Last week I checked out He-Man based on the 1987 film from the Masterverse series, so it’s only fitting I swing back around and have a look at his nemesis Skeletor. Mattel did a few figures from the movie as part of their Classics line, but sadly the line came to a close before they could get to those versions of He-Man and Skeletor. Super7 stepped in to release them, but now Mattel has finally served up these versions as regular retail release action figures. Skeletor had two distinct looks in the movie, regular and golden God all hopped up on power. This is the former version. Super7 did both, and I sure am hoping that Mattel will too. But that’s getting ahead of myself. Let’s have a look at the packaging…
Skeletor is a Deluxe release, which means he comes in a bigger than normal window box with some extras. The Masterverse packaging does a great job of showing off the figure and all the goodies, but the art styling doesn’t strike me as being very evocative of the MOTU brand. It’s not ugly or anything, but I found it surprising that they didn’t at least go with green stonework for the backdrop. But that’s fine. It used to make me shed a tear every time I ripped into those beautiful MOTU Classics packages. And while these are collector friendly, I don’t feel bad about tossing them after I open them.
As much as I loved He-Man’s redesign for this film, I think I dig Skeletor’s even more! It’s an even bigger departure from the classic design, but it looked great on the big screen and it looks pretty damn good as an action figure too. There’s a lot of layering here, with the partial skirt being cast in plastic, as well as the two strips of plates that run from his shoulders to his ankles. You get some beautifully sculpted armor on his chest and shoulders, which I can only describe as having an organic techno-skeleton vibe to them. The metallic purple paint used for these pieces is really snappy too! The lower skirt also has a series of square plates sculpted onto it, resembling brigandine style armor. Skeletor has some really cool bracers, and I dig the silver paint on the backs of his gauntlets that reminds me of a circuit pattern. It’s a bit more pronounced here than on the actual costume, but that’s fine. The cape is light cloth with a triangular plastic piece jutting down, probably intended to be leather, and punctuated with a single bronze painted medallion. The layering and textures of the costume combined with the ornate sculpting makes for an awesome looking figure.
In terms of portrait, Skeletor fares a lot better than He-Man did. You only get the one head sculpt, but I guess Mattel’s thinking was if you get it right the first time, you don’t have to offer a second option. And wow did they get this right! The definition of the skull features mixed with what looks like lumps of malformed flesh makes for a sinister look and a downright superb bit of sculpting. The waxy gray coloring of the skin works too, although I sometimes wonder if a greenish tint would have been the way to go. The hood is sculpted in plastic as part of the head, which looks great, but does curtail his head articulation quite a bit. The rest of the articulation points seem to be identical to He-Man, but you do get a little more restriction in the hips because of the plastic skirt. It’s also worth noting that the shoulder pieces are designed to pop off if you exceed the range of movement up there.
What would Skeletor be without his Havoc Staff? And this iconic accessory got a pretty cool redesign for the film as well. The ram skull motif is a lot more elaborate here with a design resembling a burst of powerful rays behind the skull, and a horn on top. This is a beautiful piece and pretty damned intimidating. In addition to his right fist and left flat hand, Skeletor comes with a pair of accessory holding hands to work with the Havoc Staff and sword.
The sword is quite impressive! There are hints to the design that make it a little similar to He-Man’s, but I can’t remember whether there was supposed to be any connection between the two swords in the movie. At least I don’t remember there being any. The hilt is beautifully sculpted, and the blade is broad and straight. Alas, it is left as unpainted gray plastic, and I wish Mattel had given us some silver paint on the blade. Unlike He-Man, there is nowhere for Skeletor to wear the sword, which is a bummer, but probably more a fault of the movie costume design than the figure.
And finally, you get the Cosmic Key! Mattel gave us this accessory with the Classics version of Gwildor. This time around, the key is in its dormant state with the tuning forks closed. The device is painted in brown, silver, and purple and it looks OK, but I feel like the detail could have been a bit sharper. There’s a plastic loop on the side, so the Key can be held by passing Skeletor’s flat hand through it.
I think both of these figures turned out excellent, but I have to give the nod to Skeletor for not having to make any apologies for the head sculpt. It’s a shame we never got these versions in the vintage line. I would have loved to see at least a couple waves of toys come out branded specifically for the movie, as opposed to stuffing Gwildor and Blade in the regular line. Then again by 1987, I was 15 and almost completely drifted away from toys to pursue other interests. But it’s nice to have these two on my shelf now, and I’m hoping that at minimum we get the golden armor Skeletor, but even better, I’d love to see Mattel use Masterverse to get us a bunch of movie figures. When I get back to Masterverse again, we’ll start checking out some of the Princess of Power figures!
When Masterverse was revealed it seemed to be focused on the Netflix series and I wasn’t interested. But then it grew to be a giant melting pot, including all the classic characters. Still, I managed to resist because I already have those figures as part of the MOTU Classics line, and I’m also re-collecting them in Origins. But when they started doing Princess of Power, I began collecting those, and now I’ve added two more with the ’87 movie versions of He-Man and Skeletor. While I haven’t gotten around to reviewing any of those PoP figures, I decided to push these two to the head of the line. So let’s check out He-Man!
