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European Misprints Hypothesis and Speculation


Xboxtravis
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A forewarning, this is mostly speculation based on tenuous evidence; so don't quote this as gospel... but I have a gut feeling the existence of the fabled European misprints are evidence of cancelled plans for the original Bionicle launch. 

The term we use "misprint" always felt odd to me. A misprint is a one off mold shot, a factory accident, a faulty machine, etc. But the European Misprint masks are, although rarer than the main production Kanohi are still obviously a mass produced item. It seems unlikely to me that Lego created thousands of masks in eight different color variations with three different molds (Ruru, Matatu and Kaukau) before realizing they had made "misprints." It is almost farcical to imagine Lego having piles of thousands of masks before realizing that they had a collection of "mistakes" filling up their factory. So it presents a more likely argument, that Lego deliberately produced them for something which as later cancelled or scaled back. We know Lego furthermore had codes for many of the misprint masks, along with color variants for many other masks we never saw, in their piece catalogs. We also have seen a few even rarer misprints, the Brown Komau and the White Huna for example which while they are one offs they seem to match the coloring scheme of the other Noble mask misprints (i.e. using a Toa's primary color for a Noble mask). 

So my running hypothesis is the following, Lego originally intended for the mask line to include Noble mask variants for not just the Turaga, but also the Toa as well. I.E. the Toa would have had to collect matching Noble masks for themselves as well; not to dissimilar from what we see in Legend of Mata Nui and MNOG where the Toa use masks such as the Matatu, Ruru or Komau. It is likely that the International (or European) market was in production a bit before the US sets began production, so the European factories began producing these masks for the Toa starting with the Matatu and Ruru; before the decision was made by the higher ups to pull the plug and trim the mask packs to a smaller set of masks, focusing instead on just one set of Great masks for each Toa and one set of Noble Masks for the Turaga. The Kaukau's are a little bit harder to explain, but it is possible they were originally intended for the Turaga colors (i.e. the Trans-Yellow on say, Vakama and the trans-Medium Blue on Nuju or Nokama). Yes, I know in Bionicle canon the idea of a Turaga wearing a Great Mask is a little silly, but it is possible that decision to limit the noble masks to the Turaga was made after Lego made the decision to cancel the Turaga variants of the Great Mask molds. It is also possible those Kaukau's were intended instead for Matoran, many have pointed out that Macku is not wearing the same mask as Gali and is the only McToran to do such.
 

Either way, I feel that there is an unsolved mystery here regarding the production of the early Bionicle mask packs, the existence and style of the known misprints feels to intentional to just be a simple manufacturing mistake to me. I would love it if anyone else had more evidence or some insight into what was going on with those masks when released, to see if my speculation is right or not. 

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This is a good theory. I know canonically the Toa did collect Noble masks. I wish I had enough information on how LEGO production works to confirm or deny; maybe somebody else does. Were fans the first to call them misprints?

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Were the "misprints" originally acquired in mask packs that made it to sale? I've never been totally clear on how they got into fans hands. I think a lot of evidence lends itself to your theory, xboxtravis. I'm just wondering here, but could they have been produced for a European equivalent to the Mctoran that were never fully produced? 

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24 minutes ago, GhostieM said:

the matatu and ruru were shown in the mata colors along with the yellow and light blue kaukau at a display in LEGOLAND Windsor, so we know they left Europe outside of resellers, so there may be some credibility to this theory.

misprint masks.jpg

They're buried somewhere on Brickshelf, but the European Misprints also made it to display in LEGOLAND California showing they made it to the states in that same display set up with the misprints.

2 hours ago, Toa Hovoki Zehvor said:

Were the "misprints" originally acquired in mask packs that made it to sale? I've never been totally clear on how they got into fans hands. I think a lot of evidence lends itself to your theory, xboxtravis. I'm just wondering here, but could they have been produced for a European equivalent to the Mctoran that were never fully produced? 

They were indeed in the international mask packs (commonly called European due to their factory origins, but they would be the mask packs available in Asia and Latin America as well). US mask packs came in boxes as set 8525: Masks while the international set 8530: Masks was were the misprints were in polybag form. This trend of dual releasing US mask packs in boxes and international ones as polybags continued until 2003 when the Kraata was released as a single canister with the same set number in both US and international markets. 

