The Toa Valda (Toa Project)

Introducing, The Toa Valda

"The stars have called upon a new Toa team to thwart the schemes of evil. It seems the shadows are growing again."

No prophecies spoke of their arrival; no danger preceded their awakening, yet here they stand: a new Toa team, transformed without warning, and all but ignorant to their destiny.

It took me a while but they're finally here.
Your feedback for each Toa has been collected and addressed, and I'm happy to announce that the Toa Project is now complete.

From left to right:

Kaj, Toa of Earth
Hafu, Toa of Stone
Tamaru, Toa of Air
Vhisola, Toa of Water
Kalama, Toa of Fire
Ehrye / Arktinen, Toa of Ice

Overview

In this post, I'll be going into detail about the alterations I've made to each of the Toa.

I'll also be discussing new plot details for my post-G1 storyline, which you may hear more about in the future. Story details will be highlighted in bold.

I've also added some 'bonus material' to the project which I'm sure you'll appreciate. Just keep scrolling and you should find it :wink:

As requested by several fans of the project, I've also linked videos of each Toa's gear functions in action. You'll find these with each of their reviews below.

I invite you all to comment and criticise in the comments section below. Feel free to also tell me which Toa are your favourites. My personal favourites are Kaj and Hafu.

The Story Continues

Following the destruction of Metru Nui and the defeat of Makuta Teridax, the Matoran were forced to search for a new home.

With the guidance of Turaga Vakama, the Matoran have settled on the shores of Valda Nui, a distant island in the newly formed seas of Spherus Magna.

The Matoran have begun to construct great monuments and villages within the island's endless jungles, seeking to push back the Rahi that too call them home. Despite their struggles, they are glad to be rid of the tyranny of the Makuta.

No danger - past, present or foreseen - could warrant their coming, yet as if by random, six Matoran have disappeared, only to reemerge far from their villages; not as Matoran, but as Toa.

Mere days pass before savage creatures begin to rise from the depths of the island, terrorising the homes of Matoran everywhere. Their behaviour is erratic and uncoordinated, yet they are clearly not Rahi.

The new Toa were called upon for a reason, yet they know not why. If they are to find answers, they must first help protect their villages, and ultimately discover what entity has orchestrated these attacks.

The Toa Mata 2.0

When I began building the Toa Valda, I knew I wanted to pay homage to the original Toa of 2001 and to the golden years of Bionicle.
To embrace the modern age, I intended to take the character and vibrancy of the original six and combine that with the complexity of G2 Bionicle. If you've seen my individual reviews, you'll surely notice the links to both the old and the new.


- Kaj, Kalama and Vhisola -

Before I get onto the individual reviews of the Toa, I thought I'd give you guys some more shots of the team.


- Hafu, Ehrye and Tamaru -

You'll notice some clear improvements for some of the Toa, and possibly the more subtle ones for the others. As always, I'm very grateful for all of your feedback.


- In Height Order (note that Tamaru is slightly taller than Kaj in person) -

Please note, however, that not all criticisms can be / have been addressed, particularly those that would require drastic revisions of the sets to be changed, as well as ones which are very minor and / or are a minority opinion.


- Golden Masks -

The more recent Toa have been particularly well-received, so any changes to them are mostly slight and superficial. Most of the criticisms for them tended to be ones that fall under the category of those discussed above.

Individual Reviews

Now we come to the part of the review where I actually do the proper reviewing.
To paraphrase Turaga Vakama:

"And so it was, as it is...
Matoran into Toa,
Toa into slightly better Toa,
Slightly better Toa into legend..."

#1. Kaj, Toa of Earth

Before:

After:

Original Review

Quiet, stoic and bold, Kaj has served for years on Valda Nui as a scout and renowned culler of Rahi. As a Toa, he uses these skills to his advantage, hunting the forces of evil from the shadows with the help of his Mask of Concealment.

As my self-MOC, I took some liberties with the criticism I received for Kaj, however I have addressed all of the major issues in a way that I hope you can appreciate:

Criticism 1: "The torso is too small compared to the limbs."