I’ll go on record by saying that I’m pretty fascinated by the 87 MOTU movie. I was 15 when it was released, so I didn’t have too strong an attachment to it back then, but I re-watch it from time to time. It’s a bizarre movie with some great highs and lows, an interesting behind the scenes history, and about 90% of it feels like its a struggle between ambition and reality, with reality winning the day. We got a few movie characters in Mattel’s Classics line, and Super7 did some as well, but this is the first time we’re seeing this version of He-Man as a mass release in the toy aisles, and that’s pretty cool. Movie He-Man is a Deluxe release, which means he comes in a wider window box and has some extra goodies. The package design is surprising to me, as it doesn’t go for the obvious green stone Grayskull motif. What we get is certainly fresh and new, but just doesn’t feel all that iconic. The figure comes on a clear plastic tray against an illustrated gray stone backdrop, and everything is collector friendly.
Here his is out of the box and ready to take on whatever 20th Century Earth and Cannon’s limited budget has to offer. And I do really like a lot about what Mattel did with this figure. This reimagining of He-Man is definitely one of the high points of the film for me, and this figure conveys that look very well. I particularly love how layered the figure is, with most of the costume being sculpted as separate pieces and attached to the body. Only the undies, leg and bicep straps, and boots are part of the body itself. This gives the figure a lot of wonderful depth. There’s some excellent detail sculpted into the armor grieves, shoulders, and that left wrist bracer. All of these pieces are cast in a rich bronze with some wash to bring out the detail. You get similar fixtures as part of the belt buckle and the medallion on his chest. The sculpted muscles are well-defined, although they look a bit awkwardly pinched at the elbows, which was clearly done to improve articulation, so I’ll take it. He-Man’s cape is made of a very light red cloth, connects at the shoulders, and has a gold ornate pattern across the bottom edge.
Behind the cape is a scabbard for his sword, and this is an interesting design. The scabbard itself only houses the last quarter or so of the sword’s blade, with the top portion being secured through a loop up near the top of his back. It works well, and since it’s covered by the cape, it sort of creates the illusion of being a full scabbard. He-Man also has a pistol holster on his left hip, and two dagger sheathes attached to his right leg, so he can comfortably carry all four of his weapons. Although, I think I have the daggers switched in my photos. They will each fit in either sheath, but I think the more ornate one is supposed to go up high.
OK, so let’s talk about these heads. You get two, and I think this one is supposed to be an approximation of Dolph Lundgren and I’m going to guess that Mattel didn’t have his likeness rights, because I refuse to believe this is the best they could do. Now, accepting that this is not Lundgren, I don’t dislike this head, as it looks like it could have been based on concept art for the film. It kind of looks like they wrote an algorithm to see how much Lundgren they could infuse into the portrait without getting smacked down by lawyers. The hair sculpt is similar to what we saw in the movie, and if I’m being honest, the portrait just works fine for me. I think it looks good on the figure, although I’m willing to bet most collectors will be disappointed at not getting the real thing.
The other option is more of a classic He-Man noggin, and I like this one too. The face is very traditional, as is the poufy coif of hair. In the end, I’ll likely display the figure with the first head, just because the hair sells it as the movie figure, even if the face doesn’t. But I’ll still alternate heads a bit for the pictures in this review.
The articulation here is pretty good, although I have a few little gripes. The upper body is all great, with a pretty good ball joint under the chest and a ball joint in the neck. I especially like what we got with the arms. There are rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, double-hinges in the elbows, and hinged pegs in the wrists to swap out between the two sets of hands. You get one set of accessory holding hands, one left fist, and one right flat hand. I really wish we had gotten a full set of fists and a set of relaxed hands, as just one of each feels kind of weird. The legs have decent ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double-hinged knees, and hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The lower hinges on my figures knees are fused, so that’s a bummer. My guess is I can free them with some heat, but for now they’re useless.
I am very pleased that the arm articulation allows He-Man to double-hand his sword! And speaking of swords… let’s check out them weapons!
The two daggers are cool little pieces, and they look great paired up on his right leg, as either last resort weapons, or just to throw at Karg’s ugly face. One is very simple, with a utilitarian gold hilt, no guard, and a double edged blade. The other has a more ornamental hilt and guard, and looks like it could be some special artifact from the bowels of Grayskull. These fit well in either sheath or gripping hand.
Next is the laser pistol. I’m not sure if having He-Man carry a gun in the film was controversial or not, but I loved the idea. Eternia is all about that mix of swords, sorcery, and tech, and I’ve always adored fantasy-sci-fi like Flash Gordon where laser guns coexist with swords. The gun has a cool sci-fi design, but sadly He-Man does not come with a trigger-finger hand, and this gun has a really pronounced trigger guard, so he looks kind of weird holding it. I suppose we can chalk it up to Trigger Discipline, and maybe that’s part of a lost PSAs planned for the end of the movie.
And finally we have his trusty sword, and this is a beauty. It’s a huge departure from the design seen in the toyline and the cartoon, and it looks more like it’s patterned after Conan’s theatrical blade, but I love it. The grip is ribbed, and the guard and pommel are painted in an aged bronze to match He-Man’s armor pieces. The blade is left as bare plastic, and while I would have loved some silver paint here, it still looks fine.
