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Who is your favorite Toa?


 December 23, 2002
On The Second Day Of Goldness

First up are photos of the display box. This particular box shows a little wear. The logo sticker has a shallow cut in it, and a lot of the gilding has worn off the raised surface. Then again, who cares about the box when there's gold inside? Opening it up you find the 14 karat solid gold HAU nestled in a velvet-skinned pad. There are five cuts in the lower pad to facilitate placing the gold HAU inside. If you don't do it correctly, the box doesn't like to stay closed. One cut fits the extension on the back of the HAU itself, two vertical cuts directly to either side allow the necklace (when strung through the holes on the back of the HAU) to be pulled through to the front side, and two small vertical nicks at the top edge of the pad allow the ends to be tucked back under the pad. The result is sort of like what you'd expect to see when buying an expensive necklace.

Next up is the necklace. Since there are two large holes in the upper back part of the HAU, it can be worn as a necklace with the included chain. The chain has a special link design, so it slides through the holes without catching on them. Unfortunately, it's only a 17" chain (the shortest usually found commercially is 18") so it's a bit short on an adult. My guess is that the size was picked for the younger crowd so it wouldn't be hanging down by the belly.

Next up are a pair of views from the front. I couldn't decide which one looked better, so I'm posting both of them. The closeups show an unfortunate number of scratches. Some of them, especially around the necklace holes, are quite deep. Most of them are fairly tiny and could probably be buffed out with no problem.

Also of note is that this HAU is a bit lumpy shaped, unlike the plastic versions. I noticed a large almost ridge-like bump running back on the right temple (left side of the images). This bump is not present on the left temple, nor can it be found on any plastic HAU in my collection. My guess is that something happened to the mold that was used to cast this, since you don't injection-mold gold.

Other noteworthy points are that the cheek ridges are textured quite differently from the plastic HAU. They have a very grainy outer surface, but close examination shows that it's clearly intentional. However, there are also some ugly little pits inside the "mouth", and at least one more bubble can be found right in the center of the "chin" region. These pits and bubbles are much less uniform than the cheek texture, so it's pretty obvious that they were caused by the casting process, not by the design.

Finally, you can see what it looks like on the inside. I found a large number of little snail-trail shaped marks, and I have no idea why they're there. I also found the mounting stud to be slightly smaller than the standard plastic one, so getting this thing to stay firmly attached to anything was an unpleasant task. It was always tipping to one side or the other, and pushing it back into position would leave an ugly fingerprint that would just stand out in any photos. It's bad enough trying to get a TOA to balance correctly without having to worry about someone else's $2050 collectible taking a nosedive every five seconds.

My final thoughts on this is that it was neat to finally get to see one in person but it didn't seem quite as cool as I'd expected. Not two-thousand-dollar cool, at least. The best reason I can see to justify that kind of pricetag is the ability to fill the most difficult hole in one's collection, and knowing that the chance to do so is not likely to pop up with any regularity.

Items Related To This Story
14 Karat Solid Gold HAU

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