Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Better than Prototypes: Concepts! (SDCC Aug '12)

I had a lot of fun with this figure, but he's a bit of a bitch to take apart over and over, so I didn't go over every single mix that the figure is meant to have.  Still, I'll at least talk about it.  That's good for something, right?  Writing things.

Vykron!  The big surprise at SDCC 2012 that somehow disappointed folks.  As I've stated in previous posts, I'm getting my idea that folks were disappointed from He-Man.org threads, so take it all with a grain of salt.  I dunno what the overall consensus was across the internet, but it seemed like people were unhappy with it.  Either it was because the figures were concepts and they just didn't care about them (kinda like how deleted scenes in movies are deleted for a reason, often times) or because they DID want this but they didn't like how the figure was done. 

I can't say I'm a complete fan of how it was done, but I am a TOTAL fan of concept figures!  I love 'em so much that at one point they were the only Star Wars figures I bothered to get (and they're still some of the coolest toys I own).  I dunno what it is about concept figures, for me.  They're mysterious and old - back from the early days before all this famous stuff was anything but a vague idea in someone's head.  Vykron here is no exception: He-Man began as the very vaguest of ideas!

The whole thing comes from one of the earliest concepts of He-Man - yeah, even before Vikor.  A guy named Roger Sweet pitched the idea for a new boy's toyline in the form of three concepts: A military guy, a space guy, and a barbarian guy.  You can guess which one got the gold.  Searching for "Roger Sweet Concepts" should find you a pic somewhere; all I was able to find is random pics on forums and I don't feel like lookin' around for who the pics really belong to.

Anyway, our exclusive here is of those three concepts shoved into one dude.  I'll buy a concept with no story involved, but they slapped one on this guy because fans need it like MAN KING's knuckles need tender flesh to pummel.  The story here is that Vykron was a famous arena fighter back in the old days before Prince Adam, and he wore different costumes into battle, like a wrestler 'n such.  He showboated and took out his opponents by whatever theme he felt like at the time.  Eventually he fought the big 'ol yellow gorilla Gygor and...got ripped in half.  The end!  I thought it was a nice way to put him in the story but make him more of an interesting side story rather than anything big, though I personally want to work him in a different way.  Also, for the big thinkers, Vykron gets violently ripped in half officially, so the haters have absolutely hilarious jokes about how this terrible toy gets what he deserves and what not.  You know, for having the audacity to exist. 

So you get one body and three sets of armor.  Seriously though...if you use it for the space guy or tank guy then you cover up some awesome gauntlets, so really the BEST thing in this set is the barbarian guy.

As you can see, Vykron is very much a classic barbarian in the vein of Vikor and Conan.  Also: He may be wearing a goblet on his head, I dunno.  It's awesome, whatever it is.

It goes without saying that he'll look great next to Vikor!

But for some reason when they're together I can't help but look at Vykron as more of a fan of Vikor's, rather than another barbarian fighting by his side.

That's not to say that I think of Vykron as a lesser figure, but he does look a bit like a younger brother, or someone not as experienced.  Personally I'm thinking of making him a bad guy, maybe leader of the Fighting Foe Men (those are more obscure characters based on people in vehicles on the front of boxes of models of classic vehicles, and not the toys themselves.  I know, right?  You may be reading that with sarcasm, but I'm totally excited for those guys; I love obscure stuff like that.) 

So getting back to the whole set: You could buy three sets and make each guy and have a TON of leftover stuff (not that that's a bad thing for us mixers) or you could go the nice 'n cheap route (comparatively) and buy one and use some extra junk you may or may not have on hand to make up the extra bodies needed.

That's what I did!  I have a limited amount of extra bodies: King Randor, Mo-Larr, and Faker (also Skeletor bodies, but I didn't want to use those).  So I started mixing:

This was my first plan from when I first saw the Tank guy; we'll call him Tank Top from here on out (I dunno if that was an official name or just the most popular fan name, but I like it).  I knew I wanted him to be a robot, and the blue skin was the best I could do.  The mixing I did for pics, however, changed my plans considerably.  First, though, I did show what it looked like on Snake MAA's body:

And Mekaneck's body:

Tell you the truth, I'd probably use a green body if I had an extra, but I don't want to use any of my Palace Guards and the original MAA is too awesome to use for parts.  Anyway, the Faker body was what I was doing for the whole time I had these guys right up until I started taking pictures of these figures and mixing them around.  The changes made with the space guy made all the difference, and I switched the tank guy to this:

Which is probably how he'll stay until I run into more extra bodies.  I think he can still be a robot, but with fake flesh or something. 