I don’t have the Super7 figure to do a direct comparison, but having looked over some pictures, I think this one holds up remarkably well. Indeed, if you forget about the head for a moment, I’d say I like this one better than what I’ve seen of Super7’s. And to be fair, I don’t think Super7 did all that great a job with the Lundgren likeness. Either way, I am really happy with how this figure turned out. A better selection of hands would have really boosted him a lot higher in my eyes, but even as he is now, I think he’s a great figure and lots of fun to play around with. Next week, I’ll circle back and check out his nemesis… Skeletor!
Happy Friday! And what better way to bring on the weekend then by opening some new toys! Mattel’s MOTU Origins line continues to pump out the content at a record pace, leaving me behind on reviewing these magnificent figures, but I’m doing the best I can to get caught up! Today I’m checking out two more variations of He-Man and Skeletor, this time based on designs from the 200x toyline.
The figures come on the same gloriously retro designed cardbacks that we’ve been seeing all along. You get the 40th Anniversary logo in foil up at the top left corner fo the card, and a rather spiffy MOTU logo sticker on the front of the bubbles. What you don’t get is any actual reference to the Mike Young Production cartoon or 200x series. And that’s fine. For any kiddies out there who are into this line without any context, these are just cool new versions of the two main characters to play with! I should note that I never collected the 200x toys, although I did run into them a lot back in the day when I was making my weekly trips to KayBee Toy Outlet, and I was often very tempted to pick some up. Ultimately, I reasoned that the line was too far along for me to start collecting from the beginning, and so I resisted the temptation. I did, however, get into the MYP cartoon BIG TIME, and I still consider it to be one of the absolute best cartoon reboots ever made. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to get these figures in the Origins style. Let’s start with He-Man!
One of the things that characterized the 200x figures were the somewhat stylized proportions, and since these figures retain the usual Origins bodies, a little of that flavor is lost. What we have left is mostly a costume change, but I really like it. The arms and legs are left unchanged, with the boots all painted brown and the wrist bracers in silver. The pelvic piece is new, with a silver belt and red and gold circular buckle. The sculpted furry diaper is still present, but trimmed back quite a bit. The chest harness features a hexagonal plate with another red and gold motif. The silver border looks great and there’s a nice hammered texture to the background. This design is different enough from the classic look to stand out, but not so much to be jarring. Were I a kid playing with these figures, I could easily see this one becoming a regular stand in for the more classic He-Man on my adventures. It just looks fantastic!
As for the head sculpt, I like it a lot, but there have been so many He-Heads in this line so far, I’d be lying if I could keep them all straight. Is this new? Is it recycled? Without digging through a tote for my head bag, or scrolling through my past reviews, I’m not going to say for sure, but I’m guessing it’s a repack. I will say that it is emphatically not designed to look like the 200x figure, and instead retains that very vintage look. I think this head would work on pretty much any Origins He-Man we’ve seen so far. Either way, I think the head looks really good with this costume.
As for weapons, He-Man comes with the 200x redesign of the Power Sword. I’ve never been a big fan of this design, as it just way too clunky and impractical. I do, however, appreciate the attention to detail in the sculpt. It’s more machine now than sword, but that really gave the sculptors something to work with. There’s a loop in the back of He-Man’s harness so he can wear the sword on his back. I will point out that the figure’s grip is a little loose on the sword. I’m not sure if that’s a problem with my figure in particular, but it helps to squeeze it tight so he doesn’t drop it.
You also get his battle axe and shield, and I absolutely love these! The axe has some techno-gizmos sculpted into it to resemble the same tech that went into the sword, but here it doesn’t really make the weapon look unwieldly or cumbersome… just futuristic!!! The shield also has a little mesh circuit pattern on one of the arms of the cross, and some really nice texturing in the red field areas. These accessories look great together, and I’ll likely display He-Man with the wielding these and with the sword on his back. OK, let’s move on to Skeletor!
To me the 200x version of Skeletor looked extra stylized to me, and there was something about him that made his limbs look extra long and his head extra tiny. As a result, this Origins version looks a lot more like its doing its own thing, and boy do I love it! The armor pieces sport some excellent detail, like leather texturing in the hip and groin armor, organic designs in the grieves, and the shoulders and gorget look awesome! In addition to the purple plastic on the armor, you get red jewels painted on the knees and in the center of the crossed bones on his chest, as well as black for the shoulder guards. The wrist bracers are painted purple, and his feet are left pale blue. The fastener on the armor tends to slip out of the loop on my figure from time to time, but even when it does the harness and shoulders stays put. All in all, I love the way Mattel adapted this design to Origins, and this is a great version of Skeletor!
And then there’s the head sculpt! Hot damn, is this outstanding! The skull face is nestled in the center of a purple textured hood, and boy does he look pissed! The angry, downturned brow looks very expressive along with the red dots in the center of his eye holes. I also really love the paintwork on the face, with the way the yellow transitions to the green at the edges. This portrait is a little work of art, and one of my favorites that this line has produced so far!
Skeletor comes with the 200x version of his sword, which I believe was two swords joined together, which is why it has what looks like two grips. I suppose one could be a knuckle-guard, but either way the design of the hilt makes it kind of awkward for him to hold. Like the 200x Power Sword, I think this is well sculpted, but it just looks completely impractical. I wish they had given Skeletor a loop on his back to tuck the sword into like they did He-Man. I guess I could tuck it under the strap, but with the way it likes to come loose, that’s probably not going to work.
