Masters of the Universe Origins: Horak and Horde Troopers by Mattel!

It’s been a little too long since I last visited with Mattel’s Masters Origins line, and with how many figures have been added lately, it’s past time that I remedy that. Today, I’m switching my attention to the She-Ra side of things with a look at Hordak and his evil Horde Troopers!

I was never a big fan of the She-Ra cartoon, but when I did watch it, I watched it for The Evil Horde characters. Of particular appeal where the Horde Troopers, which sported a badass design and were pretty damn menacing, at least in appearance. In reality they were just there to give the heroes something without a soul that could get trashed, but I still thought they were damn cool. Anyway, let’s start with Horak himself.

I don’t have a whole lot to say about Hordak, other than Mattel stayed pretty close to the vintage original for this one. He has dark gray arms and legs with black boots and gauntlets. You get a painted silver belt with black furry diaper, and a bulky vest worn over the figure buck with the bright red Horde symbol sculpted on the front. There’s a black armband on his left bicep with a smaller Horde symbol, and two more down on his boots. Finally, he has a red cape, which extends down to about his knees. I really dig the coloring on this figure. The dark black and gray contrasts beautifully with the bright red, and little touch of silver that gives it an extra pop.

The head sculpt is solid enough, but it lacks some of the coloring in the original figure. It still looks fine, but feels a little more basic and a slight step down from the source material. Hordak is still an ugly sunovabitch, with pointed ears, a mohawk-like crest running down to his pig nose, and hideous bumps on his bald head. The coloring on the cheeks sort of resemble facial hair, and he has a single top row of red spiked teeth protruding down into his open maw of a mouth. I think I dig the eyes here the most. They appear to be separate from the head and attached from behind, giving them some cool depth and definition.

Hordak comes with his all white Horde Crossbow, which can be clipped onto either arm. I appreciate the use of a clip here, as his left hand is not designed to hold anything. Like the figure itself, the Crossbow is a pretty solid recreation of the vintage accessory and he looks great holding it. Moving on to the Horde Trooper…

The Horde Trooper was one of my favorite figures in the MOTU Classics line, and it looks like history is repeating itself here. I just dig this design so much. There’s something about mechanized suits of armor that just scratches my itch. Obviously this figure required all new tooling, and the attention to detail in the sculpt is excellent. You get all sorts of vents, mechanisms, and bits and bobs scattered about his armor. The Silver finish looks great, and I like it more than the flat gray used for the Classics version. There’s some black used for the boots, gloves, and joints, as well as bright red for the Horde symbol on the chest, and a yellow round cap in the middle of his groin. I don’t want to know what that’s used for! The only downside here is that the plastic shows off some swirling and a few creases from the molding process, but it’s nothing so bad that it detracts from my enjoyment of what is a great looking figure.

For the head, Mattel stuck with the toy design’s big yellow and black boomerang visor for a face. I’ll confess, I do tend to like the animated head design a bit more, but I’m not hating this. It looks fine, and fans of the original toy will no doubt be pleased. Hey, I wonder what that big red button in his chest is for?

Of course, it’s for the break-apart gimmick, inspired by the original toy design. Give it a press, and the Trooper breaks apart to reveal the red interior with some mechanical doodads sculpted onto it. The play gimmick is pretty well done here, and I find that my Troopers don’t break apart under normal handling, just when the trigger button is pressed.

And finally, the Trooper come with his Force Staff, which is cast all in red plastic. There is some nice sculpting on this piece, but it can be hard to make it out, because of the plastic used. It would have been nice to get a left hand that could hold it too, but I do like him having a fist as well.

And that’s two more excellent figures for the MOTU Origins line. I’m very pleased that Mattel has been dipping into The Evil Horde sooner rather than later, as I think it contains some of the coolest and wildest character designs. The Trooper was surprisingly easy to get a few of, at least initially, and thanks to spreading my pre-orders out, I was able to pick up five with no trouble at all. I do hope we get the Horde Jet Machine at some point, as it would be a great opportunity to bundle another Trooper with, and I’d be down for two or three of those!

Masters of the Universe Origins: Stinkor and Webstor by Mattel

One of the coolest thing about MOTU Origins for me is getting a crack at figures that I missed out on during the Classics line. Case in point, Classics Stinkor and Webstor are among a small handful of Skeletor’s minions that sold out on Matty Collector before I could get them, and now sell for ridiculous money. Meanwhile, here are the Origins versions just swinging on the pegs down the toy aisle at Target!

