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Showing off an unseen prototype of set 8537: Nui-Rama


Baraklava
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Please note that this set is not for sale. I'm happy to chat with other collectors though. Thank you!

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Hello! Today's Bionicle day, and I made a promise a while ago to post an unseen prototype set of a 2001 rahi, so here it is.

I'm a Lego prototype collector and found this when going through a cache of prototypes I hunted down. I figured it'd be appreciated if I dusted them off and shared them with the world! You can tell that the parts are prototypes by comparing the moulds to any moulds that were released, mostly by being rougher than (and containing scrapped details of released) Lego elements. The pieces in this set can also be compared to known prototypes already online: Most obviously the kanohi are prototypes with codes on the front. All Toa Mata parts on these Nui-Rama are genuine prototype pieces too, including the red 32551 hook, and the red 32506 claws even show evidence of being the first claws to ever be produced. Please see the last images.

The tail piece, 32177, was also never released in red nor yellow, and have to my knowledge never been seen in those colours before (however Google Images has a cached, very mysterious listing, of a yellow claw here, but I assume that was an error). 

Of course the colour scheme raises questions, so I'm looking for more information on this:

  • The colour scheme matches Muaka and Kane-Ra. Were all rahi supposed to have those two colours? Were all rahi supposed to have several colour packs released? Were the colours somehow swapped around between the rahi? Or was this just a first test where they didn't focus on the colours?
  • The Toa Mata parts on it are prototypes, but the rahi were designed and released after the Toa. However these predate the earliest looks we've seen of any rahi. Was the Nui-Jaga perhaps first designed next to the Toa, and if so were there perhaps more rahi prototypes that were dropped/designed with alternate colours at this stage?
  • Did it have a nickname by the designers similar to the legendary Sand Tarakava? (Otherwise I will make some up!)


If you can help out maybe contacting the designer of the set, please let me know! I'm planning on uploading a "prototype overview" video to my new YouTube channel soon, going through every nerdy little detail about this set, so feel free to subscribe if that interests you! There will be more stuff coming too! Not a full prototype set like this, but some interesting Bionicle things plus some RoboRiders and Slizer.

Let me know what you think! Some more images:

Ramas-RY-7.thumb.jpg.6172c676f28eb15a0f689927c737558e.jpgRamas-RY-6.thumb.jpg.a4e3e2a5410741642a74be9c0043f765.jpgRamas-RY-5.thumb.jpg.33869151e7a5472940a213bb83e36726.jpgRamas-RY-4.thumb.jpg.3562953cd63dae4fc606d8c79e66ab43.jpgRamas-RY-3.thumb.jpg.2f17bd05d727411f5728e2526ef79dfd.jpg

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Does this imply the existence of lime and orange Muaka and Kane-Ra prototypes?

Wow though, these are gorgeous. Something about Mata red with trans-blue (which I can't recall seeing before) seems to work very well here.

A very interesting and unique part of Bionicle history to be sure, thank you for sharing a cool look behind such a prominent set!

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1 hour ago, Toa Hovoki Zehvor said:

Does this imply the existence of lime and orange Muaka and Kane-Ra prototypes?

Maybe not, but we do know the Rahi colors being different on prototypes is a thing thanks to the infamous Sand Tarakava! The "Sand Tarakava" was a prototype sent out to Saffire Studios, then used by both Saffire and Templar as the basis for the Tarakava models in their games (hence why the Tarakava Gali fights in MNOG is a "Sand Tarakava" model just colored blue to match the set release). 

 

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Po-Wahi visions in my head
(Temple Mountain San Rafael Swell, Utah) 

 

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It really makes you wonder just how many more prototypes are out there, just sat collecting dust in boxes. Or just how many were destroyed after they were done with...

< - - - - - - - - - >
Dig in, pull back the skin
See what's inside you, the sickness that drives you
Beating black
Demoniac
< - - - - - - - - - >

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11 hours ago, Taria Pakari said:

It really makes you wonder just how many more prototypes are out there, just sat collecting dust in boxes. Or just how many were destroyed after they were done with...

Indeed, these in particular would've likely been parted out and sold as regular loose parts unless I got my hands on them, and then we would've never known where they came from. In such cases, parts like the red prototype hook would simply be lost, because who would notice that they are prototypes if they aren't labeled as such? Most random buyers would probably think it's a fake item and throw it away then.

I got some other stuff, but nothing as well organized as a complete, untouched prototype set, but people will probably find it interesting anyway, considering if I should post them in this thread in the future or in the "Rare collectibles" topic. Also, is Slizer and RoboRiders prototype content relevant to Bionicle collectors at all or should I keep that out of here?