Comment: This is something I completely agreed on, and didn't really notice until you guys pointed it out.

Solution: My solution to the problem was to extend the torso by one unit and to add an abdomen piece underneath the chest armour.
This abdomen is built from a Metru foot, which I also painted. It has a somewhat unorthodox method of attachment but I think it has a cool aesthetic.

Criticism 2: "The orange isn't prominent enough."


Comment: I'm a fan of the orange personally: I did try attaching orange accents to different areas of the body (no good places to put them on the arms, sadly), but most of these attempts didn't work for me. This is a criticism I've been more lenient with addressing, purely because this is my self-MOC.

Solution: I moved the orange Bohrok eyes from the feet to the thighs such that they're more noticeable on the build.
The orange studs on the chest were also inverted (a consequence of the new chest armour design), which I hope you'll agree helps diffuse the illusion of them being... 'vestigial male appendages'.

Criticism 3: "He needs more purple."


Comment: No argument here: I completely agree.

Solution: Pretty self-explanatory solution here.

Criticism 4: "The hood looks out of place."


Comment: A very valid point was raised in that the hood, in a practical sense, looks out of place without being a part of something more.

Solution: The hood is now part of a small cape that runs along the back. The fabric of the hood also wraps around the neck / chest area as shown, thereby resembling the real thing a bit more.

More Images:


Kaj as a Matoran.


Here's Kaj without his hood, as requested by ToaTupac.


And here he is with his golden mask.

Gear Function:

Click on the video below to see the gear function in action.

2. Hafu, Toa of Stone

Before:

After:

Original Review

Hafu never asked to be a Toa. Kohlii and Carving were the only things he ever lived for. Now he is forced to leave it all behind as he embarks on a quest to save the island of Valda Nui.

Hafu was undoubtedly the most poorly received of all six Toa, almost exclusively because of his paint job. I've learned from my mistakes: when one layer of paint doesn't stick, don't spend twelve hours trying to relentlessly lather it on. Let this be a life lesson to you, kids.

Criticism 1: "The paint job is awful."


Comment: Duly noted. I'd like to remind people that I'd spent an inordinate amount of time painting him the first time round, so I kind of gave up after the 100th layer.

Solution: Enamel paint and a very good colour match.

Criticism 2: "The arms are too short" / "The upper arms are too simple."


Comment: Again, no argument here. It's after building Hafu that I really started getting pedantic about good body proportions.

Solution: I used technic blocks to create a new upper arm design that elongates them such that the arms are sufficiently long, and beefs them up enough for them to look good.

Criticism 3: "Not enough white / bone pieces"

Comment: Despite the barbaric theme I was going for, the bone aesthetic is quite sparse.


I added spines to the new upper legs, and also replaced Hafu's hammer with a painted bone sword (which comes into the next criticism). You might have also noticed the white Bohrok eyes on the new upper arm design.

Criticism 4: "The weapon is too small."


Comment: I agree. By the time I got the painting done, I didn't have much time to design a new hammer (since there was already a long delay after Kaj's post at that point).
Solution: As mentioned earlier, Hafu's weapon is now a large bone sword.

Criticism 5: The paint looks too custom.


Comment: I really can't remember why I decided that the sand-swept paint job was a good idea. Since I was trying to make my sets look professional and emulate the G1 and G2 Toa, this was always going to detract from that goal.
Solution: Goodbye, sandy parts.

Personal Criticism 1: Lack of weapon storage
Since three of the Toa have a means of storing their weapons, I decided to give the others this ability as well.


Hafu's sword attaches to the side of his leg as shown.

Personal Criticism 2: Hafu is obnoxiously short
You'll notice that Hafu originally had shorter upper legs. At that height, he was just over a head's length shorter than Kalama. The lack of a length extension made the Toa team seem less cohesive since Hafu was drastically shorter than the others. Nevertheless, he is still the shortest of them all, which is fitting for a Toa of Stone.