LEGO 8525 Bionicle Kanohi Masks | BrickEconomy

LEGO 8530-1 Masks (Non-US Bagged Version) Set Parts Inventory and  Instructions - LEGO Reference Guide

Worth noting though of the misprints we do know the black Ruru while technically a misprint included in 8530, would see mass production as Hafu's mask in both 2001 and 2003 and a few red Ruru's were one of the masks that were possible to get in the clock set!

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Quote

We know Lego furthermore had codes for many of the misprint masks, along with color variants for many other masks we never saw, in their piece catalogs.


Source? I would be very highly interested in seeing more about this.

Quote

We also have seen a few even rarer misprints, the Brown Komau and the White Huna for example which while they are one offs they seem to match the coloring scheme of the other Noble mask misprints (i.e. using a Toa's primary color for a Noble mask).


They aren't "one offs", there's a handful of white Huna and brown Komau out there.

It's interesting you post this thread now because I was very recently wondering a similar thing.
Here are some things I know:
-Lego advertised the mask packs as containing 72 masks plus possible "mystery masks". 8525s (US packs) contained 73 total masks (72 + infected Hau). 8530s (Europe packs) contained 88 masks (72 + infected Hau + 14 misprints + brown Komau).
-A "variety pack", containing mostly non-Lego items, included a brown Komau and a white Huna.
-There is a rumor that a white Huna was found in bushes at Legoland Billund. No idea if this is true.
-While brown Komau were very rarely found in 8530s, white Huna have never been reported to have been found in 8530s, and are presumably more rare than brown Komau.
-Bionicle was released about half a year earlier in Europe than in the US.
-Kanohi displays at Legoland Windsor and Legoland California had misprints displayed.
-Bionicle.com listed the 14 misprints on the Kanohi page.
-Light blue Kaukau comes in a variant with bubbles visible in the cheeks, apparently a prototype mold. From what I have been told, both the bubble and non-bubble version were available in 8530s, and supposedly only the light blue Kaukau came in the bubble version.
-Someone asked Greg about a personal theory that there were two of each noble Kanohi per village, one full set for the Toa and one full set for the Turaga. Greg said that it wasn't definitively established, so that could theoretically be the case. However, this was a fan theory, and not something the story team had decided on. Greg gave no indication that there had ever been a plan for this.
-Greg said that it is his view that noble Kanohi take on Toa colors rather than Turaga colors when worn by Toa.
-Everything Greg has said has implied that there was never any intent for Toa-colored noble Kanohi to be produced.

Here are some theories that I have:
-Since the Kanohi displays feature ONLY misprint Matatu and Ruru, besides the light gray Matatu, it seems that Lego may have accidentally produced the Matatu and Ruru in the Toa colors INSTEAD OF the Turaga colors at first (the light gray is explained by the Nuju set). This was done because of a miscommunication between the Bionicle story team and the production team over what colors the Matatu and Ruru were supposed to come in. They appeared only in 8530s because the mistake had been corrected by the time 8525s went into production half a year later. The presence of the misprints at Legoland California is because the Kanohi display was put together in Europe, or at least the Kanohi set was shipped from Europe.
-Light blue Kaukau may have been the original plan for Kopaka's Kaukau. Not sure on yellow, maybe Pohatu?
-The advertisement of 'mystery masks' in 8525s/8530s could possibly refer to misprints (either meaning the misprints were made on purpose as mystery masks, or the 'mystery mask' marketing was come up with as a way to take advantage of the production mistake), but I think more likely it just refers to the infected Hau.

Relevant pictures:
Legoland California Kanohi display
Legoland Windsor Kanohi display
Article on misprints
Information on light blue Kaukau variant
Light blue Kaukau variant hi res pic

My friend's brown Komau on my Pohatu (the silver Mahiki is custom)

Edited by Turaga of Force
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On 4/17/2021 at 10:36 PM, Turaga of Force said:

-Light blue Kaukau may have been the original plan for Kopaka's Kaukau. Not sure on yellow, maybe Pohatu?)

