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.

Masters of the Universe Origins: Battle Cat by Mattel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Masters of the Universe Origins: Man-At-Arms and Orko by Mattel

Today I’m continuing my look at a line that I vowed never to collect! Masters of the Universe Origins! After amassing boxes upon boxes of the MOTUC line, there was no way I was going to start from scratch with Masters in a new format. And yet here we are, as I’m nearly caught up on the current offerings of Origins and even pre-ordered the new Castle Greyskull, all because I’m a weak man, and this line is just so good! This time I’m teaming up too new Heroic Warriors (or at least one Heroic Warrior and one Bumbling Idiot), with a look at “The Master of Weapons,” Man-At-Arms and “The Court Magician,” Orko.

I feel sorry for anyone collecting these figures Mint On Card, because the primary source for them seems to be Walmart’s website, and Walmart ain’t got no time for proper packing. Plus, this elongated card design, while looking amazing, is just a big invitation to being bent and crumpled. I did manage to get an extra He-Man and Skeletor to keep carded, but those I found on the pegs. The rest were shipped to me and nearly all were bent up, with the exception of Orko, who arrived in nothing more than a mailer envelope, but somehow managed to remain almost dead mint. Go figure! Let’s start with Duncan!

When I first got Man-At-Arms in hand, I thought I was cheated because he wasn’t wearing his extra armor bits, and there didn’t seem to be any room for them in the package. But quickly after opening him, I found that they were indeed bundled with his weapon, TIGHTLY wrapped together and bundled behind the figure. These pieces are sculpted in extra soft plastic and strap on to his left arm and leg quite easily. The quality of their fit is a little across the board. The shoulder piece fits fine. The lower arm piece isn’t so bad, the leg piece is kind of wobbly. Still, I’m overall pleased with how they came out and I like that they made the arm and shoulder separate pieces to account for the added elbow articulation. I also love that they gave the area near the elbow an accordion style sculpt to make it look like it’s designed to flex with the elbow, even though it really doesn’t. The chest piece is your standard vest, which tabs together in the back and looks great.

The figure itself is your standard He-Man buck cast mostly in green, with brown barbarian diaper and boots, and a blue belt. The wrist bracers are left unpainted just like on the vintage figure. Articulation remains uniform for the line with all the jointed parts being modular. This no doubt makes the manufacturing process easier and less costly, but it also means if you want to customize your own MOTU figures by mixing and matching, you can go right ahead and do it! As he stands, the coloring on this figure looks fantastic, and I’m a big fan of the way the orange armor complements that green buck.

Probably the most interesting thing about the head sculpt is that they decided to go with the Filmation mustache look, rather than that of the original vintage toy. I’m curious to see how the old school MOTU fans will feel about this, but I would have been fine either way. Duncan always was an ugly son of a gun and the addition of his now familiar mustache doesn’t really change that. He’s got the same broad and lumpy face that he had way back when, which is exactly how I will always remember him. The blue helmet actually looks like it’s sculped separately from the head and features some nice details and pretty clean paintwork.

In addition to his armor bits, Man-At-Arms comes with his trusty orange mace. It’s a simple weapon, which he can hold well in his right hand, and it rounds out what is a superb recreation of the vintage toy, lip ferret not withstanding! Let’s move on to Orko!

I was pretty excited to see what Orko would be like, since he’s one of the only Origins figures so far to stray from the standard buck. Not to mention, the original figure was more like a Zip-And-Go toy than an actual figure. I’d say Mattel took a page from the MOTUC line when delivering this toy, and that’s not a bad thing at all. Orko features a hollow, hard plastic body with a ball socket under his robes to plug in his translucent stand. The other end of the stand plugs into the socket in the trippy looking base, allowing for articulation in the stand at both ends. I’m not sure what kind of effect they were going for with the base itself, but it sure looks cool. The purple plastic has sparkles in it and it looks like bubbles. A simpler clear base would have been more versatile, but it’s hard to complain when what they came up with looks this beautiful.

Orko himself looks very Filmation inspired, which makes sense since that’s where he originated from. The “O” on his chest is actually part of the sculpt and not simply painted on, but other than that and a few light rumples, there isn’t a whole lot of detail in his body, which again drives home the animated look. His arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. He has a wide range of motion at the shoulders, but more limited movement at the elbows and wrists because of the way the sleeves are sculpted. Still, what’s here isn’t at all bad.

The head is basically just a black ball with eyes. It’s ball jointed into the scarf that encircles his neck, and the wide brimmed hat has holes for his ears to pass through. The effect works well, and I was surprised at how much expressive motion I could get out of the head. I’ll also note that when I first saw my figure in the package, it had a black spot on the front corner of his hat. I thought this was a defect, but when I opened him up it brushed right off, and boy am I thankful for that!