And you also get his trusty Havok Staff, which I think is just a repack of the one we’ve seen a bunch of times before.
I usually get tired of toy lines constantly churning out variants of main characters, but in the case of Origins I haven’t minded so much, because they’ve all been really good. And this pair may be the best yet. Normally, I would take the classic look for these guys over the 200x designs any day, but I’m shocked at how great these look adapted for the Origins bodies. Both figures get high marks from me, but I’m leaning toward the Skeletor as being my favorite of the pair. The armor just looks outstanding and the portrait is perfect! What’s even better is right now both of these figures have been turning up online at pretty good sale prices. Last time I looked Skeletor was going for $10 on Amazon, and boy is that an absolute steel for such a remarkable figure! Do I get another to keep carded? Nah… but it is tempting!
Mondo has been turning out some Sixth-Scale figures based on the Masters of the Universe license, and while the reaction to some of these has been hit and miss among fans, I’ve been enjoying them from afar. But, then they announced She-Ra, and she looked absolutely gorgeous, and I figured, What the hell? Let’s see what these are all about… because I need another expensive line to collect like I need a hole in my head. The made-to-order formula, that has become so popular among smaller collector toy companies, was the rule of the day here, and so I dropped a pre-order. For some reason I didn’t think she was going to be shipping so soon, but here she is, so let’s take a look!
The packaging is extremely well done, both in terms of presentation and quality. When I drop more than $200 on an action figure I like to get it in a premium package, and that is absolutely the case here. You get what appears to be a fully enclosed box, but there’s actually a magnetic flap that opens to reveal a window front panel. The front and back panels have some very nice artwork and the inside of the flap has a picture of the figure itself. Inside, She-Ra comes on a clear plastic tray, with several layers to house all of her accessories and extras. There are a lot of different display options with this figure, so let’s just start with how she comes straight out of the box.
And here she is out of the box and looking drop dead gorgeous! In a lot of ways, Mondo She-Ra looks like an upscaled premium 7-inch action figure, and I don’t mean that as any kind of slight. It’s just that most of my Sixth-Scale figures feature tailored costumes or seamless joints, or something to set them apart from their smaller cousins and justify the high price tag. Here we get a mostly plastic costume (we’ll get to the cloth cape in a bit!), and articulation that is pretty similar to what we’ve seen in some of the more articulated, higher end six or seven inch figures. As a result, She-Ra feels more like a figure that I can play around with, rather than something I’m just going to tweak the pose on every now and then.
Her white dress is cast in soft plastic and has a decent layered effect to make it look like the figure is actually wearing it. I did find the asymmetrical nature of her top rather interesting. Her right breast covering is smooth while the left is scalloped. I’m not sure where Mondo took that particular design cue from, but I think I would have preferred they had gone with one or the other. And I’m not just bringing it up as an excuse to talk about She-Ra’s boobs… honest! Of course, the creamy white dress is complimented by the gold accents, which make for an absolutely exquisite deco. The gold paint that Mondo used here is quite striking, with something of a satin finish. In addition to the gold piping on the dress, you get the large floral motif on the front of her torso, and the golden shoulders, grieves and boots. There are sculpted brown straps “holding” the grieves in place and and some copper paint applications to give the gold armor a little more of a dynamic look. I have absolutely no complaints about the the quality of the paint and coloring on this figure. It’s all top notch stuff!
The belt is removable and can be replaced with a second belt design. It’s pretty cool, but I like the one that came on the figure much, much better, so this piece is going back into the box! They are both made of soft pliable plastic and tab together in the back. I found that this one was tough to get secured properly, whereas the first seems to fit and stay put just fine. Yet another reason to cast this one aside.
The portrait is just about flawless, and clearly favors a toyetic/animated look over any kind of realism, which means we get some very clean but also very basic paint, including red lips, blue eyes, and a hint of purple eyeshadow. An argument can be made that this simple style works better on a smaller figure. I think it’s fine, but it does contribute to the feeling of this being an upscaled figure. Her blonde hair is sculpted to fall about her shoulders and splits so that the bulk of it falls behind her and you still get some curls over the fronts of her shoulders. The stock tiara and headdress also has a simple, animated style to it, with a red jewel in the middle. I get a strong Filmation style vibe out of this one and I do dig it a lot. And you get a total of three headdress options here.
Each of the tiaras peg into holes where her temples are, as well as slotting in above her forehead. It’s very easy to swap them out, but it also means that you can’t display her without them because there are two gaping holes in the sides of her head. This second version is a bit more angular, and sports more detail, and also has a bit of that copper paint that can be seen on her boots. I’m really torn over which of the two I like best. Right now I’m leaning toward this one, as I think it suits Mondo’s take on the character perfectly, but the Filmation style ain’t bad either!
