Masters of the Universe Classics: Darius by Mattel

Yes, folks, I continue to cling to the Masters Classics line through the tenuous link of the Collectors’ Choice subscription. I want to say this is the third release in this Sub, with another four or five still coming, but the constant delays are throwing off my count. It’s gotten to the point where I’m just surprised to see one of these show up at my door. Today I’m opening up Darius, and this is a figure that sat around for a little while because I honestly had very little interest in him and, mostly because he was not a Mythic Legions figure and right now anything that’s not a Mythic Legions figure can pretty much go to hell.

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Of course, you get the same great packaging as always. Maybe not as snazzy and collector friendly as those Club Grayskull boxes, but I still dig it. You get a “Galactic Protectors” sticker on the bubble and his tagline is “Leader of the Galactic Protectors.” Yup, Darius is one of the good guys from the New Adventures of He-Man. To clarify, he is based off the prototype of an unreleased New Adventures figure and was going to be He-Man’s intergalactic mentor in the cartoon, but they ended up not using him. Do I care? Nah, I’m just in this line for the cool and wacky designs. Note how messed up the top of my card is? Despite charging like $12 for ground shipping, Matty continues to rely on just one sheet of crumpled brown paper as packing. Thanks, guys!

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So, one of the things I like most about the New Adventures characters is that they allow for a lot more detail than a lot of the MOTU figures, and Darius here is a great example of that. The paint and sculpt on this dude is just totally off the charts for a line where we’re used to just getting a repainted muscular buck. Just look at all the gizmos sculpted into his vest and thigh armor and the straps holding them on. Even the coloring on this figure is outrageously good, with metallic copper and gold armor against a red and blue costume. Many of the sculpted details are highlighted with additional silver paint. Darius is a techno-infused feast for the eyes!

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The blue cape is rather bloated and cumbersome. I think the use of plastic for capes on figures in this scale needs to go away. It looks OK from the front, but from the back it’s just a big hunk of plastic. It cries out for some sculpted stitching, or rumples and wrinkles. There’s even an unsightly seam running down the right hand side. Fortunately it is removable by pulling it out of the shoulder tabs.

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The result not only frees the figure from a lot of unwanted bulk, but also lets you get a good look at all the beautiful detail on the back of the figure. Look at the individually painted straps and buckles on his leg armor. Check out all the work that went into the back of his vest. Why hide all that great stuff with an ugly blob of a cape?

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The head sculpt here is absolutely fantastic. The facial features are very pronounced and he has a slight snarl that gives him loads of personality. The detail work in the beard and hair is great as well. Yeah, my figure has a few stray marks of the brown paint they used for the hair, but I just consider it dirt from the battlefield, or whatever. This is undoubtedly one of my favorite portraits in the entire line.

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To protect that wonderful noggin, Darius comes with a removable helmet, something we haven’t seen a lot of the line. In fact, this may be a first, unless you count Flogg. It fits beautifully on the figure.

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I wish I could tell you that Darius comes with some suitably amazing accessories, but the sad truth is that his shield and weapon are both disappointing. The shield is just a weird shape with virtually no detail. And the weapon is… well, I guess it’s some kind of flail, but it just looks ridiculous. It reminds me of an Aspergillum, which is a word I only know because I was raised Catholic and it’s a kind of mace that was used to spritz holy water on crowds of people. And a warm welcome, to all you bewildered folks who find themselves reading a Masters of the Universe action figure review because you googled Aspergillum and it brought you here! Anyway, I presume Darius’ ball is designed more for bashing in heads than it is blessing people. Either way, I just don’t like it at all.

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It’s a shame to end this Feature on a downer due to some shitty accessories, because Darius really is a great figure. I was not looking forward to this guy, and even when he arrived, I had little interest and tossed him aside. Once I got him open and in hand, however, I found a lot to appreciate.  I won’t lie, though. I’m really getting to the point with this line where I’m saying, “Wow, I paid like $37 for this guy if you factor in the shipping.” My conception of any kind of value in this line is beginning to wear thin, and I find myself becoming more comfortable with the fact that the end is drawing near. At the same time, I know there are some amazing figures yet to come!

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One comment on “Masters of the Universe Classics: Darius by Mattel

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