Wednesday, July 4, 2012
MotUC's First Army Builders: Palace Guards (Jan '11)
Yeah, I bought two of those.
This was the Classics line's first army builder, and if you need to know what that is: An "army builder" is exactly how it sounds. A figure that is perfect for buying multiples, because they aren't necessarily one individual person. 'Course this pack is a SUPER ARMY BUILDER pack, because you're given four different generic heads. Well...sorta generic. If you look into it a bit, some folks thought the dark-skinned head could have been a young Champ Clamp (it's not, officially, but hell - use it how you want), the lizard head is supposed to be a Guard turned into a Snake Man, and the light-skinned head is actually: Toyguru! Yeah, I haven't talked about him at all; just referring to Mattel as Mattel and leaving it at that. Toyguru (Scott Neitlich) is the brand manager of MotUC, and is responsible for bringing the idea to the table and teaming with the Four Horsemen (sculptors) to bring us what we have today. There's some random-ass drama behind all this that I don't care about, so I'll just leave it like this: The Toyguru head in this pack was to give him a little nod in the toyline. He'd get a much bigger nod later, but we'll get to that!
So the reason for getting two of these packs is to use each of those headsculpts for a different figure. Like I said: they're supposed to be generic, but I instead used them to make four individual guys. Even wrote some bios for them! Before that, a word on the toys: each pack comes with an awesome array of classic weapons (all either featured with a vintage figure or in the vintage Castle Grayskull set) and each one features armor that works like Battle Armor He-Man's armor. You take the armor off ans switch out the chest plates to either have a normal plate, battle damage (on the normal plate), or a bird symbol indicating a general or leader of some sort. The rest of the armor is the leg and arm armor that comes with Man-At-Arms, but for both arms and legs. If you mess around with all of it you actually get some nice variation!
So, on with my characters:
Name: Captain Bridain
Preferred Equipment: Halberd, Small Shield, Energy Rifle
Bio: Friendly and approachable; most people that knew him in his young age assumed he would grow up to be a map maker. He would travel with his father whenever he could, and he always remembered the lay of the land as he went. He has said himself that he was making maps in his head before he ever drew any of his own. His childhood was spent in just that fashion: traveling with his merchant father, exploring and learning the land, and meeting the inhabitants of many cultures.
His life could have lead to being a map maker, if it wasn't for one particular turning point. On one of his many travels with his father, they were attacked by a known band of roving bandits and raiders, and his father lost his life. In his own words:
"You come to a time in your life where you know you'll be taking one path or the other. I had many paths tumbling around in my head...most were literal, rather than this bite of philosophy I'm trying at! Beyond that, I was looking to either follow in my father's footsteps, or move with the flow of map making that my brothers would always suggest. I chose the path I walk now because I witnessed evil, and I knew it would be a constant threat to everyone I had ever met. All the good beings of the many towns and cities I had visited could be the same victim my father had been. I knew my path right then and there. There may be a day for traveling and making maps, but it is not this day. Not until those who wish to travel can do so without fear. I hope to help make that happen."
Captain Bridain uses his amazing memory in the way he always had; to make mental maps and keep the lay of the land seemingly right before his eyes. His training in the Guard helped hone his battle skills, and now he can plan an attack to fall into his favor on almost any terrain. Making Captain was easy and an obvious decision on the part of his superiors. If someone is going to be in charge of your squad, you know you can put your life in the hands of Captain Bridain.
His face just looked like a captain to me, so that's how I made him! I really love that bird symbol on there. Really hammers in that official look.
Name: Lt. Spector
Race: Human (Northern Descent)
Preferred Equipment: Mace, Small Shield, Short Sword
Bio: Lt. Spector hails from the long line of the Humans of the North, where they are large, strong, and believed in myth to have skin like thick leather. True to his heritage, Spector is thick and nearly unyielding in all aspects. It takes his superior, Captain Bridain, to focus him on tasks at hand. When focused, however, Spector can get a great many things done, and done well. There's still a reason he's in charge when the Captain is occupied; Spector can rally troops and break down barriers between them, making them one. Along with that, Spector is also known as a great story teller - something else carried over from his ancestors - and is always the focus around the fires of times of rest (though, of course, many also know to keep back more than a few paces when he's full of the drink).
