Masters of the Universe Classics: PowerCon Exclusive Granamyr by Mattel

Sometimes collecting MOTUC Exclusives can be a real ball buster. In the case of this year’s PowerCon Exclusives, you didn’t have to go to the Con, you just had to be willing to pony up big money on a pre-order at one of those well known online scalpers, oops… I mean toy retailers. One of those was a re-release of the large dragon, Granamyr in his green Mini-Comic colors. The price? $140 for a repaint of a toy that was originally $85 back in 2012. Hey, don’t judge me… it’s already selling for a lot more than that on Ebay and it’s still cheaper than what the original red Granamyr is going for these days. Besides, my idea of self-control was not buying the other two PowerCon Exclusives. So hey, let’s take a look at this big-ass dragon…

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The box looks very similar to the one used for the original release with his color being appropriately changed from red to green. I absolutely adore the artwork here. It’s very reminiscent of the stuff we used to get back in the vintage days. His tag line on the front reads, “Great Dragon Lord of Darksmoke” and it points out that as big as this box is, he does indeed come unassembled. The box is collector friendly, but it has that weird shape that Matty loves to do on these things, meaning that there’s actually multiple flaps on the side panels, the tape on each of which need to be carefully cut in order to preserve the box while opening him.

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The back features a picture of the toy and a full bio. You also get a little headshot from the Mini-Comic, which inspired this new deco for the character. I was really on the fence over picking up the original release of this guy, but I had a lot of other irons in the fire and my resolve actually held out for once. When I saw how great this re-deco looked in green, I just couldn’t resist. Time to open him up!

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Dragon parts!!! Inside the box you get two trays of parts, plus the torso wrapped in a plastic bag, and a simple, folded instruction sheet. There are a total of ten parts used to build him: Two legs, two arms, torso, neck, head, two wings, and a tail. If you’ve ever put together a Hasbro Build-A-Figure or a Mattel Collect-And-Connect, than putting this beast together should feel familiar, only on a much larger scale. I was surprised that it looks like he’s capable of being disassembled and returned to the box, which isn’t always the case with these kinds of assembly jobs. I can’t imagine any time when I won’t want this guy on display, but it’s always nice to have options to return a toy to the box, especially when it’s an exclusive release like this one.

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Dear God, this thing is gorgeous! GORGEOUS!!! If you already have the original release, most of what I’ve got to say will be common knowledge, but this is my first experience with the figure, so please forgive me, because I’m going to have to do a lot of gushing. Granamyr measures about 14-inches tall in his seated position, and make no mistake, this is a figure that is designed to be sitting. His spindly little dragon legs can indeed be stretched out for him to stand on, making him monstrously tall, but he really looks goofy when standing. He does, however, look right at home seated with his knees drawn up on either side of his chest. Regardless, he’s still fully articulated in his arms and legs, with rotating hips and shoulders and rotating hinges in the elbows, knees, wrists, and ankles. He has additional swivels at his chest and the base of his tail, there are rotating hinges in his wings, and his neck is ball jointed.

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The sculpt here is quite extravagant. The body is indeed rotocast, and that sometimes results in softer and mushier sculpts, but that’s certainly not the case here. Every part of his body is covered with sculpted scales, which feature some beautiful definition, making him look ancient. You also get crosscuts in his chest and the bottom ridges of his tail, some nice barbs coming off of his forearms, and a row of beefy spikes running down his spine. You can even make out the muscle definition in his upper legs and the tendons running from his fingers to the backs of his hands. The detail on display here feels worthy of a higher end statue, and it’s really something special to see it on an action figure, albeit a rather pricey one.

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Like a great piece of art, the quality and composure of the paint compliments this sculpt brilliantly. That’s not to say the original red version wasn’t stunning, this one is just… different. The multiple shades of green are applied to get the most out of picking out the detail in the scales and muscles and other bits of dragon anatomy, with a lighter lime green used for his belly and some glossy gray paint for his claws.

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And then there’s the head sculpt, which is a total knock-out. Sure it helps that they had a great design to begin with, but the quality of this sculpt just elevates it through the roof. The wrinkles, the jagged teeth, those lizard-like creases around the corners of his mouth. The cavernous nostrils and the prominent, imposing brow framing those mystical pupil-less white eyes. Everything here is just so masterfully done giving Granamyr a ton of personality and an ancient and wizened look.

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The paintwork on the face is also stellar and arguably even better than the body. It emphasizes every little crease and crevice. The teeth are painted to match his claws, the eyes are now white, instead of the yellow used for the first release, and his helmet is finished to look like worn, cold steel. The horns on the helmet have a realistic ivory finish.

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I already walked through the articulation here, and pointed out that this figure is designed with a very singular display option, however, that doesn’t mean the articulation is wasted. Not at all. You can still get some wonderfully expressive poses out of him and he’s still a lot of fun to play with.

