Masters of the Universe Classics: General Sundar by Mattel

I think in my mind I’ve already detached myself from MOTUC, because I keep forgetting that I have new figures to look at. Not to mention a Castle Greyskull and Battle Ram and a sizable robotic horse to open. No, I haven’t lost my love for this line, but I think I’m just beginning to make peace with the fact that it’s almost done. So, maybe it’s not an issue of forgetting them, but wanting to take my time and savor the final releases because soon there will be no more. That having been said, I was really looking forward to today’s release, which arrived on my doorstep several weeks back and today’s the day I felt like finally opening him up.

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There’s nothing to be said here about the packaging that hasn’t already been said these past many years. Fans of the Filmation She-Ra series will note that the spelling of this guy’s name has changed from Sunder to Sundar because, copyright lapse? Probably. Anyway, the bios on the back of the cards are gone, but I remember a good deal about the two episodes that Sundar appeared in and how unlikely Sundar’s character arc was. Yup, he’s a Horde General with honor, which makes little sense, who all the sudden decides that Hordak and his taxes are unreasonable… shortly after he’s thrown a poor old farmer and his wife into prison for not paying their taxes after they were arbitrarily doubled that morning. Yeah, I see what they were going for here, and I appreciate that kind of depth in a kid’s show that was basically a toy commercial, but it’s still pretty weak.

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This figure, on the other hand, is amazing. There’s something about the Horde Trooper aesthetic that I just adore and that’s on full display here. Sundar wears a modified version of the Horde Trooper armor, which features the same pale gray plates with exposed black ribbing at the joints. His chest plate is missing the sculpted Horde emblem, but he makes up for it with a dashing red cape that “secures” to the front of his shoulders with two bronze clasps, which also match his belt buckle. There’s some wonderful detail sculpted into the armor itself, particularly on the legs and forearms. One o fmy many weaknesses is sci-fi/fantasy armor and this is just a great example of that.

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The head sculpt features a helmet sculpted onto the underlying head to give it some depth and credibility. It’s a relatively simple helmet design with the nose and mouth exposed and large holes for the eyes. The top is adorned with a Grecco-Roman style brush crest. It’s worth pointing out here that my figure has a few nagging little QC issues, like a chip of gray paint near his right eyebrow and some glue residue on the helmet in front of the crest. There’s also some rubbing on the front of his chest plate, but that last bit I’ll just write off as some battle scuffing. I hate to say it, but it really does feel like some of these final figures aren’t getting as much QC as the bulk of MOTUC releases. There’s nothing here that ruins the figure for me, but keep in mind, this guy was around $38 shipped, so even the little flubs can be annoying.

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The articulation here is a bit of a departure from what I’m used to seeing in the MOTUC line, but then this guy does look like he’s comprised of mostly new tooling. The big change here is the use of rotating hinges in the elbows and knees, as opposed to just regular hinges. In fact, this guy is all about the rotating hinges, as he also has them in the shoulders and hips as well. There are swivels in the biceps, wrists, and at the hips and chest. You get the usual ab crunch hinge hidden under the chest plate and the neck is ball jointed. The ankles have hinges and possibly lateral rockers, but I really can’t get much movement out of them.

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Sundar comes with his pair of stun pistols, each housed snugly in his twin holsters. These are cool little designs and he looks great dual wielding them. Oddly, the trigger finger on his right hand doesn’t seem like it was designed with the gun in mind, so he tends to hold it on a bit of an angle.

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You also get this Horde axe. I don’t recall him having this in the series, but it’s been forever since I’ve seen his episodes. Whatever the case, it looks wonderful when matched with one of the Horde Troopers’ shields. It’s pretty cool that Mattel threw in the axe when you consider that Sundar also comes with a trio of extra heads…

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Yup, these bonus noggins are actually for the Horde Troopers so you can spice up your ranks with a little variety. As I understand it the one in the middle is a Naval Trooper and the one on the left is the design helmet from the Horde’s earlier days. I have no clue as to the purple monster face helmet, but it’s a damn fine sculpt.

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Will I get much use out of these? Probably not. I only have two Horde Troopers and I plan on keeping them with their stock heads. There was a rumor that Mattel was going to be re-releasing the Horde Trooper sometime in November, but with things at Matty Collector winding down in just two short months, I’m not finding that likely. If I can get another Trooper, I’ll definitely display him with the Navy Head.

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Sundar is definitely one of my favorite MOTUC figures this year, and that’s saying a lot because there have been quite a few excellent releases. It also shows once again that I don’t need any special affinity for a character to love the figures in this line. The front of the card may say Former Horde General, but I’ll likely keep Sundar displayed with my Horde army because he looks so amazing standing beside Hordak and flanked by a pair of Troopers. The extra heads were also a fantastic bonus and continues to show that Matty is trying to get as much extras into the hands of the collectors before the curtain drops on this wonderful line.

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Masters of the Universe Classics: Lord Masque by Mattel

A week or so ago I featured what I thought would be my last new carded figure from the Masters Classics line. Then I realized that while I didn’t sub Eternia 2.0, I did sub a Collector’s Choice series that I completely forgot even existed. Good thing, I didn’t buy Lord Masque off the site, because he’s the first figure in this Sub that I didn’t even remember buying into and at prices like these, I sure didn’t need two of him. Yeah, I know I also said in that feature that I’d look at the first version of Classics He-Ro next. Don’t worry, I’ll get to him soon.

