As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’m doing MOTUC features sparingly these days because I know it’s all coming to an end soon. I’m also starting to get worried about the collapse over there at “The House That Matty Built,” as I just got an email telling me that all four of my November subscription figures (two Masters and two ThunderCats) are now not expected to ship until January. Keep in mind, I got a notice they would be shipping back in early November and I was supposed to have received them about a week ago. In short, there are shenanigans going on over there and telling me I’m going to receive figures that I already paid for some time after your operation is supposed to close down makes me a little queasy, Matty!
So, today I’m going to dial the wheel to a happier time when the toy shipments were more or less running on time, and I didn’t have to worry about whether or not I was ever going to see them. Besides, I’ve been chomping at the bit (Horse Humor! HA!) to open Night Stalker for a while now and after a lot of long hours and hard work over the last couple of weeks, I’ve decided to treat myself by doing just that!
The packaging is pretty damn big, and should look readily familiar to anyone collecting the line. Matty has been using something similar to this angled window box for previous beasts, steeds, and two-packs all along. You get that wonderful Grayskull-themed stonework on the outside as well as the illustrated cardboard tray inside. There are no longer any bios on the boxes, but you get pictures of a bunch of previous releases on the back. All in all, this box shows off the toy splendidly and is also technically collector friendly, but that later point really depends on how patient and careful you are getting your mecha-horse out of the stable. There’s a torturous combination of transparent rubber bands and black string holding this guy in place. It’s worth mentioning that Night Stalker is most associated with Jitsu, one of the few MOTUC figures I don’t own, but that’s OK, because any of my Eternian baddies are free to ride him into battle. For the purposes of this Feature, I’ll be using Tri-Klops, because… I love Tri-Klops.
Holy hell, the design here is pure bad ass and just oozes toy perfection. It’s got that wonderful look of retro-tech that tends to flourish on Eternia with just a little hint of steampunk. I’d like to think this thing sounds like a hundred lawnmowers as it stalks the countryside looking for those blasted Masters Do-Gooders. Besides being a great design, there’s so much loving detail packed into this mold! I really dig the bulky and boxy body, complete with sculpted bolts, vents, hoses, plates and all sorts of other bits and bobs. Even the rather low-profile area behind the seat has sculpted hoses and machinery.
As great as the sculpt is, I think it’s the coloring here that really makes this a prize winning cyber-stag. The bulk of the body features a gorgeous metallic gold finish with black used for the neck, the inner areas where the legs attach, hooves, and the recessed leg panels. This lovely deco is rounded out with some purple for the tail, guns, and the back of the seat and you get some copper paint on a few of the sculpted details. Egads, this is a gorgeous toy!
The head is the most organic looking thing about this robo-stallion. If it weren’t for the segmented sections on the sides of the head, I’d almost believe the intent here was that some Eternian mad scientist transplanted a real horse head onto this thing and created an unholy abomination. As things are, I’m still inclined to believe the ears came off a real horse. And just look at those soul-less Funko Pop! styled eyes. They’re like black wells of despair… creepy!
Night Stalker also includes a purple mask that fits perfectly over the head. It gives him a little extra armor, but mostly just makes him look cooler. The sculpt includes scale-type armor plates and cut-outs for the ears, nostrils and eyes. The way the eye holes are cut make Night Stalker look a lot meaner with the mask on. The mask also adds a single horn.
Articulation includes rotation in the upper legs and hinges in the “knees” and “ankles” for lack of a better term. Sorry, if my horse anatomy is lacking. The tail is ball jointed, but it really seems only designed to rotate and lift up ever so slightly, probably useful for when he is pooping out batteries. The neck is built on a clever string of segmented ball jointed plates, giving it a lot of movement. While I believe the original vintage beasts were mostly static, this modern update is tons of fun to play with. The weapons on this beast are also articulated. The two front guns and raise and lower and the tail gun rotates left and right. Unfortunately, in a mis-guided attempt to secure the toy in the box, the rubber bands have warped the front guns, so they curve inward a bit. Not a big deal, but it was a stupid thing to do when packing him.
Obviously, Night Stalker is designed to seat a figure. There’s some detailed sculpting inside the compartment and you get a sticker for the dash board, which includes some buttons, gauges, and a video screen showing Night Stalker targeting Castle Grayskull. Yeah, one of the things that really impressed me about the Wind Raider was that all the controls were actually sculpted and here they’re not. I’m not going to hold that against Night Stalker. This late in the game, I’m amazed we even got something as big and cool as this toy.
I actually had to look up how much Night Stalker cost me, because as a subscriber, they just take my monies and ship me stuff and I don’t tend to think about it a lot. I was surprised to find that he was only $40, which seems like a decent enough value for a toy this big, detailed, and well painted. He’s actually still available on Matty Collector, but the non-subber price is $54. That’s quite a price hike for the purpose of punishing the disloyal. Still, not an outrageous sum for what is a very cool toy.
As many of you probably know by now, I didn’t have any Masters toys as a kid, but I admired the line through TV commercials and Wish Book pages, and I can remember the endearing appeal of the two robot horses, Stridor and Night Stalker, quite vividly. I got to play with the He-Mans over my best friends house, but he never got either of these steeds so I was looking forward to the possibility of getting both of them in the Classics line. Alas, Matty was only able to make half that wish come true. Stridor didn’t happen, and considering how good this one is that’s a shame. But at least we got this one and he’s quite spectacular! He also throws a little more balance on the side of Skeletor, as the vehicles so far have all been for the heroes.