Orko doesn’t come with any accessories, although I guess the stand does use a lot of plastic. I can’t say he’s really missing anything. Even the wand that came with the Classics version always seemed kind of out of place to me. Maybe a spell book would have been cool, but certainly not essential. To be honest, I’m surprised we got Orko so soon in Origins. It’s clearly a line that is structured around recycled bodies, and Orko had to be individually designed from the ground up, and I don’t see a lot of opportunity for reusing any of these parts.

And there we are… two more great figures from Mattel’s Origins line! Heroic Warrior ranks are growing and I’m looking forward to grabbing some more. My local Walmart stocked the first wave of these, but after that it’s been nothing at all, so I’ve been relying on Walmart’s website to pre-order and so far they’ve been coming through with the goods. My understanding is that Walmart’s exclusivity on these isn’t permanent, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to utilize Amazon to collect this line in the future. I’m not committed to being a completist at this point, so if I miss one or two along the way, I’m not going to go crazy hunting them down. Next time I revisit this line, we’ll take a look at some more of the evil denizens of Snake Mountain!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Masters of the Universe Classics: Hover Robots by Mattel

My Christmas excursion into Masters Classics last month got me good and fired up about picking up some of the figures missing from my collection, and finally opening up some of the stuff I’ve been waiting on. Hell, I still have a unopened Battle Ram lying around here somewhere. Suffice it to say, I still have some unfinished business with MOTUC. Take these Hover Robots for example. Missing out on these the first time broke my heart. And then just as I was getting over that heartache, I missed out on them again. Luckily, I peruse Mattel’s Ebay page every now and then, and they just so happened to turn up there over the Holidays… and on sale too! It was like a Christmas Miracle!

Despite being a three-pack, these figures come in the same size and style card-and-bubble that we’ve been seeing throughout the Masters Classics run. If you’re unfamiliar, these tin cans are from the Filmation cartoon, and occasionally served as Skeletor’s soldiers as well as enemies for He-Man to beat up without having to depict him actually inflicting violence on living beings. It’s sort of like the Battle Android Troopers in GI Joe. Acceptable cannon fodder. I seem to remember one of He-Man’s signature moves was to grab one robot and toss it into a group of others, resulting in them all explode. Even the delightful tagline, “Evil Mindless Robot Goons” stresses that they have no sense or feelings. Some of you may know that I have a “love to hate” relationship with the Filmation cartoon, but I always loved these robot designs.

The three-pack does indeed consist of three of the same figure. I’m a little surprised Matty didn’t do something to distinguish them apart like they did with the Horde Trooper two-pack. Maybe scorch marks on one? But don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they didn’t. The robots come with clear plastic stands that plug and unplug easily into the socket at the bottom of their little hover tube. These are similar to the stands used for Orko and The Unnamed One. They balance quite well and certainly serve their purpose, but it would have been cool if Matty could have given them a ball joint or some kind of articulation. Maybe it could have been something put into one of the accessory packs, if these were released earlier in the line’s lifespan. But I didn’t come here to complain, I came here to praise these adorable little death machines.

Each of the robots are very simple figures, but that’s not a criticism, but rather what the design demands. The sculpts feature minimal details and minimal paint, but both of which works to maintain the Filmation animated style. You do get a little bit of metallic blue paint on some of the panels, as well as silver paint on the hover tube and the arms. The dome at the top features bright yellow paint for the eyes and black for the “V” shaped area that houses them. It helps to give them a rather sinister look, despite their somewhat dumpy design.

The coolest detail on these guys is the lenticular sticker used for their “mouths.” By viewing it at different angles, it changes the pattern of the oscilloscope-like wave that would react when the robots spoke. It was a great idea and it works really well. Other than the animated mouths, the articulation on these fellas is pretty simple, but all the necessary points are there. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders and elbows, and they hands can rotate at the wrists. The dome with the eyes can also swivel from side to side.

The pack includes an extra set of propeller hands for each of the robots, and swapping them in and out is really easy. I seem to remember the robots in the cartoon using the propeller hands as weapons by spinning them really fast to chop up their foes. I suppose they could really do some damage with those if they got up close and personal. Good thing for The Masters of the Universe that these guys were pretty useless.

And really, that’s all I have to say about the Hover Robots, but don’t be fooled by the brevity of this review. These are fantastic little figures and I’m so happy that I was finally able to snag a set without paying crazy money for them. They look great, they capture that Filmation design perfectly, they’re fun to play with, and even though I never owned any He-Man figures as a kid, I still would have loved to have a set of these. They’re still available on Matty’s Ebay Store, although since I picked mine up the price has gone back up to $35. But that includes shipping and is certainly less then they would have cost if they were included in my Club Eternia Subscription back in the day. Either way, I’m in love with these dopey tin cans and I do believe I’m going to try to grab another set before they’re gone.

DC Multiverse (Steppenwolf Wave): Cyborg by Mattel

Just last week I was lamenting the fact that I’d probably never complete this Justice League Movie wave because Cyborg and Flash are impossible to find at a reasonable price. Then a buddy of mine came through by finding me a Cyborg for a cool Andy Jackson and I found myself one step closer. And since my hopes of getting Flash are still pretty low, I’m just going to go ahead and check out this guy today so I can move on. I’ll preface this review by saying that I really liked the way they handled Cyborg in the movie, but I think his look needed a lot of work. Some elements of the design didn’t work for me, and the quality of CG in his full body shots were pretty embarrassing.

