Collectibles have been a key element of both generations of BIONICLE toy lines.
From the inception of the BIONICLE line, Kanohi Masks of Power held a central of both the sets and the storyline. The Toa's quest to find the Masks of Power was a major focus of the story in 2001. To coincide with this "collect the masks" theme, collectible mask packs were released under the set numbers 8525 and 8530 in the United States and European markets, respectively. These packs contained two random masks from a series of seventy-two, as well as a light gray head, an eyepiece in one of six colors, and two Technic axles. The six Great Masks in the shapes worn by the Toa Mata in each Toa's primary color and the six Noble Masks worn by the Turaga in each Turaga's primary color form the initial series of 72 masks.
Each set released in 2001 included one or more masks to collect, as well. Some of the sets, such as 8534 Tahu, included masks that could be found in the mask packs, while other sets, like 8537 Nui-Rama, included masks that could only be obtained by purchasing that set. One particularly unique mask made available in this way was a chrome-colored Rua, shaped like a Hau, included in 8546 Power Pack.
Advertising on the packaging of 8525 and 8530 and elsewhere suggested the existence of additional masks with a cryptic monochromatic image of the Kanohi Vahi, the Mask of Time, and the caption "72 + ?". Indeed, a hand-painted Infected Kanohi Hau was a rare seventy-third mask that could be found within the mask packs. This mask could was also included in 8538 Muaka & Kane-Ra. Despite the advertisements, the Vahi was not made available publicly in 2001. Originally, it was intended that the mask be released with the BIONICLE: The Legend of Mata Nui video game. However, that game was ultimately cancelled, and distribution of the Mask of Time was delayed until 2002.
Fourteen additional masks (the Kanohi Ruru and Kanohi Matatu each in colors of the six Toa and the Kanohi Kaukau in transparent-yellow and light transparent-blue), known collectively as the "European misprints", could infrequently be found in 8530 due to a production mishap. Two of these masks were made available via other means; the black Ruru was released in the Power Pack and again in 2003 in 8585 Hafu, and the red Ruru was released with a Bionicle-themed clock in 2002.
A few other special masks were made available through other promotional events. A transparent neon-green Miru could be obtained at LEGOLAND California. Copper Masks of Victory in two shapes were also made available. A copper Huna was distributed at Toys 'R Us promotions in the United States, at LEGOLAND Windsor in England, and a Nestle promotion in Germany. Promotions to distribute the copper Huna continued into future years, such as a Blockbuster promotion in 2003. At LEGOAND Billund, a package containing both a Copper Huna and a Copper Komau could be obtained. Slight coloration differences existed between the US and UK versions of the Copper Huna. Finally, a 14-karat solid gold Kanohi Hau and was distributed as a grand prize for various contests, including a Golden Mask-themed sweepstakes and the Build Your Own BIONICLE Website contest. This mask differed slightly in shape from the standard Hau; it had two additional holes on the sides for a chain. Only about thirty of these masks were ever produced.
Masks in Sets
|8538 Muaka & Kane-Ra||Huna||Huna||Infected Hau||Infected Hau|
|8546 Power Pack||Ruru||Rua (Chrome Hau)|
|Transparent Neon-Green Miru||Copper Huna (US)||Copper Huna (UK)||Copper Komau||14k Solid Gold Hau|