There is a third option, which is clearly inspired by the vintage toy, also includes a hair piece, creating some bangs that hang below the head band. This is an interesting look, and the bangs really transforms the portrait a lot. But despite being closest to the original design, it’s a bit far from the She-Ra that I’m most familiar with. As with the original toy’s headpiece, this mimics the tiara doubling as a mask with eyeholes if you turn it upside down, but that option really doesn’t work with this figure. I doubt I’ll display this one very much, but I’m sure there are some She-Ra purists out there who will favor this look.
She-Ra comes with a red cloth cape with some gold trim, and some very strong wires running through the edges to allow it to be posed in a variety of ways. It attaches to the figure with wire clips, which I think are meant to go on the gaps in the shoulder armor and the shoulder straps, but I couldn’t make this work, so I attached them on the shoulder straps themselves and that seems to do the trick. The clips make for a secure connection and the bright red cloth really pops next to the white and gold deco of the figure. All in all the cape completes She-Ra’s ensemble perfectly, and I’m hoping the red dye in the cape doesn’t transfer to the back of her white costume. At this point, I have to say that if I were basing my take on this figure strictly on aesthetics alone, all I would be doing is gushing, because this is such a gorgeous piece! Between sculpt, paint, and display options, there’s really not much to complain about. But, unfortunately, things are about to take a downturn…
The articulation here looks fine on paper, but it’s problematic in execution. The hips are ball jointed and seem to have a generous range, but the plastic skirt puts the kibosh on that. The knees are double hinged, but when I tried to flex them to their limit, I started getting stress marks on my figure’s lower right knee joint. I wasn’t even coming close to the extreme range, so I’m thinking maybe it was because the joint wasn’t aligned properly. I’m not sure if this is a flaw in my particular figure, or the design in general. The ankles are hinged ball joints, but don’t allow for any significant lateral movement, which means they can’t stay flat at wide stances, and that’s unacceptable for a figure at this scale and price point. The neck has a generous ball joint and there’s a ball joint in the waist, which will pop out if exercised too greatly. Not ideal, but I guess it’s better than breaking it. It took some force to get the two halves of She-Ra together again, but I was able to do it. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, and hinged pegs for the wrists, which allow you to swap out hands, of which there are three sets: Fists, relaxed hands, and accessory holding hands. Unfortunately, a lot of the joints are very weak, particularly the elbows, knees, and ankles, and that leads to problems with posing. A lot of the posed pictures I took were snapped just seconds before She-Ra took a tumble because her ankle joints gave out. What a shame! Let’s move on to accessories…
Naturally, She-Ra comes with her Power Sword, and not just one but two! She comes with a traditional silver version, as well as a gold version with a golden scabbard. The silver version looks great and very faithful to the Filmation style. It features some gray paint apps on the grips and the center of the blade, a pale blue stone centered between the guards, and overall an even satin finish. I also appreciate that the sword is cast in some pretty stiff plastic, so there’s no worries about warping or bending. Her gripping hand holds on quite well and it looks as iconic as ever in her grasp.
She also comes with her golden shield, which is a remarkably well-made and substantial piece, but unfortunately a little too substantial. The shield is so thick and heavy that She-Ra’s elbow joint really isn’t up to the task to keep it raised and at the ready. The shield is attached to She-Ra’s arm by passing the forearm through the two plastic straps, but her left gripping hand is designed to hold the sword and not grip the wide strap. Mondo’s official photos show them using the fist, but that slips through the strap way too easily. As a result, I tend to find the relaxed hand is best, but that’s not really ideal either. This thing is constantly causing her elbow to droop and the shield just slides off onto the floor. I may eventually use some poster putty to get it to stay put, which is really something I shouldn’t have to do on a $250 figure. I really wish Mondo had equipped her with a wider grip left hand designed to work with the shield better. With all that having been said, the floral motif looks great and matches the decorations on her armor perfectly.
The gold sword has a beautifully sculpted scabbard, complete with sculpted brown wraps and a unicorn head at the tip. As far as I know this is an original Mondo design, and while I love the style, it’s really thick and comes across as being outlandishly large for She-Ra to carry. The scabbard is designed to clip onto her back strap and be worn under the cape and utilize a special hair piece with a hole in the hair sculpt for the hilt to pass through. Unfortunately, my figure came with two of the same hair pieces, rather than the normal one and the one that works with the sword. I contacted Mondo about the issue and they said they would send me out a replacement, but I have no yet received confirmation that it has shipped and it’s been over a week now, so I’m reasonably miffed about that. I was going to hold off on the review until it arrived, but then I thought better to just showcase the figure as it came, flaws and all and do an update when (or if) the replacement part arrives. So, for now, I can’t show her wearing the sword.
Out of the scabbard, the gold Power Sword looks nice. It’s not a drastically different design than her regular one, and I do like how it matches her armor and shield so perfectly. The way the blade narrows ever so slightly in the middle and then swells near the point gives it a distinctive look while not straying too far from the original design. Overall, it’s a very cool bonus item that adds value to the package and serves to make this version of She-Ra all the more unique. And while on the subject of swords, I really wish Mondo had included a right hand that was designed to hold the sword straight up above her head, so she could better do her iconic pose.
The final accessory is the Battle Axe Hairbrush, which is a direct homage to Mattel’s MOTU Classics release. I thought this was an absolutely brilliant way to incorporate the hairbrush that came with the original doll into an action figure accessory, and I’m glad to see that the idea is being kept alive. This is a slick design, with some stylish organic curves and a substantial axe blade. The hairbrush portion is now a spiked backstrap, which looks like it could do some vicious damage to any one of Hordak’s minions.
