Masters of the Universe Classics: Light Hope by Mattel

While October may be almost over, I’m only now getting to the first of three figures that arrived this month from my Matty Subscriptions. They all look like excellent figures, but the one I was most excited about getting in hand was the Club Etheria Exclusive figure, Light Hope. This is an interesting release since as far as I know the design of the figure is completely original. Light Hope only appeared as a shimmering rainbow light thingy in the Princess of Power cartoon, and I’m not aware of the character ever taking on corporal form in any comics. As a result, Matty tasked The Four Horsemen to give him this humanoid form and that is just plain neat. I fell in love with this figure the moment I saw the initial pictures of it, and now that I have him in hand, I’m actually even happier with the way he came out.

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Yup, there’s the packaging we all know and love. It features the Princess of Power sticker on the bubble and Light Hope’s tag line on the insert is, “Magical Protector of The Crystal Castle.” I’m not all up on my She-Ra cartoon lore, but if I recall correctly Light Hope basically did on Etheria what The Sorceress did on Eternia. Anyway, I got nothing new to say, so let’s just check out the back and see how I’m doing with my collection…

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Clean sweep! It doesn’t happen often, but I actually have all the figures pictured on the back. Nice! You also get the bio of Light Hope, most of which is over my head because of my lacking familiarity with Masters of the Universe continuity. As you might guess, I have no real attachment to the character of Light Hope, so this is one of those figures that has me excited based entirely on how completely amazing it looks.

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And hot damn, he does indeed look amazing! In fact, I’d dare say he’s a breathtaking figure! Light Hope’s body is cast entirely in a faintly rose colored translucent plastic. It feels like good quality stuff and it retains all the articulation of a regular MOTUC buck. His armor consists of sculpted boots, a belt and skirt, forearm bracers, and chest and shoulder pieces. All the armor is painted in slightly tarnished bronze finish. I like it because it looks somewhat antiqued and I think it brings out the intricate sculpt in the armor a lot better than if Matty had gone with a bright and metallic gold. The armor is decorated with sculpted scrollwork on the thigh pieces and chest and there’s a crystal in the center of his chest that’s cast in the same plastic as the figure’s body.

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The duality of translucent plastic and bronze armor is jazzed up a bit with some glossy red paint hits for the stones inlaid on the thigh armor, the arm bracers, the headdress, and the back of his neck, as well as the jewel in the center of his belt. He also has a sculpted white sash hanging down between his legs and a great looking cape that cleverly dips in the middle to allow for some light piping to come through the translucent bit in the center of his chest and back.

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The head sculpt is also cast in the same translucent rose tinted plastic with the headdress painted to match the armor and permanently attached to his spectral noggin. The portrait consists of a noble, bearded visage and while the details are a little soft when you get in close you can make out some nice sculpt work in there as well as the two white painted eyes. The detailed sculpt of the headdress is particularly noteworthy and it really nails the latticework motif that I tend to identify with the Princess of Power designs. Everything about this guy’s armor ensemble looks like it could have stepped out of the pages of Antiquity and I love it!

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Light Hope comes with a gorgeous staff that comes close to matching the figure’s deco. The translucent plastic used for the staff and the crystals is milky white, rather than rosy pink, but the elaborate top of the staff is painted with the very same bronze finish as the figure’s armor.

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Light Hope is an absolutely stunning figure and a wonderful surprise. I was admittedly sold on the Club Etheria subscription right off the bat, but if that wasn’t the case, I’m sure that having Light Hope as the exclusive incentive figure would have won me over. In fact, he even more than makes up for having to buy that dreadful Double-Mischief figure. I think it’s awesome that T4H were given the opportunity to lend their design talents to create what is a completely fresh and new take on a character that couldn’t have otherwise been realized in action figure form. Even if you aren’t an MOTUC collector, Light Hope is worthy of a look based solely on his aesthetics alone. He’s a fantastic concept that’s executed perfectly and I’d dare say he’ll likely stand out as one of the absolute finest figures on my admittedly overflowing MOTUC shelves.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Castaspella by Mattel

Last month, I scheduled one of my work weeks around Matty Sale Day because I had convinced myself that I needed to be at the computer at precisely 12pm EST in order to get my mitts on Castaspella. Turns out, she was the ugly girl at the dance and hung around for quite a few days after. I really thought she was going to go fast, but I guess I’m not in tune with the ebb and flow of this fanbase’s interests. For the uninitiated, Casta is based off a character in the Princess of Power off-shoot line. The vintage toys were more akin to dolls than action figures, which meant if you were a young boy collecting the He-Mans and you wanted to expand into She-Ra territory you had to be extremely comfortable with your sexuality at a young age and have understanding parents or else you were just shit out of luck.

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Casta comes in the same style package as the regular Masters Classics, but she does have a “Princess of Power” sticker on the bubble, which is rather cool. I’ve said my piece about the great packaging for this line many times over, so let’s just move on.

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The flipside of the card has the usual bio, which I hardly ever read, and shots of other Princess of Power figures. I’m missing two of those: Netossa and Bow. One of these days, I’ll hunt them down.