There’s nothing new for me to say about the packaging. You get a great look at the figure inside, and some cool pictures of Cyborg from the movie on the front and side panel. It’s collector friendly, but even if I was a stickler for keeping boxes, these are pretty bland, so there’s not much to motivate me here to keep this one. DC Multiverse did get a package design makeover for the most recent wave, and I think it’s a big improvement. Hopefully, I’ll be looking at some figures from the Clayface Collect & Connect Wave soon.

With Cyborg out of the package, the biggest surprise here for me is that I think the design works much better in plastic than it did on screen. I was not a fan of the crumpled tinfoil look in the CG, but I think it looks pretty cool here. It has a jagged and primitive look to it, which is a neat sort of proto-form, that could get more refined as Cyborg improved and advanced his new body. The sculpt really carries the day, with plenty of detail, particularly in the exposed skeletal structure of the abs and biceps. The curves and symmetry of the detail in his back really is quite beautiful. The paint is no slouch either. The combined deco of gray plastic with some very nice looking silver paint looks great, and the added hits of red paint makes for a pretty cool looking figure, despite the economy of colors.

The portrait is pretty solid too. The likeness isn’t astonishingly good, but there’s something of Ray Fisher in there. The paintwork on the remaining human face and hair is well done. In the closeups, I’ve noticed a fair amount of over-spray on the silver paint transferred onto the skin, and likewise some brown paint slopping over the silver. It’s not really apparent when I have the figure in hand, but suffice it to say the paint lines could have been better.

In addition to the Steppenwolf C&C parts, Cyborg comes with an arm attachment, which can be swapped out with either the left or right hand. It looks like it’s either a weapon, or maybe a hacking tool. It features the same great silver paint with a little blue to pick out some of the details in the sculpt. The tip has a few short appendages and there are two tubes visible inside. It reminds me of the Borg attachments seen in Star Trek. I love that they included this piece, and I’ll likely display it on him most of the time.

The articulation is pretty standard for what we’ve been getting in this lineup. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, and swivels in the middle of the forearms where the hands detach. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, hinges in the knees and ankles, and swivels in the lower thighs. There’s a swivel in the waist and a ball joint in the head. This is one of those rare occasions where I don’t mind the lack of chest articulation. I think an ab crunch hinge would have thrown off the sculpt a lot. Besides, I don’t need my Cyborg to be super articulated.

The Justice League movie wave has been a real mixed bag. We’ve had some great new figures like Aquaman and Mera, a pretty solid Batman, and some recycled figures that felt way to lazy for a major toy company working on a major motion picture license. Cyborg definitely fits into the better end of things, but the end result is still a real odd looking bunch when you display them all together. It’s a shame because it detracts from the better figures. And with that ringing endorsement of Mattel and the DC Multiverse line, I’m going to wrap up this wave for now. I’ll revisit it again if I ever do find that Flash figure, but otherwise I’m ready to move on to other things for the next DC Friday.

DC Multiverse (Steppenwolf Wave): Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman by Mattel

It’s the first DC Friday of 2018, but I’m still working on unfinished business from 2017. Remember that movie last year that was overall pretty fun, but everybody lost their shit over? No, not The Last Jedi. The other one. Yeah, Justice League! Well, at the tail end of 2017, I started reviewing the Justice League Wave of DC Multiverse, and now I’m picking up where I left off. Let’s double up today with Batman and Superman! Aw, hell, let’s throw Wonder Woman in there too and knock out the whole DC Trinity. Strap in kiddies, because like the movie, this is going to be a bumpy ride.

The figures come in the standard Multiverse packaging. It’s functional, it’s collector friendly, it has some nice shots of the characters from the movie on the front and side panel. It also notes that these are both part of the Steppenwolf Collect & Connect Wave, and I’ll have more to say about that at the end of the review! Let’s start with Superman…

Oh look, it’s 2013 all over again! I say that because I’m pretty sure this is just a re-dress of the Mattel’s Movie Masters Man of Steel figure that I reviewed almost five years ago! There are some obvious re-sculpted bits to update the costume, but it’s a real shame that Mattel couldn’t roll out a brand new figure for a huge summer blockbuster license. And while I didn’t buy any of the Batman V Superman figures, I wouldn’t be surprised if that Superman figure was the recycled connective tissue between these two. There’s some decent stuff here, like the texturing on the costume and the coloring is pretty good, but the real problem is that he looks like he’s pretty small and scrawny when lined up beside his fellow Justice League members. Yup, it’s almost like he’s from another line entirely. Funny how that works.

The old Movie Masters figure had a plastic cape, but here it’s been replaced with cloth. I’m generally in favor of soft-goods capes, but the execution here isn’t so great. For starters, there’s a huge disconnect between the sculpted plastic pieces of the cape that attach to his shoulders, and the actual cloth cape that cascades down his back. And like the figure, the cape feels rather undersized and a little cheap.

