Masters of the Universe Origins: Prince Adam and Sky Sled by Mattel

One of the best things about Mattel’s MOTU Origins line leaning away from the collector aspect and more toward the toy side of things is that we are getting vehicles a lot faster than we did in Classics. I already had a look at the evil, menacing Land Shark, we’ve got a Wind Raider incoming soon, and today I’m going to take a look at one of the workhorses of Eternia’s personal transportation offerings: The Sky Sled! Oh yeah, and it comes with Prince Adam too!

The retro style of the packaging here continues to delight and confound me. As much as I’m hurting for storage space, I can’t bring myself to get rid of some of these boxes. You get some of that amazing artwork that had us kids salivating in the toy aisles back in the day, as well as the iconic Masters logo. The Origins “Retro Play” logo appears in a exclamation burst and the window proudly shows off both the vehicle and the figure. There are three vehicles depicted in the action scene on the box. One is the Sky Sled, one is the Wind Raider, which has already been revealed, so let’s hope the Roton is coming up soon. It was one of the last things to be released in the Classics line, and sadly, I didn’t have the cash or room for it back then. The package here is pretty collector friendly, so let’s open it up and have a look at Prince Adam!

Adam sports He-Man’s body and a brand new belted red tunic, which ironically makes him look even more buffed out than He-Man does. The arms and torso are painted white to look like a long-sleeve shirt, and yes that includes the sculpted wrist bracers! Adam forgoes the fuzzy barbarian diaper in favor of some purple undies, his legs are painted lighter purple to look like leggings, and he’s got purple boots with white fur around the tops. I dig this figure a lot, although it does lead me to some suspicions that Adam may indeed by the Most Powerful Man in the Universe.

It doesn’t help that they reused He-Man’s head, and that’s easily my biggest gripe with this figure. They really should have given Adam a less angry looking face, and in doing so that would give us an alternate head for He-Man. It seems like a no-brainer since the line is modular anyway. I mean, Clark Kent head a pair of glasses, Prince Adam could at least force a smile to try to remain in character.

He-Man comes with a whole Power Sword, much like Keldor did, although it’s cast in mauve plastic. And about that, I have questions. Actually, no I don’t. Probably best to just leave it. I will say, that I think it’s another missed opportunity, this time to cast it in gray and give us a whole Power Sword to give to He-Man. Yeah, I’m nitpicking a lot, I really do like this figure, but a these little things could have made it a whole lot better.

Still, the Sky Sled is probably the real star of this set. This cool little one-man vehicle includes a clear stand, which plugs into the bottom, and a base that looks like a patch of desert ground. I would have preferred the base be left clear as well, but what we got is still fine. There’s a hinge at the top of the stand, so the vehicle can be displayed pitched up or down, and the connection also swivels.

And what can I say? I’ve long been a fan of this very Flash Gordon-like design ever since I first saw it in the cartoon. The Sled feels pretty solid and features a sculpt that is simple enough to evoke the animated style, but still pack enough details to keep it interesting. There are vents and panel lines, cross-hatched texturing on the foot pedals, and even some tiny rivets where the armor plates are meant to be bolted on. The bulk of the coloring comes from the slightly metallic blue plastic, but you do get silver quad-exhaust pipes, silver blasters on the sides, and a silver cannon mounted on the front. The sides have stickers with stylized green dragon deco, and we’ll come back to these in a bit.

The dashboard has a sculpted instrument panel with some gauges and controls, all set below a sticker screen showing a grid pattern and some radar-like blips. The control grips are painted black.

The figures fit pretty well on the Sled, and they stay put thanks to both some foot pegs on the pedals and the tight grip the hands have on the control handles. I say hands plural, but most figures only have one grippy hand, and that’s still sufficient to keep them on and looking good. Prince Adam actually comes with a grippy left hand as well, and you can loan that hand to your He-Man figure if you’d like him to ride it most of the time. It’ll also allow him to dual wield his sword and battle ax!

The main cannon can swivel a bit to the left and the right, and it also comes with a firing effect part, which looks pretty neat. Holy shit, it looks like this thing packs quite a punch!

The Sky Sled also comes with three extra parts to swap out and make it into an EVIL Sky Sled! Just pull of the side pieces with the green dragons and replace them with the much more evil red dragons. Then you pop off the heroic bird-like head and replace it with the EVIL Cat? Dragon?? head. To be fair, I think either of these configurations would work for the good guys, so if you’re looking to buy a fleet of these, you can probably still have each side pilot the two different variants. Not to sell this feature short, though, because I think it was a really great idea.