I support this theory. Take a look at that display: all the Kaukau are the correct color for their respective Toa except Pohatu and Kopaka. Their Kaukau were trans-orange and just plain transparent, respectively; the display instead shows the trans-light blue and trans-yellow misprints. My idea is that somebody suggested switching to orange and clear, and one of the higher-ups simply liked them more and requested the change, but not before a bunch of the old ones were produced. Rather than let the old pieces go to waste, they just threw them into polybag mask packs.

By the way, on a semi-related note, Pohatu’s Kaukau always bugged me. Orange, really? Isn’t it possible to make trans-brown? Coca-Cola is see-through to a certain depth, kind of like a dark amber.

Edited by Cheesy Mac n Cheese

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This topic gives me so much happiness to read, that there are still others who care and need answers about these things haha

I personally think it is probably a scale-back like you had said @Xboxtravis, where Lego had originally planned to release more. They were struggling financially at the time, so maybe they thought they had bitten off too much and dialed back on the kanohi production to save costs. I also think the miscommunication theory between the story and production teams has some validity, however Bob Thompson has a strong reputation of being on top of this stuff, especially when it came to this theme, which makes me a little hesitant on that idea. Of course, these are all just speculations. 

On 4/17/2021 at 11:36 PM, Turaga of Force said:

Source? I would be very highly interested in seeing more about this.

Same here. I have never heard of this but if it is true my inner child will go crazy haha:D

On 4/17/2021 at 11:36 PM, Turaga of Force said:

-Lego advertised the mask packs as containing 72 masks plus possible "mystery masks". 8525s (US packs) contained 73 total masks (72 + infected Hau). 8530s (Europe packs) contained 88 masks (72 + infected Hau + 14 misprints + brown Komau).

Just to clarify - Lego advertised 8525 as having 73 possible kanohi & 8530 as having 88 possible kanohi? Or they advertised them as having 73 each? Or something else? Very confused matoran over here.

On 4/17/2021 at 11:36 PM, Turaga of Force said:

-A "variety pack", containing mostly non-Lego items, included a brown Komau and a white Huna.

Do you happen to have any more info on this? I somehow have never heard of this and am very curious.

On 4/17/2021 at 11:36 PM, Turaga of Force said:

There is a rumor that a white Huna was found in bushes at Legoland Billund. No idea if this is true.

This is incredible. Right up there with the Platinum Avohkii almost being melted down.

On 4/17/2021 at 11:36 PM, Turaga of Force said:

supposedly only the light blue Kaukau came in the bubble version.

now that I think of it, I have not seen a bubble Kaukau that wasn't light blue. I will keep an eye out 

@Turaga of Force thank you for the pictures as well! Very cool stuff.

If I recall correctly there is an even more rare red huna in existance

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4 hours ago, Humble_Matoran said:

This topic gives me so much happiness to read, that there are still others who care and need answers about these things haha

I personally think it is probably a scale-back like you had said @Xboxtravis, where Lego had originally planned to release more. They were struggling financially at the time, so maybe they thought they had bitten off too much and dialed back on the kanohi production to save costs. I also think the miscommunication theory between the story and production teams has some validity, however Bob Thompson has a strong reputation of being on top of this stuff, especially when it came to this theme, which makes me a little hesitant on that idea. Of course, these are all just speculations. 

Same here. I have never heard of this but if it is true my inner child will go crazy haha:D

Just to clarify - Lego advertised 8525 as having 73 possible kanohi & 8530 as having 88 possible kanohi? Or they advertised them as having 73 each? Or something else? Very confused matoran over here.

Do you happen to have any more info on this? I somehow have never heard of this and am very curious.

This is incredible. Right up there with the Platinum Avohkii almost being melted down.

now that I think of it, I have not seen a bubble Kaukau that wasn't light blue. I will keep an eye out 

@Turaga of Force thank you for the pictures as well! Very cool stuff.

