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The Proto-Squad was an exclusive BIONICLE product-testing program run by the LEGO Group in the United States from 2002 to 2005.


The Proto-Squad consisted of a limited number (originally 2,500) of US BIONICLE fans aged 8 to 14; the original members were selected through a contest run by LEGO that was advertised in the LEGO Magazine. Members periodically received packages in the mail containing sneak peaks of the BIONICLE storyline, BIONICLE sets, exclusive promotional items, and other BIONICLE merchandise, all free of charge. Additionally, members received access to exclusive web content and downloads. In return, Proto-Squad members were occasionally asked to submit feedback about BIONICLE products and were encouraged to spread the word about BIONICLE to their friends. Included in every mailing was a signed letter from BIONICLE author Greg Farshtey, who served as the program's spokesperson.[1] Mailings arrived in yellow packages. In 2005, members were also given access to an exclusive e-mail newsletter.


The Proto-Squad was first advertised in the March-April[citation needed] 2002 issue of LEGO Mania Magazine as a collaboration with then-BIONICLE endorser and professional skateboarder Andy MacDonald. Entry into the program was decided through a contest which asked applicants to mail in their personal information on an entry form, a parent or guardian's signature, and a drawing or photograph of a scene based on a paragraph of text provided in the contest details.[2] Only 2,500 winning Proto-Squad members were to be selected from among these applications.[3] The entry form and contest rules were included in the LEGO Mania Magazine and later posted on the official BIONICLE website. Applicants were required to be US residents who would be between the ages of 9 and 12 as of July 7, 2002.[4] The entry deadline was August 30, 2002.[5]

Although the program lasted for several years, there was no means available to the public for new members to join the Proto-Squad after this initial contest. This led to some frustration in the community; in October 2003, BZPower even published an opinion piece arguing that LEGO should select new Proto-Squad members.[6] In January 2004, LEGO did ask existing Proto-Squad members to invite one of their friends to apply to join the Proto-Squad. These new members were required to be US residents between the ages of 8 and 14 and to write a 50-word essay in answer to a question. The deadline for these entries was March 15, 2004.[7]

List of Packages and Updates

The following is a list of Proto-Squad packages and the items they contained. Note that this may not be an exhaustive list.

December 2002

Shipped in a yellow package, the first Proto-Squad package included a Toa Nuva-themed 2003 calendar, a voucher for a free pair of BIONICLE Nike shoes, and a letter from Greg Farshtey.[8]

February 2003

Included a Bohrok-Kal set and a letter from Greg Farshtey.[9][1]

March 2003

Included a $50 LEGO Shop@Home gift certificate to cover the cost of BIONICLE Nike shoes. Also included a letter from Greg Farshtey with a link and password to the exclusive Proto-Squad content on[10] The web content became available as of March 20.[11]

May 2003

This package included an impressive array of rare collectibles: an orange Kanohi Vahi piece, a hard plastic dark grey krana-kal (later known by collectors as a "Grey Plastic Krana-Kal" or "GPKK"), and a silver plastic krana-kal (later known by collectors as a "Vacuum Metal Krana-Kal" or "VMKK"). The package also included a Bohrok-Kal mini CD-ROM, a large Rahkshi poster, sketches from the upcoming BIONICLE BIONICLE 13: Rise of the Rahkshi!, and a BIONICLE survey to be returned to LEGO. Members who completed the survey would receive a special Rahkshi T-shirt in the August Proto-Squad package as a thank-you.[12][13][14] This "employees only" T-shirt was not publicly available for purchase and was like those worn by LEGO employees driving the Unleashed tour vans.[15]

Although the inclusion of the Vahi had been rumored beforehand, the inclusion of the VMKKs and GPKKs in the packages came as a surprise. The Proto-Squad package originally described the VMKKs as "misprints," but it was later explained that they were originally intended to fulfill the role of the white metal krana-kal (WMKK) and sterling silver krana-kal (SSKK) that were packaged in random Bohrok-Kal sets. The production of the VMKKs was stopped early due to time constraints, and the WMKKs and SSKKs were commissioned to replace them in the sets. The VMKKs were later distributed on the Unleashed tour vans as well.[16] At one point, all eight variations of VMKK were available for purchase on a site called[17] BZPower also distributed VMKKs through a giveaway in September 2003.[18]

