Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Masters of the Universe Classics: Year by Year - 2010

Welcome back! Are you ready for year two of Masters of the Universe Classics? No? This blog was already full of MotUC? WELL TOO BAD. Get in here, you!

Before we begin, you can still see this whole collection (out of order, mind you) on my Alexx MotU tag on Instagram. You'll find little story bits and light reviews on most of the photos, but here we'll just focus on shorthand figure reviews.

Last year was a HIT. Like, smacking a baseball into The Beast's yard kinda hit, where you gotta spend a whole movie getting the ball back. The figures sold out faster than anyone was able to accept, and the call rang out for some sort of preorder or subscription. That's right: A subscription for TOYS. Like magazines, but less nerdy reading. Reading is for poindexters! All the cool kids subscribe to toys! Granted, a preorder might have made more sense, since Mattel seemed kinda scared of unsold product, but it didn't play out that way. We got a subscription, and it solved some problems!

...and added some problems with those not subscribing and still having to fight others on the day-of-sale. Lines in the sand were drawn between "Cherry Pickers" and Subscribers, and it's as dumb as it sounds. People argued over this.

But enough of the history lesson! Let's start the toy....history...lesson.

January started strong with a big-time want: Adora! She-Ra's alter ego who never had a figure release in any MotU series before Classics. They knocked her out of the park! I mean, there were some complaints about the "diaper crotch" where it's supposed to be a leotard, but personally I think it just kinda looks like a skirt. 

The important part is the awesome face sculpt (looking like she jumped right off the screen) and the classic cartoon Power Sword. She also came with a pistol and holster...that I gave to Teela. Still an awesome accessory! Add this to the little slot on her back to store the sword and you've got the total package. She was never re-released so, good luck if you want to track this one down. I doubt many fans would want to sell her, either. This was the only time we got Adora, after all.

Since the Classics series was such a winner, Mattel decided to do TWO figures every month! January's second release was good old Battle Armor He-Man. This one is important because, for many fans, Battle Armor He-Man was their only He-Man, back in the day (because getting on to the He-Man train late meant missing out on the basic He-Man and Skeletor, so all that was left was the Battle Armor versions). He does everything you'd expect, from looking like He-Man again, to wearing battle armor! The only big change is the lack of the original action feature: When you pressed the chest, it would flip and reveal damage! Press it again and it'll flip a second time with more damage! Then you just press it in and flip it back to normal to start again.

Classics Battle Armor He-Man does not do that. You have to remove the armor and swap out chest panels to get the different damage effects.

Personally, I would have sacrificed the chest joint to make the figure work the way the vintage figure did, but I can't complain. The armor looks fantastic, and the figure came out pretty well! He might not be worth hunting down at any cost, but I wouldn't turn it down if you find him at a good price.

February! Trap-Jaw! TRAP-JAW! YEEEEAAH!

Only three figures in and we have yet another Best in the Series. Trap-Jaw was an awesome vintage figure, and upgrading all his awesome features made for an AMAZING figure. Trap-Jaw not only comes with his vintage stuff (hook, claw, gun, and a belt to store them on) but he also comes with swappable parts to make him into Kronis; the dude Trap-Jaw was before he got messed up by Skeletor.

Kronis didn't have any weapons, but the first weapons pak came with some stuff meant for him. 

Find Trap-Jaw at all costs! Even if it's ridiculously expensive! HE'S WORTH IT DUDE.

Wow! Not only was Classics popular enough for two figures a month, but sometimes that second figure could even be a large beast! Enter the legendary Battle Cat, for February. Well....maybe not "legendary", since the vintage one was just a repainted tiger from another toyline with some armor, but I thought Battle Cat was pretty cool, back in the day. When you don't have many beasts, you end up using what you have for nearly all of your toys. Battle Cat was that beast.