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I pre-ordered this beauty the day it went up, and I’ll be real honest and admit that when the pre-order finally dropped, I found myself hit with a pang of regret. My list of want-to-buy toys right now is pretty long and I’m already making some painful compromises to accommodate my budget. I needed a $140 dragon hitting my checkbook like I needed a hole in the head. Checking completed listings on Ebay, I had every intention of putting him on the block when he arrived and making a little extra cash on the deal too. But then I opened him and put him together and sat this majestic creature on my desk beside me. It was then I instantly knew that I had made the right decision buying him and that there was no way I could give him up. This is quite simply a work of art and I absolutely love him. What’s more, he’s such a versatile figure, and I can see using him in a whole bunch of different displays besides MOTUC, from Mythic Legions to my LJN Advanced Dungeons & Dragons figures. He’s going to be welcome among many different lines.

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Masters of the Universe Classics: Goat Man by Mattel

Masters Classics continues to limp along as I cling to the glory days with my little Collector’s Choice subscription. But since that figure was delayed (again!), today I’m going to open up Goat Man, a figure I picked up during one of the Early Access sales. Goat Man was one of those infuriating exclusives that was available at multiple conventions and eventually put up for sale on Matty’s site with warnings about limited quantities. I don’t recall whether he sold out quickly, but whatever the case, Matty had some more lying around and we got a second chance at him a couple of months back. This was a good thing, because he’s a really obscure character, which must have been like a dream come true for a lot of hardcore fans. For me, seeing him just made me realize that my Eternian shelves lacked a Goat Man and I just couldn’t have it.

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Despite being a Con Exclusive, there’s nothing on the package to indicate that. Flipping over the card reveals that he was the days of the line (last year) when Matty still printed bios on the back of the cards. While his tag line, “Horn-Headed Servant of Beast Man” more or less sums him up, reading the bio told me that he also got his ass kicked by Buzz-Off. Jeez. That’s quite the resume.

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Goat Man feels like he settled on his name because Ram Man was already taken. There’s nothing terribly goat-ish about him. He doesn’t have hooves for feet. He doesn’t have those creepy horizontal irises, nor does he have a scraggly little chin beard. He does feature a pretty standard MOTUC buck with the usual furry diaper and belt, some blue boots with scalloped tops, and some thigh wraps, that I don’t remember ever seeing before. The torso is covered with a vest that makes him look really puffy, and some criss-crossing black straps sculpted on.

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The paint here is mostly good. The combination of blue used for the boots and belt, and the red for the furry diaper, gloves, and vest makes for a colorful deco. There’s even a very subtle difference between the metallic red they used on the flared shoulders and the regular red used for the rest of the vest. I do find it peculiar that his skin is regular flesh tone, while his face is red. The paint on my figure has a few minor flubs, like some chipping on the black straps on the back of his vest, but overall the quality is OK.

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The head sculpt here is decent, but nothing much to write home about.  It’s actually a pretty scary portrait, with the mouth full of sharp teeth, the black and red eyes, and the curling ram… I mean goat horns. This guy looks like he would be right at home on the cover of an 80’s Heavy Metal album. Again, the fact that his face is red and the rest of the skin isn’t makes it look like he’s supposed to be wearing a mask. If that’s the case, than I have to bring his pedigree as a legitimate Goat Man into further question.

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The articulation conforms to the usual standard MOTUC buck. If there’s going to be one positive thing about this line ending is that I won’t have to run down the articulation on these any longer. Right now, I can practically do it in my sleep. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have hinges in the knees and ankles, and swivels up near the hips. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the torso, and a ball joint in the neck.

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Goat Man comes with two accessories, but only one is intended for him. His is the huge, bitchin’ hammer and I absolutely love this thing. It’s a simple sculpt, with a steel finish and a sculpted, brown wrapped grip. It looks totally appropriate for him and it’s probably one of my favorite MOTUC weapons in a long while.

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The other accessory is the Staff of Avion taken from the Mini Comics. For a little while now, Matty has been trying to get extra accessories out to the fans by randomly bundling them with other figures, and this staff is yet another example of that. I can’t say that I was pining to get this into my collection, but I’ll never say no to another accessory. It’s mostly translucent green plastic with a little gold paint, and it actually looks quite striking. It’s ironic, but Stratos originally came with no accessories and now he has two Staffs of Avion (the other coming with Filmation Icer).

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Goat Man doesn’t really impress me all that much, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like him. Hell, it’s hard for me to think of too many figures in this line that I don’t like. He’s certainly a solid figure and a welcome addition to the already colorful menagerie of characters in my MOTUC collection, but I’m glad I didn’t go nuts trying to get him when I missed out on him the first time. And believe me, I almost ended up going the Ebay route on this guy. Hopefully, I’ll be able to look at the Collector’s Choice figure, Darius, within the next week or so as I just got shipping notification on him right here in front of me… TWELVE BUCKS FOR SHIPPING ONE FIGURE… Oh, YOU CAN GO STRAIGHT TO HELL, MATTY, AND I HOPE GOAT MAN IS WAITING THERE FOR YOU WITH HIS GIANT BALL-BUSTING HAMMER!!!  I do also have the PowerCon Exclusive Granamyr figure on its way, so it’ll be a race to see which one gets here first. I’m betting it’s Granamyr, because Matty’s twelve dollar shipping takes forever.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Vultak by Mattel