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Oh, look! It’s this packaging again! From the front it looks identical to what we’ve been seeing all along, but if you flip it around, you’ll see no more bio cards. They were never a big part of the line for me, so I’m not bummed about it. You’ll also notice that while Masque is holding the sword and shield he comes packaged with, they aren’t meant for him. But more on that later…

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Yay, I own all of these figures! The “Evil Servant of Shokoti,” Lord Masque hails from a Filmation cartoon two-parter called “The House of Shokoti” where he paired up with Trap Jaw to bring back his evil mistress, or something like that. Shokoti was released a little while back in the Filmation Mini-Sub and now the two characters are finally together.

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Masque is a pretty cool looking guy. From the neck down he’s fairly standard Masters Classic design. We’ve seen those scalloped greaves before, but they suit the character well. The pearlescent white used for the gauntlets, belt, and chest piece add a nice splash of brightness to an otherwise dreary deco. There’s some nice texturing included in the cross straps on the chest and the thigh straps that make them convincing as leather pieces.

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The cape hangs around the figure’s neck, but is worn off the shoulders and cascades down almost to the ground. It’s pretty stiff, but there’s enough play at the neck to pull it back so it doesn’t inhibit action poses all that badly. It’s also separate from the hood.

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The portrait is easily the most distinctive thing about Masque, as his name suggests! The design is also a great example of how the Filmation series cribbed quite a lot of designs that had a Star Wars flavor. It’s a relatively simple sculpt, but it’s quite faithful to the Filmation art and it looks great on a Classics figure. Because the hood is sculpted separately from the cape, you can still get a decent amount of articulation out of that ball joint in the neck.

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As hinted at earlier, the accessories are intended for New Adventures He-Man, a figure I don’t own. Until I inevitbaly hunt him down, I’ll likely let Masque keep these. The sword features a silver futuristic guard and a translucent green energy blade and hilt. I think it suits him fairly well. The shield has the same silver and translucent deco to make them a matched set. I suppose the “HM” logo on the shield can kind of work as just an “M” for Masque, although I don’t think I’ll end up displaying him with the shield, just the sword. I can’t fault Matty for not giving Masque anything of his own. All he did in the episode was just turn into black smoke or shape shift into a disguise. That having been said, a spare mask with a notch to stick He-Man’s sword into it would have been cool.

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Back when I was confused and thought that this was a figure in the Eternia 2.0 line, I was a little bummed that I wasn’t going to get him. He may have been a mostly forgettable one-off character in the series, but he makes for a great addition to my shelves, and I’m glad things turned out in my favor. One of the cooler things about Eternian lore to me was that in addition to Skeletor’s band of evil kooks, you also had all of these other free agents running around trying to be bosses of their own. Yeah, Masque might have been a toady for Shokoti, but when they first revealed him, I was pretty sure they might be grooming him to be competition for Skeletor. If I had a figure of him as a kid, I’m sure that’s how I would have played with him.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Lizard Man by Mattel

Oh, happy day! I’m finally caught up on my Masters Classics figures! Sure, I’m opening last month’s figure today, but I’m doing it before this month’s figures have shipped out and I call that progress! Today’s offering is actually the first release for the 2015 Club Eternia Sub and it is Lizard Man. I have very little memory of the episodes this guy appeared in, but back in 2011 that once great site Topless Robot (I miss ya Rob) gave him 1-20 Odds that he’d ever get an action figure. It was a good call and the author’s reasoning was certainly sound. Lizard Man just didn’t conform to the standard Matty Buck and his release would be contrary to the entire MOTUC money-saving business model. And afterall, it did take almost four years to happen, who even could have guessed the Matty Collector Train would still be chugging along for such a long while?

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The only thing I have to say about the packaging is DAMN YOU MEKANECK FOR BEING THE ONLY FIGURE ON THE BACK THAT I DON’T HAVE!!! There’s also an intriguing sticker on the top corner of the cardback that tries to teach me how to get the best performance out of my glow-in-the-dark accessory. GITD? I had no idea! Anyway, Lizard Man’s tagline is “Heroic Cold Blooded Ally” and the bio laments the fact that being a good lizard causes him to deal with discrimination, because most of the lizard people on Eternia are assholes. Maybe it would help if people didn’t call him “Lizard Man” because that right there is some racist shit. That’s it. I got nothing else… let’s pop this guy out and take a look at him.

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Holy crap, I love this guy! Everything about him really shouts the Filmation aesthetic. Yeah, he’s just a lizard guy in a blue two-piece, but for a C-level character, T4H did a beautiful job on him. His lean stature makes him stand out in a sea of MOTUC bucks and I do believe most everything on this figure is brand new. Liz is mostly cast in a pleasing, deep green plastic and his belt and clothes are all sculpted right onto his body. There’s no real flexibility to the tail, but it is positioned to help the figure stand more easily, although he’s well balanced enough that he doesn’t need to rely on it. And check out the awesome webbing between his fingers! It’s done with a really thin plastic that’s semi-transparent and looks amazing.