Improving the vintage Battle Cat was a cinch! The vintage one was a little statue, so any amount of articulation would have been an improvement. Classics Battle Cat has all the articulation! Chest joint, neck joint, jaw joint, ankle joints, knee and hip joints, neck pivot - even the tail moves up and down and side to side! Battle Cat came with all his vintage armor, too: The helmet and the fancy seat that tries to pass itself off as a saddle (it's more like a throne for your tiger's back). Battle Cat is well worth your time, if you can snag him. How else will He-Man make it to 7-11 for Combos?

March came around, and while it's a little early for Spring, Moss Man still came out to bloom. This was the first "How are they gona do this?" figure, 'cause flocking (all that fuzz on him) a figure isn't really a stable thing. I mean, it'll stay on there, but now that the figures have more joints, the question was about the figure shedding while you moved him. The answer was this: Don't flock the joints. I felt like it was a good choice! He's still not perfectly movable (the chest joint always worried me) but I have yet to ruin him. You do have to keep him away from water, though: Water will dissolve the glue right off him and make him lose all his flocking! 

Moss Man comes with a wooden mace (the vintage one was just a brown Grayskull mace, while this one is an elaborate sculpt to look like real wood), a vine pouch, and an obsidian knife that slides into a sheath on the pouch. He also comes with an extra head, so you can give him his 2002 "Texas Plant Man" look instead of his "Something is Pissing me off to the Left" Beast Man head. While Moss Man is still a sort of "Be Careful" toy, I have to recommend him. He looks amazing, and he smells pine fresh! For reals! 

April brought us the only other female in the vintage MotU series: Evil-Lyn! She's had a few different looks over the years, but the vintage one sported Simpsons yellow skin and blue duds. The Classics version does the same, and spectacularly! The later versions are still awesome, but something about this one just hits the right notes. 

She comes with a wand and a staff - you have to pop off the crystal ball and swap it between the two - and a knife styled off of her 2002 accessory (there's also a shield from a weapons pak that was intended for her). She's still excellent, though I understand if your Evil-Lyn preferences might lean more towards other versions. If you're looking for a vintage recreation, look no further!

April technically had a second figure, but only for subscribers: That's right, this was our first Subscription Exclusive figure! The incentive was brilliant: Wun-Dar, otherwise known as "Savage He-Man". He was a huge mystery for many years (and may still be), but the dominant theory was that he was a mail-away figure from Wonder Bread. So he was named Wun-Dar, and the back of the armor sports a secret Wonder Bread symbol.

Wun-Dar comes with a cool black and silver Power Sword, Zodac's gun in black, and...some bread. Which I love. 

I also bought a Bread Shield from Spymonkey Creations a long time ago (back when he was casting weapons. Nowadays he's doing the Battle Tribes thing, and you need to get on that). Wun-Dar is one of my top favorites, over all. I'd highly recommend him, but I'll bet he's utterly ridiculous on the after market. Jump on him if you get the chance!

The first year of Classics brought some surprises in the form of Faker and Scare Glow, so the second year surprised us in May with the first New Adventures figure! The New Adventures of He-Man was a fairly unpopular 90's continuation of the MotU story - but never mind that - the toys were awesome! Thankfully someone in the Mattel offices realized that, and they gave us Optikk. He comes with a recreation of the rifle from the vintage figure, and a brand new shield for the heck of it. He also had two different eye colors; green and orange. Pick one, and then the other is a free eye head! I hope this guy is cheap on the after market, because you should get him.

May's second figure was a LARGE MAN. I mean seriously; he's just a big dude. This is Tytus, and he's a rare figure from the very end of the vintage MotU line. Since he's nearly impossible to get, you might as well get this version...if you want a big dude. This is prime example of "Well, I have everything else, I might as well get him."  Not that he's a bad figure! Just a boring figure. Tytus comes with a big awkward hammer that fits over figure's heads, but it risks scratching the faces up, so I wouldn't do it.

AW YEAH, June was time for the big release! She-Ra! Princess of Power! I had always wanted a She-Ra because of the Secret of the Sword movie, but I never managed to get one. This was my first! 