As always, these look great on the retro-style cards. The backs show some of the figures’ play features and some other figures that are available. You also get a Mini-Comic bundled with each figure, which is a nice bonus as well. Let’s start with Stinkor!

The package says he stinks, and I was expecting to get hit with a ripe dose of patchouli oil when I tore open the bubble, but that wasn’t the case at all. I even put his whole hand all up into my nose and I could only barely smell much of anything. Not that I’m complaining, because I really don’t want my toys smelling like dirty hippies. I’d just as soon use my imagination. In any event, Skeletor’s Man-Skunk looks great with his high tech stink-activated armor, complete with nose extension. The bright orange armor matches his gauntlets, webbed monster feet, and even his belt and furry diaper are all orange. The outfit contrasts nicely with the black matte of his arms and legs, and white jagged stripes running up his arms to his shoulders.

Mattel did a fine job with Stinkor’s ugly mug, from his perky, pointed ears to his creepy down-turned fang-infested maw. His yellow peepers have cat-like irises, pulling an expression that makes him look like he’s shocked by his own stink. You get some white around his eyes, and a stripe that runs from his nose up the center of his head and down to the back of his neck.

Unless you count his super-weak smell, Stinkor only comes with one accessory and that’s his blue shield, which seems to work best when tucked into his right open hand, allowing him to parry and spray! Yup, Stinkor is a pretty simple figure without a lot going on, but I dig him all the same! Moving on to Webstor…

Of course, Webstor is a creepy Spider-Man, but not one of the friendly neighborhood variety. And WOW, do I love this figure! The dark blue plastic that Mattel used for his skin is just gorgeous. He’s got the same monster feet as Stinkor, but now colored purple to match his chest armor. His belt is orange, his furry diaper is black, and he’s got orange and red emblems painted on his chest. Flip him around, and he’s got a big backpack to accommodate his giant grapple hook. If he’s a spider man, why doesn’t he just shoot web? I dunno!!!

Webstor’s head sculpt is super creepy, with a pushed in bat-like nose, fangs pointing up and down, two giant soulless red eyes with two smaller ones up above on his forehead. PErsonally, I always thought Webstor could have used a few more eyes, but that’s just nitpicking, I think this is a great looking head!

The backpack includes a generous amount of string, which runs through it, allowing Webstor to climb, repel, or just zip-line into action!

And if the zipline isn’t enough to make Stinkor feel like he missed out on accessory day, Webstor also comes with an orange rifle.

Every new MOTU Origins figure is a treat that brightens my day! This line is so simple, and yet so damn fun! And it feels damn good to be collecting a line of figures that are under $20 these days. Stinkor is cool and all, but Webstor has always been a favorite of mine, and he’s easily the stand out figure of this pair. Not having the Classics Webstor really hurt a lot, and while I’d still love to add him to my collection some day, I’m a lot more comfortable with Origins Webstor at $17 over the $200 or so that I’ve seen the Classics figure going for these days!

Masters of the Universe Origins: Wind Raider by Mattel

I’m pretty sure I said this before, but one of the things that got me most excited about Origins and buying all these damn characters all over again was the idea of more vehicles! Yeah, we got a few cool ones in Classics, but it always seemed like a reach for the line, whereas it seems more cost effective for Origins. This line feels like it’s the perfect intersection point between toys and collectibles, meaning that Mattel can bring more vehicles to market at more affordable prices, because they really are just toys and not collectibles that you need to queue up online to buy quickly before they sell out! Enter the Wind Raider, surely one of the most iconic rides in Eternia. Mattel did a beautiful job bringing this vehicle to the Classics line, and I am beyond excited to see how the Origins version turned out.

The Origins packaging continues to be a home run! You get a big window box showing off the toy and lots of amazing vintage-style art on the side panels and extended top flap. It takes a bit to get this thing out of the box, and there’s some assembly required, but with a little care it can go back in if you prefer to play with your toys and then display them in the package when you’re done. It’s like having your Wind Raider and eating it too! Don’t eat your Wind Raider.

And wow is this thing a beauty! The assembly is quick and easy, and mainly consists of slapping on the wings, tailfin, and putting the stand together. The stickers are all pre-applied, and everything can be disassembled easily if you want to store it in the box. The toy is mostly comprised of a hollow plastic shell with the rest of the bits attached, and yet it still feels like a sturdy, quality toy. The colors are simple, but oh so pretty, with the combination of hunter green and orange-yellowish trim. The stickers are all straight and add some pizazz to the deco, especially the dragon icon nose art. You also get some sculpted detail, including panel lines and some vents.