Personal Criticism 3: Open pin holes on the chest armour
This is me being pedantic again, however you'll notice that all four peg holes on Hafu's chest armour are now covered (instead of just the two that hold it in place). I simply added some tan pins (1.5 length) to them to make him look more complete.

More Images:


Hafu as a Matoran.


Hafu with his golden mask.

Gear Function:

Click on the video below to see the gear function in action.

3. Vhisola, Toa of Water

Before:

After:

Original Review

Vhisola is a Toa, yet as always she expects skill to be acquired in mere moments. Discovering the reason for her transformation is of little interest to her; and so long as she has new tricks to learn and new challenges to face, her mind will remain closed to the impending danger that threatens her people.

The alterations to Vhisola are pretty hard to spot. That and there's very few of them.

Criticism 1: "The leg fins are the wrong way round."


Comment: When placed in her swimming stance, the leg fins face forward, which makes them kind of counter-productive for swimming.

Solution: The fins now face downwards,

Personal Criticism 1: Lack of weapon storage.
As with Hafu, I've added a means for Vhisola to store her spear.


Personal Criticism 2: Unstable shoulder joints.


When posing Vhisola, the ball joints which attach the arms tend to slide off, exposing the axle beneath and sometimes causing the arms to fall off. I fixed this by using Hordika heads instead.

More Images:


Vhisola as a Matoran.


Vhisola with her golden mask.

Gear Function:

Click on the video below to see the gear function in action.

4. Tamaru, Toa of Air

Before:

After:

Original Review

Tamaru: afraid of heights yet granted wings. The entity that has transformed him into a Toa is either determined to bring out his true potential, or is infinitely sadistic. Until the wise and fast-talking Toa of Air can discover who gave him this new form, he must face his fears and strike a fatal blow against evil.

Again, not much has changed with Tamaru. He was a very well-received Toa with only one relatively minor criticism, this being his simplicity compared to the other Toa.
Please understand that addressing this minor complaint would mean having to make drastic changes to the build. This is something which may well have compromised the reputation of the set, and would have caused an even longer delay of this review being posted.

Personal Criticism 1: Lack of weapon storage.
I addressed this in a similar way as for Hafu:


The sword is stored as shown.





The disk launcher can also be stored as shown. To prevent it blocking the gear function, the launcher can be turned down (also demonstrated here).

Personal Criticism 2: The heartlight is the wrong colour.
You might have noticed that the original stud on Tamaru's chest (the heartlight) was a darker green than the lime on his body and eyes. You can see that this has been fixed in the newer images.

Personal Criticism 3: Tamaru needs more build uniqueness.
I agree with the majority of you that Tamaru could benefit from being a bit more unique in terms of the build (since most of his uniqueness is derived from his colours). In an effort to address this in a manageable way, I swapped his old Metru legs for Piraka legs. These legs are smoother and look more streamlined: more suitable for a Toa of Air.

More Images:


Tamaru as a Matoran.


Tamaru with his golden mask.

Gear Function:

Click on the video below to see the gear function in action.

5. Ehrye / Arktinen, Toa of Ice

Before:

After:

Original Review

On Metru Nui, Ehrye longed to be a Seer, yet his relentless pleads were never met with approval. Following the great evacuation to Mata Nui, Turaga Nuju renamed Ehrye 'Arktinen', hoping that he would take on a new role and abandon his futile aspirations. This may have worked for a time, but Ehrye's ambition always brought him back to the stars, and he would inevitably develop the foresight to be able to rediscover his lost name. Now, with the power to see into the future, Ehrye is the Toa Valda's best means of discovering why they have been transformed into Toa.

Ehrye was the most well-received of the Toa. Any criticisms were very minor: it's best that I don't tinker with them for that reason.
Following my posting of Ehrye, I discovered that there was a Matoran in MNOG 2 with a blue Mahiki called Arktinen that I could have used instead, however this ended up sparking an interesting plot point for my G1 story.