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The head sculpt is chock full of personality. Lizard Man is sort of wearing a smile, although its hard to tell whether he’s happy or just being a lizard. The eyes are painted yellow with black slits for pupils and he has a blue hood sculpted on his head. It’s definitely Filmation through and through, maybe with a little bit of Don Bluth mixed in and that ain’t a bad thing at all. I think if I had one gripe about the figure as a whole it’s that he seems a little too tall. What little memory I have of him makes me think he should be significantly shorter than He-Man, but maybe that’s because he’s often seen hunched over.

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Despite the new buck, the articulation here remains pretty close to what we usually see in the line. Lizard Man’s arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels at the biceps and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have rotating hinges at the knees, hinges in the ankles and swivels at the hips. The neck is ball jointed and the figure can swivel at the waist, but there is no ab-crunch hinge. So we lose an ab-crunch but gain a little extra movement in the knees. What’s really fun about Lizard Man’s articulation is not so much found in the individual points, but rather that the lean body allows for a wider range of motion than the bulky, beefed-out MOTUC bucks. He’s certainly fun to play with!

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You get two accessories with Lizard Man, both of which are just random Filmation pieces bundled with the figure. Matty promised they were going to be doing this whenever possible and they have indeed delivered some neat stuff. The Diamond Ray of Disappearance comes from the very first episode of the series that bears the same name. It’s a permanently opened box with a GITD diamond inside that exiles your figures to another dimension. Actually, you may need to use your imagination for that to work. The bottom of the box has intended room for Skeletor’s fingers to help him hold it, which was a good idea in theory but has mixed results.

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The other piece is the Filmation version of Skeletor’s sword with the crossed bone hilt. It’s a nicely sculpted piece, but the fact that it’s left unpainted in bare gray plastic really makes it uninteresting to me. Why not cast the thing in purple? I think it would have looked better. As it is it just looks like an unfinished, prototype accessory. Still, I give Matty props for continuing to get us the Filmation accessories and so far the good have far outweighed the flubs. If I had some customizing skills, I’d probably try to paint it, but that’s never going to happen.

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As a character, I don’t know how many people were clamoring for a Lizard Man figure, but keep in mind, I collect MOTUC for the figures themselves and not so much the fiction or the characters. Yes, I started collecting the line largely based off of nostalgia for characters like He-Man and Skeletor, but the majority of the figures I get could have no fiction at all behind them and I’d still love them. Taking that into consideration, I couldn’t be happier with how Mattel has kicked off the final year for Club Eternia because Lizard Man is just a great figure. 2015 is going to be interesting as they’ll be bringing in a lot of lesser known names to the table, but again seeing as how the characters are secondary to me, I think I’m going to find a lot to love this year, possibly more so than most.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Plundor by Mattel

I’m continuing to make my way through the large stack of MOTUC figures that sits in the corner waiting to be opened. I’ve gone through three New Adventures themed figures in the last couple weeks, but now I’m pulling it back to something more conventional. And nothing says conventional like an evil purple rabbit. I seem to remember a lot of complaining on the He-Man boards when this guy was revealed and I can’t for the life of me understand why. First of all, he was a prominent Filmation villain, at least in one episode, and secondly if the idea of an evil purple rabbit-man is too bizarre for you, then why are you even bothering with this action figure line? It frightens me to think that there are people out there saying, “Woah! I’ll take a crab man and a guy with a robot elephant head, but rabbit people is where I draw the line. That’s just stupid!”

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Here he is in all his packaged glory. Please note the greatest tag line for any Masters figure, ever… “Evil Rabbit Seeking Riches.” It sounds like a personal listing on Craig’s List. I love it! The bio on the back recounts “The Quest for He-Man” an episode that I can actually remember quite well probably because it was batshit crazy even by Masters standards. It was also a thinly veiled PSA about how evil corporations are trying to destroy the environment in search of the almighty dollar. I’d like to know what the gang at Filmation was smoking that made them decide that the personification of corporate greed is a purple bunny rabbit. And those of you still complaining that we got this figure should just thank the Gods of Eternia that Matty didn’t give us a Gleedal figure, which was basically a woman with a smoking hot body and a bird’s head. As an adolescent boy a the time, I don’t mind admitting that chick confused the hell out of me and certain parts of my anatomy. I think I should open the figure now.

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On a lot of levels, Plundor is a very simple figure. You get a hairy sculpted buck with boots and gloves. He isn’t wearing the traditional hairy barbarian diaper either. Instead you just get a smooth set of undies with a belt. The bulk of his outfit is the single piece that rests on his shoulders and protrudes down to his belt, and yes if you pop off his head it is removable. Of course, the fact that this lavendar man-rabbit is just wearing a little leather and shows off so much of his ‘roided out physique makes him all the more unsettling in my eyes, but if you want to go for the bare chested look, have at it.

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Of course, most of Plundor’s personality rests in that delightful head sculpt, which I think is up there with some of the MOTUC series’ best work. It straddles a creepy line between cartoon lunacy and pure evil. The yellow soul-piercing eyes, buried under that furry, disapproving brow is pure poetry. I also love the evil smile punctuated by those two glimmering white buck teeth. The hair on his head is a little tostled and I love the way his one ear is bent down. In terms of scary looking rabbits, he’s not quite up there with the Hat Trick Rabbit from the Twilight Zone movie, but he’s certainly memorable. This is most definitely the visage of a rabbit who is going to rape your planet’s ecosystem just to make a few bucks so he can buy the finest things in life. Or probably rabbit-hookers.