It’s been almost a couple of months since I last looked at anything from Masters of the Universe Classics. But, last week I got a new package from Matty on my doorstep, so today I’m opening up Vultak, who’s motto should be better late than never. Or rather it seems that should be the motto of the Collector’s Choice 2016 line, since we’re seeing a lot of delays. I’ll confess, I don’t remember a lot about this guy, but with a ton of MOTUC figures now on my shelf, I don’t think there are any surprises left in this line…

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…unless Vultak turns out to be an “Evil Flying Zookeeper.” Well played, Matty. I stand corrected. Well, at least there’s nothing new to say about the packaging. It’s the same awesome presentation we’ve been seeing all along, except for the lack of bio on the back of the card. Besides having a ridiculous title, Vultak is a member of The Evil Horde, and unfortunately made an appearance in the She-Ra Filmation cartoon, which meant that I was contractually bound to watch it for this Feature. The episode is called “Zoo Story” and it was about 24 minutes of pure agony. Despite having the word “story” in the title, there was no story, just a shallow mystery surrounding animals disappearing from the ironically named “Freedom Forest.” Who took them? Vultak, of course! Hordak’s Evil Zookeeper! What a cheat! How were we kids supposed to figure that out when we never saw this asshole before?

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Anyway, the episode may be terrible, but Vultak is a pretty cool figure. He sports a standard buck, cast in gray, complete with standard belt and fuzzy diaper. The bulk of his costume comes from his black vest with red Horde emblem sculpted on the front and his abs are painted black to give the illusion that it’s part of the vest. He also has webbed reptilian feet, which I thought we’d seen before, but the ankle articulation makes me think they may be new.

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Speaking of seeing things before, he’s also wearing the wings from Mattel’s DC Universe Classics Hawkman figure. Not a bad choice for recycling and they look really good on Vultak. The coloring on this figure is pretty basic, but makes for a very pleasing deco. The red Horde emblem combined with the blue paint for the wrist cuffs, boot fringe, and belt, really contrasts beautifully with the gray and black. The wings have a slight purple about them.

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Besides the wings, the head sculpt is the real draw here. It’s not only a good likeness to the Filmation character, but it packs a lot of personality all on its own. Keep in mind, Hordak didn’t have this guy run the Zoo for wildlife preservation. He didn’t even do it so he could sell tickets and make a profit. He did it just because he’s a dick and wanted to keep a lot of animals locked up in cages. They literally point that out in the episode. Look into the face of this figure and you are looking at the type of degenerate that would run that kind of place. He looks like a real sicky who is way too proud of himself. Seriously, I love that he’s smiling.

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You get all the usual MOTUC articulation, which includes rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, hinges in the elbows, swivels in the wrists, ball joints in the hips, hinges in the knees, a waist swivel, a ball jointed neck, and an ab crunch hinge. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers that I believe are the ones introduced to the Club 2.0 2016 Filmation line. I’m not a big fan of the way they look, but the rockers are nice. Finally, the wings are hinged where they connect to the back and and hinged again to allow them to extend.

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Vultak comes with two accessories. You get the ubiquitous Horde crossbow, but it’s a new sculpt with a feathered wing motif. Matty should consider releasing some kind of specialized weapons rack to display all the individual Horde Crossbows. They’ve had some really cool and varied designs over the years.

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You also get a pretty cool leash with a collar that opens and then pegs closed. I don’t have any animals to put it on, but it also works for capturing Rebellion scum. Especially when they’re do-gooders trying to free the animals in your zoo.

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Will I ever grow tired of collecting these figures? Probably not. Vultak is as solid a figure as they come and he makes me happy that I subbed the Collector’s Choice line. While double dipping on animated versions of characters I have already was too much to ask, I’m glad we’re still getting new releases this way. Especially when they’re Evil Horde members like Vultak. I’ll take all the Horde figures I can get! Plus, getting my MOTUC shipments every other month keeps my Matty fix going a little longer until the Thundercats start shipping.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Serpentine King Hssss by Mattel

Controversy and Matty Collector seem to go together like PB&J. In this case, the hub-bub centered around word that Matty would be including a newly tooled snake torso for King Hssss in one of the Club Eternia figures for 2015. I try to tune out a lot of this stuff, but I think the plan was to pack it with Buzz Saw Hordak, which admittedly would have made that terrible figure a bit easier to swallow. Whether this was a promise or a loose comment, I don’t remember, but the bottom line was it didn’t happen because it would have been too expensive and despite Matty being fairly transparent on the matter and sending out a letter to the fans, subscribers still went berserk. Matty ultimately offered the piece for sale as its own figure with a bevy of extras at a pretty good price and it arrived at my door last week.

