Masters of the Universe Origins: Castle Grayskull by Mattel

Yup, I sure did tell myself I wasn’t going to collect this line! Nope. Got a nearly complete MOTU Classics collection taking up a lot of room over here, and I’m not starting all over again. And then it was, “Well maybe just a couple more figures. Maybe just a couple of vehicles. Maybe just one more Wave.” And then, “Aw Shit. I got Grayskull coming!” This would have been the rational excuse to stop. I already have Classics Grayskull, which takes up an entire corner of my spare room. Surely, I don’t need another. And yet here we are. I really think I may be overcompensating for the fact that I didn’t have any of these toys as a kid, because I don’t seem to have any plans on stopping.

I was seriously worrying about whether I was going to have Buyer’s Remorse when this showed up. I knew it wasn’t going to be as big or well made as the Classics behemoth, but how could I deprive all my new Origins figures of a legendary mystical fortress to fight over? The box is suitably large and features some kick ass vintage-style artwork on the front, while also advertising the included Sorceress figure. There are some shots of the toy on the flipside, and the rather long and thin box suggests that the Castle is inserted in the open position, so you can get a good idea of the size just by holding the package. Give me a minute to slide the castle out and get it all set up.

Looking as iconic as ever, Origins Grayskull does a great job of recreating the original magnificent example of skull-faced green stone architecture. It’s nearly tiny when compared to the Classics version, but still scaled perfectly fine with the Origins figures. The sculpting is a little soft in places, but you still get plenty of jagged, craggy stone in pale green plastic. There’s some bright green wash in a few areas and black paint inside the eyes and nose of the skull. The closed jawbridge is sculpted in brown with a wood pattern, has silver painted fixtures, and a green heraldic motif. The back of the Castle has shingled roof areas, which are painted brown and there are several open windows to peek out of. The only thing I’m not too keen on here is the weird white speckling Mattel put in the plastic. It’s hard to see in the pictures, but fairly visible when the Castle is in hand. At first, I thought it was some kind of unintentional spray of an unspecified substance, but turns out it’s part of the plan. What was the purpose? I have no idea, but I could have done without it. The back of the castle has a handle, so you can pick it up and take it to your friend’s house, and this thing is a lot easier to lug around than the Classics Castle.

If you’ve owned the Classics or Vintage Grayskull, you’ll be pretty familiar with the play elements here. There’s a hinge on one side and too hook-latches on the other. Open it up and you reveal the playset inside! When you first set up the Castle, the floors need to be slotted into their appropriate places and some stickers need to be applied. You also have to attach the floor plate to the elevator, position the computer components, and plug the flag and laser turret into the top towers. Finally, there are two banners that can be plugged into the ceiling of the Throne Room area. It’s all quick and easy to do, and while the Castle will close up with all this stuff in place, you can remove it all if you want to return the Castle to the box for storage. As far as build quality is concerned, nothing seems fragile, but the plastic used here is pretty soft, which is good for kids, as it means things will bend and not break under the rigors of play. Let’s start in the basement and work our way up!

Most of the extra bits and bobs go in the basement area, although in fairness you can put them anywhere you want! Here we get two weapons racks and a handful of weapons to put in them. The one on the left is just like the Classics one I have only smaller, and I was surprised to find the extra one on the right, which is pretty cool. You also get the sparring device so the Heroes can brush up on their combat skills. The weapons include a mace, a sword, a rifle, and a halberd, all of which are cast in an off-white plastic. The basement also has a sticker showing the dungeon and all sorts of bizarre creatures trying to escape from it.

Access to the upper level is gained via the working elevator. There’s a foot peg on the base plate and a string is used to raise and lower it.

The upper elevator room also has a large computer with a viewscreen showing some planets and stars. The computer bank has all sorts of sculpted panels and cables, as well as some red, green, and blue paint applications to the controls. There’s a smaller computer bank in the Throne Room.