In battle, thick and unyielding translates well. Lt. Spector stands like a stone and hits like five. Many of the other guards have lost coin on bets that they could topple Spector, and enemies on the field find the same problem without the loss of money. In reality, of course, Spector is a man like many others, and those above him believe he is destined to die in battle once one comes along that can topple him. His superiors know that Spector will never move, even when that one comes along, and perhaps his ancestors blood runs in him so thick that Lt. Spector will even revel in that fact.
That's the Toyguru head; I decided to keep the Lt. Spector name and make my own bio. Toyguru himself is actually kinda thin looking, but his face sculpt on the muscleman body makes him look like one of those BIG dudes that hit like a brick, so that's how I wrote him.
Preferred Equipment: Energy Rifle, Small Shield, Mace
Bio: Orphaned as a baby, Korsa never learned of his origins. The most he ever obtained was that he was simply left on the doorstep of the orphanage, so that at least whoever left him cared enough to give him a chance at life. The life he was given was rough and wrought with prejudice and fear. He was obviously a mix of human and snakeman, and that was enough for people to fear him; not only him, but whatever his background was that allowed a human to mate with a snakeman. This life somehow did not embitter him, but nonetheless made him quiet and reserved.
His entry into the Guard came about as an act of desperation. Once he was eighteen, he had to leave the orphanage, but there was nowhere to go. The Guard gave him a home, but also a way to travel and possibly learn about himself. Not only that, but the camaraderie within the Guard finally gave him a sort of family outside the orphanage. These soldiers looked to each other and relied on one another, regardless of appearance. Within the Guard, Korsa learned many useful skills, and took to them easily with a quick mind and a sharp eye. So sharp an eye, in fact, that he found himself to be a fine shot with a blaster.
Korsa now provides cover fire and is quite skilled at picking off areal enemies, making him a valuable part of the Marksmen of the Guard, and an integral part of any squad.
As I said, this is supposed to be a regular guard turned into a Snake Man, but I like the idea of him just being a snake-like dude actually working for the guard, so that's what I did! And anyway, it's not like there's anything officially written saying that this is a Snake Man guy. Well...even if there was, it wouldn't stop me from making up my own stories.
Preferred Equipment: Dual Hand Axes
Bio: Arundi grew up in one of the many small villages surrounding Felis Qadi, usually running from various Hunt leaders as he pilfered meat from the stock and slung insults. He would get caught eventually, and reprimanded, but his speed was something that couldn't be ignored (nor the speed of his mouth). From that point on he was brought along on the Hunt, and his speed was put to good use. Soon though, ambassadors from Eternia would come to cement relations, and Arundi would become interested in their culture. He would talk, joke, and learn about Eternia, until finally he worked his way into the Chief's escorts to visit Eternia itself. From there, it was all a matter of learning about the world and the evils that were bringing their very different cultures together.
It didn't take long for Arundi to ask permission to join the Guard, and in the interest of solidifying their bond of peace, Arundi became part of the first group to join. His quick wit earned him comrades in no time, and he often tried the hardest among his fellow Qadians to mimic the human smile (which lead to a few scares, since there was little difference from a snarl). His speed, of course, led to his important role as a scout, and today he performs reconnaissance and runs messages through the field of battle.
This guy is my favorite; not sure why! The headsculpts seems to have a sort of sly look and a smile playing on his...um...lips? Dunno if cat people have those. At any rate, I made him a sort of jokester and a fast talker, so he's been endeared to me because of it.
And that's that! This was a fantastic set and one worth hunting down if you're into MotU. This is the first time the Eternian Guards have ever had figures, and it was handled very well with not only interesting headsculpts, but many ways to create whoever you want among them! I absolutely love customizable figures without names 'n such, and these were a blast to play with - mentally and physically.