Unlike the Classics Wind Raider, the wings each pivot independently. The harpoon can still be fired from the front with the push of a button, and then reeled back in by spinning the raised crest on the hood. The stand consists of a hinged peg that attaches into the bottom of the vehicle and connects with a gray deck plate, which in turn can be inserted into a Grayskull-style rocky platform, complete with a little computer terminal, perhaps for running diagnostics on the Raider. The screen is way too low for a standing figure to use it convincingly, but it’s a nice touch nonetheless.

The cockpit includes a sculpted seat, a textured floor, two handlebars, and stickers for control panels in the center and on the sides. Your average Origins figure fits into it with ease, and I was pleasantly surprised at just how big this thing scales with the Origins figures. In fact, let’s do a quick comparison with the Classics Wind Raider.

I’m really impressed with how close this toy is in size to the Classics Wind Raider, which was of course designed for much larger figures. It’s been a while since I had the Classics version out of the box, and I expected it to be a lot bigger than this new version, but that’s really not the case. As for other differences, the Classics Wind Raider certainly has sharper detail, and overall feels more like a premium piece, but the Origins Raider has nothing to be ashamed of. For an off-the-shelf toy at a fraction of the price, it certainly holds its own!

The Origins Wind Raider set me back about $35 and it’s a damn nice toy for the price. It’s big, it fits the figures perfectly, it has some fun play features, and it looks absolutely smashing on display. It also might be ridiculously fun to woooosh around the room, but I wouldn’t know anything about that! But best of all, the Wind Raider (along with the previously reviewed Land Shark) gets me all kinds of excited over other vintage Masters vehicles getting this kind of treatment. Spydor! The Talon Fighter! The Bashasaurus!!! Bring them all on Mattel! My wallet is ready!!!


Masters of the Universe Origins: Roboto and Fisto by Mattel

It’s more than a few weeks since I last checked in with Mattel’s MOTU Origins line. I’ve got tons of figures waiting to be opened, but today’s is something special for me, as this is the first time owning figures of either of these characters. Yup, both Roboto and Fisto are two of the very few figures missing from my MOTU Classics collection. With Roboto, his initial run had misassembled arms, so I waited, hoping for a fixed reissue later on down the road. Well, nope. And the rest is disappointment. As for Fisto, I think he was just released on one of those days when I couldn’t get to Matty Collector fast enough to place the order in time, and he quickly sold out.

Here are our Eternian heroes looking great on the retro-styled cards. It’s crazy how fast and furious this line has been right out of the gate. The figures have been coming with a steady pace, and I’d argue it’s one of the best distributed action figure lines, at least in my area. I still get a lot of these online for convenience sake, but I have also seen just about every single figure at least once while taking a shortcut through the toy aisles at my local Target. Good on you, Mattel! Let’s start with Roboto!

In the world of Eternia, where everyone is a colorful freak, it can be tough to stand out. So, the fact that Roboto does just that really means something! And a lot of that has to do with Roboto’s super cool transparent chest. It’s cast in clear plastic and shows his three primary gears inside. These will rotate when you swivel the figure at the waist in unison with his mouth opening and closing. I’ve never been a big fan of action gimmicks in my figures, but this is one that I can get behind! In addition to those visible internal gears, Roboto has some technological tidbits sculpted into his arms. I dig the coloring here, as it’s very vibrant and eye-catching. The blue and orange contrast beautifully, and the silver paint looks outstanding.

Roboto shares the legs of Trap Jaw, which is appropriate since I’ve always considered Roboto his heroic counterpart. Like Trap Jaw, Roboto has multiple attachments for his left arm, which can be quickly swapped out to adapt to any situation at hand. These attachments include a claw that’s so tiny, it would make Clamp Champ giggle; A double-barreled blaster; And finally, a pretty sweet double-bladed ax. Alas, unlike Trap Jaw, Roboto has nowhere to store the extra bits. Maybe they’re just supposed to retract into him when he swaps them out.

