Then I remembered that the most consistent post-2003 Matoran forms (i.e. the ones I tend to consider standard or near-standard in my headcanon) have extremely restrictive proportions. Very unrealistic, though in an almost comical way.
Then I decided I'd try making some Toa. But Toa don't even get the "comical" excuse. Any post-2004 Toa proportions tend to be quite unrealistic.
It's funny; I always quite liked the consistency post-2004 Toa designs tended to have in many respects (shoulders about 11 modules wide, with some wiggle room; torsos between 10 and 12 modules tall from neck joint to hip joint, legs between 11 and 14 modules long). And in retrospect, I still like a lot of Toa designs like the Toa Metru, the Toa Inika, the Toa Mahri, the Phantoka, and even the Mistika. But this is no longer the kind of model I really enjoy building.
Today I prefer more realistic, human-like proportions when possible, and thankfully the Hero Factory "character and creature building system" helps facilitate that. Ironically, the 2.0 Hero sets were almost identical in proportions to the Toa Mata, albeit with lots more articulation and nowhere near the same limitations imposed by their parts palette. It's not totally realistic, but it's a bit refreshing after the chaotic proportions of some later BIONICLE sets.
I don't know what this change in preferences signifies. Growing up, and seeking to express my creative impulses in a less cartoony fashion? Growing as an artist, and learning to recognize when proportions are "off"? Growing more creative, and not feeling constrained to rules put in place by sets? Wanting to move on to a different sort of challenge? Or just adapting to what's available?
In any case, I get a lot more fun out of Hero Factory building than BIONICLE building today, regardless of the parts I'm using. On that note, be sure to check out one of my latest MOCs, Kit Martello, and consider supporting her in BBCC63! (Link to poll) I have some other MOCs I've built this semester photographed and just need to unload them from my phone before I share them... they'll probably end up sharing a topic since a lot of them are basically tablescraps, but I still used some creative building techniques I think people might appreciate.