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Yup, that’s the same old MOTUC packaging we’ve been seeing for years now. There’s even still a bio on the back, which is missing from the most current figure cards. You get a colorful “Snake Men” sticker on the bubble and Hssss’ tagline is “Evil Disguised Leader of the Snake Men.” To say that he fills out the bubble nicely is a bit of an understatement. It actually looks like Matty just took a pound of snakes and crammed them in there. In fact, it’s such a mess of snakes that I can barely make out most of the accessories.

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There’s no doubt that the new torso is the star of this show. It takes the concept of the snake torso that we got with the original Classics King Hsss and cranks everything up. It’s beefier, better proportioned, and it ultimately it makes a pretty goofy idea and makes it look bad ass. Also, someone clearly said, “NEEDS MORE SNAKES!”  I actually own two of the first Masters Classics King Hssss, which is convenient to display one human and one half snake. It’s also an odd thing to admit to, since I was never that fond of the original’s snake torso and would probably never display him with it. But this? This I like a lot. If the were coming after me, I would step on old ladies and babies to get away from this guy. Thanks to some bendy plastic and wires, six of the snakes are posable, so while the only two actual articulation points above the waist are the swivels in the waist and the main snake’s “neck” you can still have some fun with him.

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The sculpting and paint on display here are both excellent. Hssss is covered in scales quite literally from head(s) to toe and there’s a lovely high gloss finish over the whole figure to give it that illusion of slime that all snakes are burdened with. The bulk of the figure is a sort of ochre color, that feels like a nod to the original snake torso, with green patterns. From the waist down, this seems to be a repaint from the Snake Men two-pack. At least that’s my impression. I never did get my hands on one of those packs. Either way it mates wonderfully with the new torso, although the legs on my figure are somewhat loose.

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The main portrait features an open mouth, which offers a grizzly view right down the snake’s gob, and displays a pair of white fangs and a long cascading forked tongue. All the snake heads, right down to the tiniest have solid paintwork for their eyes and mouth and all around this is a great looking figure.

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To sweeten the deal, Hssss comes with what is basically a mini-weapons-pack, which includes a shield, a mace, and a sword and spear, both with serpentine blades. These are actually some of my favorite weapons to come out of the line and they go a long way toward building value in this package. The weapons can be held in some of the smaller snakes’ mouths, but it’s tough to make it work and I honestly think these weapons will be better served getting doled out to my Snake Men or just being added to one of my Weapons Racks.

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How about a bonus head? Yeah, Matty’s got us covered there too with a mid-transformation snake head for the humanoid King Hssss figure. Now, I presume this was intended for both the original and the 200x versions, but the socket is way too small for my original Classics Hssss. I’m sure I could get it to work if I tried hard enough, but for our purposes here, I’m showcasing it on the 200x figure from the two-pack. Again, it’s a great piece of work and looks fantastic on the figure.

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Of course, while Serpent King Hssss is a complete figure onto its own, the torso is also compatible with the legs from either of the previous King Hsss figures, so you can mix-and-match all you want.

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Naturally, I’m very glad Matty got this figure out and onto my shelf. It totally blows away the previous snake torso on every level and the fact that they gave him some legs and threw in so many accessories makes the pot all the sweeter. As for the controversy… it doesn’t really interest me. I can see collectors being frustrated when a company can’t follow through on an expectation, but while I am a toy collector, I’m not a child, and I realize these things happen in the grown up world of big business. I can see cause for rage if this individual piece motivated someone to buy in to the sub only to find it wasn’t included, but I can’t imagine that was the case for most. And in the end, the figure went up for sale to subscribers for $20, which quite frankly is a great deal for this densely packed bundle of goodies.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Laser Power He-Man and Laser Light Skeletor by Mattel

Here we are in February and I’m still opening stuff from last year’s Club Eternia subscription. Well, this is the last box to open from the sub’s final month and it’s a two-pack to boot, so let’s dive right in and check out Laser Power He-Man and Laser Light Skeletor!

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We’ve seen this box before. It’s the standard two-figure window box with the sloping sides and that great greyskull stone motif. It’s collector friendly if you’re careful, and since I kept the box for my last Skeletor and He-Man two-pack, I’ll likely keep this one too. Flip it over and drink in the goodness and sorrow that is the last of the MOTUC bios. Now, I’m no expert when it comes to Masters of the Universe, but as I understand it, these were two of the last figures to be released in the vintage line (in 1988), and even that needs qualifying because they were only circulated in Europe. Let’s start things off with He-Man and look at the base figure first…

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Yeah, it’s another version of He-Man, but considering how long this line has run, I don’t think they’ve milked the variants too badly and they’ve all been pretty good, including this one. This guy is like a hybrid of traditional He-Man and Space He-Man. I’m pretty sure I said that about He-Ro II, but it’s true here as well. The chest harness calls back to his original, but it’s blue and has a futuristic flavor to it right down to the silver “H” in the middle. It rides a little high on the shoulders, but it’s got to be strong to hold the enormous piece of kit he’s going to strap to his back. The boots have the same sci-fi look about them and the paint on those silver gauntlets just look stunning, as does the belt. If you’ve complained in the past that He-Man’s fuzzy barbarian diaper leaves too much for the imagination, well you’re in luck because this new tiny blue steel speedo clamped around his junk does not. All in all, I really dig the look of this guy.