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Articulation here is standard for the MOTUC line. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels at the biceps and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have hinges at the knees and ankles, and there are swivels near the hips and again at the boots. Plundor features a swivel at the waist, ab crunch hinge in the torso, and a ball jointed neck.

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Plundor comes with a couple of cool weapons. First off we get this double-bladed battle axe thing with a crystal ball on the top. I don’t remember this thing from the episode, and a little research tells me it’s actually intended to be one of Skeletor’s weapons, which makes sense. I like it, as the crystal ball can be used for gazing or shooting magic beams while the axe is still plenty functional. It’s kind of a fantasty multi-tool. Not only is it a decent sculpt, but I appreciate the metallic paint on the edges, especially when a lot of the more recent weapons in this line could have used more paint hits.

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For me, the real star of the accessories is Plundor’s awesome little laser-sub-machine-gun. This thing has a great retro sci-fi flavor and I really dig that it can be held in both hands. It’s exactly the kind of weapon I would imagine a purple man-rabbit-gangsta would be toting around. The sculpt features decent detail for what is supposed to be an animated style Filmation weapon and we actually get some silver paint hits, which once again are greatly appreciated. I may put a strap on it so that he can sling it across his back.

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And so you can love him or hate him, but eitehr way I count myself among the members of Team Plundor. This release gives us one of the more memorable one-off villains from the show for the first time in figure form and I think T4H did a marvelous job with him. The sculpting and coloring here is top notch and while he’s relatively simple, I think he’s undeniably fun and looks fantastic among the other freaks and weirdos on my beloved MOTUC shelves. I’m particularly glad that Matty included him in the Cyber Monday Sale, because otherwise I would have most definitely wound up paying a lot more for him from the secondary market.

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Myaaah! Give me that you buck-toothed jack-a-nape! It’s mine!!!!

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Silly rabbit! Axes are for Skeletor! 

Masters of the Universe Classics: Fang Man by Mattel

You can tell I’m running behind because today’s feature was part of Matty Collector’s Early Access from LAST month. In fact, I’m writing this a couple days after getting the shipping notice for this month’s figure. What can I say? I didn’t have the same sense of urgency to get to Fang Man as I did Hydron because Fang Man was a second chance at an older figure rather than a new release. The truth is I haven’t even opened the shipping box until today. That doesn’t mean I’m not really excited to finally get him. I was kicking myself for missing out on him the first time around, and since then I’ve come mighty close to paying too much for him a couple of times from The Ebays. Good thing I held out!

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Hey, it’s the MOTUC packaging. We’ve seen it dozens of times, so I really don’t have anything new to say. What’s that? I have to go watch the episode he was in? No, I only had to do that with the Filmation Sub figures. He’s still a Filmation character so the rule still applies? Crap! Fine… give me about 25 minutes… And… I’m back. Ok, so the episode was “The Time Corridor.” Skeletor goes back in time to plant the Wheel of Infinity on the foundation where Castle Greyskull will be built. I’m a little shaky on the science here, but The Sorceress says it’ll spin really fast and get so big that it will destroy the Castle in the future. Anyway, he takes Fang Man and Tri-Klops back with him, but Fang Man is only in the whole thing for about a minute. He makes a failed charge against He-Man while riding a dragon and he’s never seen from again. I like that the bio on the back of the card suggests that Skeletor just left him in the past. What a prick! Ok, onto the figure!

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There’s a reason I came close to buying this figure at a premium, he’s fantastic. I get a bit of a Don Bluth Dragon’s Lair vibe off of the character design, particularly the outfit. The tunic is layered onto the figure and it looks great. The sculpted spikes underneath the back are a nice touch a the black belt with silver fixtures cinches it at his waist. The way the head protrudes out of the top, front of the torso gives Fang Man a very distinctive hunched over posture. The coloring on this figure is excellent. The pale blue skin contrasts nicely with the maroon tunic and orange collar and bracers. The clasps on his boots are even painted and the metallic silver on the belt is a beautiful final touch.

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The portrait here is also superb. The yellow eyes, spikes, and the snout all look amazing. The tongue that hangs out of the mouth is even articulated so you can swing it left and right. The jaw isn’t articulated, but adding a jaw hinge would have probably messed with what is an otherwise perfect head sculpt, so I’m glad they didn’t try.

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Fang Man features all the usual MOTUC articulation. I’m not going to run through it here because I’ve done it dozens of times and we should all know what to expect by now. He does, however feature two points of articulation in the head. The neck is attached to the body by a ball joint right at the orange collar. It’ll rotate 360-degrees and can look up and down a bit. There’s a second ball joint right behind the ears. Because the head is attached to the front of the torso, Fang Man can’t really turn his head left or right, only cock it like a dog. Also, while I’m sure there’s a ab crunch hinge buried in there, the tunic prevents it from being very useful. None of these are complaints, mind you, just characteristics of the figure design.

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Fang Man comes with a few accessories. First off, you get the Wheel of Infinity, which is a simple little medallion that he can clutch in his hands. It’s nothing amazing, but still a nice nod to the episode. Next up, he has what I think is supposed to be a taser or energy weapon of some kind. And lastly you get what is one of my favorite swords in the line so far. I like it because it’s a very simple and serviceable design and it has a tiny dragon head sculpted into the crossguard. The hilt is also painted a different color from the rest of the blade.