The final accessory, if you want to call it that, is the Kowl figure, which is absolutely fantastic! He’s big and colorful, and even has articulation at the shoulders. Sure, it’s just rotation, but that was a lot more than I was expecting. He stands really well on his own, and I can’t say enough things about how great this sculpt looks. It really captures all the charm of the character as he appeared in the Filmation cartoon, rather than the vintage action figure. There are a number of accessories in this box that I probably will never get any use out of, but Kowl will certainly get put beside She-Ra as a companion display piece.
Finally, She-Ra comes with a black figure stand, which looks like it’s positively guaranteed to ruin the figure. The post uses a wire loop to grab the figure around the waist and hold her up. So, yeah… tight black wire rubbing on the white plastic dress is a recipe for disaster. It’s not a huge loss, since the stand is pretty ugly. The base has a weird design that doesn’t make much sense unless you flip it over and see that it’s a rather ornate Mondo logo. Why the hell put all the detail on the bottom of the base where you’ll never see it? For the price of the figure I think we should have received a stand that looked a lot better, not to mention was designed to do no harm to the figure itself. But, since the ankle joints aren’t going to support She-Ra, I’ve substituted a generic Hot Toys style stand, which uses a crotch-cradle. I use these for my Phicen/TB League figures, and it works pretty well here.
I was going to do a comparison shot of Mondo She-Ra with Mattel’s 2016 SDCC Sixth-Scale She-Ra, but then I realized I hadn’t reviewed that figure yet, so maybe I’ll use this as an excuse to go back to it and then do comparison shots in that review. All in all, I can’t say I regret buying Mondo She-Ra. To be clear, she is an absolutely gorgeous figure and is going to look fantastic on display with my other MotU toys and collectibles. On the other hand, there’s a lot about this figure that disappoints me. From the questionable jointing to the missing hair piece, and a terrible figure stand, it feels like Mondo stumbled on the easy stuff. If the figure were under $200, I could be a lot more forgiving, but at $250 this kind of stuff is just not OK. And so She-Ra is both my first Mondo Sixth-Scale purchase and my last. In the meantime, if Mondo does wind up sending me the missing hair piece, I’ll do an addendum to this review and some more pictures.
Holy crap, that title is a mouthful, innit? I’m overdue for visiting with the MOTU Origins line, and since I have relatively new versions of He-Man and Skeletor on my pile of figures to open, I decided to knock them both out today! These are both Deluxe figures, which means they cost a little more than the regular ones, and come on bigger cards, and lots more stuff!
And wow, don’t they look so good in the packages! The presentation here kind of reminds me of the old rack toys, only actually good and not at all crappy. The character art looks amazing, but Mattel could have just as easily let the bubble do all the talking, because there’s so much cool stuff packed in here. Exposition explosions tell us that He-Man swings his arms with awesome might, while Skeletor swings with fearsome fury! Which is better, YOU DECIDE!!! This is a line that constantly tempts me to get doubles to keep one sealed, because they look so good in package. Let’s check out He-Man first!
Flying Fists He-Man is basically regular He-Man with gorgeous vac-metal armor encasing his manly torso. His wrist bracers and belt are painted bright red, and he has white fringe around the tops of his boots. The armor has a beautiful mirror silver polish with gold trim around the arm holes and waist, and a red H emblazoned on the front. His back has a large bracket so he can store his preposterous weapon, and yes it does make him very back-heavy. And in keeping with the vintage gimmick, He-Man does indeed have arm swinging power, which is activated when you rotate him at the waist left or right with the help of a grooved wheel at the bottom of his back. This is an absolutely beautiful figure that really gives Battle Armor He-Man a run for his money.
You get two portraits with the figure, and that is awesome! I absolutely love how many options we now have for swapping heads between regular He-Man and all the other flavors. The one that comes on the figure is my favorite of the two, and I can easily see myself displaying this on my regular He-Man as well. I’m a bit conflicted on the other one. I really like the work they put into this, with the windblown hair and the open mouth, but I’m not sure the end result really conveys what they were going for. Still, a nice option!
Flying Fists He-Man introduces two new weapons to his arsenal, and these are some real Rube Goldberg kinda stuff! The weapon is sort of like a mace, but with a huge spinning wheel with three balls at the end of each arm. It looks absolutely ridiculous and it seems completely impractical. But, we’re talking about a world with a robot elephant as the fire marshal, so when you put it in the proper context, I’m sure this thing makes perfect sense. The shield is pretty out there too, but I like it a lot more. It’s got spinning blades on it, which seems like it would be good for offense and defense. Both of the weapons feature more of that gorgeous vac-metal finish, and as demonstrated earlier, the mace weapon can store on He-Man’s back. Laugh as I might, if I saw a He-Man coming at me with this shit, I would still run for my life.