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The portrait appears new, although I’ve lost count of all the He-Man noggins floating around in my Masters Accessories Tote. This is an impressive piece of sculpting, although it looks like it might have been pinched a bit in the final production. I think I can see a little bit of Dolph Lundgren in there, but maybe that’s just my wishful thinking. Of course, we’re really here to talk about that new Laser Power!

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After a lifetime pitched in desperate struggle with his arch nemesis, Skeletor, He-Man has finally had enough and decides to strap a giant box, which I presume holds a series of daisy-chained car batteries, on his back to power his newest electric sword. Evil will die! Actually, screw the batteries, in my mind I’d like to think that this thing is gas powered and that Duncan has to pull a cord on the back a bunch of times to get it to start and when it’s running it’s louder than a hundred leaf blowers. The box clips onto the harness very securely and there’s room to store the sword on the side. He-Man also has to wear two bulky pieces of armor on his right hand, presumably to protect him from the horrific lethal radiation given off by the sword. Come to think of it that’s probably why he wears the steel speedo, to protect the Eternian jewels from getting irradiated.

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All kidding aside, though, I like this thing a lot. Sure, it’s bulky and makes the figure rather back heavy. And with the sword in storage he looks like he’s ready to go bust some ghosts. But it’s a cool gimmick and it’s remarkable that it survived translation to the Classics line where gimmicks have been traditionally neutered. Yes, that backpack really is crammed full of electronics and batteries, and yes the sword really does light up. You can even get it to spazz out and flash like crazy. So good! Let’s move on to Laser Light Skeletor…

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Right off the bat, there’s a lot of New Adventures Skeletor in here. Some of the arms and some of the legs are reused, the feet are repainted and reused, I think the belt might be the same, but there’s a lot of excellent new sculpting here as well, like the new lower legs that make use of some remarkable copper paint to make the grafted armor stand out from the blue skin. The same could be said for the gorgeous copper chest piece. As amazing as this figure looks, it would be cool to see a skilled customizer add some paint hits to the tech bits sculpted into the blue body.

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I’m not all that fond of the portrait here, although I will concede that based on pictures I’ve seen it is a solid update to the vintage Laser Light Skeletor. Still, something just looks odd about the face. The hood is removable and sits rather strangely too. It’s hard for me to figure out if I have it in the intended position or not. I do like the added techno-bits sculpted into the back of the head. I’ll also note that while there are electronics in the head, I find it impressive that Matty was able to keep the neck articulation to a degree.

llskel3As with He-Man, Skeletor has an electronic box on his back, but unlike He-Man, Skeletor integrates all his electronic gimmickry right into the figure so the box is not removable. There’s some really nice sculpting and paint on it that was absent from He-Man’s backpack. The problem here is that the figure is still very back heavy and while He-Man was able to compensate with a decent pair of feet, the little clodhoppers that Skeletor has just isn’t up for the task. It’s really hard to get him to stand decently and it’s a shame that Matty couldn’t have engineered some lateral rockers into those ankles. They’ve done it on a fair number of Classics figures, and here’s one that really would have benefited from them.

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Skeletor’s electronics feature glowing eyes and a light up right gauntlet that is supposed to light up his translucent red Havoc Staff. The gauntlet and eyes light beautifully but the light doesn’t travel very far up and down the staff. Don’t get me wrong, it still looks plenty cool. It is worth noting that in order to accommodate the electronics in the right arm, there is no elbow hinge or bicep swivel. There is, however, still a swivel at the top of the gauntlet.

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A lot of other companies would have just phoned in the final two figures of a line, but Matty gave us something special here. We got two figures that most fans never saw in their vintage collections and we got them engineered with electronic gimmicks. That’s a first for the last, and that’s going above and beyond in my book and these are overall fun and solid (and perfectly appropriate) figures to end the line with. I feel like I should get all sappy and wax sentimental about Club Eternia. It delivered a fantastic series of action figures and sapped a shit ton of money out of my bank account. In other words, it was a great ride. But I still have older Classics figures and vehicles to open and look at (not to mention a giant castle) and I still have the Collector’s Choice figures ahead of me, so for now I’ll resist the urge. At some point down the line, I’ll eventually open my last Masters Classics toy or figure and I’ll save the reminiscing for then.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Lord Masque by Mattel

A week or so ago I featured what I thought would be my last new carded figure from the Masters Classics line. Then I realized that while I didn’t sub Eternia 2.0, I did sub a Collector’s Choice series that I completely forgot even existed. Good thing, I didn’t buy Lord Masque off the site, because he’s the first figure in this Sub that I didn’t even remember buying into and at prices like these, I sure didn’t need two of him. Yeah, I know I also said in that feature that I’d look at the first version of Classics He-Ro next. Don’t worry, I’ll get to him soon.