His head reminds me a bit of RoboCop, as it has that silver helmet with the visor running across it. Unlike RoboCop, the bottom half of his face is just a giant, hinged orange mouth. There isn’t a lot of personality in this portrait, and I have to imagine that Roboto feels a little inferior, considering how realistic Skeletor was able to make Faker’s head. That alone, would make me consider changing sides. But even with a mug like a VCR, I still love this guy a lot!

Moving on to Fisto, and compared to Roboto, we’ve got a dude that looks pretty normal, at least according to the Eternia Scale of Normalcy. Fisto borrows a lot from the standard He-Man buck, complete with purple boots and belt, and the ubiquitous furry barbarian diaper. His torso is wrapped in a purple and silver vest, which makes him look a bit bulkier than most of these figures, but it works! He’s got a silver wrist bracer on his left arm and his right arm is equipped with the reason for the season… A GIANT METALIC FIST!!!

Despite being his gimmick, Fisto’s fist isn’t anything too exciting… at least providing you aren’t on the receiving end of it. Once again, Mattel used some beautiful silver paint here, and it looks great alongside the deep purple. I’m going to claim ignorance and ask, is that a fully functional hand or just a fist? I honestly don’t know. But if he can open it like a hand, shouldn’t he be called Hando?

I wasn’t over enamored with the head sculpt when I first saw it, but I’ll admit that it’s grown on me. Fisto’s head is a little lumpy, and his eyes and eyebrows look kind of weird. It’s like they don’t really belong on his face and they’re just visiting. I do love the hair sculpt though. The beard is solid and the mustache is superb.

Fisto comes with one accessory, and that’s his long purple sword. It accessorizes quite well with his outfit, and it’s got a detailed hilt with a knucklebow, and a guard designed to trap opponents blades. I wouldn’t want to fight Fisto, as the combo of using his fist as a parrying punchy shield combined with the long reach of that blade would make him a formidable opponent.

Egads, I love this line. The figures are always so much fun, and it’s currently the most affordable line I collect by a long shot. Roboto and Fisto are just two more reminders of why I enjoy this line, and it’s great to finally have figures of these characters in my collection! It’s tough to spread the love with only three reviews a week, but I’ve got to make a concerted effort to come back to Origins more frequently than I have been, because I still have plenty of figures to check out!

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: “Rise of Evil 2-Pack by Mattel

Exclusives can be a pain in the ass, or they can be proof that patience pays off. In the case of today’s Rise of Evil 2-Pack, it turned out to be all about patience. This set, featuring Keldor and Kronis, the original forms of Skeletor and Trap-Jaw, is another Target Exclusive that has been infamously difficult to find. After weeks of having no luck, I came very close to grabbing it from a scalper on Ebay. I actually had it in my cart, and I just couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger. My desire to own it wasn’t stronger than my disgust for the people buying them up to profit on it. Two weeks later, I found six of them sitting on the shelf. Go figure!

Still, if Mattel is going to insist on doing exclusives, I’ll concede that this is probably a good pick for it. Some may argue that Keldor and Kronis are essentials, but I wouldn’t really agree. They are definitely great figures to have, but essential? Nah. Also, I think Mattel probably completely underestimated the demand on this one. Let’s start with Kronis!

The Evil Criminal from Another Dimension represents Trap-Jaw before getting all messed up and undergoing a body-horror style repair by Tri-Klops, or at least I think that’s how the 200x lore went. The figure recycles Trap-Jaw’s torso, pelvis, and legs all with the same coloring, including those neon green patches on his thigh armor. The left arm no longer has the bolt on the shoulder and he has his normal right arm, both of which include the standard Eternian wrist cuffs, here colored in pale gray. The chest harness is different, as it now has a strap that goes across his chest and secures in the front, but it’s definitely similar to the one Trap-Jaw uses to hold on his artificial limb.

The head sculpt definitely fits the look of psychopathic space pirate. He looks demented and like someone who probably has a lot of problems running around in his noodle. The slack-jawed expression includes a wall of white teeth and an look that suggests he’s rather displeased with me and quite possibly wants to do unpleasant things to my intestines. The close-fitting helmet is similar to what he would wear as Trap-Jaw, right down to the loop at the top for zip-lining. String not included! I’ll note here that my figure is a bit of a bobble head. The neck connection is just loose, making poor Kronis’ head wobble around.

Kronis comes with one accessory, and that’s his cool looking laser rifle. The rifle has two grips, but Kronis only has one grippy hand, as the left is the standard open hand we see with a lot of these figures. I really wish Mattel had added a second grippy hand like they did with Clamp Champ, but he can still hold the rifle fairly well and rest it on his open hand for some decent poses. Moving on to Keldor!