The head sculpt is different from the Movie Masters figure. I wouldn’t say it’s better or worse, but mainly just different. It’s not a bad sculpt in and of itself, but I can’t see much likeness to Cavill. At least they dumped the badly painted five-o-clock shadow from that older figure. The sculpt and paint here are both very basic, almost like it’s meant to be a comic version of Superman wearing the DCEU costume. Once again, Mattel needs to check out what Hasbro is doing with their MCU Marvel Legends figures and up their game accordingly.

The articulation is passable, but not great. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in both the knees and ankles. There’s a swivel in the waist and a ball joint in the neck. The lack of any kind of chest articulation is quite an oversight. I’d like to blame that on the fact that this is a recycled buck from five years ago, but Mattel was putting ab crunch hinges in their DC Universe Classics figures way before that.

Mattel, I know your’re capable of better than this. Your Justice League Aquaman and Mera figures were pretty damn good. But you’re licensing a major DC Comics summer blockbuster here. It’s f’cking Superman from a Justice League movie. Do you think you can at least try, instead of rummaging through a drawer to find an old figure you can dress up to save a couple of dollars? And Warner Brothers, why are you still licensing to these people when they clearly don’t give a shit half the time. I’m a bit angry now. Let’s move on to Batman…

Batman comes wearing his tactical bat suit and he looks pretty damn good. Is this another recycled figure? I honestly don’t know because I didn’t buy any of the BvS figures, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt here and say Bats here is new. The suit features some excellent texturing and some pretty good attention to detail. You get all the reinforced armor plates, serrated edges on his gauntlets, and some sculpted straps and buckles. The varied deco also makes for a more interesting figure than if he were just all black. Here you get a matte pale blue under-suit with some glossy black bits, as well as some silver and copper for the armor. Overall, I’m really happy with the sculpt here.

Like Superman, Batman features a soft-goods cape, but this one uses a more leather-like material. It doesn’t match the sculpted shoulder attachments perfectly, but it’s a lot closer than the stuff they used on Supes’ cape. In fact, my only issue here is that the bottom edge came out of the package creased, so you can’t see the scalloped pattern because it’s folded up on itself.

While the suit is excellent, the head sculpt here is a little bit of a letdown. The cowl looks OK, but the exposed face is pretty soft. Also, I thought it was an odd choice to have him wearing the goggles. This feels like a head they should have used on a figure packed in with a Batmobile, rather than the main representation of the character in the wave.

Articulation here is almost identical to Superman. The big difference is that Batman actually has an ab crunch hinge, which is what makes me think that this is probably at least a new figure. It’s not a fantastic figure, but it’s got a lot of good stuff going for it, and here’s one where I feel like Mattel at least tried with a decent sculpt and a pretty solid deco. Moving on to our last stop… Wonder Woman.

Hooray, back to recycling! I’m not sure what’s worse, recycling a figure that’s so old that some people might not notice, or one that just came out a year or so ago. Yes, Diana here is a straight repack of the Toys R Us Exclusive from the Wonder Woman movie, and a figure that I reviewed last month.  The only difference is that she comes with a new sword and no shield. The advantage here is that I think this was an excellent figure, so if you missed out on her, here’s a chance to pick her up again without having to hunt re-sellers or hopelessly out-of-date Toys R Us stores.

At this point, I’ll just refer you back to the review that I linked above. But before wrapping up, there’s a picture of the two figures together. I actually like the head sculpt and paint on the previous release a little better, but this one looks fine. She also comes with her golden lasso.

And there you have it… Mattel’s idea of making the most out of netting a huge license like Justice League is to recycle two out of three figures. It’s lazy, it sucks, and it’s pushing me back toward not wanting to collect Multiverse anymore. Need I remind you, that they also have a line of BASIC Justice League figures, so these are the $20 ones aimed at collectors. Oh, but wait… there’s more! The Flash and Cyborg appear to have been woefully short packed in this assortment and both figures have been impossible for me to find, outside of scalpers asking twice as much on Amazon and Ebay. I enjoyed the movie well enough, I sure as hell ain’t paying a premium for DC Multiverse figures. And so, my Collect & Connect Steppenwolf is destined to remain in pieces, and my DCEU Justice League incomplete, unless those figures start turning up at my local brick-and-mortars. And there ain’t much chance of that.