(Very Minor) Personal Criticism 1: Open pin holes on the chest armour.
Personally, I think they made the set look a little unfinished so I filled them up with studs.


You'll notice them if you look hard enough.

Personal Criticism 2: Ticking gearbox.
I made some small modifications to the gearbox which prevent it making an obnoxious ticking noise when the gears come under stress. You'll notice that it sounds quite clean on the video I've posted below.

More Images:


Ehrye as a Matoran.


Arktinen as a Matoran.


Ehrye / Arktinen with his golden mask.

Gear Function

Click on the video below to see the gear function in action.

6. Kalama, Toa of Fire

Before:

After:

Original Review

As the former leader of the Ta-Metru Guard, Kalama is by far the strongest and most experienced of his new Toa team, yet he is none the wiser to the nature of recent events. While the other Toa struggle to find their footing, it is his duty to guide them. Only together can they discover the truth.

Again, mostly superficial changes for Kalama. It's kind of boring when I don't get any big criticisms to be honest :confused:

Personal Criticism 1: Added upper leg armour doesn't help the colour scheme or the actual armour.
I don't know if you guys agree with me, but after reconsideration, I think the use of red Bohrok eyes on the back of the legs as armour is kind of redundant and doesn't help the colour scheme (red, orange and black on one segment of the body kind of looks out of place).


I changed this by using black parts, and also by using a new design that fills out the legs a bit more (and makes them look more bulky from the front).

More Images:


Kalama as a Matoran.


Kalama with his golden mask (he...can...feel... THA POWAAA).



Some shots of Kalama with a black Matatu I painted for those that were curious. Looks pretty ominous if you ask me.

Gear Function:

Click on the video below to see the gear function in action.

Bonus Content

So here's that bonus content I mentioned earlier.

Introducing, the 'Valdatoran'


As a thanks for all your feedback on the Toa Project, I thought I'd gift you with miniature versions of the Toa Valda. You should recognise some of them from your adventures in MNOG 1 and 2.

Kaj

Hafu

Kalama (New & Old)


Thought I'd be unoriginal and hijack my Brimstone Guard design for Kalama.

Tamaru

(Ehrye /) Arktinen

Vhisola


(Note: Vhisola is the only one of the six that does not appear in MNOG 1 or 2.)

If you like the look of these guys, you're in luck: take a look at the end of this post for another surprise...

Special Thanks

Thanks again for your feedback. It's been great to interact with you guys and, of course, building the sets was a blast as well.
I could pick out all the members that have provided the most constructive and encouraging feedback, but I don't like to pick favourites, so...


Complimentary cookies for everyone!

Plans for the Future

Hopefully after posting this I'll be well on my way to cementing my reputation in the TTV community. This is certainly not the last you'll see of me.
I have several other projects I plan to work on next: some Bionicle-based; some narrative.

I'll briefly summarise what I'm planning here so you can keep an eye out.
If you want to know exactly when everything's coming to the boards, I suggest you follow me on Twitter. If I get enough 'fans', I'll start posting updates over there.

1. Biowave Project


(Might not end up being called this since I suggested the name to Kahi following the last podcast episode.)
I intend to continue my G1 story by posting more sets. I hope to eventually build at least a wave's worth (hence the name).
My course at university is notoriously intense, however: every time I come to the message boards, I risk getting pretty far behind on work. This will unfortunately stop me from building these more complex sets for the next month or so, though I have another project to keep you occupied with...

2. Telvanni Separatists - an Elder Scrolls Series


I'll also be reposting a fan-fiction series I wrote on Reddit last Summer here on the message boards to get more feedback.
This series is a 'semi-sequel' to Skyrim's Dragonborn DLC and covers the activities of House Telvanni during the events of the Elder Scrolls Online.

3. A Guide to Creative Writing

As a dedicated creative writer and designer, I wanted to pass on what I've learned in my many years of (unprofessional) experience. This should be quite an extensive guide that might end up being split into several parts.

4. HowTo Guides
I know a few of you wanted me to do some HowTo guides for the gearboxes I used for the Toa Valda. This is another time-consuming project that might have to wait.