She-Ra came with a variation on her original accessories, from the Power Sword (in gold), to the vintage comb turned into an axe, and even her crazy mask (it can be a mask or a sort of face-frame). She had some problems with the skirt not allowing her legs to move much and some lack of details, but it was fixed with a later release of Bubble Power She-Ra. In fact, that's sorta what you're looking at above. The base body is Bubble Power She-Ra with the first She-Ra's items and head. Sadly, you need both figures to make a perfect She-Ra. Honestly, she really could have used an Ultimate version from Super 7, but...oh well. She's still worth it for a representation of She-Ra.

June's second offering was Keldor; another mysterious figure from the vintage line. Sort of. He was mentioned in one of the last mini comics of the vintage line, but the mystery about him was never revealed. Later, in the 2002 series, they used Keldor as he was originally intended: As Skeletor's alter ego - the man he was before becoming Skeletor. 

This is actually his second figure, but the first one was a 2002 exclusive and kinda hard to come by. This one was much easier to get (at the time). He came with the basic Power Sword halves that Classics Skeletor and He-Man had come with (to do a sort of vintage-replica of the 2002 Skeletor sword) but...well, it was boring. The half swords didn't make for great swords on their own. Thankfully, Mattel later released a simplified 2002 sword in a weapons pak. 

Last thing Keldor comes with his a vial of acid so he can accidentally mess up his face meats and become Skeletor! The figure is nice, but not really essential. He's more of a if-you're-a-big-time-MotU-fan kind of figure. Doesn't stand alone amazingly, but if you like the look, he's a good figure and you can't go wrong with 'em.

July! Time for Count Marzo. This dude was in the old 80's MotU cartoon as a....conquistador. I'm sure some people wanted the old version, but what we got was the newer, much cooler version from the 2002 cartoon.

Marzo comes with a sword (that can be stored at his side) and the source of his power; an amulet (which can be stored on the back of his belt). This guy totally stands alone, if you want. He just looks awesome! He can be a vampire, a wizard, or a 90's themed wrestler. I'd track him down if you get the chance.

Time for SDCC to roll around in August again! We got two exclusives, and the main one was Orko. He was everything you might expect from Orko, in that the only thing that moves are the arms and the head. He also comes with a clear stand so he can float.

...and the head pops off so you can do crap like this.

The best part about Orko was his accessory:

Prince Adam! Yeah, that's right: Mattel pulled a fast one and made Prince Adam Orko's accessory, going so far as to put Adam in the bottom of Orko's package as if he were really just an accessory. Adam came with his magenta Power Sword, and a new smirking head for lying around and acting useless. 

The tiny Cringer pictured doesn't come with Adam; Cringer came with a later figure of Queen Marlena. 

It was a cool set, and a must-have for MotU collectors. Nothing you need to hunt down if you're just picking through them, getting what looks cool. Still awesome, though!

The second SDCC exclusive was hotly contested: It was essentially a joke figure, based on the stop-motion TV show Robot Chicken. Mo-Larr is the Eternian Dentist, sent to pull Skeletor's rotten tooth! The figure comes with everything from the sketch, and even came with another Skeletor with a new sad head, missing a tooth.

Some folks were angry that this joke took up a slot that could have been for a "serious" exclusive (I mean, we're talking MotU here, where the main character is named "He-Man", so you know this stuff gets real serious), but nobody cares anymore and it was an awesome idea. Plus...there already was the Orko and Adam exclusive, so there shouldn't have been any complaints.

The point is: It's a funny gag, Mo-Larr is hilarious, and this might even be kinda cheap on the after market, if you're interested.

What a smorgasbord August was! Not only was there the SDCC exclusives, but we also got our usual monthly figure: Whiplash. I never had this one when I was a kid, but he impressed me nonetheless, when I got him in-hand. The shades of green (and the bright green of his arms and legs) really catch your eye, and the design is imposing.

