First off is Gali. My first reaction is that she needs more of that lovely dark azure. I might buy a second just to get more of those armor pieces. The thing that really bugs me about her is her shoulder armor. They attached it to the rotating beam that’s supposed to be her gear function. WHY? Not only does the armor look kinda meh (seriously, what’s the need with shoulder armor that extends above the heads?) but now it also messes up the arm functions. It has since been removed.
I’m also not a big fan of her trident. Sure, it’s a somewhat decent design, but it’s waaaay too big, especially considering she’s one of the smaller Toa. I instead broke it down into hatchets, more similar to what they wanted me to use on Lewa. (But I refused on him.) I think the new axes closer resemble her original hooks, of which I was always a fan of. Plus, their size is more manageable for her. I also took out one of the extra gears that was used in her function. She initially came with two in order to provide the friction to hold the trident, but when I got rid of that, it was a little too much friction, so I took one out to give her a little more room. (As fun as those added friction gears are at keeping things straight, they totally take away the fun of quick arm flailing by spinning the gears on the back, which is something I liked. . . but maybe that’s just nostalgia again.)
Without the bulky shoulder armor or giant weapon, Gali feels more properly slimmed down and looks quite good. Heck, I’m even getting used to the mask, which I guess invoked more of the MoL Kaukau shape. I mean, it’s still a far cry from the Kaukau and Kaukau Nuva, but it feels recognizable. (Lewa’s, however, is still a far cry from any of his previous appearances.)
Next I picked up Kopaka. I was always used to the tall and narrow versions of Kopaka, but I can dig the muscled-up version too. I do like their shoulder design for him, which fills in the gaps nicely but also doesn’t really affect his gear system at all. On some of the other Toa, I was disappointed when there was only a gear function for one of the arms, but for Kopaka this method makes sense. I do wish he had a slightly better sword (or rather a spear, I think) and shield. The pieces are good and all, but I wish his shield was more circular. (It reminds me more of Glatorian Mata Nui’s scarab shield, which is not a bad design, just for me it’s not Kopaka. Again, I think that’s mostly nostalgia.)
The elephant in the room is Kopaka’s legs. They used those 3L beams with a ball joint in the center to position armor on the front and back of Kopaka’s lower legs. I like the attempt, and the pieces are great, but gosh it looks ugly when viewed from the wide. The porportions are just entirely wrong. I quickly just put the front armor on straight to the leg joint. He’s not as armored, but it flows better. Also, his upper leg armor comes with stickers, which I regretfully applied, since armor in that style only appears in white here. But the design looks great on Kopaka, so the stickers stay. Oh, and the mask is great, probably the one that closest resembles the original. (Granted, it doesn’t quite have the circular look of the original Akaku, but looks like the Nuva. And really, if the three lenses are there, it’ll be an Akaku no matter what. Those seem to help make all of Kopaka’s masks recognizable.)
Then I bought Tahu, who is again the Toa who’s hogging all the limelight. He again has his shoulder armor attached to his rotating shoulder, which I dislike. It was easy enough to switch it around a bit so it’s connected to the front body piece, but is still kinda annoying that they designed it that way. The connection for the gold swords on the back is pretty nifty, although I preferred them angled down instead of up. His swords are a great design, resembling Lhikan’s quite a bit. It was always a shame the original Tahu didn’t have his own lava surfboard, and Tahu Nuva’s doesn’t quite compare to this new style. They make for good melee swords too. However, like Kopaka, his lower leg armor is pitiful. Those giant torso armor pieces look good from maybe one angle, but from the side or back they just look too empty. Not a bad Toa, and his mask is clearly based off the Hau, but I guess not quite my favorite.
Finally, I come to Onua. Man, Onua’s been hulked up. Like, seriously, that chest piece was originally used on the Hulk. I like their method for extending the arm functions, and adding function to it with the socket piece on the back. It slows down the motion considerably, but when he’s holding onto his massive hammer, that helps, and makes it feel like there’s some force behind his swings. I do like the design of his hammer, with the Ben 10 foot piece fitting in quite well. Meanwhile, his weapons are very versatile. I like how they act as claws and armor individually, but their combination into the hammer is very awesome. Onua does come with four, but I could definitely use more. Speaking of the shoulder armor, its design allows it to cover the shoulders and gear function quite well without actually disrupting it.
Onua’s color scheme is a little out there. I love the inclusion of purple, although it would’ve been nice to see more of the trans purple limb elements included, since they appeared on the legs but not the arms, where the gray version of the piece was used. The gold armor is supposed to fit with Onua’s gold, powered up form, but I still think those pieces would look better in silver. As soon as I can get some extras, I’ll be switching them out. His torso piece also uses a sticker, unlike any of the other Toa’s torso designs, but in this case I’m fine with it, since I don’t see myself repurposing that torso armor anytime soon anyway. His mask also closely resembles a Pakari is design, but seems way too small for such a large character, especially since the original Pakari was a sizeable mask.
So all these Toa definitely have their ups and downs. The colors are all great, including a fair amount of rare shades, even if that does make MOCing in that color very difficult. The gear functions work on all of them, pending some shoulder armor redesigns. I think I have made slight modifications to all of my Toa, some more than others, because each one tended to have something about their design that I didn’t like, and also making it really hard to pick a favorite, because I have issues with them all. Still, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of collecting and building a Toa team again, which I haven’t really done since Tahu and the gang last appeared in 2008. So worthwhile sets, and now I have all six Toa on display, guarding my apartment.
I should also mention that the Skull Spiders are nice. I kind of wish the green ones had been in a more common shade, or that made of them had included stinger tails like the ones that came with Pohatu. They’re kinda meh on their own, but now I’ve got my own small swarm collection, and they’re trying to take over Benny’s Spaceship now. See, fun! I’ve also built a simple display stand for the gold masks, although having seen better ones posted online, I might redesign it.
I’m still considering purchasing the Lord of Skull Spiders and the Protector of Earth, and then maybe an extra Pohatu and Gali for their pieces. And then I need to think of some cool ways to MOC with these new pieces. (Maybe, my Toa might not come apart for a while.)