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Hi man, thanks for sharing! Absolutely stunning pieces. I have the original lime and orange Nui-Rama prototypes from 2000/2001, also with the claws, hooks and different Masks as what you’re showing above. Maybe cool to share some pictures together for comparison. I’m usually not really active on BZpower so if you want to contact me and share some information Instagram would be the best option: Bionicle.Universe 

Thanks! : )

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Thanks for sharing these. I love seeing set prototypes; they're like a glimpse into an alternate universe sometimes!

On 8/10/2021 at 2:43 PM, Baraklava said:

I'm a Lego prototype collector and found this when going through a cache of prototypes I hunted down.

I imagine you'd rather keep your sources secret, but I have to ask; how did you get hold of these? How does one go about hunting down Lego prototypes? 

Edited by Distorted
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Nice find! Those yellow claws would be highly sought after for Ussal crab legs. I have several Bionicle and Technic prototypes myself. 

Red and Yellow are the most common colors used for Lego prototypes because they produce parts daily in those colors (red bricks, yellow minifigure heads, etc.). This way they can recycle the prototypes and put the shredded plastic back into the production line for new parts. Sometimes other common colors are used like Green or Blue or Black or White. Transparent prototype parts are very rare because that is a different type of plastic that (to my knowledge) can't be recycled back into the production line. 

The Rahi were indeed released after the Toa. They were not, however, designed after the release of the Toa. Despite the high speed design process at Lego in 1999-2001, 3 months is not a lot of time to pitch, design, test, approve, retest, and finalize 5 technic sets. It would have been while the new Bionicle parts were still being manufactured, but after the new parts had been approved. The designers didn't wait for the new parts to be put into circulation, they would have used prototype parts from the Toa to design the Rahi. 

As for the colors, it's possible they were intended to be red and yellow solely on the basis that they also molded those technic "turbo/electro slizer wings" in red and yellow for a presentation. I don't think they have any connection to KaneRa and Muaka (there's footage of a blue KaneRa prototype). The final colors of the Rahi do intrigue me though. Has anyone noticed it's all the Toa/Turaga/Tohunga colors with the exception of Green, all the Browns, and Sand Blue?

The sandtarakava was a name given by the early community (possibly Mask of Destiny?). So you're welcome to call them whatever you like. 

If you're ever forced to part with these, please let me know. They would be in good, safe hands. Looking forward to videos/posts on Throwbots/Slizer. Thanks for sharing and Happy Bionicle Day!

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PM me if you have a White Huna :huna: and/or Yellow Ruru :ruru: I'm willing to pay if you're willing to sell! If not, PM me anyway, I'm very curious about where they came from! :howdy:

 

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Love seeing something like these pop up after so long. Glad they survived the years and are now properly photographed! Definitely post your other items as well, we'd love to see them! Even if they are Slizer/Roboriders items, I doubt there's a sizable dedicated place to put them otherwise (I could be wrong of course).

On 8/12/2021 at 6:26 PM, doodleloot said:

Did that recent image of a green prototype Kraahkan also happen to come from the collection you acquired?

Do you have a link to this? I've not seen this and would love to.

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On 8/11/2021 at 10:15 PM, bionicleuniverse said:

Hi man, thanks for sharing! Absolutely stunning pieces. I have the original lime and orange Nui-Rama prototypes from 2000/2001, also with the claws, hooks and different Masks as what you’re showing above. Maybe cool to share some pictures together for comparison. I’m usually not really active on BZpower so if you want to contact me and share some information Instagram would be the best option: Bionicle.Universe 

Thanks! : )

That would be cool! I'm not too active here myself but I'll post more stuff here in the future too :) 

On 8/13/2021 at 1:26 AM, doodleloot said:

Stuff like this is super interesting to see, you should definitely post the other stuff you got ahold of! Did that recent image of a green prototype Kraahkan also happen to come from the collection you acquired?

I'm afraid not, there were no prototype Kanohi apart from the Rurus, however I got an amazingly beautiful short-shot yellow Komau that I thought was a prototype because it looks so unique and had a vague memory of seeing a similar design as a prototype. Might be down to sell that if there's interest, I think it's a very unique item. The slot is slightly smaller on one side but the middle kind of gets shaped like an arrow. It is not warped at all despite how it might appear. Here's some decent pictures:

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I almost forgot I did acquire some prototype Turaga parts too, I think nearly two full sets of prototype masks and a few weapons, but those aren't new things and can be found online, the Nui-Rama above are the only truly unseen things I found. There were two prototype Toa Mata torsos in there but I have since then found pictures of both Pohatu and Lewa having them, just not in black like the ones I got:

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I gotta organize what I found though to make it more interesting, all of these items will appear random if I just put them up in a thread like this, but in reality they all have a coherent "origin story" that I think many will want to hear! I'll be back with more when I have time, next focus is making a video on the Nui-Ramas.

Edited by Baraklava
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/18/2021 at 5:53 AM, Wrinkledlion X said:

I wonder if the ussal color scheme in the MNOLG was chosen with these prototypes in mind! Kids wanting to build Puku would have had just a bit more incentive to buy the Nui Rama.

perhaps. would have interesting if this was the case.