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No doubt about it, Fang Man is one of my favorites in this line. Granted, that’s a long list, but I can’t help but dig the great character design and beautiful colors of this figure. He’s unique enough to set him apart from The Snake Men, but I could see him possibly cozying up to Draego-Man on my shelf. It’s a shame he didn’t get a little more play in the cartoon, but I love that Matty gave him a figure anyway. Just about every one of the Filmation figures has been a hit for me, and I really hope that Matty gets more of them out to us collectors. Line up another Filmation Sub, Matty, and I’ll be happy to jump on board again.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Strong-Or by Mattel

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Seahawk by Mattel

Club Filmation has been very good to me. I subbed this thing on a drunken whim and I have to say alcohol did me right because I think every figure so far has been a hit. Today we’re checking out the penultimate release in the line: Seahawk. This is one of those figures where Matty pulled some shenanigans by announcing that he would not be available for Day of Sale purchase and only to those who did the sub. From what I’ve read he seems to be a fan favorite, although I honestly don’t remember him from the series, but I gather he’s famous for getting himself a slice of that Adora pie. I guess he’s also got some major chops because he actually had an episode named after him. By now, you know the Club Filmation drill and that I’ve committed myself to watching each of these characters’ episodes. I’m going to go pour myself a generous glass of Jameson and then it’s off to the Internets to watch “The Sea Hawk.” I’ll be back in about 25 minutes…

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Wow, I forgot how much I dig the She-Ra intro. Maybe that’s just as bad as admitting to liking ABBA, but something about She-Ra’s opening seems so much slicker than the He-Man intro. Anyway, the story begins with She-Ra going to Seaworthy, a town of annoying little shits who all sound exactly like Orko and are being plagued by Captain Seahawk and his band of pirates. The pirates raid villages for supplies and then sell them to The Horde. Inexplicably, she decides to deal with the problem as Adora and we soon learn that Seahawk is the typical good man confused into doing bad things. But he’s not done doing bad things yet because he turns Adora over to Catra and Grizzlor to protect his own hide. Holy shit, Catra’s voice is annoying. I wonder if she has a sandpaper tongue, too. Anyway, it takes Seahawk’s portly skipper and some kind of magic sea fairy, which is never actually explained, to convince him otherwise. The episode culminates in a flying pirate ship attacking a Horde Zeppelin and Seahawk becoming one of the good guys. I’ll be honest, this one wasn’t as painful as some of the He-Man episodes I’ve had to watch. Seahawk made more appearances in She-Ra, but I’m running low on Jameson, so I’ll have to save those for another day. Let’s be looking at the figure, ARRRR!

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Seahawk comes in a typical MOTUC style package. We’ve seen it tons of times but that has not dulled it’s sheen of awesome. I’d comment on the bio or other figures shown on the back, but I shredded the package and pitched it before I could get a chance. I’m an opener… that’s how I roll.

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And there he is, behold the only pirate in Etheria with the manly chops to make booty calls to both She-Ra and Adora. Maybe that was only implied in the cartoon, but rest assured in my prolific Slash-Fics it happens on a regular basis. Wait, what? But before we get to the particulars, let me address the fact that some collectors appear to be butt hurt over the fact that the figure is all buffed out and that puts him at odds with his appearance in the Filmation cartoon. Seriously? That’s a complaint? This guy is built on the same style male buck as all the MOTUC figures and that is pretty much the point of the line. If Seahawk did get a vintage figure way back when, you can rest assured he’d still be all buffed out. It doesn’t bother me at all. It maintains the consistency of the line’s aesthetics and quite frankly I’m surprised that this is even an issue with some. Maybe it’s just non-subbers trying to convince themselves they don’t want him because he wasn’t available Day of Sale.

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The portrait is pretty fantastic, as have been just about all the Club Filmation figures. You could argue that Nepthu was the only misstep there, and that’s just because he didn’t look evil. But, Seahawk’s noggin is an excellent sculpt, which takes the Filmation likeness and infuses it with a little Classics style realism. He sports a noble visage with a little spark of mischief. Even the color of his mustache is at odds with his red hair just like with the Filmation character, which makes me wonder if he’s a real ginger. I bet She-Ra knows… am I right?

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Anywho, I am by no means a completist with this line, but Seahawk seems to feature a ton of new tooling. At least it’s new to me. If he’s borrowed a lot of parts, then they’re from figures that aren’t in my collection. The figure hits all the right points of Seahawk’s Filmation outfit, particularly the vest, which is a rubbery plastic removable piece, complete with stylish blue shoulder pads, roguish high collar, and swashbuckleriffic purple scarf. Hey, the other eligible bachelor in Etheria wears a heart on his armor, I think Seahawk can safely get away with a purple neck accessory. And speaking of purple, the colors on this figure really hit home. You get the chocolate brown leathery goodness of his gauntlets, boots, and vest, mixed with the blue fixturing. They aren’t two colors that one usually associates as an ensemble, but they look damn nice on the figure.

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Seahawk comes with two accessories. You get his laser cutlass and what I assume is an energy shield. The cutlass could have been modeled a little better on the Filmation weapon. As it still had a sort of dagger blade when it wasn’t activated, and it would have been cool if we could have had a de-activated cutlass and belt sheath, but the sword we got is still plenty cool. I’m at odds with the shield. I think it looks pretty good when displayed on the figure, but I doubt I’ll keep it on him when he’s on my shelf.