OK, so Kronis was pretty neat, but Keldor is really where it’s at with this set. This guy looks absolutely amazing. He features a very standard pale blue Origins buck with purple boots and wrist cuffs, and a black pelvic piece. The shoulder armor and belt are recycled from regular Skeletor, but cast in a darker purple, which matches his darker purple boots. We also get a few paint hits on the chest piece, including the neon green emblem and the mauve stone in the middle of his crossed bones. Wow, this all looks so good!

Keldor also comes with a cape, which is held on by a plastic chain that goes around the front of his neck. It looks great from the front, but it’s not terribly flattering from the back, as it just puffs out and makes him look like a grape.

The portrait is nothing short of fantastic. Keldor was quite the dashing fellow before the magic acid mishap. He definitely has all the stylings of a villain, with that mustache, widow’s peak, and pointy beard, but the broad grin makes him look like he would be a charismatic adversary. I think this is one of the best head sculpts to come out of Origins so far!

Keldor comes with both his sword and the Havoc Staff. The sword is finished on both sides, unlike the half-sword that came with the original Skeletor release. It’s also painted with a neon green glow toward the point.

The Havok Staff is the same sculpt, but the dark purple transitions to a translucent neon green as it gets to the ram head at the top. This makes for a cool effect, and not a bad stand-in for Skeletor’s staff.

And finally, Keldor comes with a brand new Skeletor head, which is a huge improvement over the one we got on the original Origins release. I love the sculpt, and the paint is just about perfect. He also has some flashy red jewels for eyes. It’s almost a shame that the hood is darker than the armor on the original release, because I would use this as my regular Skeletor head in a heartbeat if the colors matched up.

But in all honesty, this figure could easily stand in as your Origins Skeletor, providing you don’t mind him having regular feet and not those webbed monster feet. I just love everything about this guy! He looks like a premium quality release compared to regular Skeletor.

No doubt about it, this is a great set! Keldor definitely nudges out Kronis as the star for me, but Kronis is no slouch either. And while I’m glad I didn’t have to pay extra, I probably would have been OK with spending more if I had to. This 2-pack is a release that I would have expected to come much later in Origins‘ lifespan, but it’s cool that Mattel is investing in some deep cuts fairly early on. It makes me wonder what other goodies they have in store for us!

Masters of the Universe Origins: Clamp Champ by Mattel


The MOTU Origins figures continue piling up, and I feel as if it’s been too long since I last visited with this delightful line. But, since one of the new Deluxe figures was just spat toward my doorstep via Amazon Toy-Drone, I bumped Clamp Champ to the head of the line, so let me pour another Jameson and sing him in on….

It’s Clamp Champ!
Who?
He’s the Champ of the Clamp!
What??
Not to be confused with Tramp Stamp!
What’s he called?
You deaf son? He’s CLAMP CHAMP… Yeeeeah!!!

How do you stand out in Eternia when you aren’t half-skunk, covered in moss, half robot-elephant, or have a telescoping neck? You get in the garage and build yourself a giant mechanical clamp! And that’s exactly what Clamp Champ did! As one of the Deluxe figures, he comes in a larger vintage-styled card for his extra goodies. The TechnoClamp has been renamed the Power Pincer, which leads me to question why he isn’t called Pincer Champ, but whatever. I love the larger card and bubbles. It makes it look like an old timey rack toy. Sadly, these are not collector friendly, so let me get with the ripping!

Naturally, Champ uses the standard MOTU hero buck, and as this line is modular, he can be pulled apart at all the usual points. My figure actually has a pretty weak connection at the waist, so he will sometimes pull in half when I’m messing around with him. Werid. Clampy has some nice silver paint on his wrist bracers and belt, and some red paint on his furry diaper and the fringe at the tops of his black boots. He wears a rubbery plastic vest, which makes him look rather swol, but also adds some blue to the costume deco, and his color is painted with more of that scrummy silver. He’s a great looking figure!

I was surprised to see that Clamp Man comes with two heads, one with a serious clamping expression and one smiling. I really dig them both, and it’s going to be a tough call on which one to go with for regular display. Maybe the smiling one, since all the other figures look so serious all the time. I’ll note here that Sir Clamp also comes with an extra accessory-holding left hand. I’ll likely go with this one all the time, since his relaxed hand has the fingers kind of warped. It’s like he was testing the clamp on this hand and things got out of control.