Whiplash came with his vintage orange Grayskull spear, and the head and spear-thing of the 2002 version (not pictured). The 2002 head never seemed to fit right, seeming a little too large (since the 2002 design is wider and bulkier) and the 2002 spear-thing was ungainly and could only be sort-of held in the open left hand (I.E. useless). If you're a fan of the vintage Whiplash, I'd say this is definitely worth hunting down, but try to get him loose with just the vintage head and spear, 'cause the rest isn't great.

September was a bit of a surprise, because I honestly couldn't remember this guy. This is Chief Carnivus, from the 2002 cartoon. He was one of the leaders in the Eternian Council, to unite the land in peace. I don't remember if he fought at all, but really, who cares? He came out great!

While not one of my favorites, Chief Carnivus still makes for a fine figure, with an awesome beast design and cool accessories. The sword, for one, is one of my favorite new designs made for Classics, and the shield is a neat little easter egg: The tiger head on the shield is the same tiger head from the vintage Eternia playset! He may not be a majorly important character in MotU, but he's still a neat cat-man figure, so check him out if you're into that sorta thing.

September's second figure was the large beast, GYGOR! This was a concept figure for the vintage line that never made it to production. It was simple enough to reproduce: make a yellow and green gorilla and slap some armor on him! He even has a cape!

Since he's a concept figure, a lot of people didn't know who he was (neither did I) but it sure as hell didn't matter when you got him in-hand. The head sculpt alone is enough to make you fall in love - LOOK AT THAT THING! Screamin' and waving an axe. He's one of my top favorites out of the large beasts, and that's saying a lot, since I have no nostalgia for him and I almost didn't want to get him because of the size. If you want a monstrous gorilla in armor to face off against any of your toys, then Gygor is your beast. I'd even consider tracking him down if you're only mildly interested.

October pulled through for me, giving me Roboto in my birth month! This was one I wanted SO BAD, back in the day, but I never got him. Thankfully, the designers decided to keep what was unique about Roboto: The moving gears in his clear chest, when you twist his waist.  They look fantastic, and work just like the original, with a slight drawback of cracks appearing in his chest later on in the years. I appear to have gotten off easy in that respect, as there's only a small crack on his lower back. Otherwise, it also removes the chest joint, but it's a small price to pay for such an awesome feature, and I don't miss the joint at all.

Roboto comes with his original vintage arm options: An axe, a claw, and a double-barrel laser gun. Also, much later, Mattel released a pack of 2002 styled heads for various figures, and Roboto was one of the heads included (the last photo). He's one of my top favorites for Classics in general, and well worth hunting down...though I'm not sure what the extent of the chest cracks are. Buy at your own risk, I suppose. I haven't seen a ton of bad ones, at least.

November saw the release of the fuzzy Grizzlor, which was an interesting one. Everyone wondered if he would be properly fuzzy, and the result was: YES. Quite fuzzy. He works similarly to the vintage figure, in that he's wearing a sort of non-removable (except with scissors and permanently) fuzzy body glove and sporting a fuzzy head.

Coolest thing about Grizzlor is the accessories! He comes with a sword, machete, axe, crossbow (just like the vintage figure) and a loincloth. All these items (save for the crossbow) are from the 2002 design, and all of them store on his backpack! He was originally going to have a 2002 head as well, but there was some brouhaha about the Mattel execs not wanting any more 2002 heads, so it wasn't released until years later, in a 2002 Head Pack (last picture).

Grizzlor is AWESOME, and highly recommended. You'd think the fuzz would look weird, but it comes together fantastically. He really looks like a hairy beast, and the weapons are all top-notch. Hunt him down, if you get a chance - before he hunts YOU down.

November's second figure was a bit of a re-release: King Grayskull. He was actually the first figure released for the Classics line, but he was an SDCC exclusive and known for having breakable ankles. This one was made to match the current standards of the time, and sports a red cape with white shoulders (the 'ol Santa look) to set him apart from the original.

He came with a half-translucent blue Power Sword  (like He-Ro's Power Sword, in a sort of mid-losing-it's-power-when-He-Ro-dies effect), He-Man's shield and axe, two same-color halves of the Power Sword (to show it originally being split) and a translucent sparkly blue orb (to be the "Power of Grayskull" within the Castle). I didn't picture any of those...so...there we go. What I did picture is King Grayskull and the mechanical 2002 Power Sword that came with Man-At-Arms! I think it suits King Grayskull well.