FigureFan’s Disappointments 2017, Part 2

This is it, Toyhounds, the final day of my week of canned bullshit. It’s also the final five Biggest Disappointments of 2017. These are the things that I added to my collection and reviewed throughout the year that didn’t really live up to my hopes and dreams. These are in no particular order, so let’s get started…

Femme Fatales (Justice League Unlimited) Hawkgirl by Diamond Select: There was a lot of competition in this line for a spot on my Favorites list, but really only one that deserved to land among my Disappointments. I was really looking forward to getting the JLU version of Hawkgirl on my DC Gallery shelf, but when the statue showed up it was marred by some pretty poor paintwork, ugly seams in the arms, and just an overall lack of quality control. When I look at how amazing some of the Gallery statues have been this past year, it’s easy to forgive one bad one slipping by. But that doesn’t make me feel any better about laying out the cash for it.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Sixth-Scale Drax The Destroyer by Hot Toys: I have been called a Hot Toys sycophant. And yes, if sticking my tongue down their collective trousers would net me some extra Reward Points at Sideshow, I’d get right on that lickity split. So, it’s probably no surprise that never before has a Hot Toys figure appeared on my annual list of Disappointments, but I guess there really is a first time for everything. After a long series of delays, and the possibility that Hot Toys Drax might be a no-show, he finally showed up this year and he was a little wanting. The sculpt was solid enough, as was the likeness, but there’s just something about him that failed to impress. Toss in a faulty right arm on my figure that often pops out at the elbow joint and a price point that was too high for what came in the box (a common failing for Hot Toys in 2017), and I couldn’t help but dub him Drax The Disappointment. Oh, I’m still happy to have a complete Hot Toys Guardians team on my shelf, but Drax deserved more polish and a price tag around $20 lower.

DC Super-Villains: Johnny Quick and Atomica by DC Collectibles: For the most part, DC Collectible’s Super-Villains line has been pretty solid. Hell, I even liked their New 52 Captain Cold figure, and I kind of hate that character design. So when Johnny Quick showed up at my door with some terrible paint fading and an arm that pulled right out of the socket, it shouldn’t be any surprise to see him turn up here. And what a disappointment it was, because I really dig this design and I loved to hate him in the Forever Evil. But when you toss him in with a rather lackluster DeathStorm, it’s no wonder that I didn’t pursue the rest of the Crime Syndicate from this line.

Marvel Legends Warlock Build-A-Figure by Hasbro: What’s that, you say? You cry foul because I had a Marvel Legends figure on the list already? Well, you’re going to have to fight me, because here’s another one. I’m justifying this because 1) He’s a Build-A-Figure and 2) I really did review a shit ton of Marvel Legends in 2017, so you’re just going to have to let me have this one transgression. Warlock featured a decent sculpt and a pretty cool paint job, but he was not a character that I was interested in, and especially not as the BAF waiting as a reward for collecting an entire wave. Add that to the fact that the left arm of my Warlock simply will not stay in the socket, and you have a figure that I would have happily done without. Now that I think of it, this is the third figure on this list that had arm issues. Weird.

ThunderCats Classics Panthro by Mattel: Here’s the thing. I ran out of shit that disappointed me after nine, so I had to get cute with this last one. And that’s why after long deliberation, I decided to put a figure that I rated with excellent marks here on this list. Because no matter how great Panthro turned out (and he is a great figure),  he arrived to me heralded by a bitter chorus of disappointment. At the time I opened him, it seemed unlikely that ThunderCats Classics would continue. And shortly after we got word from Super7 that they were not able to secure the license and continue the series. And that was easily my number one biggest disappointment of 2017. It’s not Panthro’s fault, but he seemed like a good conduit to get this one on the list.

And that wraps up this week of so-called content. I’ll be back on Monday with the first Marvel Monday of the year and I hope to have Transformers Thursday and DC Friday on the books as well, along with whatever I wind up tucking into Tuesday. Have a great weekend!

FigureFan’s Disappointments 2017, Part 1

Well, I hope everyone has been enjoying my Ten Favorites of 2017. There were a lot of items that came close to making the cut, but I tried to be good and stick as close to the self-imposed confines of my list as possible. And now it’s time to embark on the flip-side and look at my Ten Biggiest Disappointments of the year. I’m happy to say this list was a also difficult to assemble, but not because it was hard to whittle down, but rather it was tough to come up with ten acquisitions that really didn’t live up to my expectations. And that’s a good thing! So let’s kick off today with the first five…

Marvel Legends Astral Projection Doctor Strange: Hey, remember this turd? Generally speaking, 2017 was another fantastic year for Hasbro’s Marvel Legends line, but when you put out a lot of figures, at least a few of them are inevitably going to be crap. And this Doctor Strange variant was the cream of the crap. But this isn’t so much a case of a poorly made figure, indeed it’s a great sculpt, but rather a bad idea. Not only is it just a rehash of the regular Doctor Strange figure (FROM THE SAME GODDAMN WAVE!) cast in milky translucent plastic, but it was an obligatory purchase if you wanted the head for your Dormammu Build-A-Figure. And that’s what really earns this figure a spot on my List of Shame. If you’re going to toss this in as an extra in a three-pack or something, do what you gotta do, but don’t make him mandatory to complete a BAF. That’s just mean.

