Masters of the Universe Origins: Horak and Horde Troopers by Mattel!

It’s been a little too long since I last visited with Mattel’s Masters Origins line, and with how many figures have been added lately, it’s past time that I remedy that. Today, I’m switching my attention to the She-Ra side of things with a look at Hordak and his evil Horde Troopers!

I was never a big fan of the She-Ra cartoon, but when I did watch it, I watched it for The Evil Horde characters. Of particular appeal where the Horde Troopers, which sported a badass design and were pretty damn menacing, at least in appearance. In reality they were just there to give the heroes something without a soul that could get trashed, but I still thought they were damn cool. Anyway, let’s start with Horak himself.

I don’t have a whole lot to say about Hordak, other than Mattel stayed pretty close to the vintage original for this one. He has dark gray arms and legs with black boots and gauntlets. You get a painted silver belt with black furry diaper, and a bulky vest worn over the figure buck with the bright red Horde symbol sculpted on the front. There’s a black armband on his left bicep with a smaller Horde symbol, and two more down on his boots. Finally, he has a red cape, which extends down to about his knees. I really dig the coloring on this figure. The dark black and gray contrasts beautifully with the bright red, and little touch of silver that gives it an extra pop.

The head sculpt is solid enough, but it lacks some of the coloring in the original figure. It still looks fine, but feels a little more basic and a slight step down from the source material. Hordak is still an ugly sunovabitch, with pointed ears, a mohawk-like crest running down to his pig nose, and hideous bumps on his bald head. The coloring on the cheeks sort of resemble facial hair, and he has a single top row of red spiked teeth protruding down into his open maw of a mouth. I think I dig the eyes here the most. They appear to be separate from the head and attached from behind, giving them some cool depth and definition.

Hordak comes with his all white Horde Crossbow, which can be clipped onto either arm. I appreciate the use of a clip here, as his left hand is not designed to hold anything. Like the figure itself, the Crossbow is a pretty solid recreation of the vintage accessory and he looks great holding it. Moving on to the Horde Trooper…

The Horde Trooper was one of my favorite figures in the MOTU Classics line, and it looks like history is repeating itself here. I just dig this design so much. There’s something about mechanized suits of armor that just scratches my itch. Obviously this figure required all new tooling, and the attention to detail in the sculpt is excellent. You get all sorts of vents, mechanisms, and bits and bobs scattered about his armor. The Silver finish looks great, and I like it more than the flat gray used for the Classics version. There’s some black used for the boots, gloves, and joints, as well as bright red for the Horde symbol on the chest, and a yellow round cap in the middle of his groin. I don’t want to know what that’s used for! The only downside here is that the plastic shows off some swirling and a few creases from the molding process, but it’s nothing so bad that it detracts from my enjoyment of what is a great looking figure.

For the head, Mattel stuck with the toy design’s big yellow and black boomerang visor for a face. I’ll confess, I do tend to like the animated head design a bit more, but I’m not hating this. It looks fine, and fans of the original toy will no doubt be pleased. Hey, I wonder what that big red button in his chest is for?

Of course, it’s for the break-apart gimmick, inspired by the original toy design. Give it a press, and the Trooper breaks apart to reveal the red interior with some mechanical doodads sculpted onto it. The play gimmick is pretty well done here, and I find that my Troopers don’t break apart under normal handling, just when the trigger button is pressed.

And finally, the Trooper come with his Force Staff, which is cast all in red plastic. There is some nice sculpting on this piece, but it can be hard to make it out, because of the plastic used. It would have been nice to get a left hand that could hold it too, but I do like him having a fist as well.

And that’s two more excellent figures for the MOTU Origins line. I’m very pleased that Mattel has been dipping into The Evil Horde sooner rather than later, as I think it contains some of the coolest and wildest character designs. The Trooper was surprisingly easy to get a few of, at least initially, and thanks to spreading my pre-orders out, I was able to pick up five with no trouble at all. I do hope we get the Horde Jet Machine at some point, as it would be a great opportunity to bundle another Trooper with, and I’d be down for two or three of those!