Wow, and that brings us to the clamp itself. Even in the batshit crazy world of Eternia, this is one of the most impractical and ungainly weapon I’ve ever seen. He can barely hold it comfortably, let alone wield it in any convincing fashion. And all that makes it so incredibly wonderful. He grips it from a simple peg underneath and there’s a switch on the top that deploys the fluorescent orange pincer claws. I’d like to think that Champ’s backstory is he had planned to get this thing as a cybernetic replacement for his right arm, but then didn’t want to cut his arm off, so he just carries it around.

The claw is perfectly sized to fit around the waist of your average Eternian ne’er-do-well. And since they’re spring loaded they stay put pretty well. I’d like to think Champ’s favorite one-liner is, “Looks like you brought a gun to a clamp fight.” Actually, I take that back. His catch-phrase should be, “You mess with the Champ, You get the Clamp!”

Clamp Champ also comes with a smaller clamp weapon, so it’s like he planned for the big thing getting too heavy to carry all day. This is a non-articulated accessory of a smaller and more lethal looking clamp, with serrated claws.

I’m a little surprised that they got to Clamp Champ so soon in the Origins line, but then again they are turning out these figures pretty damn fast. As I haven’t picked up the Battle Armor He-Man and Skeletor yet, this is the first of these Deluxe figures in my collection. At $19.99, these Deluxes are about five bucks more than the regular ones, which still feels like a pretty good value, as there’s a lot of extra plastic in here.

Masters of the Universe Origins: Castle Grayskull by Mattel

Yup, I sure did tell myself I wasn’t going to collect this line! Nope. Got a nearly complete MOTU Classics collection taking up a lot of room over here, and I’m not starting all over again. And then it was, “Well maybe just a couple more figures. Maybe just a couple of vehicles. Maybe just one more Wave.” And then, “Aw Shit. I got Grayskull coming!” This would have been the rational excuse to stop. I already have Classics Grayskull, which takes up an entire corner of my spare room. Surely, I don’t need another. And yet here we are. I really think I may be overcompensating for the fact that I didn’t have any of these toys as a kid, because I don’t seem to have any plans on stopping.

I was seriously worrying about whether I was going to have Buyer’s Remorse when this showed up. I knew it wasn’t going to be as big or well made as the Classics behemoth, but how could I deprive all my new Origins figures of a legendary mystical fortress to fight over? The box is suitably large and features some kick ass vintage-style artwork on the front, while also advertising the included Sorceress figure. There are some shots of the toy on the flipside, and the rather long and thin box suggests that the Castle is inserted in the open position, so you can get a good idea of the size just by holding the package. Give me a minute to slide the castle out and get it all set up.

Looking as iconic as ever, Origins Grayskull does a great job of recreating the original magnificent example of skull-faced green stone architecture. It’s nearly tiny when compared to the Classics version, but still scaled perfectly fine with the Origins figures. The sculpting is a little soft in places, but you still get plenty of jagged, craggy stone in pale green plastic. There’s some bright green wash in a few areas and black paint inside the eyes and nose of the skull. The closed jawbridge is sculpted in brown with a wood pattern, has silver painted fixtures, and a green heraldic motif. The back of the Castle has shingled roof areas, which are painted brown and there are several open windows to peek out of. The only thing I’m not too keen on here is the weird white speckling Mattel put in the plastic. It’s hard to see in the pictures, but fairly visible when the Castle is in hand. At first, I thought it was some kind of unintentional spray of an unspecified substance, but turns out it’s part of the plan. What was the purpose? I have no idea, but I could have done without it. The back of the castle has a handle, so you can pick it up and take it to your friend’s house, and this thing is a lot easier to lug around than the Classics Castle.

If you’ve owned the Classics or Vintage Grayskull, you’ll be pretty familiar with the play elements here. There’s a hinge on one side and too hook-latches on the other. Open it up and you reveal the playset inside! When you first set up the Castle, the floors need to be slotted into their appropriate places and some stickers need to be applied. You also have to attach the floor plate to the elevator, position the computer components, and plug the flag and laser turret into the top towers. Finally, there are two banners that can be plugged into the ceiling of the Throne Room area. It’s all quick and easy to do, and while the Castle will close up with all this stuff in place, you can remove it all if you want to return the Castle to the box for storage. As far as build quality is concerned, nothing seems fragile, but the plastic used here is pretty soft, which is good for kids, as it means things will bend and not break under the rigors of play. Let’s start in the basement and work our way up!