 

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These prototypes are really cool to see! While the final colours were a good decision, I like how the yellow here is more bee-like. (Which makes me wonder how the Nui-Kopen would look).

A while back, there was a link in the discord to a spreadsheet of unreleased parts. Among other things, it implied the Nui-Rama were created in these two colours, but I didn't think anyone would actually have them!

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14 hours ago, Potahu_Nua said:

These prototypes are really cool to see! While the final colours were a good decision, I like how the yellow here is more bee-like. (Which makes me wonder how the Nui-Kopen would look).

A while back, there was a link in the discord to a spreadsheet of unreleased parts. Among other things, it implied the Nui-Rama were created in these two colours, but I didn't think anyone would actually have them!

My favourite is the yellow one too. The Nui-Kopen were designed after the colour choice of Lime/Orange was made, I actually have proof of it which I'll show in the video review ;) Might make a Nui-Kopen out of the prototypes too for the video!

Could you link me to this spreadsheet you refer to? Was it of unreleased parts that had been spotted in the wild or just parts you never got? Because I haven't seen anyone else with red/yellow Onua claws, let alone the tail piece. I still haven't found any information about the reason about the colour choice/change either...

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23 hours ago, Baraklava said:

The Nui-Kopen were designed after the colour choice of Lime/Orange was made

That's interesting, I would've thought the prototype colour scheme would make a more believable wasp, but I suppose it wasn't a factor into the decision at all.

23 hours ago, Baraklava said:

Could you link me to this spreadsheet you refer to? Was it of unreleased parts that had been spotted in the wild or just parts you never got?

Sorry, I should've been more clear. I didn't create this spreadsheet, it was posted on Discord by another user back in June. From what I understand, a number of parts were inventoried on LEGO's site in unreleased colours, which is where the entries came from. It's possible some of these were never actually produced at all, and if they had been, they were likely destroyed. Still, it's a neat look at the design process.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/17hRhzagTGwiSroqkkpgHo8u1oHHnEy4t/edit#gid=667561492

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21 hours ago, Potahu_Nua said:

That's interesting, I would've thought the prototype colour scheme would make a more believable wasp, but I suppose it wasn't a factor into the decision at all.

Sorry, I should've been more clear. I didn't create this spreadsheet, it was posted on Discord by another user back in June. From what I understand, a number of parts were inventoried on LEGO's site in unreleased colours, which is where the entries came from. It's possible some of these were never actually produced at all, and if they had been, they were likely destroyed. Still, it's a neat look at the design process.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/17hRhzagTGwiSroqkkpgHo8u1oHHnEy4t/edit#gid=667561492

Thank you for showing me this! This is really interesting, I wonder if these belong to cancelled sets or if they just registered them so it was possible for designers to use them internally for stuff. For example I see many Kanohi colours in there that were likely used for Matoran either for prototyping or in the MNOG. There are also surprising entries such as the Nui-Rama (8537, called "Bird" lol) having their instructions listed before the red/yellow claws, which in turn were before the orange/lime ones. Wonder if they made instructions of the red/yellow version. 

Yes, most likely many of these have been destroyed unless any Lego designers brought them home. This is what makes me so happy to find prototype stuff in the wild and being able to save it. As far as I know Lego didn't save a lot of stuff back then. And many who find this stuff don't even care, to some these kinds of "artefacts" or Lego history are just regular parts to build or trade with. I really hope I can get my hands on more stuff in the future.

Edit: Yup, there seems to be "preliminary" entries of the instructions before the final versions. You can match up the numbers in the sheet with the pdf names on Lego's instruction service. And there's not only the Nui-Rama that are interesting. For example here is the final Tarakava: https://www.lego.com/cdn/product-assets/product.bi.core.pdf/4162046.pdf and 4162046 appears as the instruction entry for the Tarakava.

But in the spreadsheet it also lists  4159091- 4159094 as four versions of the instructions way before this final entry. Around the time it had a Dark Turquoise claw in front. Might also be the two regular versions + Sand Tarakava + Tarakava Nui, or just earlier editions of the instructions with the Dark Turquoise claw. There's even a few unreleased sets in there, such as 1399, that appears to have been Tohunga? Very interesting that this was all public back then, I would've loved to go through all of it, and not only Bionicle. It's not often you get a glimpse into Lego's database and can dig out potentially unreleased stuff. Thank you again!

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  • 1 month later...
On 8/12/2021 at 9:20 AM, Distorted said:

I imagine you'd rather keep your sources secret, but I have to ask; how did you get hold of these? How does one go about hunting down Lego prototypes? 

I second this, I wouldn't mind some tips on that. Just even owning one piece would be neat. :smiletahnok:

Edited by Axelford

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