Masters of the Universe Classics: General Sundar by Mattel

I think in my mind I’ve already detached myself from MOTUC, because I keep forgetting that I have new figures to look at. Not to mention a Castle Greyskull and Battle Ram and a sizable robotic horse to open. No, I haven’t lost my love for this line, but I think I’m just beginning to make peace with the fact that it’s almost done. So, maybe it’s not an issue of forgetting them, but wanting to take my time and savor the final releases because soon there will be no more. That having been said, I was really looking forward to today’s release, which arrived on my doorstep several weeks back and today’s the day I felt like finally opening him up.

gensund1

There’s nothing to be said here about the packaging that hasn’t already been said these past many years. Fans of the Filmation She-Ra series will note that the spelling of this guy’s name has changed from Sunder to Sundar because, copyright lapse? Probably. Anyway, the bios on the back of the cards are gone, but I remember a good deal about the two episodes that Sundar appeared in and how unlikely Sundar’s character arc was. Yup, he’s a Horde General with honor, which makes little sense, who all the sudden decides that Hordak and his taxes are unreasonable… shortly after he’s thrown a poor old farmer and his wife into prison for not paying their taxes after they were arbitrarily doubled that morning. Yeah, I see what they were going for here, and I appreciate that kind of depth in a kid’s show that was basically a toy commercial, but it’s still pretty weak.

gensund2

This figure, on the other hand, is amazing. There’s something about the Horde Trooper aesthetic that I just adore and that’s on full display here. Sundar wears a modified version of the Horde Trooper armor, which features the same pale gray plates with exposed black ribbing at the joints. His chest plate is missing the sculpted Horde emblem, but he makes up for it with a dashing red cape that “secures” to the front of his shoulders with two bronze clasps, which also match his belt buckle. There’s some wonderful detail sculpted into the armor itself, particularly on the legs and forearms. One o fmy many weaknesses is sci-fi/fantasy armor and this is just a great example of that.

gensund3

The head sculpt features a helmet sculpted onto the underlying head to give it some depth and credibility. It’s a relatively simple helmet design with the nose and mouth exposed and large holes for the eyes. The top is adorned with a Grecco-Roman style brush crest. It’s worth pointing out here that my figure has a few nagging little QC issues, like a chip of gray paint near his right eyebrow and some glue residue on the helmet in front of the crest. There’s also some rubbing on the front of his chest plate, but that last bit I’ll just write off as some battle scuffing. I hate to say it, but it really does feel like some of these final figures aren’t getting as much QC as the bulk of MOTUC releases. There’s nothing here that ruins the figure for me, but keep in mind, this guy was around $38 shipped, so even the little flubs can be annoying.

gensund5

The articulation here is a bit of a departure from what I’m used to seeing in the MOTUC line, but then this guy does look like he’s comprised of mostly new tooling. The big change here is the use of rotating hinges in the elbows and knees, as opposed to just regular hinges. In fact, this guy is all about the rotating hinges, as he also has them in the shoulders and hips as well. There are swivels in the biceps, wrists, and at the hips and chest. You get the usual ab crunch hinge hidden under the chest plate and the neck is ball jointed. The ankles have hinges and possibly lateral rockers, but I really can’t get much movement out of them.

gensund6

gensund7

Sundar comes with his pair of stun pistols, each housed snugly in his twin holsters. These are cool little designs and he looks great dual wielding them. Oddly, the trigger finger on his right hand doesn’t seem like it was designed with the gun in mind, so he tends to hold it on a bit of an angle.

gensund10

gensund18

You also get this Horde axe. I don’t recall him having this in the series, but it’s been forever since I’ve seen his episodes. Whatever the case, it looks wonderful when matched with one of the Horde Troopers’ shields. It’s pretty cool that Mattel threw in the axe when you consider that Sundar also comes with a trio of extra heads…

gensund11

Yup, these bonus noggins are actually for the Horde Troopers so you can spice up your ranks with a little variety. As I understand it the one in the middle is a Naval Trooper and the one on the left is the design helmet from the Horde’s earlier days. I have no clue as to the purple monster face helmet, but it’s a damn fine sculpt.

gensund12

gensund13

gensund14

gensund15

Will I get much use out of these? Probably not. I only have two Horde Troopers and I plan on keeping them with their stock heads. There was a rumor that Mattel was going to be re-releasing the Horde Trooper sometime in November, but with things at Matty Collector winding down in just two short months, I’m not finding that likely. If I can get another Trooper, I’ll definitely display him with the Navy Head.

gensund4

gensund8

gensund19

gensund17

gensund16

Sundar is definitely one of my favorite MOTUC figures this year, and that’s saying a lot because there have been quite a few excellent releases. It also shows once again that I don’t need any special affinity for a character to love the figures in this line. The front of the card may say Former Horde General, but I’ll likely keep Sundar displayed with my Horde army because he looks so amazing standing beside Hordak and flanked by a pair of Troopers. The extra heads were also a fantastic bonus and continues to show that Matty is trying to get as much extras into the hands of the collectors before the curtain drops on this wonderful line.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Despara by Mattel

In case you haven’t heard, there’s been big doings over at Matty’s Castle. Matty Collector is officially closing down at the end of this year and the Adult Collector lines are being handed over to Super7. Right now it seems like Masters Classics will certainly continue under the new stewardship in some form, while the future of lines like ThunderCats, which haven’t even started shipping yet, are a bit more questionable. Either way, as we ponder the future of these lines, it seems only appropriate to be looking at one of my most anticipated figures from the Collectors’ Choice Sub. Let’s check out Despara!