The Sky Sled was one of the easiest toys in this line for me to get so far. Not only have there been an abundance of these on the shelves at Target, but they’ve been discounting the hell out of it, so I’ve picked up a few more. And that leads me to one last nitpick about this set. I really wish they had included a Palace Guard as the pack-in figure and released Prince Adam on his own. Yes, I like the Adam figure, but after buying three of these, I now have extra Adams. A troop builder figure would have made a lot more sense to me. Now, with that having been said, this is a fantastic toy and it makes for a great display piece. I can’t wait to get more Origins vehicles!

Masters of the Universe Origins: Beast Man and Trap Jaw by Mattel

It’s Friday and I’ve managed to cram three reviews into one week for the first time in what seems like forever! It’s hard to believe I used to do five of these a week. And since I started the week with a double review, lets end it with another. Today I’m checking out two new additions to the line I swore I would never collect. Yup, there’s no better compliment to the appeal of Masters of the Universe then the fact that after spending so much time and money collecting Classics, I’m obviously willing to start all over again with Origins. How deep will I go this time? Time will tell! Distribution will be a big factor too, as I’m growing weary of chasing figures in my twilight years. In the meantime, let’s add two more of Skeletor’s henchmen to the mix!

The retro packaging is charming as ever, but I maintain that this line can be tough for you mint-on-card collectors. The longer cardbacks tend to bend easily. Plus, if you’re like me and your local Walmart is a shit-show, you may be relying on Walmart.com for these. That’s never a good thing, because they’re packing is all over the place. These arrived in fairly good shape, but I’m tearing into them anyway. In addition to the figures and accessories, each pack comes with a mini comic. Let’s start with Beast Man!

Skeletor’s Savage Henchmen and favorite orange whipping boy looks fantastic in this Origins style, and by that I mean he’s freaking hideous, but I’ll get to the head sculpt in a bit. The body is cast in an eye-popping bright orange with some sculpted fur on the back and extremities. Honestly, the fur feels downplayed a bit here, which surely has a lot to do with the reuse of parts and it doesn’t hurt the figure in my eyes. He still has the sculpted wrist bracers, but they are left orange to blend in with the body. The regular feet seemed strange to me, but I had to remind myself that Beast Man always had regular feet.

Of course, Beast Man uses the common belt and furry barbarian diaper as most Eternians, good or evil. Here the belt is painted a… what is that? Ochre? I’m going with Ochre. And the diaper is blue. An unusual deco, but it adds some much needed color to the figure and makes for a satisfyingly colorful figure. The upper body has the harness, which features the blue stone in the middle and the high collar. Overall, I think this piece looks good, but there’s something a little off about the collar, as I don’t think it rides high enough behind the head, but maybe that’s just me. Also, the blue stone is painted with a sloppy spray. Finally, Beast Man features his shoulder armor, which comes packaged behind the figure and has to be attached after opening. These are cast in soft plastic and tend to stay put pretty well.

And then there’s the portrait. The original Beast Man remains one of the most awkwardly hideous figures I’ve ever seen, and I don’t mean that in a good way. I really enjoyed the way the Classics figure cleaned him up and it remains my favorite look for this orange beast. The Origins version embraces the old look, but it still works for me. His mouth here is closed but snarling, content with brandishing is powerful teeth. The broad nose and beady eyes are more defined and the blue paint on the cheeks and upper lip is crisp and weird as ever. I didn’t think I was going to like this portrait all that much, but I actually do!

Beast Man comes with one accessory, and that’s his trusty whip. The whip features a HUGE bugle-like black handle that the figure’s fingers slot into. The rest of the whip is a simple black piece of cord. It doesn’t make for great poses, a wire would have been better for that, but it’s probably more practical and fun this way, as you can wrap it around another figure’s leg to trip him up. And so, despite a few minor gripes, I think this figure turned out great. The colors and sculpt are exciting and like all the figures in this line, he’s so much fun to play with.┬áMoving on to Trap Jaw!

Trap Jaw is Evil and Armed for Combat and remains my favorite of all Skeletor’s minions. I’ve just always loved his look and his ability to change out his arm attachments made him both unique and a very fun toy. I was pretty confident that I was going to love the Origins version, and now that he’s in hand, I certainly do!┬áThe body is slavishly modeled after the vintage figure, and that’s not a bad thing. The coloring all looks right, with the red undies, big green belt and green thigh patches, and the deep blue upper legs and upper body, with some black thrown in for the boots and cybernetic arm. I seem to recall the original figure only having part of the left wrist bracer painted, but here it’s all around, which does look better. The mix of bright colors and matte black work so well together, resulting in an exciting deco that just screams 80’S TOY!!! On the downside, they got a little sloppy with that neon green and dribbled a little onto my Trap Jaw’s leg.