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Oh, look! It’s this packaging again! From the front it looks identical to what we’ve been seeing all along, but if you flip it around, you’ll see no more bio cards. They were never a big part of the line for me, so I’m not bummed about it. You’ll also notice that while Masque is holding the sword and shield he comes packaged with, they aren’t meant for him. But more on that later…

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Yay, I own all of these figures! The “Evil Servant of Shokoti,” Lord Masque hails from a Filmation cartoon two-parter called “The House of Shokoti” where he paired up with Trap Jaw to bring back his evil mistress, or something like that. Shokoti was released a little while back in the Filmation Mini-Sub and now the two characters are finally together.

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Masque is a pretty cool looking guy. From the neck down he’s fairly standard Masters Classic design. We’ve seen those scalloped greaves before, but they suit the character well. The pearlescent white used for the gauntlets, belt, and chest piece add a nice splash of brightness to an otherwise dreary deco. There’s some nice texturing included in the cross straps on the chest and the thigh straps that make them convincing as leather pieces.

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The cape hangs around the figure’s neck, but is worn off the shoulders and cascades down almost to the ground. It’s pretty stiff, but there’s enough play at the neck to pull it back so it doesn’t inhibit action poses all that badly. It’s also separate from the hood.

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The portrait is easily the most distinctive thing about Masque, as his name suggests! The design is also a great example of how the Filmation series cribbed quite a lot of designs that had a Star Wars flavor. It’s a relatively simple sculpt, but it’s quite faithful to the Filmation art and it looks great on a Classics figure. Because the hood is sculpted separately from the cape, you can still get a decent amount of articulation out of that ball joint in the neck.

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As hinted at earlier, the accessories are intended for New Adventures He-Man, a figure I don’t own. Until I inevitbaly hunt him down, I’ll likely let Masque keep these. The sword features a silver futuristic guard and a translucent green energy blade and hilt. I think it suits him fairly well. The shield has the same silver and translucent deco to make them a matched set. I suppose the “HM” logo on the shield can kind of work as just an “M” for Masque, although I don’t think I’ll end up displaying him with the shield, just the sword. I can’t fault Matty for not giving Masque anything of his own. All he did in the episode was just turn into black smoke or shape shift into a disguise. That having been said, a spare mask with a notch to stick He-Man’s sword into it would have been cool.

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Back when I was confused and thought that this was a figure in the Eternia 2.0 line, I was a little bummed that I wasn’t going to get him. He may have been a mostly forgettable one-off character in the series, but he makes for a great addition to my shelves, and I’m glad things turned out in my favor. One of the cooler things about Eternian lore to me was that in addition to Skeletor’s band of evil kooks, you also had all of these other free agents running around trying to be bosses of their own. Yeah, Masque might have been a toady for Shokoti, but when they first revealed him, I was pretty sure they might be grooming him to be competition for Skeletor. If I had a figure of him as a kid, I’m sure that’s how I would have played with him.

Masters of the Universe Classics: He-Ro II by Mattel

It feels weird, this is the first month where I’m no longer collecting the MOTUC line. The last traditional Sub ended in 2015 and while I have been nothing but thrilled with my collection, I just couldn’t bring myself to sign up for the 2.0 and do it all over again with the Filmation versions. Maybe if display space wasn’t in such high demand around here, it would have been a different story, but it is what it is. I did go on Matty Collector and consider picking up Lord Masque, but with a checkout price of $38, I just couldn’t do it. Anywho, I do still have plenty of unfinished business with the line and today I’m opening up the last single carded figure from December’s sale… It’s Hero II.

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And here he is, in package. He-Ro… II? Yes, the II is to denote that this is the second He-Ro figure released in the MOTUC line and both have roots in the original Mattel property. This one, as the tagline on the package states, is the “Heroic Son of He-Man.” His real name is Dare and he is the product of Adam and Teela bumping uglies, at least in the Classics narrative. The character is based on the protagonist from a failed pitch in the 90’s to spawn a new Masters cartoon. So yeah, what we have here is a figure based on a concept series that didn’t get produced, let alone spawn an actual line of action figures.

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Dare isn’t so much like a cross between Adam and Teela, but rather He-Man and New Adventures He-Man. He’s got NA’s blue pants and ponytail and a spiffy futuristic version of He-Man’s chest harness and his fur lined boots. There’s so much I dig about this guy’s design and execution, particularly the corny combination of “H” and “M” on his belt buckle and the traditional He-Man crosses on his gauntlets and shoulder armor. Dare also features a belt with a working holster for his pistol and a bitchin’ crystal in the center of his chest harness.

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The coloring here is great too. There’s a couple purdy shades of blue along with a metallic blue for the shoulder and it combines with the gold, silver and red to make a dynamic and pleasing color scheme. In fact, this figure is loaded with great little touches to the paint and sculpt that make it obvious Matty put a lot of extra love into him. They just went all out.

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The head sculpt is new, but the nod to NA He-Man is certainly there. Besides the ponytail he’s got a younger look and a more angular face. The hair sculpt is particularly great with the tussled bangs.