Star Wars Black Series Jawa by Hasbro: Just a reminder, that a figure doesn’t have to be bad to be on this list, just disappointing. And to be fair, I could say that Star Wars Black as a whole has been disappointing this year. It’s not that the figures are terrible, and yes there have been some great ones, but in general this line seems content to be average. It doesn’t feel like the “Collector’s Line” we were promised, but rather just a new scale set up to make idiots like me buy the characters all over again. The Jawa for me was a prime example of that. There’s just nothing here that hasn’t been done as well, if not better at a smaller scale. No tailored softgoods, a plastic robe that renders half the articulation useless, and he can’t even hold his guns properly. Need more? Well, this figure is also too small to justify this price point, it was really hard for me to get one, and in the end, it just wasn’t worth all the effort. If it weren’t for me trying to fill the Early Bird stand with the Original Twelve, I wouldn’t have bothered.

DC Multiverse: “The Dark Knight Returns” Batman and Robin: I’ll admit, I kind of feel like cheating by listing Multiverse figures in with my Disappointments. Truth be told, I didn’t have high expectations from this line at the time. But I was looking forward to getting these DKR figures on my shelf, only to be flabbergasted at how sub-par they turned out. Yes, flabbergasted! My monocle popped right out of my eye, as I exclaimed, “My word, what rubbish!” It’s hard to believe this is the same company that delivered so many great DC action figures in the past. This pair should have been a slam dunk, instead, they feel more like knock-offs. So much so, that I still haven’t bothered to complete this wave to build my goddamn Doomsday. Maybe next year.

Transformers Titans Return Murk & Octone by Hasbro: Just to prove that Titans Return wasn’t entirely made up of rainbows and kittens, here’s one that made my Disappointments List. 2017 was a stellar year for Deluxe Class Transformers, but maybe no so great for the Voyager Class figures. Figures like Broadside and Blitzwing made for solid robot modes, but their alt modes ran from somewhat lacking to downright terrible. And yet it was still pretty easy to single out Octone as the worst of the bunch. I was really looking forward to getting this guy in my collection, and I’ll still admit the robot mode is fine, but neither of his alt modes worked for me at all. Also, I hate what they had to do to his name. It’s OK, Hasbro, you’re still way ahead of the game for 2017.

And I do believe I’ll break for the day and tally up how much money I spend on these less than stellar purchases, some of which I regret and some I’d probably still buy just to have them in my collection. Join me again tomorrow as I round out this List of Disappointments and wrap up this week of lists.

 

Masters of the Universe Classics: Point Dread and the Talon Fighter by Mattel

Merry Christmas, friends! Well, it’s actually Christmas Eve for me as I’m writing this, and yes I’m bumping Marvel Monday this week for some special Christmas content. Last year I attempted to recreate the magic of Christmas past by opening up a truly epic playset, Castle Grayskull, and it was a wonderful experiment in recapturing my youth. It brought me back to those Christmas mornings as a kid sitting under the tree and unwrapping that giant toy that I begged for all year long like the insufferable little shit that I was. This year, I’m doing it again with the only playset that could possibly match Castle Grayskull… Yes, it’s the MOTUC version of SNAKE MOUNTAIN!!! Oh, wait… that never came out. Bummer. OK, so I don’t have anything quite as grandiose as Grayskull, but once again, I have been saving an MOTUC toy all year for this occasion. And if you know me, then you know that it took every scrap of my nearly non-existent willpower to let this thing sit unopened for a year. Keep in mind, I have to really stretch the limits of my little photo staging area for these bigger toys, so I’ll apologize in advance for the quality of the pictures. Now… Let’s check out The Talon Fighter and Point Dread!

The long and fully enclosed box is none the worse for wear after having spent an entire year unopened in my closet. Despite it’s lack of height, it’s still an impressively sized box measuring just a bit longer across than the Grayskull box. You get that same amazing vintage-style artwork that I’ve come to know and love from the Masters Classics boxed toys. He-Man and Teela are cruising along while Duncan looks like he’s chasing after them and yelling, “Have my daughter home at a reasonable hour!!!” There’s also some trouble rising in the background as Skeletor and his goons approach to ruin He-Man and Teela’s date. I originally abstained from buying the Talon Fighter because I knew I had nowhere to put it. Naturally when Matty put it up on clearance, I decided I would somehow make it work. The collector part of my brain told me that cheaper things take up less room, and Collector Brain would never lie to me!

The reverse side of the box has a panel of line drawings showing all sorts of figures and other goodies from the MOTUC series. If you grew up in the 80’s these monochrome panels were on most big playsets. It’s all an effort to recreate that vintage charm, and it succeeds brilliantly. Opening the box reveals lots of parts and cardboard, telling me that there is some assembly required here. Point Dread comes in two parts, with one stacking on the other. There’s also a beam that attaches to the top for the Talon Fighter to rest on. The Talon Fighter itself requires you to attach the wings, the radar dish, and the four guns. You also get to choose a sticker for the viewscreen inside the ship. There’s nothing too complex here, but unfortunately the wings aren’t meant to come off again, so unless you’re willing to risk some damage to the clips, this baby isn’t going back into the box.

