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!