Most of the extra bits and bobs go in the basement area, although in fairness you can put them anywhere you want! Here we get two weapons racks and a handful of weapons to put in them. The one on the left is just like the Classics one I have only smaller, and I was surprised to find the extra one on the right, which is pretty cool. You also get the sparring device so the Heroes can brush up on their combat skills. The weapons include a mace, a sword, a rifle, and a halberd, all of which are cast in an off-white plastic. The basement also has a sticker showing the dungeon and all sorts of bizarre creatures trying to escape from it.

Access to the upper level is gained via the working elevator. There’s a foot peg on the base plate and a string is used to raise and lower it.

The upper elevator room also has a large computer with a viewscreen showing some planets and stars. The computer bank has all sorts of sculpted panels and cables, as well as some red, green, and blue paint applications to the controls. There’s a smaller computer bank in the Throne Room.

The Throne Room features the ubiquitous trap door gimmick, which is activated when the Throne is turned to the left. The Throne itself is surprisingly well suited to fit the figures and even has foot pegs at the bottom to secure the figures into it. Oh yeah, there are two notches in the floor in front of the Throne designed for the scaling ladder, which I completely neglected to photograph for this review and didn’t realize it until everything was put away. And that’s why I shouldn’t coif so many Jamesons when I’m working on these damn reviews!

The tower features a laser turret, which can only be comfortably manned when the Castle is opened. It’s weird, because the Tower with the flag actually has room for figures when the Castle is closed! Anyway, the turret pivots left and right and will raise and lower, so the Castle can be defended against enemies on the ground or in the air. Will there be a Point Dread that fits atop this Castle like we saw in the Classics line? Only time will tell, but I wouldn’t bet against it.

Our last stop on Castle Tours is the Jawbridge, which can only be opened by inserting The Power Sword into the slot. Or another sword, or a toothpick, or whatever else you have lying around… BUT DON’T TELL SKELETOR!!! I word of caution…. at first I could not get my Castle’s Jawbridge to open at all. The mechanism was unlocking, but it seemed stuck. I eventually had to use a scary amount of force to pry it open and now it works just fine. Anyway, the Jawbridge and doorway are scaled well, so the figures can pass through them without bumping their heads. Except maybe Mechaneck if he forgets to go down scope before going in. Before wrapping up, let’s have a look at The Sorceress!

As the packaging points out, this is The Temple of Darkness Exclusive version of The Sorceress, meaning that she’s based on the all-white costume depicted in the titular Mini-Comic. I suppose that means that we’ll eventually be getting a regular Sorceress in this line. Yeah, I probably would have preferred to have the regular Sorceress bundled with the Castle, but I guess this was a better move for collectors who are only buying the figures and not ponying up for the Castle. With that having been said, I do like this figure a lot, as simple as it is. I expected the boots to be recycled, but they lack the detail seen on Teela’s. Sorceress’ one-piece has some bird feathers sculpted in, but not much else noteworthy detail. The head sculpt and bird hood are excellent, and she does come with her staff.

I really like the way they did her wings! They’re cast in semi-transparent plastic and and feature overlapping hinges so that they can spread and contract, both independently of her arms. Alas, no all white Zoar is included. Still, I look forward to seeing this figure all decked out in the Sorceress’ regular colors.

It does my heart good to see a playset as iconic and majestic as Castle Grayskull in the toy aisles again! Well, truth be told I haven’t actually seen it in a brick-and-mortar store, as mine came by way of Walmart.com. Still, it’s good to see pictures of other collectors spotting it in the wild! In the end, this version of Grayskull holds few surprises, as it hits all the key points we’ve seen before, while not really introducing much new. And that’s not a criticism, because this is an excellent recreation of the Vintage playset for the Origins figures. It’s fun to play with and it makes for a great display for my figures. And while it was impossible to find the space to display my Classics Grayskull the way I wanted because of it’s insane size, it’ll be a lot easier to build an epic display around this one.