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In terms of character selection, Seahawk seems to have been one of the biggest selling points for the Sub. Honestly, that wasn’t the case for me, I just thought they all looked like great figures, and so far they all have been just that. I certainly can’t deny the appeal of having another figure to add to my Rebellion, and since I still don’t own Bow, Seahawk is currently the only rooster in Etheria’s hen house. He’s a fantastic figure and yet another reason why I am so very glad that I subbed this little line. With only one more figure left to release next month, I’m kind of sad to see it go, although Matty has been dropping hints that another mini-sub next year wouldn’t be out of the question. If it’s Club Filmation Part Deux, I’ll definitely be on board again.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Nepthu by Mattel

Overall, the Filmation Sub seems to have been quite positively received by collectors. That is until we got to Nepthu. At that point it was like Matty personally took a dump in every subscriber’s breakfast cereal. Everybody poured on the hate and I didn’t get it, because the figure looked plenty cool to me. I thought an Egyptian themed wizard would look great on my shelf of Eternian weirdos and thus he was yet another figure in this sub that I was excited to see land on my doorstep.

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There’s the packaging and I have very little new to say about it. It’s as awesome as ever. There’s no sticker or anything to distinguish this as part of the Filmation Sub, so if you’re a MOC collector, it’ll fit right in with the rest of your packages. The insert in the bubble dubs Nepthu as the “Wicked Sun Sorcerer” although in the cartoon he’s referred to as a wizard. Please submit your dissertations outlining the differences between sorcerers and wizards. The winner will receive a genuine Tribble action figure made out of FigureFeline’s shedded cat hair. *Void where prohibited. Offer not valid on Earth.  If you flip the package over you can see that the cruel bastards at Matty put Ram Man as one of the other figures you can collect, knowing full well that if you don’t have him in your collection already, buying him second hand will be like getting financially raped.

Ok, so up until this point I’ve had at least a vague recollection of all the Filmation Sub characters. Batros, Shokoti, Icer… I may not have remembered much about their episodes, but I did remember the characters. I can’t say that about Nepthu. Maybe that’s why I don’t have the same knee-jerk dislike for the figure as many have Masters fans have been spewing all over the forums where I lurk. A little research told me that he appeared in a little 25 minute ditty of animated torture called “Temple of the Sun” to which I am about to subject myself. I’m off to Hulu, be back in about a half an hour. In the meantime, here’s a look at the figure…

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Ok, so the gist of it is that a shaggy, starving and dehydrated homeless guy crawls through the desert looking for the titular “Temple of the Sun.” He finds it, rummages through a bunch of relics and discovers his prize… a magical scarab that can grant him wishes. Instead of asking for a sandwich and a cold Fresca, he asks to be strong and that turns him into the mighty Nepthu, a young, chiseled asshole who wants to rule the Universe. Cut back to The Palace where we get a nice ass shot of Teela doing gymnastics while Duncan and Prince Adam watch. Even Cringer looked like he wanted to have a piece of that. It must be awkward for Adam and Cringer to be checking out Teela’s fine hinder while her adopted father is right next to them, but who knows? Maybe he’s sneaking a peek too. It’s not like he’s her real father. Aaaaaanyway, back in the desert, Nepthu shoots down the Sorceress and He-Man responds to save her. One of my favorite parts is when a giant Scorpion the size of a Winnebago attacks and Duncan says, “Watch out for the tail, it’s poisonous!” WTF, Duncan? Look at the size of that thing. If it stabs you with that tail, you’re going to f’cking die, poison or no. Ok, I’ve gone on about the episode long enough. The character’s backstory has been established. Let’s look at the figure.

Nepthu is an extremely simple figure, but that’s not meant as a slight on him at all. The Egyptian theme is very well executed. The buck is sculpted in regular flesh tone and he has a simple Egyptian skirt and sash-like belt. His boots, bracers, and bicep straps are blue and he has a matching blue collar. Like I said, there’s nothing at all flashy or elaborate about this guy, but that’s what makes him so cool to me. In a world like Eternia, populated by freaks, this guy looks positively normal. Plus, the coloring on this figure is quite nice.

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I will concede that the portrait is where fans are correct in claiming that Matty dropped the ball here. In the episode, Nepthu is an evil bastard and he looked the part. Here, Nepthu looks like a nice guy. He’s the kind of guy who you’d happily ask to help you move a sofa or possibly lend you a few dollars for a Starbucks when you come up short. If you saw this figure without reading the bio or having seen the episode, i can guarantee you would assume he was some dude that helped He-Man fight evil. He has a kind and noble face that in no way fits the character from the cartoon. That doesn’t bother me so much, because I don’t give two shits about the character. I just like the idea of having someone from The Sands of Time on my MOTUC shelf. As far as I’m concerned, he can fight alongside He-Man with his Scarab of Justice. Why not, eh?

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Articulation? I’m not going to do articulation. I’ve already run rather long and my rock glass of Jameson has run dry. Most of it was sucked down while having to watch the episode. Suffice it to say Nepthu sports the same articulation as the thirty or so other MOTUC figures I’ve featured here on FFZ in the past. If only there was an Index of Reviews on FFZ where you could look up some of those past MOTUC reviews and bone up on the line’s articulation. That’s called a shameless plug.