And here’s what you get when everything is all set up. While it’s no Grayskull, the combined size of the Talon Fighter and Point Dread is still pretty impressive. Just look at how the whole thing towers above Teela. Oh, did I mention the set also includes a Filmation version of Teela? You know that one annoying relative that shows up every Christmas and almost ruins everything? Well, let’s just call her Teela.

So, this version of Teela has become infamous from the scorn that she has attracted, so I was really curious as to whether she could really be that bad. And yes… she really is that bad. With something like 125 Masters Classic figures in my collection, I’d only consider a few to be sub par, and this one is easily in the runner up for the worst of them all. I don’t know what happened here, but it’s like a perfect storm of bad design. From the bulky top to the granny panties on the bottom, the outfit just doesn’t work. There’s even hideous mold lines running down the arms. About the only thing that I can give a pass to here are the boots, they look fine. That’s probably because they borrow from the original figure.

And the head! The nose and mouth are so weirdly shaped and the paint is so basic and flat. Maybe if this figure was released at the beginning of the line, I could understand, but Matty and The Four Horsemen had something like a hundred figures under their belt by the time this Teela came out.

It doesn’t help that the original Teela is such a great figure and easily one of my favorite in the entire line. And yes, I realize that this Teela is supposed to look simpler because she’s based on the animation model, but that doesn’t help excuse any of this. If I had to say something nice about this new Teela, it would be that the paint is overall pretty good. They used the usual gold leaf for her armor and it really pops next to all that white.

Teela does come with some accessories to help assuage the suck. One of them is an alternate helmeted head, but unfortunately it’s built off the same sculpt, so it really doesn’t improve anything. The blue helmet is similar to the kind her father and the Eternian Royal Guard wear. It also has a removable visor. I want to love that they included this for when she’s piloting the Talon Fighter, but this figure is so ugly, she won’t be allowed in the Talon Fighter. Well, maybe just today… but only because it’s Christmas.

The other accessories are a sword and a shield, both of which are new sculpts and they both look great. OK, that’s enough about Teela. She’s the turd in our holiday punch bowl and it’s best to just ignore her and move on to the main event… Point Dread! We’ll start at the bottom and work our way up.

Point Dread is not only the resting place and remote outpost for the Talon Fighter, but depending on which fiction you happen to follow, it can be a surprisingly weird place. Sometimes it was depicted as magically appearing under the Talon Fighter when it landed, other times it was a fixed location that only appeared every twenty years. It’s also the place Skeletor cooked up Teela by magically cloning The Sorceress in an attempt to make an Evil Sorceress. HOLY SHIT! For the purposes of this review, let’s just say that Point Dread is a small fortified outpost that gives the Talon Fighter a place to rest its weary bird feet. The little playset is comprised of two pieces, the top of which can be attached to Castle Grayskull, and I’ll circle back to that at the end.

From the outside, it shares all the iconic charm of Grayskull’s green stonework architecture. It uses the same eerie colored plastic with a nice wash and some dry brushing to bring out the look of the stones. It’s sculpted out of proportion, with the size of the stairs getting smaller toward the top to make it look bigger. The stairs do, however, give you a cool place to give your figures some action poses. You also get a little window near the base with a sculpted wooden shudder over it. Let’s turn it around and have a look inside.

As a playset, there’s not a lot going on in here. There’s a sculpted wooden floor, which features some really nice woodgrain detail as well as sculpted nails. There’s a window that the occupant can look out of, and there’s a computer system with a sticker on the screen showing a Saturn-like planet. The computer features that lovely retro-tech styling that I love so much in my swords-and-sorcery-and-tech fantasies. It not only has all sorts of sculpted controls, buttons, and dials, but it features some wonderful paint applications that really bring the whole thing to life. On the downside, it’s scaled way too small for the MOTUC figures to really work with it. Maybe if it came with a chair it would work better, but as it is, even Teela has to bend way over to get to the controls. In all honesty, as a standalone playset, Point Dread doesn’t offer much other than a little cubby for your Masters figures to check their emails, tweet a little, and maybe engage in some naughty net surfing. Or they can just look at a picture of space.

But what Point Dread lacks as a compelling playset it easily makes up for as a posh way to display your Talon Fighter, thanks to the rotating crossbeam that rests on top of the structure. This platform has foot pegs for the fighter’s birdy feet and they lock into place securely so there’s no worries about it falling off and crashing. When you’re ready for the Talon Fighter to take off, you just press a switch on the bottom of the platform, and it releases the craft for flight operations.

And what a great looking fighter this is! Oh, don’t get me wrong, it’s clunky and it’s clearly designed by someone who was more concerned with satisfying their bird fetish than applying actual aerodynamics. But this is Eternia, where a vehicle can be all those things as well as be downright awesome. And when I first had this thing in hand, I was indeed in awe of it. Sure, there are some companies out there experimenting with 6-inch scale vehicles. Diamond Select has done some for Batman, NECA did one for their Predators, and even Hasbro has delivered some for Star Wars Black. But it’s still a new and rare enough experience that it’s hard to approximate just how big a 6-inch scale vehicle is until I’m holding it my hand and trying to find somewhere to display the damn thing. And let’s keep in mind, the Talon Fighter is designed to hold two figures!