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Out of the package, Casta is a delightfully colorful figure. The last time I remember being this pleased with a MOTUC figure’s coloring it was Sy-Klone, so obviously I have some innate love for blue and yellow decos. Casta has a blue top and blue leggings, which contrast beautifully with her yellow skirt and boots. Toss in some lightning bolts for good measure and she’s got major style. The orange for the high collar is a strange choice, but I guess it helps bridge the rift leading up to her red hair. Mmm… red heads… me likey. I have a very vague memory of her from the cartoon, but what I do remember was her voice was horrible and she was always macking on Prince Adam.

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I really like Casta’s head sculpt, although I don’t think it matches the artwork all that much. The likeness has a lot in common with the one used for Teela some time back, although it still works for me. T4H went all out on the hair sculpt, which is mounded up on top of her head and then cascades behind her. It’s very distinctive. The outfit’s sculpt seems to reuse some parts from She-Ra, most notably the skirt, although the boots have been re-sculpted to match her deco. All in all her outfit looks pretty fresh and original and it’s layered onto the figure as has been the case with many of the past females.

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Articulation appears standard for the females in the line. You get ball joints in the neck, shoulders and hips. The arms have swivels in the biceps and wrists and hinged elbows. The legs are hinged at the knees and ankles. Casta can swivel at the waist, but there is no ab-crunch.

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Casta comes with three accessories: You get a shield, an effect part, and a huge disc. I know that the disc is tied to her vintage counterpart’s gimmick, but I have no idea what the hell it’s supposed to be. You can clip it onto her waist, but I think it’s garish and ugly like it’s a piece of 70’s wall art and I will banish it to the darkest depths of one of my most miscellaneous totes. Mwahaha.

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The shield is pretty cool. Sure, it’s the same PoP shield sculpt we’ve seen before, but it’s cast in translucent plastic and some people will have you believe that translucent plastic makes everything better. Is it a magic shield? Yup, that sounds good to me.

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Last up is the effect part. If you know me, you know I am rarely impressed with effect parts. Casta’s is a large yellow magic beam that fits over either of her hands. It’s ok, I guess, but I doubt it will get much face time in my display case.

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So, needless to say I’m glad I was able to get this figure, even if I did wind up taking a morning off that I didn’t need to. It’s crazy to look at a figure that took a few days to sell out and wonder what went wrong, but that’s often the case with Matty’s bizarre business model. In any event, I’m a big fan of the Princess of Power figures in the MOTUC collection, mainly because it’s the first time we’ve seen these characters as action figures rather than dolls, and I’m hoping to see a lot more in the 2014 Sub. Casta is a nice, colorful figure and a great addition to my Masters shelf.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Icer by Mattel

Hey, it’s been a while since I’ve featured any MOTUC figures on FFZ. I’ve only purchased two this year, and one of those was an older figure off of Ebay. Truth be told, I had completely forgotten that the Filmation Sub was a thing and that I had subscribed to it. I’m pretty sure I was drunk when I did it, because I’ve never subbed the regular Club Eternia, so committing to this line seemed like a rather unusual thing for me to do if I were sober. Nonetheless, the first figure was released this month and arrived on my stoop this week. It’s Icer. I have absolutely no recollection of this guy from the cartoon, but I’m going to remedy that right now. Here, read this bit about the packaging, and I’ll be right back…

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While technically part of a separate sub, Icer comes in the standard MOTUC packaging. There’s nothing on it anywhere to differentiate it from the rest of the line. Seems like at least a sticker saying “Look! It’s Filmation, Bitches!” might have been in order, but the packaging is about to be shredded and trashed, so I really don’t mind. It’s been a while since I last opened an MOTUC figure, so I’ll take the opportunity here to point out once again how much I love the presentation here. Big bubble, great Greyskull inspired deco, and a bio card on the back. I’m glad Matty never tinkered with the package designs, because they nailed it from day one.

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Ok, so Icer appeared in “The Ice Age Cometh” Cometh? So, Masters of the Universe is Shakespeare all of the sudden? Well, believe you me, after watching that I can attest to the fact that it is not. Even as a kid, I found the Masters cartoon hard to stomach and since I’m writing this at 6:30 in the morning, I didn’t even have my pal Jameson to help me through it. Things start off shaky with 12-year old, Philip the Guard guarding the parking lot of Castle Eternia and Whiplash walking around the castle grounds in plain daylight like he owns the place and trying to jack royal vehicles. Philip messes up and promptly gets exiled to a weather control station in Eternian Siberia where he runs afoul of Skeletor’s minion, Icer. Seems harsh… does this kid have parents? Icer can melt himself to pass under doors and is understandably immune to the freeze rods, which the Eternian guard bewilderingly uses as their main defensive tool in Eternian Siberia… where everything is already f’cking freezing. He also talks in a monotone voice and makes lots of cold puns. After that, um… things happen… and, look, I’ll be honest, I couldn’t get through the whole episode… Let’s just look at the damn figure.