He-Man also comes with his trusty power sword, and this is a fantastic accessory, because it isn’t the crappy half-sword that came with the original He-Man release, so you know this is getting handed off to my regular He-Man as soon as I’m done with this review! I can’t help but think it would have been cool if this got the vac-metal treatment too, but I’m still happy to have it. OK, let’s check out Skeletor…
As with He-Man, Skeletor uses a lot of the same parts we’re used to seeing on the character, but he also has some shiny new vac-metal plate armor. While He-Man got his whole torso covered, Skeletor only has his covering his upper chest, so he can still show off those washboard abs. The new armor has a skull fixed right in the middle and a gorgeous purple tint to it. My only complaint with this figure is that, apart from the chest armor, he looks kind of bland. I think I’m missing the wrist bracers, and I’m wondering if they omitted those so his Terror Claws would fit better. Naturally, he has the same arm-swinging play feature as He-Man, and he can also store his ridiculous new weapon the clip on his back.
Once again, you get two heads with the figure, and I absolutely love these. The regular one is just so expressive, even if I’m a bit unclear on what the expression is supposed to be. He kind of looks like Beast Man just brought him a dead rat as a present and he’s genuinely touched by the offering. But the second one is just pure money. Skeletor looks so damn happy here, like he’s so proud of his ridiculous new weapons and can’t wait to try them out. These are both great, and they will likely spend some time on my regular Skeletor figure.
Of the two figures, Skeletor seems to have made out better in the accessories department. I was surprised to see that they included his trusty Havoc Staff, considering how much else is here. I’m sure it didn’t break the bank for Mattel to throw this in there, but it’s a welcome bonus nonetheless.
Next up is the white snappy dragon thingy, which is roughly comparable to He-Man’s spinning mace. It makes me wonder why this didn’t get top billing for the figure over the Terror Claws, but it’s probably because they couldn’t think up a cool name for it. As I’m pretty sure I mentioned when reviewing the Classics version of this figure, it looks like Skeletor cut off Sky-Lynx’s head and turned it into a grabby arm. I totally dig it.
And finally, we have the main attraction, which are the Terror Claws. These clip onto Skeletor’s wrists and give him giant tearing appendages. And much like He-Man’s spinning mace, I find these hysterical to look at, but I’d pretty much shit myself if a skull-faced assailant came after me with them. I like the little sculpted detail added to them, and my one complaint would be that I wish they had added pegs for the hands to grip onto like they did with the dragon chomper weapon. They still stay put fairly well, but pegs would have been even better.
I think it’s safe to say that every time I open a new MOTU Origins figure, I am absolutely delighted with the purchase. These figures are just so damn fun, and I’m very happy to see that Mattel is going all out. For a line that I originally swore I would never collect, this feels like the absolute best values to be found in the current action figure market. I’m also thrilled that Mattel has been keeping the play gimmicks alive in these figures, which really sets them apart from the more collector-driven Classics line, where they were mostly omitted. Keep them coming, 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!
Things are coming to a head, folks! There’s only one more month left in the 2015 Masters Classics Sub, I just got my November figures, but I still have unfinished business with October. I’ve actuallly got two figures to look at today, so without further delay, let’s check out our friends, He-Man and Skeletor all kitted out in some truly bizarre new battle gear!
If you own any of the other two-packs from the MOTUC line then you’ll know what to expect from the packaging here. It’s got the same attractive green Greyskull deco wrapped around a (nearly) trapezoid-shaped window box. The back features a bio for each figure and some shots of other figures that are long gone from Matty’s Store and only available now from Ebay for all your monies. Overall, the box shows the figures off quite well, it doesn’t waste a lot of space, and it’s sort of collector friendly, but the box is easy to damage, so your mileage may vary. I was careful to preserve the packaging on mine, because I think I’m actually going to display them this way. I just think it makes for a neat looking set. Let’s start with He-Man…
When you think about it, it’s surprising how few variants of He-Man were produced. I mean, Mattel could have really gone crazy, but they didn’t. It’s also worth noting that my very first Masters Classics figure was one of those variants, Battle Armor He-Man, so maybe I have a soft spot for variants. This version is kind of similar in that it gives He-Man an armored chest plate, which also kind of make it look like he’s been packing away the Roast Gooble dinners. Yes, it’s a rubbery vest over the already beefy buck, but I don’t think it looks bad. It features a nice silvery sheen and a bright red “H” on the chest. There are a few blemishes on my figure’s paint here, but I’ll write that off to battle scuffing. I should point out that Mattel chose not to go the vac-plated route like on the vintage figure. I’m OK with that seeing as how my Hurricane Hordak has some chips in his. The rest of the figure’s buck is pretty much what you would expect. This version does have some nice white trim on the tops of his boots and his belts and wrist bracers are painted red. The head appears to be a new sculpt, or at least different from the ones on my regular He-Man and Battle Armor He-Man.