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If you want a little more NA He-Man in your Dare, the figure comes with a swap out vest, which is basically a silver repaint of NA’s gold space vest. It’s a welcome bonus, but I’ll likely be sticking with the blue rig.

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In addition to the extra vest, Dare comes with his sword and laser pistol. The sword can be stowed in the loop on the back of either vest. I’m a big fan of mixing swords and laser guns, so this guy’s armament is right up my ally.

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There’s no doubt about it, He-Ro II is mined deep from the annals of Masters history and so as a character, he’s only going to appeal to the most hardcore of Masters fans who know the stories beyond the stories about the stories that never happened. But for someone like me, a significant portion of this line has always been more about the figures than the characters, and so I can say that I really dig this guy a lot. And since, I don’t have a New Adventures He-Man in my collection (yet). Dare may just stand in for him on that shelf. Oh yeah, I just realized I never looked at the Classics release of the first He-Ro, so I’ll try to remedy that next week.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Prahvus by Mattel

Here we go, folks, I have sitting in the corner the very last shipment from my Masters Subs. I’m going to wait until I look at the last of these figures to start getting all sappy about the end of the line, so for now let’s just dive right in and check out the final figure in the Club 200x series. It’s a dude named Prahvus, and I don’t know anything about him.

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The package is barely large enough to contain the might of Prahvus, “The Evil Master of Doom.” If you need any more evidence of how evil this guy is, just look at how much cat hair he attracted! Other than that, there’s not much new to say about it. The bio on the back makes him sound like a nasty piece of business. I’ve had six months now to bust out my MYP He-Man DVDs and re-watch the series, so I could remember some of these people, and of course, I still haven’t done it. I suck.

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If you ever wondered what an evil master of doom looked like, here he is. Every bit of this guy just exudes badassery and I love it! The body itself is mostly a simple buck, with some angular grieves on his legs and sculpted wraps around his feet. He wears a single, red jeweled gauntlet, on his right hand and his evil modesty is protected by a scaled purple loin cloth that hangs down from his belt. The coloring here is mostly an ash gray with some purple. The light blue tattoos on his chest and shoulders, however, really make the figure pop.

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Prahvus sports a rather unusual cape, which cascades down from the animal skull over his right shoulder. It’s cast in soft purple plastic and has a scaled pattern to match his loin cloth. If I had one minor gripe about this figure (and it is a minor one) it would be the skull shoulder, which has a rather soft sculpt and can get in the way of Phravus’ glorious head’s articulation.

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Speaking of heads, check this one out. Damn, this is a great design with a lot going on. Prahvus’ ugly mug features some down swept goat ears, two powerful fangs protruding from his bottom jaw, and a wisp of hair that juts out from his chin and curls at the end. He’s also crowned by a pair of angular horns. The visage is complete with two piercing red eyes.

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The articulation here is standard stuff for the male MOTUC bucks. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The torso has an ab-crunch hinge, and swivels at the waist. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, hinged at the knees, and have swivels at the tops of the thighs. The ankles are hinged and the neck is ball jointed.

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Prahvus comes with two accessories: His mace and his lamp. The mace is a rather cool and unusual design with a head like an elongated pyramid with a bronze finish. The lamp is a pretty nice sculpt too and painted bright gold.

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Prahvus is one hundred percent awesome bad ass and another great addition to my collection. He’s also a prime example of a figure I would be happy to own even if I wasn’t collecting this line. In a lot of ways, the Mini-Sub’s have been highlights of the MOTUC line for me and 200x was no different. Every last figure released in this little sub-series was a homerun, as far as I’m concerned, and when assembled all together, they make for a striking corner on my Masters Classic shelves.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Queen Grayskull by Mattel

It’s the middle of December, this month’s Matty figures are due to arrive any day now and that gives me just enough time to wrap up November’s figures. I’ve already checked out Dragstor as well as the Terror Claws Skeletor and Flying Fists He-Man boxed set. So today, let’s have a look at the 200x Subscription’s Queen Grayskull!

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Veena’s tagline is “Heroic Guardian of Power” and her bio on the back of the package is a tortured yarn designed to weave her into the Classics continuity. Of course, she’s basically just The Sorceress from the MYP He-Man series. There’s a fair amount of goodies in this package, so let’s get her opened up and check her out!

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I’ll start off by saying how much I love this design for The Sorceress. She has a really exotic and almost Egyptian thing going on and I think it worked beautifully in the cartoon and looks quite striking on this figure. The gold armor pieces, which comprise her grieves , arm bracers, and hip pieces, are all painted with a sumptuous metallic gold and accented with some blue and red painted gems. Her top is white with sculpted piping painted to match the gold armor. This is just a great looking ensemble and no doubt required a whole bunch of new tooling right down to her bare feet.

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The wings are on rotating hinges and peg right into the figure’s back. I like this so much better than the classic Sorceress figure’s which are attached to her arms. Granted, the styling of the two wings are very different. Veena’s are more angelic and they look magnificent without hindering the articulation. Each of the feathers are sculpted in and the gold fringe on the tops looks amazing. She’s also got a respectable wingspan that really tested the limits of my tiny little staging area.