And besides being big, this thing is a work of art. From the chunky, back-swept feathered wings and taloned claw landing gear, to the sweeping curves of the bird’s hooked beak as the nose of the vehicle, this is a sculpt that celebrates the very weird and wonderful spirit of Masters of the Universe. And the coloring… oh, the coloring. I love the way the sumptuous golden yellow of the bird’s beak gradually gives way to the fiery orange on the top. Couple that with the maroon wings and the brilliant metallic blue that makes up the guns, canopy, and radar dish, and you’ve got a deco that is as appropriately flamboyant as the design.

The back portion of the craft beautifully blends the glory of Eternian tech with the fighter’s avian art deco design. You get two large thrusters and two smaller ones in the middle. The sculpt includes vents, tubes, cables, what appear to be some rotating handles for shut-off valves, and even the individual bolts are part of the sculpt. Applications of red, black, and silver paint all help pick out some of the details.

The cockpit canopy features clear plastic windows all around and the framework includes sculpted rivets and a sculpted non-functioning escape hatch at the top. There are also highlights of a deeper and more metallic blue paint used to pick out some of the details as well as some beautiful silver paint used on the triangular vent sections on the sides. Finally, there’s a beefy radar dish on the top of the canopy, which can rotate 360-degrees.

Inside, the cockpit displays more of that great Eternian tech design. The main console features an array of buttons and switches in all different colors as well as a dual-handled flight stick protruding out from under it. The central viewscreen on the console is a sticker. You get three choices to customize your Talon Fighter, including a goofy shot of Orko. I went with the generic radar display graphic. The left and right of the pilot seat is flanked by more consoles and still more colored buttons and switches. There are also some gauges to the right. I love that Mattel went with actual sculpted instruments for the bulk of the controls here, rather than cop out with just stickers.

That’s not to say there aren’t some stickered panels. The back seat features two stickered consoles to the left and right, showing all sorts of gauges and readouts, and even what appears to be an intercom system.

On the back of the rear seat there’s more sculpted and painted details, which include some tools and emergency equipment. Included here is a medical kit, a fire extinguisher, an axe and some wrenches.

What’s really impressive about this vehicle is how roomy it is. Lately I’ve found myself having to squeeze some 3 3/4-inch figures into their vehicles from one of those other toy lines from that other big company, but this big fella can accommodate two Masters Classics figures and still give them plenty of room to move around. That’s no small feat for figures as big, buff, and bulky as these guys, but just look at He-Man in the back seat. He’s got room to spread out, stretch his legs and enjoy a first class flying experience. Teela has so much room, I’d bet you could squeeze two chicks in the back as long as they weren’t opposed to things getting cozy. The pilot seat is just as spacious and your average MOTUC figure can sit and hold the control sticks perfectly. And now that we’ve looked at this big bird inside and out, how about joining it with Castle Grayskull.

Just when I thought Castle Grayskull couldn’t get any more impressive, I go and add this to it. And boy was this a lot of fun to shoot in my tiny studio. I had to reposition my overhead light all the way to the ceiling, and it was still bumping the top of the Talon Fighter. Next I had to switch out the table I shoot on for something a lot lower. Needless to say, this set up is freaking huge!

The top part of Point Dread fits over the right tower and while the union isn’t exactly seamless, I think it looks pretty natural. The connection is extremely solid and you hear a big scary snap when it’s locked into place. What’s scarier is separating the two again. In fact, it’s so scary, I don’t know that I’m going to be doing this too many times for fear of cracking the castle wall. Granted, the Talon Fighter looks pretty awkward sitting up there. It either looks way too big or makes Grayskull look a lot smaller. But I really don’t care. I just think it’s awesome that they were able to make this work so well with the castle.

And this is what Christmas used to be all about: Waiting all year for that one special big toy and experiencing the joy of opening it up on Christmas morning. Of course it’s getting harder and harder to do, because they don’t make big and satisfying toys like this much anymore. But Point Dread and the Talon Fighter did not disappoint, even if the Teela figure was a little like getting coal in the stocking. And for all the shit everyone used to give Matty, I’m grateful to them for allowing me to celebrate two Christmases in a row now with some truly amazing Masters of the Universe Classics. I still have some pretty cool toys and figures to open from this line, but I doubt I’ll be waiting until next Christmas to do it. But fear not, I have some other ideas for Christmas 2018.

And that’s a wrap for me this Christmas. I’m going to be taking a couple days off from bloggery and I hope to be back with new content on Thursday and Friday and by then I should have sorted out what next week is going to look like. For now, I’m off to have dinner with my folks, exchange some gifts, and come home and watch Doctor Who. But before heading out I want to offer my sincerest and most heartfelt wishes to you all. I hope your holiday is restful and full of joy. Cherish your families, don’t sweat the small stuff, and I hope you get to enjoy some toys!