Based on the solicitation pictures, I was worried about this head sculpt. It’s a big departure from the vintage figure and like Skeletor’s head, I find it a strange one. The face is more mushy, almost like putty, and those eyes sure are different! It took me a little while to make up my mind, but in the end I’m OK with what they did here. His new mug is bizarre and creepy and it certainly fits the bill. Of course, the lower jaw is articulated, and he still has the loop on the top of his helmet so you can pass a string through it and have him zip-line into action! *String sold separately.

Naturally, Trap Jaw’s real appeal is his ability to swap out different attachments onto his arm. He comes with three in total: Laser gun, Hook, and Grabber Claw. All three have hooks, so the two that aren’t being used can hang securely from his belt, and surprisingly they don’t get in the way too badly. I actually think this works better than it did on the Classics figure. The attachments peg in easily and the mechanical arm features just rotation in the shoulder and a hinge in the elbow. I would have liked some lateral movement in that shoulder, but he’s still pretty fun.

Origins continues to be a real treat and I’m happy to have two more bumbling evil minions for Skeletor to boss around. Of all the toys I still collect, Origins is the one that most makes me want to get down onto the floor and play with them like the good old days. I want to have pitched battles on the carpets, knock these figures around, all while fending off third-party attacks by the cats. And any toyline that makes this 48 year old dude want to do that has got to be considered a success. Because, believe me, it ain’t as easy to get up off the floor as it used to be. And this gets me mostly caught up on the Origins figures. I still have the Sky Sled and Panthor to check out. Beyond that, it’ll just be a matter of how easy it is to find the newer waves.

Masters of the Universe Origins: Battle Cat by Mattel

It’s another week and another miss. I tried to get back to my three update schedule this week, but it’s just not happening. I get home from work exhausted, I zone out with a video game for a bit and then go to sleep. Trust me when I tell you that I haven’t lost the passion to do this, but right now I just don’t have the time or energy needed. It’s frustrating, but at least I’m still hitting all the Marvel Mondays, even if it’s been a struggle to get anything else done. So, I’m not making any more promises about what future weeks will look like. For now I’ll get here when I can get here. But for now, at least I made it back before the week ended with one more review, so let’s get to it… I’ve got tons of different stuff waiting to be reviewed, and yet somehow I keep pushing MOTU Origins up to the front of the line. It’s the line I didn’t want to collect. The line I swore I wouldn’t collect. And yet here we are! Right out of the gate, Mattel is pulling no punches and giving us beasts and vehicles, and even a new Greyskull! So let’s check out Battle Cat!

The packaging for this line continues to be killer. Battle Cat comes in a window box with an extended top flap and a deco that plays at my nostalgia strings like Orko on an Eternian harpsicord. There’s some gorgeous artwork on the front and back panels, and the packaging is collector friendly. I really dig how they painted Battle Cat without his helmet on, and boy does he look all sorts of badass! I don’t usually keep these boxes, and I may wind up tossing it eventually, but for now I’m going to hang on to the box, because Battle Cat looks so damn good in it. Let’s start out sans armor and have a look at the figure underneath!

When Mattel first revealed that we were getting an Origins version of He-Man’s trusty steed, I was expecting something pretty basic and possibly with the armor permanently attached, but here I am totally surprised. For starters, this is a fantastic sculpt, with loads of detail. You get sculpted fur all over this big cat’s green body, with extra tufts of hair along his undercarriage. The musculature is pretty well defined, and they even sculpted the pads on the bottom of his paws, because even battle cats have adorable toe beans!!! The body is hollow, which makes the figure a bit lighter than one might expect based on his size, but that’s not to say it feels cheap in any way. The yellow striping is a little thin and rubbed in a few areas, but I’d probably rather that, then if they had gone too heavy with the paint.

Under that helmet is an excellent portrait of this ferocious kitty. I love the broad nose and puffed out snout. The eyes are even painted over with a little gloss to make them stand out, although I wish they had been painted in yellow too. His jaws are actually hinged and he’s got bold white top and bottom fangs and a textured tongue. It’s funny because the fangs on my Classics Battle Cat had some chipped paint right out of the box, but the Origins version’s pearly whites are perfect!