Now before we get to the space guy; just one comment on the gun that comes with Tank Top:

most guns in this line have a slot for the thumb (since the thumbs point up).  If you don't, then the gun sits high on the hand.  The top pic is how the gun came, and that leaves a BIG space open when he's holding it.  Doesn't look right.  So I cut out a slice back there to make room for the thumb and rest of the back of the hand.  It's a simple cut and it looks WAY better in his hand.

Moving on!  The space guy doesn't have any popular names (that I'm big on) so we'll just call him Mr. Spacely (just imagine him screaming at George Jetson and you get a whole other layer of comedy). 

I started out with the Mo-Larr body and Randor body:

I had been hoping that the Randor body would fit, but...well it ended up being a little TOO much color matching for him.  Just doesn't work.  I liked the Mo-Larr body at the time, and decided to use that.  Problem comes in with the head; Vykron only comes with one, and you have to swap out parts to make the different looks.  The Tank Top head is a head all it's own, but the goblet helmet and the space helmet have to be removed and share the head.  I tried taking the hair off some extra heads, but they are way too big, so it was a no-go.  What to do?

Well, I found out that the head that came with Horde Prime actually matched the orange on the vest!

I cut up some extra weapons I had around and made that spear for him, and there you go!  Dunno who he is, but I liked him quite a bit until I mixed things around.  I started with Mekaneck and Spikor:

I dunno why.  Just to see how they worked, I guess.  Neither did, for me anyway.  Then, since he was still free, I tried Faker:

And WHOOPS, that's awesome.  Didn't expect it, honestly.  I think it's the visible mechanics on his chest that does it.  I liked it so much that I made that sword for him on the spot and called him Space Faker, for the NA series.

You know it's a good mix when you immediately start making up stories for him.  This one just clicked!  Looks like a pirate to me, and I started thinking of Faker somehow making it out to space and getting kicked around without a personality and without a leader to boss him around, so his mechanical brain just adapted and survived and he eventually becomes a sort of Space Pirate; grabbing technology and adding it to himself to become stronger and really find out who he is beyond just a robot of He-man.

But enough of that!  I know it seems kinda wacky to forgo a totally new looking guy for just a variant of Faker, but that's my brain for you.  Lets finish this up with my favorite guy in this set: Barbarian Vykron!

Nothin' gets that delicious crunch like bones!  But why choose between crunchy and chewy when you could get our new Fresh Bones, with chewy marrow center! 

Bones: Everyone's Crunchy - on the inside.

*CoughAHEMcoughHUAHUHHH* Anyway, I loved this set.  As I said in the beginning though, I would have liked these guys better as their own figures, but they were already pushing it by just making them, apparently.  People were so put off by them (and the upcoming Fightin Foe Men) that I guess Mattel is gona back off the concepts and obscurities now, which kinda sucks.  These guys provide a raw look at the stuff that made the toyline what it is today, AND provides an interesting new toy for a line that really shines when new stuff comes along.  So many things fit in, but it's cool to get another barbarian dude to toss into the mix.  Plus: Fresh meat for story time!  If you don't like his story, make a new one!  A figure like this is ripe for that kinda thing. 

Now I'm not sure if I can fully suggest him as a must-have, because you probably don't want to get three sets and you may not have extra bodies around to make full use of all the parts.  So I guess I'll just say, at the very least: the Barbarian is awesome!  He is a must have figure, and if you get this set for just him, then at least you can have the other items around for if you have extra bodies eventually.  Plus, heck, maybe you don't mind swapping out the armor from time to time?  It's rare to get some classic play value out of these guys with no action features, so it's kinda cool. 

So if this one lines up with your interests, then I highly suggest him.  Now here's Vykron getting ripped in half by Gygor:

So wait, he's not getting ripped in half?  Alright then, JOKES!  YUKYUKYUK!


  1. WARG WARG WARG WARG WARG WARG WARG WARG WARG!!! You already know how much I love that toy. You know what you should review next *wink*

    Vykron, aka Accessory man, I dig. If only for the basic figure alone... everything else is gravy/icing on the cake, worth it for Space-Faker's© existence.