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This figure is awesome! Icer is a fantastic use of a standard MOTUC buck, with minimal added sculpting for the head, fur cuffs and boots. What makes this figure work so well is the superb frosty ice effect of the semi-translucent plastic. The plastic varies from milky clear white to bright blue and has a snowy dusting over it that really makes Icer look like he’s been hanging out in the back of my freezer for too long. If Matty couldn’t pull of the ice effect, this figure would have crashed and burned, but they totally nailed it. Kudos!

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The head sculpt features an angular chiseled shape, which works very well. There’s a little spray of snow frost on his forehead and the sculpted fur on his hood looks great, as does all the fur on the figure. Filmation purists may be pissed that Matty opted to not paint in his pupils, but I’m so very glad they didn’t. Truth is this figure doesn’t look much at all like the boring character art from the episode. Nope, Matty took the idea of the character and ran with it and we got a better figure for their efforts.

Icer features pretty standard MOTUC articulation. That means you get ball joints in the neck, shoulders, and hips. The arms have swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinged elbow. The legs have hinged knees and ankles, and swivels just above the boots. Icer can also swivel at the waist and he has an ab crunch hinge in the torso.

Accessories! Icer comes with an icicle spear and a staff. The spear is cast in the same awesome icy looking plastic as the rest of him. The gold staff has a trident-like head and a little sculpted skull on each side. Both are excellent pieces.

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I’m not sure what mindset I was in when I subbed Club Filmation, but right now I’m sure glad I did. Icer is a fantastic figure and while he didn’t break any records, he did sell out within a few days of the sale. I really only have one little gripe about Icer and that’s a stroke of metallic gold paint on his back. It’s no biggie, but a reminder nonetheless that Matty still needs to work on their QC, especially when they’re charging so much for these figures. I obviously don’t give two shits about the character from the show, but I love this figure and I’m thrilled to have him on my Masters shelf. Above all, getting him really reminded me how much I still adore this line, even though I haven’t been buying a lot of the figures lately.

DC Universe Signature Collection: Freddy Freeman by Mattel

It’s time for another release from the Club Infinite Earths sub, and Matty is keeping on point by delivering another figure that is conspicuously missing from our shelves. Captain Marvel, Jr. was definitely on my list of characters that I needed for my display. Maybe he wasn’t high on that list, but he was definitely on there! His arrival also reminds me that Captain Marvel himself is vacant from my DCUC lineup. Yes, somehow I own both versions of Mary Batson, but there’s still a gaping hole in my collection where Captain Marvel should be. Note to self: Pick up the Black Adam and Captain Marvel 2-pack. Anyway, let’s check him out… oh yeah, and… KRAKOOOM!

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Once again, the Signature Collection packaging consists of a delightful little window box. It’s collector friendly, it shows off the figure quite nicely, and it sports some rather excellent character art. No, wait… scratch that last bit… force of habit. I am not really digging the character art here. Freddy looks a little too Alfred E. Neumann to me. Anyway, there’s a bio blurb on the back, which contains the amazingly awesome phrase, “Captain Nazi killed his grandfather.” Oh yeah, shit just got real. Now that you’ve mentioned Captain Nazi on a package, you have to make the figure Mattel. YOU HAVE TO! Sorry, I don’t make the rules.

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Let’s kick things off with the portrait. I like the head sculpt here a lot. It doesn’t look much like the character art on the package, and as we’ve established, that’s a good thing. Mattel also resisted the urge to sculpt Freddy with a vapid, “I just took six halcion so I can pose for holiday pictures with the in-laws” smile like they did with Mary Batson. It’s not their best head sculpt of late, but to be fair, they’ve been doing a bang up job lately, so in this case even average is pretty good. I do like the way the tussled hair came out and all in all, they’ve managed to capture the youthful look of the character quite well.

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Freddy is appropriately built on the smaller DCUC body. I know that should be obvious, but I’ve learned not to take scale for granted in a DCUC-based line. I find it to be a good fit for the character, not too big and not too muscular. He’s just a smidge shorter than Mary. There isn’t a whole lot of unique sculpting here. Beyond the belt, boots and wrists bracers, the blue costume gets by with just the “Shazam!” lightning bolt painted on his chest. Aside from that, you have a new cape, which is excellent. The braid, border, and fleurs are all sculpted and painted.

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There are no surprises in the articulation department. You get a ball joint on the neck and shoulders. The arms have swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs have the usual DCUC hip-joints going on, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles.

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Freddy Freeman is what the Club Infinite Earths line is all about, folks. He’s another character sorely missing from the DCUC roster and he helps to complete a team. Ok, so he’s not the most exciting figure around, but in the spirit of turning a pithy DC-related motto on its ear… sometimes we get the figure we need and not the one we deserve. I’ll admit, with the CIE sub open right now, Mattel may have been better served delivering some more exciting figures to drum up interest, but then for a company often accused of playing games and dealing dirty, I applaud them for not doing so. Politics and business tactics aside, this figure is another solid addition to my shelves. He turned out great and I’m very glad to have him.