motucdesp1

Will Super7 carry over this style of packaging? I hope so! These packages have become so iconic to me over the last handful of years. No more bios on the back, but we do get Despara’s tag line on the front, “Powerful Force Captain of the Evil Horde” and a Horde sticker on the bubble. An explosion on the side panel declares this figure is part of the Collectors’ Choice Subscription. I think there are still two more figures coming in this Sub and I still have one other waiting on deck to review. As I understand it, Despara is the name used by Adora in the DC Comic, when she was a Force Captain for The Horde. I’ve never read it, but I do remember her being affiliated with The Horde in the beginning of the She-Ra Filmation cartoon, although I seem to recall that she was just called Force Captain Adora and that she wore her regular clothes. I think I like the DC version better, because…

motucdesp2

Well, damn… just check her out! I don’t know about you, but being told that Force Captain Adora is coming to lay down some Horde law wouldn’t instill fear in me. Nor would I be trembling when some wholesome looking blonde shows up in a tunic and skirt. Now, you tell me Despara is coming to set fire to the village and this bitch turns up? I’m gonna get out my Bank of Etheria checkbook to pay my taxes right quick. This design is just so bad ass. Yeah, it’s basically just She-Hordak, but oh man, do I love it! You get that same sinister black and gray deco on her outfit and a little bit of red. Why no Horde emblem? I’m sure there must be a reason, no?

motucdesp3

The stepped shoulder armor is part of the cape, which just lays on her shoulders. If you pop the head you can lose the cape to give her a little more agility for battle. The cape also features a pair of loops for her twin swords, which I’ll get to in a bit. The paint on this figure isn’t quite as tight as what I’m used to seeing on most of my MOTUC figures. It’s by no means terrible, but some of the lines could be a little sharper. Also, it’s just my personal preference, but I wish the outside of the cape was black. But who am I to nitpick the Horde Queen’s color choices?

motucdesp4

The masked head is patterned after Hordak’s and it is every bit as ugly as it should be.¬†Actually, it’s a wee bit uglier. The teeth look kind of sloppy in both sculpt and paint. Same goes for the cowl that frames the face. The truth is, we’ve seen better in this line. Just compare this portrait¬†to any of the Hordaks and I think it comes up a little short. Again, not terrible, but I think Matty could have done better.

motucdesp16

As we saw in the packaged shot, Despara comes with an unmasked head. It’s basically Adora with a buzz cut and some war paint under her eyes. The portrait looks a little too friendly, but I guess that’s why she has the mask. The paint here is fairly solid. I like the gloss they used on her lips and the bright white for her teeth. There is some unfortunate and annoying mold flashing around the edges of her chin and her ears. I love that we got this extra portrait, but will I be displaying it on the figure a lot? Probably not.

motucdesp11

Articulation features the standard for MOTUC female bucks. That includes rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinged elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have hinges in the knees, swivels at the boots, and the ankles feature both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, no ab-crunch, and a ball joint in the neck.

motucdesp7

motucdesp5

In addition to the extra head, Despara comes with her own Horde staff, which features an array of silver painted blades and a red tip. I like this thing. It’s a pretty cool mix of ceremonial piece and weapon.

motucdesp12

motucdesp9

motucdesp10

Despara also comes with her twin swords and here’s where we run into some problems. The swords themselves are fine. They have silver painted blades and the hilts are black and red to accessorize with her outfit. They look great! No, the problem here is that her hands are clearly not made to hold them very well. The grip is just a little too big and the swords wind up falling out of her mitts. I can squeeze the grips to close them and that works for about a minute or so before they go back to normal and drop her swords. Now is a good time to go digging through the trash and find those clear plastic rubber bands they used to hold them in her hands while she was in the package!

motucdesp15

motucdesp14

motucdesp17

motucdesp18

If it sounds like I nitpicked Despara more than I do most Masters Classics figures, you have to understand that I was really looking forward to this one. And what I got is in no way a bad figure. There are, however, a few things about her that didn’t live up to my expectations and I feel some of that has to do with her coming at the end of Matty’s run. I could be totally off base on this conclusion, but the little nitpicks about this figure point to her being rushed. Just stand her next to the original Hordak and the difference in care and craftsmanship feel like night and day. I think the paint could have been a little tighter, the head sculpt a little better, and those sword-dropping hands really are a nuisance. Disappointed is way too strong a word for how I feel. I dig this figure a lot, but I can’t help but believe that had she been released a year or so ago, she would have turned out a little better for it.