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I think the portrait here represents one of the best ladies this line has produced, and that’s saying a lot because there have been some excellent female portraits here. You have to get in pretty close before you can start to see a little uneven paint in her eyes. Her beautiful face is framed by her bird head helmet, which is painted in gold and cascades down the back of her neck. They even painted the interior of it blue to match her belt sash.

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Speaking of sashes, you also get this blue piece, which can be passed behind her and placed into the crooks of each elbow. It’s very soft plastic, so you can fuss around with it to try to get the look you want. It’s a nice bonus, but I’m not sure I’ll display her with it.

Articulation is everything you’d expect from a MOTUC female figure. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinged elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, hinged at the knees and ankles, and have swivels at the tops of the thighs. There is no articulation in the torso, but you do get the aforementioned rotating hinges in the wings and a ball joint in the neck.

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Veena’s other accessory is her staff, which features a gorgeous bird motif at the top, which almost looks like it could double as an axe. The design of this piece is beautiful and it uses the same rich gold finish as the figure’s armored pieces.

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The 200x Sub has been one great figure after another, but with only one release left I don’t think it’s too premature for me to call it: Queen Grayskull is without a doubt my favorite figure to come out of this sub. She’s also currently vying with just a few other figures as my favorite Masters Classics figure of 2015. This lady just has it all: A great design, beautiful and original sculpting, and a drop-dead gorgeous paint job. This is undoubtedly one of those figures that I would have hunted down even if I wasn’t collecting MOTUC. She’s just so well done that I think she does just fine as a stand-alone display piece.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Dragstor by Mattel

Ack! Once again, the December Matty figures are shipping soon and I haven’t opened my November figures yet! Oh, yeah, not to mention the Battle Ram and the huge-ass Castle Greyskull boxes that are taking up precious real estate in my toy closet. I’ve vowed not to open any of the big stuff until I’m completely done with this year’s figures, so let’s take a step closer to that goal by tearing into The Evil Horde’s road warrior, Dragstor!

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Dragstor fills out his package nicely and his tag line is “Transforming Evil Warrior Vehicle.” Apart from that I don’t have anything new to say about the packaging. We’ve been seeing it for years now and not much has changed. Of course, Dragstor was a figure that was big on gimmickry in the vintage line, so I’m very curious to see how this Classics version turned out!

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Dragstor’s design is a delicious mix of monster and machine and one that adheres very strongly to the vintage design. In fact, once you get past the more realistic proportions and the neutered gimmick, there’s not a lot of changes at all. And that’s a good thing for me, because I’ve always dug this crazy design. The exposed tire that resides in Dragstor’s tummy is particularly well sculpted with well-defined treads and it even has the little notch off to the side where the rip-stick would go if that gimmick were still in tact. The whole tire ensemble is part of a bulky sculpted vest that’s laid over the torso of the buck and also includes some silver hoses and The Evil Horde symbol sculpted right into the chest.

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The back of the vest features Dragstor’s jet-powered backpack, which helps propel him at break-neck speeds on his tire. I love the way the side pipes look on this piece as the design is straight out of a suped-up hot rod. The outfit is rounded off with a pair of red angular boots and orange gauntlets, just like on the vintage figure.

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The head sculpt offers what little look we get of Dragstor’s actual organic side and it isn’t much. You just get a pair of reptillian eyes and some scaly skin peering out from the helmet and breather mask. There are a few paint flubs on my figure. particularly noticeable is the one pupil that runs up into his eyebrow. There’s also some slop on the silver paint where the pipes meet the vest. All in all, though, it’s nothing too bad.

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Articulation follows the usual MOTUC male buck. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, hinged at the knees and ankles, and there are swivels at the hips and boots. The neck is ball jointed and Dragstor can swivel at the waist. I’m sure there’s still an ab crunch buried in the torso, but all that gear on him renders it inert. Alas, I was unable to get him to balance on his tire without having his limbs touching the ground to support him.

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Dragstor comes with two accessories. First you get the ubiquitous Horde crossbow. In this case, it’s a very unique design and made to look like it’s fashioned out of an engine and exhaust pipes, which is a nice touch because I don’t remember the vintage toy’s crossbow matching Dragstor’s theme so nicely. There’s a hole on the top of his backpack, where you can plug this thing in for storage. It probably makes more sense to angle it down, keeping the spoiler and the pipes in the opposite direction he’s traveling, but I kind of dig the way it looks angled up.

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The other weapon is a whip with a double bladed axe on the end. It’s presumably intended as a nod to the vintage figure’s rip-stick. If you want you can plug this into the backpack too, but it just looks silly to me.

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As the last addition to my Horde ranks, I really dig Dragstor a lot. He’s a perfect example of the crazy imagination that went into this line. At the same time, Matty was able to keep him very faithful to the original design and still make him fit in with the modern Classics aesthetic. It’s a great figure like this that makes it harder to face the fact that it all ends this month with the final shipment of figures. But before we can get to that, I’ve still got one more November figure to look at next week.