5. Saving the best until last...

Coming Soon: The MNOG Project


Over the coming weeks, I'll be taking your favourite characters from the Mata Nui Online Games and rebuilding them using the 2003 Matoran design.
By the end of the project, I'll have ordered, painted and assembled parts for EVERY single Matoran in both games.
Think I'm crazy? You're probably right.

See you all soon.

-Hazash-

46 Likes

This is all phenomenal work, and I appreciate that you considered everyone's criticisms. Kudos to these 6 dweebs.

I was jokin', man!
They're cool dweebs!

'Dweebs'? D:

Love the look of them all together! Very nice colors and looks!

huh, this is a really nice toa te..

sweet mother mackerel, they have gold masks

3 Likes

That's ok then :smiley:

It's 5am where I am now. I started writing this at 8pm :frowning:

4 Likes

Like Vohon?

I really like how they look together and the intricate functions they each have. Nice job!

I LOVE EM! Great job mate! Keep it up!

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Indeedy :stuck_out_tongue:

2 Likes

They give off the feel of an actual team, and I love it. I like the concept of a second Mata team as well. Kaj is my favorite :smile:

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Good Mocs, but some of the color choices and proportions look a little wierd to me.

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Excellent work on the entire project! I look forward to seeing all the other works you have planned. As a fellow creative writer, I have to say you are extremely creative and devoted to your projects, which is a great asset!

If you haven't already done so, I'd be interested in seeing more of the story behind the Toa Valda. However, I don't want you to feel bogged down by all these projects, so don't feel to anxious about that!

Once again, you've done a fantastic job on this project! I'd say your reputation is more than cemented!

2 Likes

These are absolutely incredible. They really look good, and they look like a team, and you did a fantastic job with the painting.

The gold masks are pretty amazing too. :smile:

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Thanks, guys :smile:

It'll be a while before I come back to discussing the Toa, though your anticipation is very heart-warming :smile:

I have the foundations of a story in the works, and I was hoping to do something more with it in the (far) future, possibly hiring a comic artist to help or something like that, or seeing if the guys at TTV wanted to help out, etc.

Nothing's final yet but you should see more of the story covered in some form or another, even if it's a brief review (if I end up being too limited for time to write it all out in full).

4 Likes

That sounds really cool--a photo-comic using your MOCs would be an excellent idea...I've seen some awesome comics using those methods. I'm sure there are tons of people on the boards or in the podcast that would be interested in helping you if you ever decide that you need it. Aside from the BOM Project, I don't know if the BIONICLE fandom has ever had a major interactive project, and the BOM Project has gone really well so far.

Of course, there's no need to rush--I'm getting a little ahead of myself, I think :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:--but it's really great to see a bunch of creative minds in the fandom that are really interested in storytelling and big projects!

2 Likes

Pretty neat!

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Update: Just as an FYI

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That was a long post
Whew! Onto the reviews I guess!
Kaj: The painting looks a bit off, but that crossbow is beautiful
Hafu: Hafu himself would be proud of this work of art.
Tamaru: Despite having a toa of the green's color scheme, He looks pretty good. Unlike Kaj, his paintjob seems to be a lot smoother
Vhisola: Well if it isn't my favorite lesbian psychopath. I'm sorta iffy on the colorscheme, but it's balanced pretty dang well. The shoulders look a biiiiit spindly though.
Kamala: Not really too much to critique here. I think he looks dang good for a toa of fire (who appears to be using an inika build)
Ehrye: I feel like the mask would look better in white, but other than that, he looks pretty good too! Love those upper arms

2 Likes

Thanks for your comments. You can kind of see the progression in my painting skills going from Kaj to Hafu to Tamaru. That and Kaj was spray-painted rather than hand-painted so it's not the most even. I'd definitely go over it again if I had time.

Update: I invite you guys to share your favourite of the Toa (list them in order of preference if you want). My personal favourites (in order) are Kaj, Hafu and Tamaru

1 Like