alone, to think alone… he goes somewhere his guard can’t follow. The sight of the Mangaians must have given him something to consider. Either way, he’ll come back soon.”

“So we…” Kantai began, but Matoro finished the sentence for him.

“…we make our way back to Cleft Ridge on our own. Come, I know the safe routes.” Matoro started on a slightly different path than the one they had taken to get to the precipice, but Kantai followed.

“You think it has something to do with those rumors about him and Tahu?” the scribe asked as they picked their way back across the rough yet slippery surface.

“I don’t know,” Matoro answered, “and I don’t put much stock in those rumors. Yeah, they’re both Toa and they’ve worked together in the past, but it wasn’t a happy partnership. And now things are a lot worse.” Kantai couldn’t argue with that; in the wake of the Toa’s success, relations between Ihu and Mangai had gone from strained to broken, and now they were about to face off in war.

“Do you think that he’ll live up to his ancestors’ standards?” Kantai wondered. “I mean, he’ll have to if he wants to dispel those rumors, right? He has to beat the Mangaians soundly.”

“Yes, he would…” Matoro acknowledged, but trailed off.

“…but?” Kantai beckoned for him to go on. Matoro sighed.

“I have been guarding him since he was old enough to wield a half-spear,” he continued, “and I’ve seen how he’s grown up in the shadow of those ancestors. Yeah, they set a high bar for him to clear, but… it’s not their standards that I’m worried about. It’s his own.”

“His own?” Kantai repeated questioningly. Matoro looked to the Toa, now a fair distance ahead.

“The standard of Kopaka.”

Alternate color versions:
Alt. 1:

I removed the sky blue and replaced it with black in this one, since G1’s Ko-Matoran regularly incorporated black masks or other details in their color schemes. I really like the contrast it produces, but I don’t think it works well with the yellow eyes; were it not for the environment and other assorted references to known characters in the designs, I wouldn’t be able to tell right away that these were Ice characters.
Colors used: #199 Dark Stone Grey for the base, #001 White for the primary armor color, #026 Black for the secondary armor color, and #226 Cool Yellow for the eyes/decals.

Alt 2:

I changed the eye and decal color from the first alternate version to blue. Personally, I like this a lot better, as it removes all warm colors from the color scheme, which is appropriate to the element and the characters. There is the issue that black is also going to be used for the Earth Matoran, though.
Colors used: #199 Dark Stone Grey for the base, #001 White for the primary armor color, #026 Black for the secondary armor color, and #212 Light Royal Blue for the eyes/decals.

Alt. 3:

Changed the base to black in this one (in the latest podcast black was mentioned as the base color) and the parts that were black in alt. 2 to dark stone gray. I’m not a big fan of this one due to how ridiculously dark the base Matoran looks, and the black lines in printing wouldn’t show up in it at all, but I figured I’d include it.
Colors used: #026 Black for the base, #001 White for the primary armor color, #199 Dark Stone Grey for the secondary armor color, and #212 Light Royal Blue for the eyes/decals.

Alt. 4:

Here, to avoid using black, I changed the secondary armor color to medium stone grey. This allowed me to keep dark stone grey as the base color, which I like, and I like how the combo looks in this picture, but I’m not sure whether this would end up looking good in plastic as it doesn’t allow for a lot of contrast.
Colors used: #199 Dark Stone Grey for the base, #001 White for the primary armor color, #194 Medium Stone Grey for the secondary armor color, and #212 Light Royal Blue for the eyes/decals.


The contrast of the yellow is stunning here, as valiant as the warriors themselves. It effectively creates an idea of who these characters are, their personalities and the like.


Art looks great, and the story is well fleshed out.

However, there’s one part that differs from the story discussed in the podcast. Matoro was the previous king who died. It would make sense to keep him for a companion like Jaller is for Tahu, and use Nuju for the old king, but they probably thought of that and still decided to go the route they did. Other than that, this is really cool.

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That red cape was a good choice.

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I mostly went with Matoro because that’s who the design of Ven’s ‘warrior’ Matoran appeared to be based on, and this picture was initially going to be my interpretation of that. Story wise, I’m probably not quite as familiar as I should be with the finer points of G3…

My word. The picture is absolutely stunning. The story is pretty good as well.

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waaaaaaaaaaaaaht. I wish I could make art this good I’m speechless.

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Question: Why are the Matoran at war with each other? I haven’t been keeping up with G3 very well.
The art is amazing, by the way. The colors and contrast is on point!

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I think that’s like a year 2 thing; tribal politics as usual resume after the first apparent threat is dealt with in year 1, and now the characters have to navigate that as tribal leaders and Toa. In particular, it brings Tahu and Kopaka up against each other.

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