Masters of the Universe Origins: Land Shark by Mattel

I was supposed to have this review up for midweek, but to be honest, I started playing Hades on my Switch and it has been monopolizing a lot of my time. But, here I am just in time for the end of the week with a fun new toy from the MOTU Origins line! When I finally buckled and decided to start collecting a Masters of the Universe line ALL OVER AGAIN, it was ultimately because of the potential for vehicles and playsets. Sure, we got a few in the Classics line, and they were fantabulous, but with Origins‘ focus being more on play, and with it being a smaller scale, I was hoping we’d get a lot of vehicles, and it looks like that’s happening. With only a few waves out, we’ve already seen the Sky Sled (I’ll review that one soon!) and had a pre-order for Castle Grayskull. And now we get The Land Shark!

Land Shark, Land Shark! Land Shark, Land Shark! I’m a 48 year old man and I can still recite the commercial for this thing by heart. Sometimes I sing it to myself at work, so people will stay away from me. And how about this packaging! This tank-shark-hybrid comes in a long window box with an extended back flap featuring some gorgeous vintage-style artwork. And just in case this wasn’t enough to get your MOTU juices flowing, the back of the package shows Castle Grayskull! Where am I going to put that? Who the hell knows!!! I really still haven’t found a place for my Classics Grayskull. The Land Shark requires just a bit of minor assembly as it comes out of the box. The tread and gun on the far side have to be snapped into place. It also comes off again fairly easily if you want to put it back in the box.

And here it is out of the box and ready to roll out and chomp some ass! I have to imagine that even on Eternia, a planet of bat-shit crazy vehicle designs, the Land Shark still garners the reaction, “Holy shit, look at that!” What we have here is basically a half-track with a functional shark head on the front of it and dual laser cannon mounted on the sides. It’s easy to say that it looks ridiculous, but if someone was coming at me with this, I would probably be paralyzed with a combination of bewilderment and abject fear. I’m just being honest. But then, I’m a guy living on planet Earth. For all I know, Eternians drive these things to work. If the combination of war vehicle and shark isn’t enough to stand out, Skeletor also decked this thing out in the most outrageous colors he could imagine. With blue treads and mauve shark bits, gray guns and orange teeth, this thing would still stand out, even in a parking lot full of shark cars.

Now, if you’re expecting anything like the few vehicles we got in the Classics line, well this ain’t it. This is definitely more simple toy than highly detailed collectible, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. The treads are just part of the molded side pieces with no paint applications, indeed this is a toy that relies entirely on covered plastic over paint. The sculpted detail is kept to a minimum, but there are still some nice flourishes, like the panel lines and tiny bolts in the shark’s body, as well as some sculpted vents and hatches, and texturing on the seat. The guns look great on the outsides, with tiny shark motif barrels, but they are left hollow and unfinished on the insides.

The Land Shark makes use of stickers for the more highly detailed areas, and I dig that! The controls sticker on the dash board are well illustrated, making this thing look like it’s a lot more complicated to drive than it should be. The back of the vehicle has stickers showing what appear to be some kind of turbine engines, as well as more vents and pipes. The exposed engine block on the back makes this thing easy to get fixed and back on the road for more chomping.

While the treads are just faked out sculpts, the toy does have wheels concealed underneath and rolls along just fine. It even has a mechanism that makes the shark jaws chomp as you roll it along a smooth surface. Apart from that, the cannon on each side of the vehicle can raise and lower so they can shoot straight ahead or at any Wind Raiders that are trying to strafe it from the sky.

The vehicle is designed to hold one figure in the seat, although there are places on the back where you can stand a co-pilot or gunner. I’m not sure that’s intentional, but it works well enough. Skeletor can grip one of the handlebars with his right hand, but not so much his left. It’s not only that he doesn’t have a left grabby hand, but he has to lean in a bit to grab the right one. That’s OK. He probably needs that free hand to push all those damn buttons on the dash board.

There’s a lot of room in the shark mouth for figures to get chomped on. It looks like the design is intended for figures to go in legs first, but either way works. This thing is just all kinds of fun!

I got my Land Shark on Amazon for $29.99, which seems to be the MSRP, although now they’re playing their usual game of cranking up the price as it goes in and out of stock. Checking at the time I’m writing this it’s up to $55. Now, this is a fantastic toy and I love it to bits. I’m seriously smiling ear-to-ear as I have Skeletor chase He-Man and his friends down with it. But… I wouldn’t go higher than thirty bucks on it. Now that Origins has been freed from Walmart’s greedy exclusive grasp, I think these toys are going to be a lot easier to find at various online retailers. But with that having been said, I’m still pre-ordering them whenever I can, because you never know these days.

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. Moving 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! The 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.