Of course, this pack is all about the crazy weapons, but we’ll start small and go big. Firstly, He-Man comes with a Power Sword and a spinning shield thing. The shield is the new attraction here and I actually dig it a lot. It’s a gold circular shield with a grey spinning piece mounted on the front. On an Eternian Ridiculousness Scale of Ten, this one scores only Two Orkos and that’s not bad. The shield clips onto the wrist bracer firmly. I only wish there was a place to put the sword on his back for when he’s using…
THIS! Yeah, the needle on that scale just pinned to the right. When I think “Flying Fists” He-Man, I kind of expect him to shoot his fists like a Shogun Warrior Robot, but it doesn’t summon up images of this. He-Man’s special weapon is like Duncan combined a mace with a weed wacker. It’s just three spinning balls on the end of an arm. On the one hand, it’s ridiculous, on the other hand if someone was coming at me with it, I’d run away, so I’ll have to give the designers some credit. Do I like it? Yeah, I do. I’m not into this line because it has a firm grasp on common sense. Let’s check out Skeletor…
Again, there’s some nice variations on this figure over the original, and I mean besides the giant robot dragon head on his back. The chest armor is new and includes a painted skull and flared shoulders. The buck seems to be cast in a slightly darker blue, his webbed feet are painted to match his leg bracers and thereby make them look more like boots. Lastly, the belt is painted red, which I just noticed now matches He-Man’s. How embarrassing is it when you show up for battle and you and your arch-enemy’s accessories match. I almost cried foul about how the dragon head doesn’t angle over the shoulder, but then I remembered that was Dragon Blaster Skeletor, a figure that I somehow missed out on. The paint on the skull face is different from the original Skeletor’s as well. It’s a lot more vibrant and I dig that.
The dragon chomping piece unclips from his back and he can hold it in his right arm. Now this thing? I just don’t see the appeal of it. It looks like Skeletor decapitated Sky Lynx and is using his head as a grabby arm. It’s OK, I guess. There’s a hinge in the middle of it, but it only bends upward and I think a downward hinge would have been more useful. The jaw is also hinged. Now, the real main attraction for Skeletor are his self-titled…
TERROR CLAWS! And they’re exactly what you might expect. It’s just a pair of giant claws that snap over his hands. God help me, I think they actually look pretty cool. Although I can’t help picture Skeletor showing up to Castle Greyskull and shouting, “Come down here He-Man, I’m going to scratch your f’cking eyes out!!!” Again, ridiculous? You betcha! Cool? Oh, hell yeah!
I’m not ashamed to admit that I love these figures and I’m super thrilled that Matty bundled them together in one box. As individual figures, I doubt they would have made the cut for my already crowded MOTUC shelves. As a boxed item, however, I’ll find a way to sneak it in somewhere among my Sky Sled and Wind Raider, which I also display in their respective boxes. This is quite simply epic stuff. It’s the kind of gear that would make Skeletor and He-Man approach each other on the battlefield, give each other a good look and say, “OK, we’ve officially taken this too far” and just go home. And that finally wraps it up for October. Next week, I’ll start in on the November figures, because after that we’re into December and that means we’re coming up fast on the end of the tunnel!
“Dammit, Beast Man, I did not invent the Terror Claws to scratch your flea-ridden hide!”
“Harder… A little more to the left… Oh, yeah. Boss, you’ve got magic fingers!”
I realize some of you Matty subscribers get pissed off when Matty reissues figures because you think it drives down the value of your original releases. That may be true, I haven’t researched it, but as someone who got into this line just at the tail end of last year, I am so happy that Matty is giving newcomers second chances at some of these figures. This month the re-issue figure was Man At Arms, and despite some serious bugs in the ordering process, I was finally able to grab him and add him to my collection. And man, what an awesome figure he is!
As expected, the body is completely recycled from He-Man only painted green with a blue belt and wrist bracers. Of course with all his armor he really stands out as a unique figure. His trademark orange armor consists of four pieces: A vest, a left shin guard, and two plates for his left arm. His chest and back piece is an amazing sculpt, with the hoses and wires on the front with some assorted paint apps. The back has a molded rolled up rucksack and clips to hold almost all of his weapons, which is just one of the things I love so much about this figure. Its also awesome that Mattel made his arm guard into two pieces so as not to interfere with his elbow articulation.
Man At Arms comes with two interchangeable heads to solve the infamous mustache dilemma. They are essentially identical save for the mustache on one to make him more Filmation accurate, so you can decide whether you want to pay tribute to vintage figure or cartoon. Either way the sculpts are great, complete with blue helmet with orange trim. And if you’re curious, yes, I prefer the mustached Duncan. The heads pop on and off with no problems and they remain nice and tight when attached, so no bobblehead worries. Of course if you happen to have a lot of money lying around, you can always pick up a few extra Man At Arms to display with the non-mustached head as Palace soldiers. Personally, at $30+ per figure, army building in this line is a bit beyond my means.
Like his adopted daughter Teela, Duncan comes with an embarrassment of accessories. Besides his extra head, he comes with a big orange mace, a silver short sword, a silver laser pistol and the 200x version of the Power Sword. Everything but the Power Sword can be stowed on his backpack, making him a walking arsenal. While the mace is a little bland, the sculpting on the other weapons is excellent, especially the Power Sword, which by the way is now owned by my previously swordless Battle Armor He-Man.
I had really high expectations for this figure, and I’m happy to say he lived up to all of them. Even if I had to go the Ebay route and spend a lot more for him, I think he still would have been worth it. Obviously, he’s an important character, and Mattel certainly paid the proper respect to him with a lot of careful attention and extras. Between the awesome sculpting on his heads and armor, his slew of weapons and ability to store them, and the bonus sword for my BA He-Man, this figure is just plain awesome and a fantastic homage and update to the vintage original.