Masters of the Universe Classics: Terror Claws Skeletor and Flying Fists He-Man by Mattel.

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!

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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…

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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.

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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…

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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…

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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.

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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…

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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!

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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! 

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“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!”

 

Masters of the Universe Classics: Man At Arms by Mattel

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!

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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.
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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.
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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.

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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.