Masters of the Universe Classics: Hover Robots by Mattel

My Christmas excursion into Masters Classics last month got me good and fired up about picking up some of the figures missing from my collection, and finally opening up some of the stuff I’ve been waiting on. Hell, I still have a unopened Battle Ram lying around here somewhere. Suffice it to say, I still have some unfinished business with MOTUC. Take these Hover Robots for example. Missing out on these the first time broke my heart. And then just as I was getting over that heartache, I missed out on them again. Luckily, I peruse Mattel’s Ebay page every now and then, and they just so happened to turn up there over the Holidays… and on sale too! It was like a Christmas Miracle!

Despite being a three-pack, these figures come in the same size and style card-and-bubble that we’ve been seeing throughout the Masters Classics run. If you’re unfamiliar, these tin cans are from the Filmation cartoon, and occasionally served as Skeletor’s soldiers as well as enemies for He-Man to beat up without having to depict him actually inflicting violence on living beings. It’s sort of like the Battle Android Troopers in GI Joe. Acceptable cannon fodder. I seem to remember one of He-Man’s signature moves was to grab one robot and toss it into a group of others, resulting in them all explode. Even the delightful tagline, “Evil Mindless Robot Goons” stresses that they have no sense or feelings. Some of you may know that I have a “love to hate” relationship with the Filmation cartoon, but I always loved these robot designs.

The three-pack does indeed consist of three of the same figure. I’m a little surprised Matty didn’t do something to distinguish them apart like they did with the Horde Trooper two-pack. Maybe scorch marks on one? But don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they didn’t. The robots come with clear plastic stands that plug and unplug easily into the socket at the bottom of their little hover tube. These are similar to the stands used for Orko and The Unnamed One. They balance quite well and certainly serve their purpose, but it would have been cool if Matty could have given them a ball joint or some kind of articulation. Maybe it could have been something put into one of the accessory packs, if these were released earlier in the line’s lifespan. But I didn’t come here to complain, I came here to praise these adorable little death machines.

Each of the robots are very simple figures, but that’s not a criticism, but rather what the design demands. The sculpts feature minimal details and minimal paint, but both of which works to maintain the Filmation animated style. You do get a little bit of metallic blue paint on some of the panels, as well as silver paint on the hover tube and the arms. The dome at the top features bright yellow paint for the eyes and black for the “V” shaped area that houses them. It helps to give them a rather sinister look, despite their somewhat dumpy design.

The coolest detail on these guys is the lenticular sticker used for their “mouths.” By viewing it at different angles, it changes the pattern of the oscilloscope-like wave that would react when the robots spoke. It was a great idea and it works really well. Other than the animated mouths, the articulation on these fellas is pretty simple, but all the necessary points are there. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders and elbows, and they hands can rotate at the wrists. The dome with the eyes can also swivel from side to side.

The pack includes an extra set of propeller hands for each of the robots, and swapping them in and out is really easy. I seem to remember the robots in the cartoon using the propeller hands as weapons by spinning them really fast to chop up their foes. I suppose they could really do some damage with those if they got up close and personal. Good thing for The Masters of the Universe that these guys were pretty useless.

And really, that’s all I have to say about the Hover Robots, but don’t be fooled by the brevity of this review. These are fantastic little figures and I’m so happy that I was finally able to snag a set without paying crazy money for them. They look great, they capture that Filmation design perfectly, they’re fun to play with, and even though I never owned any He-Man figures as a kid, I still would have loved to have a set of these. They’re still available on Matty’s Ebay Store, although since I picked mine up the price has gone back up to $35. But that includes shipping and is certainly less then they would have cost if they were included in my Club Eternia Subscription back in the day. Either way, I’m in love with these dopey tin cans and I do believe I’m going to try to grab another set before they’re gone.

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