With my initial expectations of this being a very basic figure, I was expecting very limited articulation, like maybe just rotating joints where the legs meet the body. Well, we got that and a little more. Battle Cat also has rotating hinges in the middle of his legs, and a rotating hinge at the base of his tail. Now, I’m not saying that this guy is super poseable, but he’s still fun to play with and he remains a very stable and sure-footed cat. I really dig what they did with his head. The neck hinges up and down where it meets the body, and the head itself is on a ball joint, so he can look side to side as well.

The molded armor pieces are cast in very firm plastic with a belt to hold on the body armor. The helmet holds on merely by friction and it does it quite well. One of my gripes about the Masters Classics Battle Cat is the helmet constantly falls off. That’s not the case here! I can actually hold the figure upside down and shake it and this helmet will not fall off. Pretty cool! The armor sculpt is pretty smooth and simple, but it looks great. The only additional paint applications are on the eyes, which are painted in yellow with black pupils.

The molded saddle works perfectly with the Origins He-Man figure, and he looks as iconic as ever riding atop his faithful friend.

Wow, I am so delighted with how this figure came out. He may not be as big and beefy as the MOTUC version, but in some ways I do like this one better. It’s more stable, less cumbersome, and overall a bit more fun to knock around and play with. What’s more, he looks fantastic on the shelf surrounded by his fellow Heroes of Eternia. I was lucky enough to find one last Battle Cat on the shelf during a random trip to Walmart, and he has the distinction of being the very last Origins toy that my local Walmart has had on the shelves or the pegs. So far, I’ve been pretty lucky collecting this line, but my guess is things are about to get a lot more difficult. Either way, Battle Cat set me back about $25, and it seems like a decent value for the price! Now bring on Panthor!

Masters of the Universe Origins: He-Man and Skeletor by Mattel

If you’ve been with me for a good part of my decade long journey here on FFZ, you probably know that I went deep into Masters of the Universe Classics. I braved the horrors of a hundred ordering days. I dealt with site crashes and instant sell outs. I coughed up confiscatory shipping rates. And I have no regrets. It was all worth it. I have a beautiful MOTUC collection, which takes up a lot of space. I love these figures and I will die with these figures. But when they started with the Filmation versions, I declared that there was no way in hell I was doing it all over again with a brand new line. I drew my line in the Eternian sand and said I bought my last He-Mans. My willpower held. And when Super7 announced the Vintage style figures, I again held fast. Yeah, I bought a bunch of those Super7 ReAction figures, but that’s a story for another time. When Mattel re-launched the He-Mans yet again with Origins, I was confident my resolve would continue to be firm.

Hey, look! I bought new He-Mans figures! Well, there was only so much my willpower could take! So, here’s the thing. I never owned any MOTU figures as a kid. My parents were big into my investing in the toy lines I already collected. So, if I asked for a He-Man I would get, “Why don’t you get another GI JOE or Transformer and build up one of those collections?” It was sound advice, and to be fair my best friend at the time had everything MOTU put out, so I could always play with them over there. As a result, those old toys have something of a mystical attraction to me. It’s why I nearly caved and collected Super7’s vintage line, and it’s certainly why I gave in and started buying Origins. So what is this line all about? Well, it recreates the vintage figures with added articulation. Hense the tag line, Modern Posing, Retro Play! The figures come on vintage style cards, which are totally not collector friendly and meant to be torn open in the car while you’re driving home from the store. Yeah, just kidding about that. Don’t do that. You’ll crash and die. Let’s kick things off with He-Man!

Here’s the most powerful Man in the Universe and I think he looks great! He is not simply a copy of the vintage figure with added articulation, but he’s close enough to really invoke the feel of the originals. The body type is mostly unchanged with He-Man being as burly as ever, but now that he has working knees he isn’t stuck in that squat pose. As a result, the figure is ever so slightly taller than the originals, but really presented in the same scale. The sculpted muscles look great, and they should, because we’re going to be seeing them again and again in future figures. He still has the rubbery-plastic chest harness, which clips on in the back, and includes a loop so he can wear a weapon on his back. The rest of the outfit includes the sculpted belt and brown furry barbarian diaper, which looks nearly identical to the original figure. The boots have the sculpted wraps and fur fringe at the top, only now that fringe is painted yellow. He has sculpted wrist bracers to match his belt, which is probably the biggest departure from the old figure. In hand, I absolutely love the feel of this figure, the colors pop, the proportions are great, and it just begs to be played with.