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Nepthu comes with two accessories. First you get the scarab-ankh thingie that started the whole mess. It’s a cool piece and Nepthu’s left hand is sculpted so he can wield it like he did in the cartoon. It’s similar to the way The Faceless One had a hand tailored to hold his Ram Stone. He also comes with a crystal Zoar, because he turned The Sorceress into crystal when she tried to escape. The Zoar is a little disappointing, because I expected it to be a clear version of the articulated Zoar figure that we got a while back. Instead, it’s just a static piece of plastic. It still looks cool, but without a perch, there’s not a lot you can do with it except lay it on the floor and caution the other figures to try to step around it.

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So, part of me understands why this figure was ill-received by fans of the show. Another part of me says, “Screw you, he’s an awesome figure!” Thus far, the Filmation Sub has done me no wrong. I’ve loved every figure in it, and I’m hoping that we’re going to get another Filmation Sub next year. When you wade through all the politics and bullshit of Matty and Digital River, the truth is that everytime I get a new MOTUC figure, I’m reminded of why I still love this line so much. Even as someone who is only marginally involved in the fiction, I’m thrilled to keep growing my collection, and I haven’t even started gushing about my Horde Troopers and Mantenna… stay tuned!

Masters of the Universe Classics: Batros by Mattel

Wow, we are officially at the halfway mark for Matty’s Filmation Club. Yes, Batros was last month’s figure, but I’m still rather backlogged with my receivings so I’m only getting to him now. But hey, it’s October! Halloween is coming and Batros seems somehow appropriate.

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There’s the awesome green brick, Greyskull-inspired MOTUC packaging. Once again, despite the fact that Batros is a release in their spin-off Filmation sub, the package is identical to the mainstream releases. There isn’t even a sticker on the bubble that says, “It’s Filmation, bitches!” That’s fine for me because I’m about to tear this thing up to get at my toy. But first, let’s check out the back panel of the card.

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Of the six figures pictured, I am missing only Stinkor and Webstor. I really need to pick those guys up. You also get the usual bio, in this case declaring Batros as a Master Thief, only more awkwardly worded as “Evil Master of Theft.” I am reminded of the exchange between Yuri Orlov and Andre Baptiste Sr.: “They say that I am The Master of Theft, but I believe it is you. “I believe it’s Master Thief.” “Thank you, but I prefer it my way.” What’s that? Oh, shit… I thought I could distract you all with a Lord of War film reference to make you forget that I’m committed to watch the episode this guy is in. Ok dokey… The episode in question is called “The Great Books Mystery.” Let me pour myself a Jameson and I’ll be back in about 25 minutes.

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So, all the books in The Palace have gone missing! I could see this being a problem, because I adore books, but the King’s main concern isn’t the books themselves, but the great loss of knowledge. Yes, it’s only natural that a society that has lasers and robots doesn’t have any of that precious knowledge stored on computer archives. Oh yeah, before that we get to see Adam and Teela at Gym Class and nothing beats Adam and Cringer’s expressions while checking out Teela’s ass as she climbs the rope. Ok, let me just jump straight to Batros. He stole the books so that the people will force the King to step down and make Batros the Emperor of all Eternia. Seems legit. Despite his insane scheme, Batros is pretty badass and he shoots lasers out of his hands that sometimes create snakes out of thin air. He quickly bests Teela, Orko, Beastman, and Trapjaw, and presents himself to Skeletor as his equal. The two partner up to go after Greyskull, making The Great Eternian Book Caper really just a red herring to tie in with the weekly PSA about how awesome reading is, when it should have been how you’re going to burn in the special hell, if you steal people’s books. Seriously, I don’t lend books to anyone. Oh yeah, Prince Adam’s birthday gift of choice is a book of unicorn pictures… ‘nuff said. Is that enough? Can I get to the figure now?

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Good! Because Batros is a pretty cool figure. You get a basic MOTUC buck sculpted in a really nice, pale purple. The familiar bracers and belt are painted glossy black and the furry boots and diaper are painted blue. There’s nothing groundbreaking on the body, but you do get a new chest harness with a bat emblem sculpted onto the front of it.

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The head sculpt is excellent! It works wonderfully as a modern update to the Filmation character. I’d say it stays closer to the artwork than Icer did, but that was a good choice on both fronts. The hair texture for the hood is great and I particularly love the little notches in his bat ears… nice touch. The lower part of the cowl is a separate piece, so as not to interfere with the head articulation. Tiny little fangs and the yellow eyes with black mascara tie the portrait up nicely.

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And then there are the wings. I wasn’t sold on the wings in the initial press shots of this figure. Later, I saw the artwork and thought better about them. Now that the figure is in hand, I’m still a little torn. The wings are sculpted directly into the figure’s biceps. They’re scaled correctly. They have a nice, leathery texture sculpted into them. They look really good in a few key poses. But there are other poses, where they don’t look so good, because they just seem to stop at his shoulders. It begs the question… is this guy actually part bat or a guy in a bat costume? I don’t know, but the wings don’t always look natural.