Both the VMKKs and GPKKs were produced in all eight krana shapes, and Proto-Squad members received one of each collectible in a random shape. These collectibles are now valued at hundreds of US dollars each.[19]

June 2003

The exclusive web content was updated as of June 19.[20]

August 2003

Described by its card as a "Pre-Mask of Light Package," this mailing included a special Making of BIONICLE: Mask of Light CD, which included two trailers for the movie; a BIONICLE: Mask of Light poster; a Rahkshi CD; and one Turahk kraata. [21]

For those members who completed the survey included in the May package, this mailing also included the exclusive Rahkshi T-shirt.[15][22]

January 2004

Included a postcard from Greg Farshtey and a Toa Whenua set. The postcard requested each Proto-Squad member to invite one of his or her friends to apply to join the Proto-Squad, which was an extremely rare opportunity for new members to join the program. This mailing came as a surprise to members, who had not received a mailing in some time and were wondering whether the program was still active.[7]

April 2004

New Proto-Squad members were notified of their acceptance with a signed postcard from Greg Farshtey.[23]

May 2004

This package included a copy of BIONICLE Adventures 3: The Darkness Below and a note from Greg Farshtey.[24]

December 2004-January 2005

This mailing included a pack of Rhotuka spinners, the script of BIONICLE 22: Monsters in the Dark, and a letter featuring a phone number for members to call in order to register their e-mail address for an upcoming online Proto-Squad newsletter.[25][26]

Early 2005

The first Proto-Squad e-mail newsletter featured a sneak preview of the BIONICLE: Encyclopedia.[27]


  1. 1.0 1.1 BZPower News. "Ever Wonder about the Proto Squad?" February 10, 2003.
  2. Official Web Entry Form
  3. BZPower News. "Proto Squad Deadline Passed." September 2, 2002.
  4. BZPower News. "Join the Proto Squad." May 24, 2002.
  5. BZPower News. "Proto-Squad deadline nears." August 23, 2002.
  6. BZPower News. "It's Time To Toss Out The Proto Squad." October 18, 2003.
  7. 7.0 7.1 BZPower News. "Two Surprises for the Proto-Squad." January 8, 2004.
  8. BZPower News. "Proto Squad Packages Shipped." December 11, 2002.
  9. BZPower News. "Proto Squad Packages Being Shipped." February 8, 2003.
  10. BZPower News. "Proto-Squad members receive update." March 3, 2003.
  11. BZPower News. "Proto Squad members, rejoice!" March 20, 2003.
  12. BZPower News. "The Next Proto Package." April 24, 2003.
  13. BZPower News. May 17, 2003.
  14. BZPower News. "A cool package indeed for Proto Squad members." June 6, 2003.
  15. 15.0 15.1 BZPower News. "A Message from LEGO to Squad Members." July 2, 2003.
  16. BZPower Forums. "Where Did Those Vacuum Metal Krana Come From?" July 25, 2003.
  17. BZPower News. "Major New Additions to" September 20, 2003.
  18. BZPower News. "BZPower's 7th Giveaway." September 23, 2003.
  19. "Official Rare & Promotional Collectibles Topic". BZPower Forums.
  20. BZPower News. "Proto Squad web site updated." June 19, 2003.
  21. BZPower News. "New Proto Squad Packages on their way." August 4, 2003.
  22. BZPower News. August 6, 2003.
  23. BZPower News. "New Proto Squad Members Notified." April 18, 2004.
  24. BZPower News. "Proto-Squad Receiving Books." May 10, 2004.
  25. BZPowers News. "New Proto Squad Package Appearing On Doorsteps." December 29, 2004.
  26. BZPower News. "The Proto-Squad package has arrived!" January 9, 2005.
  27. BZPower News. "Sneak Preview for Proto-Squad Members." January 30, 2005.