I've been trying to work out a deal for some custom printed minifigure torsos for another project, and then I got thinking about how cool it would be to have printed torsos for the Toa, and then perhaps even printed heads too! Custom Lego fig prints are more common nowadays, so in theory it wouldn't be too difficult to pull it off. But it would still be pricey... but one way to bring down the price is to order in bulk. And it occurred to me that there might be other fans out there also interested in Toa figs.
Alas, this is not the first time I've considered minifigure Toa. Years ago (gosh, it's been nearly a decade) I came across the Toa pens from 2001, and they had these mini mask molds that could fit on the beads that you stacked on your Lego pens. (That was their concept back in the day for pens. I'm guessing it didn't quite catch on, but they continued making them for a while.) Anyway, the beads could then be attached to a mini fig torso... kinda sorta. The Toa pens were rare and hard to track down, but they appear occasionally on BrickLink and at Lego conventions, so I eventually gathered all six...
Above are four examples of the Toa I was able to make. Kopaka utilizes a Ninjago sword and dish for a shield, Gali uses semi-rare Ogel hook hands, Onua grasps some Wolverine claws, and Tahu is holding a flame piece. (I have Lewa and Pohatu, but their "weapons" are not as easily made.) They're using colored beads from the pens to partially fit atop the torsos, and then the masks snap onto the beads. (Those pieces are weak tho... Kopaka's bead has broken on me, and sadly Gali's mask also chipped off.) I was able to bribe Nuju Metru to make me some torsos stickers, but time has not been nice to them.
But what about a concept that uses printed pieces and doesn't rely on hard-to-find pen masks?
This is a VERY rough sketch of what the Toa could look like. I am fairly confident that the torso designs can be pulled off without issue. The heads are a different beast, because the unique outlines don't translate well to the minifig head shape. I am okay with the designs for the Gali and Pohatu heads, although some color contrast will need to be used to make them stand out a bit more. The Tahu and Onua heads could use some more work, and Kopaka's needs an overhaul because his eye line doesn't match the other's at all. I am surprisingly fine with how Lewa's head turned out; the "cheeks" of the mask translate onto the minifig head well.
There are other possibilities too for the heads. They could be printed on larger elements (like the round racing helmets) to give them a bigger size. You could even create custom molds with 3D printing... which is more complicated and expensive than what I'm willing to work with. But they managed to make the Toy Fair Iron Man look good with just a head printing before they introduced custom molds, so I'm optimistic.
In general, what I'm looking for is to see if other people have any interest in getting some of these, since it would be cheaper to make them in bulk. I think the general idea is $10 per printed element, so each Toa fig would be at least $20, maybe more so if you include rare colored legs or weapons. (Getting authentic trans blue Gali hooks would be the worst.) (Even more if we considered leg and arm prints... which I haven't.) If enough folks would like to invest, I'm sure we could get a bulk order together. If not... well, no big deal. Anyway, yeah, this post is to mostly test interest on the concept. Let me know what you think.