December was a month of endings. It was the end of 2013, but it was also the end of the DC Club Infinite Earths sub and the end of the Club Filmation sub. Both will be missed, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see another Filmation mini-sub pop up next year. Today we’re going to check out the final figure in the Filmation sub. He’s Strong-Or and probably the one figure that I was least interested in among the club’s excellent roster.
There’s the packaging and there are no surprises here. Fans of the cartoon will note that he was originally named Strong Arm, but has been redubbed Strong-Or, probably because of some kind of copyright gobbledygook. Hey, at least he was spared the name Fisto. Flip the package over and we get a bio, which inexplicably mentions the name that they couldn’t give him on the front. Weird. Also, I’ll note that the only figure I’m missing on the back of the card is Fang Man, who I believe is another Filmation character. Fang Man is crazy expensive now, so I may never get him. There’s not much else to say about the package and since my Jameson is getting low, I’d better just dive right in to my next unpleasant task. I’m off to watch “She Demon of Phantos” and I’ll be back in about 25 minutes.
Ok, so that was um… an episode where some stuff happened. The Eternian Palace has a standing deal to buy
vibranium adamantium photanium metal from Queen Elmora of Phantos to make their weapons, but Skeletor takes over the planet and secretly sells them shit metal instead. Meanwhile he takes over Phantos, turns Elmora into a crazy old hag with a wonky eye, and it’s up to He-Man and gang to set things straight. What’s missing? Strong-Or. He’s hardly in it, other than just being another one of Skeletor’s goons. It makes him an odd choice for the sub, since all of the other one-off’s were at least pretty central to the episode they were in. That’s not really a complaint, because I’m just as happy to get another Evil Warrior for Skeletor’s brood. I also need to confess that I fast-forwarded this one a lot. While the premise showed promise, this episode just bored me to tears. Thankfully, the bio makes this guy a lot more interesting. Ok, so let’s check out the figure.
He may be from another planet, but Strong-Or is a dude who fits right in with the crazy freaks of Eternia. He’s got the head of a bulldog-jowled cyber punk-rocker, a giant mechanical arm and a miss-matched bright yellow glove. Nothing about this dude is subtle. And yet the bulk of the figure is comprised of a pretty standard MOTUC buck cast in orange with metallic blue boots and spiked belt and a soft plastic piece of armor that rests around his neck and on his shoulders. Oddly enough it’s the yellow glove that bothers me the most about this guy. Yes, it’s animation accurate, but it’s just so out of place. I think if it matched his armor or boots it would have tied the figure together splendidly. Sure, it’s a rather unfair critique, as it says more about Stong-Or’s poor fashion sense than the figure itself, but I thought I’d throw it out there anyway.
Obviously, the portrait here is pretty distinctive to say the least. Strong-Or’s mask has a crude, hammered and chiseled look that I think works in the character’s favor. The soft rubbery spiked mohawk is the pinnacle of lazy 80’s design, and yet somehow it’s still passable on Eternia. The giant triangular ears are only made more bizarre by the fact that they’re painted to be real ears and not part of the mask. Speaking of paint, the paint on Strong-Or’s head is a little rough. There’s a lot of slop between the ears and the mask and some obvious brush strokes on the face. It’s nothing terrible, but the paint apps on my MOTUC figures are usually so well done, I thought it worth pointing out here.
Strong-Or’s big gimmick is his mechanical right arm, which can extend by swapping it out with a larger piece. It really seems like he’s infringing on Fisto and Jitsu’s own private freak flags, but he is from another planet, so I guess we have to let that slide. Plus, I don’t own either of those figures and that makes him more unique in my collection. The arm is very nicely executed with individually sculpted segments and and bolts running down the front and back. The swappable part is attached just below the elbow so you don’t lose any articulation when giving him the extended arm.
As if his mechanical arm wasn’t enough, Strong-Or also comes with one of the coolest guns released in the line. Check this thing out! It’s an awesome retro sci-fi gun that looks like it would be right at home being wielded by Buster Crabbe. The gun is designed to be held with both hands, which puts it at odds with Strong-Or since there isn’t a peg hole in his mechanical fists. Then again, it isn’t really intended for Strong-Or as I’m told by one of my He-Man fanatical friends that it’s a weapon used by Evil-Lyn in another episode. I have to say it’s really cool that Mattel is tossing in Filmation-style accessories with figures just to get them out there.
Strong-Or is my least favorite of the entire Filmation Club run, but that does not in any way mean that I don’t like him. This mini-sub has produced some amazing figures and I’m happy to have every one of them standing on my shelves. Ranking last in a collection of six great figures should not be taken as a mark of shame. The best compliment that I can pay to this little sub is that it convinced me to sub Club Eternia this year and as I play around with Strong-Or right now I am in no way regretting that decision. I mean, holy shit in just a couple of weeks Two-Bad will be landing on my doorstep and I can’t wait!
*Image of Filmation Strongarm taken from Greyskull Wiki.