The head sculpt is a merging of old and new. He has the angry barbarian expression, gritting his teeth as if he plans to dine on your entrails. It’s very unlike what I’ve become used to seeing as He-Man, but still very faithful to the original. The hair is a longer coif than he originally had, and it’s cast in a separate piece of plastic to give it some depth as it hangs down over his forehead and frames his face. I do kind of wish they had gone for a closer recreation of the vintage look, but that’s not to say I don’t dig this portrait, and I suppose it goes a long way to make this it’s own figure. I’m fine with that.

He-Man comes with the same weapons load out as he originally had. That includes one half of the Power Sword, a shield, and a double-bladed battle axe. The axe and shield are both fantastic. The shield actually has both a grab bar for He-Man to slide his hand through and a clip to attach it securely to his arm. The sword, It’s the sword that I have some mixed emotions about. They followed through on the old gimmick that he and Skeletor would each have half of the Power Sword and they could be pegged together. I think that’s a great concept, but it means that half the sword looks like crap. It would have been great if Mattel could have ponied up for a completely finished sword as well.

As for the articulation, He-Man is now loaded up with rotating hinges. He’s got them in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles. He’s got swivels at the tops of his boots and his waist, and a ball joint in the neck. Plus, the jointing system is modular, so you can pull him apart and swap parts, at least that’s the theory, I don’t plan on trying it with my figures. The result is all the nostalgic aesthetics of the original toys with some added playability. It’s truly a match made in heaven! Let’s move on and check out Skeletor!

MYAHHHH!!! Just like the good old days, Skeletor makes use of the same basic buck as He-Man, with just a few obvious differences. The forearms lack He-Man’s wrist bracers, and the lower legs and feet are completely different. And that’s where that modular construction comes in handy for Hasbro and no doubt does a lot to help keep the cost of these figures down. The belt and barbarian diaper are still there, but partially concealed under the new belt and loin cloth that’s attached around the waist. Skeletor also has his iconic chest armor with attached shoulders, and the sculpted crossbones on the front. Like He-Man’s this attaches together in the back, but unlike He-Man’s it does not have a loop for his weapon. You can still, slide it into the straps and it works just fine. Overall, I think the figure looks great, the colors are vibrant, but his webbed feet are a tad small! And since the bodies are the same, we get the exact same articulation as we saw with He-Man.

As with He-Man, Mattel went in a new direction for the head sculpt, and therein lies the biggest bone I have to pick with Skeletor! I really would have liked something closer to the vintage head. I’m not hating this, but I’m just not loving it either. It looks so much more primitive than the original head, particularly the way the teeth are done. And I’m just not sure about those red eyes. This would be a great opportunity to do a running change. Or maybe give him a better head in a Battle Armor version, so I can swap it out.

Skeletor comes with two weapons, one of which is the half of the Power Sword, which I’ve really already discussed. It’s a great gimmick, it gave my buddy and I lots of play value as kids, with Skeletor trying to unite the two halves. But it makes for a f’ugly half of an accessory. It would have been so cool if Mattel could have included full versions of both swords in the package. But hey, I’ve already been over this.

The other accessory is his infamous Havok Staff, and this is a magnificent looking piece!. It’s molded in pretty stiff plastic and the detail on the ram’s head is great. I also dig how he can now hold it in both hands thanks to that added articulation!

In case you can’t tell, I’m absolutely in love with the idea behind this line, and at a $14.99 price point, Mattel has managed to keep these pretty inexpensive, especially when I’m used to paying $20 for Hasbro’s 6-inch figures and Deluxe Transformers. I was a more than a little concerned that these were made a Walmart Exclusive, and I still think that’s a bad idea, but I was surprised to find that even my shitty Walmart that never gets any good toys (INCLUDING THEIR OWN EXCLUSIVES!!!) actually stocked these, so I was able to get this pair as well as Prince Adam and the Sky Sled and Battle Cat too! Of course, these have all since sold out and no re-stocks have arrived since, but I’ve managed to pre-order the rest on the website, so hopefully that goes well. How deep will I go here? I’m trying to tell myself to stick to the core characters and not go All-In, but I think a lot of that will have to do with their availability. If I see a new MOTU Origins figure on the peg, it isn’t likely that I’m going to leave it there, but maybe I can keep myself from buying a bunch online. We’ll see! In the meantime, these two have been permanent residents of my desk and have been battling it out a little bit every day!