If I recall correctly there is an even more rare red huna in existance

Lego did not advertise the 73 or 88 numbers, those are numbers I provided. Lego only provided the 72 number, as well as the "plus possible mystery masks" phrase (I believe that is the exact wording they use, but my memory may be wrong there). Also, the 88 number considers the light blue Kaukau to be a single mask. If we count the bubble and non-bubble versions as two distinct masks, then that bumps the number up to 89. (72+infected Hau+14+light blue Kaukau variant+brown Komau)
Regarding the "variety pack", a BZPower member's friend acquired a white Huna and brown Komau and showed said BZPower member. Said BZPower member then begged said friend to go and buy him one of these "variety packs" too, which said friend did. All I know is that the "variety pack" consisted of non-Lego items, with the brown Komau and white Huna being the only Lego items included, and that the pack also included a calendar (not a Lego calendar, to my understanding). I believe these were sold in Europe.
Someone also claimed that a BZPower member got multiple of these packs and distributed (traded? sold? gave away?) the masks to BZP members, but I am inclined to believe that is misinformation.
I am positive the brown Komau came in mask packs because a good friend of mine got two that way (the brown Komau in the pic I linked is his). I don't recall him specifying which mask packs, but I am 99% sure it was 8530s because he is Danish (hence 8530 not 8525) and it would stand to reason they came in the 2001 packs as opposed to 2002/2003 packs.

As for the red Huna, I believe Mask Collector has one, and I believe he said it was from a Nuhrii prototype, but my memory may be wrong there. I think it's dark red, not standard red. There's also a dark blue noble Matatu.

Edited by Turaga of Force
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I’ve mentioned this before, but Bricklink has some colors on file for certain masks that don’t seem to be documented at all, and are likely fakes. For example, a regular blue Noble Rau, and the picture looks suspiciously doctored, like someone did a digital color replacement using some image manipulation software. So don’t believe every so-called “misprint” or “prototype” story you find.

Off-topic, but Bricklink also once had someone selling a supposedly ultra-rare pink Darth Vader minifig head, and as I recall, it turned out to be real! So on the other hand, bizarre things do indeed happen.

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This seems likely as in the first year we see the toa use noble mask in MNOG. I always wondered why they used them yet never had them in set form. Well most of them.

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@Turaga of Force thank you for the clarification. That variety pack is so interesting, especially containing 2 parts that are so rare and nothing else...what a strange thing from Lego haha. 

It honestly would make sense that the Brown Komau came in some sort of mask pack. Throughout my time collecting Bionicle I have rarely seen a White Huna, but a Brown Komau I have seen surface every now and again. 

On 4/29/2021 at 3:42 AM, Turaga of Force said:

As for the red Huna, I believe Mask Collector has one, and I believe he said it was from a Nuhrii prototype, but my memory may be wrong there. I think it's dark red, not standard red. There's also a dark blue noble Matatu.

Ah yes, this is what I was thinking of, and yes I do recall it being dark red. I think the dark blue noble Matatu may have even been in the same picture. 

This is now jogging my memory on a dark red komau...

:exclamation:currently searching for ANY Gray Plastic Krana Kal (GPKK):exclamation: If you were a member of Proto-squad, or know someone who was, please feel free to get in contact with me

 

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29 minutes ago, Humble_Matoran said:

@Turaga of Force thank you for the clarification. That variety pack is so interesting, especially containing 2 parts that are so rare and nothing else...what a strange thing from Lego haha. 

It honestly would make sense that the Brown Komau came in some sort of mask pack. Throughout my time collecting Bionicle I have rarely seen a White Huna, but a Brown Komau I have seen surface every now and again. 

Ah yes, this is what I was thinking of, and yes I do recall it being dark red. I think the dark blue noble Matatu may have even been in the same picture. 

This is now jogging my memory on a dark red komau...

From what I recall, the dark red Komau was a knockoff from some Asian company. I believe the dark red Huna and dark blue Matatu are genuine Lego items.

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On 5/7/2021 at 12:46 AM, Turaga of Force said:

From what I recall, the dark red Komau was a knockoff from some Asian company

Found this thread, which although may not solve all the mysteries, is at least some additional info

:exclamation:currently searching for ANY Gray Plastic Krana Kal (GPKK):exclamation: If you were a member of Proto-squad, or know someone who was, please feel free to get in contact with me

 

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On 5/30/2021 at 7:22 PM, Humble_Matoran said:

Found this thread, which although may not solve all the mysteries, is at least some additional info

The lack of some of the mold marks makes me think it must be a knockoff then, but still an interesting possibility all the same. 

To avoid double posting, you can see a lot of the masks that might have been in old Lego Customer Service data such as this: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/17hRhzagTGwiSroqkkpgHo8u1oHHnEy4t/edit#gid=1296009750

Edited by Xboxtravis
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