The Throne Room features the ubiquitous trap door gimmick, which is activated when the Throne is turned to the left. The Throne itself is surprisingly well suited to fit the figures and even has foot pegs at the bottom to secure the figures into it. Oh yeah, there are two notches in the floor in front of the Throne designed for the scaling ladder, which I completely neglected to photograph for this review and didn’t realize it until everything was put away. And that’s why I shouldn’t coif so many Jamesons when I’m working on these damn reviews!

The tower features a laser turret, which can only be comfortably manned when the Castle is opened. It’s weird, because the Tower with the flag actually has room for figures when the Castle is closed! Anyway, the turret pivots left and right and will raise and lower, so the Castle can be defended against enemies on the ground or in the air. Will there be a Point Dread that fits atop this Castle like we saw in the Classics line? Only time will tell, but I wouldn’t bet against it.

Our last stop on Castle Tours is the Jawbridge, which can only be opened by inserting The Power Sword into the slot. Or another sword, or a toothpick, or whatever else you have lying around… BUT DON’T TELL SKELETOR!!! I word of caution…. at first I could not get my Castle’s Jawbridge to open at all. The mechanism was unlocking, but it seemed stuck. I eventually had to use a scary amount of force to pry it open and now it works just fine. Anyway, the Jawbridge and doorway are scaled well, so the figures can pass through them without bumping their heads. Except maybe Mechaneck if he forgets to go down scope before going in. Before wrapping up, let’s have a look at The Sorceress!

As the packaging points out, this is The Temple of Darkness Exclusive version of The Sorceress, meaning that she’s based on the all-white costume depicted in the titular Mini-Comic. I suppose that means that we’ll eventually be getting a regular Sorceress in this line. Yeah, I probably would have preferred to have the regular Sorceress bundled with the Castle, but I guess this was a better move for collectors who are only buying the figures and not ponying up for the Castle. With that having been said, I do like this figure a lot, as simple as it is. I expected the boots to be recycled, but they lack the detail seen on Teela’s. Sorceress’ one-piece has some bird feathers sculpted in, but not much else noteworthy detail. The head sculpt and bird hood are excellent, and she does come with her staff.

I really like the way they did her wings! They’re cast in semi-transparent plastic and and feature overlapping hinges so that they can spread and contract, both independently of her arms. Alas, no all white Zoar is included. Still, I look forward to seeing this figure all decked out in the Sorceress’ regular colors.

It does my heart good to see a playset as iconic and majestic as Castle Grayskull in the toy aisles again! Well, truth be told I haven’t actually seen it in a brick-and-mortar store, as mine came by way of Walmart.com. Still, it’s good to see pictures of other collectors spotting it in the wild! In the end, this version of Grayskull holds few surprises, as it hits all the key points we’ve seen before, while not really introducing much new. And that’s not a criticism, because this is an excellent recreation of the Vintage playset for the Origins figures. It’s fun to play with and it makes for a great display for my figures. And while it was impossible to find the space to display my Classics Grayskull the way I wanted because of it’s insane size, it’ll be a lot easier to build an epic display around this one.

Masters of the Universe Origins: Land Shark by Mattel

I was supposed to have this review up for midweek, but to be honest, I started playing Hades on my Switch and it has been monopolizing a lot of my time. But, here I am just in time for the end of the week with a fun new toy from the MOTU Origins line! When I finally buckled and decided to start collecting a Masters of the Universe line ALL OVER AGAIN, it was ultimately because of the potential for vehicles and playsets. Sure, we got a few in the Classics line, and they were fantabulous, but with Origins‘ focus being more on play, and with it being a smaller scale, I was hoping we’d get a lot of vehicles, and it looks like that’s happening. With only a few waves out, we’ve already seen the Sky Sled (I’ll review that one soon!) and had a pre-order for Castle Grayskull. And now we get The Land Shark!