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Articulation is standard MOTUC fare. Do I really need to go through it? Oh, alright. The arms feature ball jointed shoulders, swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinged elbows. His legs feature ball jointed hips, and hinges in the knees and ankles. He can swivel at the waist, has the ab crunch in his torso, and a ball jointed head. The nice thing about the wings is that they don’t inhibit his articulation in the slightest.

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Batros comes with an amazing spiked mace. I don’t remember him having it in the episode, so I’m not sure if this is a repack from a figure I don’t have, or an homage to someone else’s weapon. Either way, this thing is bad ass and he looks great holding it.

And that, my friends, is Batros. Despite the fact that I waffle over his wings, I still think this is a really great figure and another slam dunk for the Filmation Sub. He’s a great treatment of another one-off villain that looks perfectly at home standing on my shelf amidst all the other freaks and weirdoes of Eternia. He’s fun to play with and another reason I’m so very glad I subbed this little sub-line.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Shokoti by Mattel

So, if you haven’t heard, The Matty Collector Pledge Drive hit their mark, which means that Club Eternia will continue for another year. I’m actually pretty happy about this because this was the first year I decided to sub. There are going to be some seriously cool figures being released in 2014, many which I never thought would ever be made, and while the August figures didn’t exactly sell like gangbusters, I do believe next year’s day of sale events will be a lot more cutthroat. Anyway, this year I did subscribe to the short filmation run and this week the second figure, Shokoti wound up in my postbox.

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It may not be Club Eternia, but the packaging is identical to what we’ve been getting all along and yeah, I still love it. Shokoti comes carded with her arms behind her back as if casually waiting to dispense evil. She also comes with her evil beast minion beside her and no other accessories to speak of. Flipping the package over, we get a bio card and a picture of other figures that are mostly no longer available this side of Ebay and your friendly neighborhood scalpers. Let’s see, how am I doing? There’s only one figure there that I don’t have and that’s Fang Man. I had zero interest in Fang Man until he became difficult to get and expensive and now I want him. DAMN YOU FANG MAN!!!

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Oh shit… Another Filmation Sub figure means that I have to try to watch the episode. In this case, it’s “House of Shokoti” and if it’s anything like Icer’s episode I’ll soon be begging for the sweet release of death. Wait… what? IT’S TWO PARTS??? Oh, hell no. I actually remember this one a little bit from my childhood. If memory serves Shokoti was a witch who was trapped in some temple under the desert and revived by Trapjaw and a sorcerer named Masque. She threatened to do some evil, had a weird relationship with some kid, and was eventually thwarted by He-Man. Oh yeah, and Ram Man called her Shaboobie or Shapoopie or something. I promised myself if I could recall the overall gist of the episode I wouldn’t make myself watch it. I still can’t remember what the tentacle thing is all about, but I got it close enough. Yes, she’s a one-off villain, but that’s the whole point of this sub-line. Also, I wouldn’t complain if Mattel decided to make Masque somewhere down the road. He’d be an easy figure to make and I wouldn’t mind having him on my shelf. Anyway… let’s look at the figure.

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Straightaway, I’m really pleased with the way Shokoti turned out. She is the spitting image of her animated counterpart without being overly simple. The head sculpt is perfect. She’s beauty and sinister evil wrapped up in one great portrait with a distinctive hair sculpt and a very cool headpiece. One nitpick I have is that Shokoti’s cape is sculpted as part of her hair, so you can’t just pop her head and take it off. Sure, she looks fine with the cape on, but I like to have display options. The rest of the figure features a black and blue one-piece dress with a low slung belt and skull belt buckle. The ensemble is wrapped up with a nice pair of boots. The articulation is standard for females of the line and includes the ankle rockers.

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Shokoti’s coloring features pale blue skin and a darker blue for her costume. She has tan gloves and glossy black for part of her costume and her boots. The cape is red with blue epaulets. I love the use of the copper color for her headpiece and a belt buckle. I think it works better than if they had gone with a more vibrant gold. Overall, the paint apps on this figure are quite excellent.

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I don’t get what’s up with Shokoti’s hands, but I kind of understand now why she’s packaged with them behind her back. She has hands that were intended to clutch some kind of wand or staff, but she doesn’t come with one. The result is that she just looks like she’s giving me the thumbs up… or down depending on how you pose her. It’s weird. They should have given her some spell casting, oogity-boogity hands instead. They also seem rather small for her. I’ll just pretend it’s part of her signature move. She throws a ball of tentacles at your face and then gives the thumbs up to the camera.

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Nope, no wand or staff, but you do get this guy. He’s definitely a cool piece, but I still don’t know who he is. Is it the great evil that she was trying to summon in the episode? Feel free to email me with the Subject Line, FIGUREFAN, YOU DON’T KNOW SHIT ABOUT THE HE-MANS, or just put it in the comments below. He has a very Cthulhu-like vibe to him, and I can think of more than a few other toy lines where he might fit in pretty well.

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Yup, I dig this figure a lot! Besides just being really well executed, I like the idea of having another female baddie for my display and possibly to pillow-fight with Evil-Lyn for the pleasure of Skeletor. “BEASTMAN… PREPARE THE ARENA OF PILLOWS!!!” Yes, the hands are odd and they make the absence of any kind of staff-like accessory rather conspicuous, but it’s something that I can overlook when the figure is this good. So far the Filmation Sub is two for two… Keep them coming, Matty!