    1. I just got the Warg last night too! Very impressive, specially with how heavy he is. I was thinking of getting into that one next; we'll see where my interest goes. I'd like to get a second one, but I probably won't any time soon.

  2. I wonder if they contracted out the sculpting (Hasbro does that I think), maybe to one of the Horsemen? It's the mid torso joint that reminds me of the MotU beasts you've shown off. This is pure conjecture on my part. Whoever is responsible I'd shake their hand and hope they got to make more beasties of this quality (bring on the Horses, Trolls, Spiders, Smaug, Trolls, Balrog, dinosaurs, african safari... oliphants, Sabertooth Cats! All of them. ALL.

    I don't know how many I'll end up with (and a small regiment of Orcs who I'm sculpting and modifying), might sell of some spares, customize a few (black WARG, WHITE Fang etc). One to sit buy the MK Shao Khan throne set when I can afford one.

    1. Yeah, I'm not sure. There's really only a few ways to articulate an animal body, so I think anyone might come up with that joint. Doesn't seem like the Horseman's kinda sculpting anyway (so far that I can tell).

      As for more, I know we'll be seeing Spiders, at least! And I highly doubt they're gona pass up the chance to make Smaug; that's gona be friggin' awesome.

    2. I'm half tempted to track down a Toybiz Shelob, but then I have to deal with having a giant spider toy... nightmares!

      Smaug will be THEEEEEE toy to have, if not it'll be a damn shame.

      I also hope they crank out a 4th JP film just so Hasbro can put those new Prototypes into production, they have articulation like that recent Vintage line Tauntaun and Dewback. Gimmie!

    3. Yeah Smaug should be awesome, if the figures out now are any indication. UGH...that'll be two giant dragons though, if I get Granamyr.

      And what prototypes are ya talkin' about? Honestly they've done JP toys off and on over the years (movie or not) so I don't see why they can't just make more dinosaur toys and say "Hey look, dinosaurs!" I mean I'd be on board.

    4. These four, I'm sorry to have to show you them, they may make you break down and cry at their status in limbo:





    5. I am glad that, some 15 years later, the battle damage skin patch feature is still in play. It is just too awesome to fail.

  3. Man, that space armor looks great on Mekaneck's body! The blue and orange clash perfectly. I also like how Horde Prime's extra head matches the colors, but finding a body would be tough since I'd want the skin tone to match (or go for a different colored body suit kind of thing). Also, when I saw the tank top armor on Man-At-Arm's body I was all, "YEAH-ha-haaa!". I liked it. Since my Snake Man-At-Arms was a dud, I might throw the Tank Top armor on him and use Vykron in either his barbarian or spaceman form.

    Also, I wish more toys would come out like this. I know people just want to go to the store and pick up a figure and use it as-is. If you want a different version of the character, they'll make a whole new character in that version. I think it would be cool to see line built around base bodies and accessory packs. They were all the rage in the 70's (I'm told). The base bodies could be refreshed throughout the line, but if you want your barbarian to be a space man, you get him the space armor. You could have robots, mutants, monsters, humans, etc, and then you accessorize them the way you want and take your imagination where you want it to go. I mean SOMEBODY besides me would want to see a line like that, right?

  4. Ah, sounds like the Fandumb struck again. Nevertheless I'm excited about the Fighting Foe-Men, even if they're way, way far down on my want list. I actually have the Talon Fighter model kit and made a comic about He-Man building it. I'll probably post it on my Tumblr sometime soon...

    1. Neat! I made a comic about an old Mega Man figure building the recent Mega Man model kit, but I never did anything with the pics. Problem with letting something like that go for so long is that I took the pics with captions in mind...now I can't remember what I wanted them to say. I'm pretty sure the theme was a joke on the fact that the old Mega Man was technically building his better replacement, and how that sucks.

      Anyway, I'm looking forward to it! Haven't seen the old MotU model kits beyond the pictures of the boxes.

    2. You can always compile them into a single photo montage, just for the sake of delicious pictures.

    3. I could, but I wana do the work I intended for it, at the very least. I can make up new captions, I just have to sit down and think about it.

    4. Alexx you are a true auteur, I tip my invisible hat (I don't wear hats, so invisible it is) to you good sir.

    5. I do wear hats, so I tip my actual hat to you.
      Also, here's my comic about the Talon Fighter:

    6. LATER later:

      He-Man: "Well maybe Orko can fly this th---OH GOD WHAT IS THAT SMELL?!"