Land Shark, Land Shark! Land Shark, Land Shark! I’m a 48 year old man and I can still recite the commercial for this thing by heart. Sometimes I sing it to myself at work, so people will stay away from me. And how about this packaging! This tank-shark-hybrid comes in a long window box with an extended back flap featuring some gorgeous vintage-style artwork. And just in case this wasn’t enough to get your MOTU juices flowing, the back of the package shows Castle Grayskull! Where am I going to put that? Who the hell knows!!! I really still haven’t found a place for my Classics Grayskull. The Land Shark requires just a bit of minor assembly as it comes out of the box. The tread and gun on the far side have to be snapped into place. It also comes off again fairly easily if you want to put it back in the box.

And here it is out of the box and ready to roll out and chomp some ass! I have to imagine that even on Eternia, a planet of bat-shit crazy vehicle designs, the Land Shark still garners the reaction, “Holy shit, look at that!” What we have here is basically a half-track with a functional shark head on the front of it and dual laser cannon mounted on the sides. It’s easy to say that it looks ridiculous, but if someone was coming at me with this, I would probably be paralyzed with a combination of bewilderment and abject fear. I’m just being honest. But then, I’m a guy living on planet Earth. For all I know, Eternians drive these things to work. If the combination of war vehicle and shark isn’t enough to stand out, Skeletor also decked this thing out in the most outrageous colors he could imagine. With blue treads and mauve shark bits, gray guns and orange teeth, this thing would still stand out, even in a parking lot full of shark cars.

Now, if you’re expecting anything like the few vehicles we got in the Classics line, well this ain’t it. This is definitely more simple toy than highly detailed collectible, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. The treads are just part of the molded side pieces with no paint applications, indeed this is a toy that relies entirely on covered plastic over paint. The sculpted detail is kept to a minimum, but there are still some nice flourishes, like the panel lines and tiny bolts in the shark’s body, as well as some sculpted vents and hatches, and texturing on the seat. The guns look great on the outsides, with tiny shark motif barrels, but they are left hollow and unfinished on the insides.

The Land Shark makes use of stickers for the more highly detailed areas, and I dig that! The controls sticker on the dash board are well illustrated, making this thing look like it’s a lot more complicated to drive than it should be. The back of the vehicle has stickers showing what appear to be some kind of turbine engines, as well as more vents and pipes. The exposed engine block on the back makes this thing easy to get fixed and back on the road for more chomping.

While the treads are just faked out sculpts, the toy does have wheels concealed underneath and rolls along just fine. It even has a mechanism that makes the shark jaws chomp as you roll it along a smooth surface. Apart from that, the cannon on each side of the vehicle can raise and lower so they can shoot straight ahead or at any Wind Raiders that are trying to strafe it from the sky.

The vehicle is designed to hold one figure in the seat, although there are places on the back where you can stand a co-pilot or gunner. I’m not sure that’s intentional, but it works well enough. Skeletor can grip one of the handlebars with his right hand, but not so much his left. It’s not only that he doesn’t have a left grabby hand, but he has to lean in a bit to grab the right one. That’s OK. He probably needs that free hand to push all those damn buttons on the dash board.

There’s a lot of room in the shark mouth for figures to get chomped on. It looks like the design is intended for figures to go in legs first, but either way works. This thing is just all kinds of fun!

I got my Land Shark on Amazon for $29.99, which seems to be the MSRP, although now they’re playing their usual game of cranking up the price as it goes in and out of stock. Checking at the time I’m writing this it’s up to $55. Now, this is a fantastic toy and I love it to bits. I’m seriously smiling ear-to-ear as I have Skeletor chase He-Man and his friends down with it. But… I wouldn’t go higher than thirty bucks on it. Now that Origins has been freed from Walmart’s greedy exclusive grasp, I think these toys are going to be a lot easier to find at various online retailers. But with that having been said, I’m still pre-ordering them whenever I can, because you never know these days.

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.┬áMoving 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!┬áThe 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: 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!