King Grayskull is kind of obscure, since he's only in a couple episodes of the 2002 series and totally unique to that story, but he's still cool looking. Maybe not worth hunting down with a fervor, but decent enough as a barbarian king. Plus, he comes with a lot of "lore goodies", though they're really only impressive to MotU fans. Not a bad figure!

December, our last stop for 2010, and an awkward time for Buzz-Off to come around. I mean, it's cold out there! Not a good time for bees.

Buzz-Off was an old favorite, but mostly for goofy-ass little kid reasons: I liked to grab him by the legs and use his spring-action waist to FLAPFLAPFLAP him around so his wings went nuts. As I got older, I appreciated him for the translucent wings and the mechanical designs within - which were lovingly recreated with the Classics figure.

Buzz-Off is exactly what you want from a Classics figure; a recreation and improvement on the original. Everything you loved is here, but even more awesome. He comes with his weird bee helmet and hand-axe, but also his 2002 halberd! Once again, though, he didn't have a 2002 head because the Mattel execs said "No.", so the 2002 head didn't come out until later, in a head pack.

I'm not sure if this is on the fan's radar, but he should be. I don't see people talk about him as much as the obviously cool ones, but trust me, he's awesome. I'd hunt this one down; fan or no. Just a plain old well done toy.

That was it for 2010! -------------

---------WAIT WAIT, NO---------------


2010 was the year that Mattel decided to try selling some MotU Classics in stores, with Toys R Us exclusive versus packs! They packaged one MotUC figure and one DC Universe figure together, in a homage to the time He-Man fought Superman in the old DC comic (the rest of the versus packs are just for fun, not really referencing any other comics).

The best pack was the He-Man vs Superman pack, since it came with the old comic and netted you a basic He-Man in comic book colors - which was fantastic for a lot of folks who were coming into the Classics series late and couldn't get ahold of a basic He-Man (leading to this He-Man being the one that a lot of people owned vs the regular one).

He was a good basic He-Man, with a good basic Superman...that I didn't photograph here. I have He-Man facing off against the recent Dark Knight Returns Superman, who is using some Classics parts, which makes him the same scale as He-Man.

This was a nice figure, and the bright colors are eye catching, but it still couldn't beat out my basic He-Man. This is why comic He-Man's body was donated to a good cause.

THE MAN KING CAUSE. That's right, comic He-Man permanently became MAN KING, because the universe has a way of righting great wrongs, like the lack of MAN KING's existence. If you're unfamiliar with MAN KING, just click his tag at the end of the post and read up.

I didn't end up getting all the comic packs, but I did end up with Mer-Man (because of his mini comic colors; he was pictured in the last post) and this Skeletor. I honestly wasn't sure what to make about the comic colored Skeletor, when he was announced, but once I got him in hand, he somehow became one of my most used basic Skeletors. I'm still not sure what it is that I love about him so much.

He was packaged with Lex Luthor in his doofy green armor (that I love) and came with one accessory: A BRIGHT yellow Power Sword, with a translucent blade. If this seems odd, I'll explain: it's because Skeletor, in the comics, didn't use his staff as often as he did his own half of the Power Sword, and when he used it to cast magic, the sword would glow yellow. Simple enough, and a good excuse to get a really cool repaint of the Power Sword.

I don't know if these two are worth hunting down like they used to be (since it was an easy way to get a basic He-Man and Skeletor) but I still have to recommend them for the unique quality. That, and Skeletor just looks awesome. I've used him so often that he's ended up one of my favorite Skeletors, and you may agree as well. With any luck, these don't cost much on the after market.

That's it! This was another strong year for Classics, with the likes of He-Man and She-Ra's alter egos appearing along side She-Ra herself and a smattering of vintage goodness, obscure rarities, and even a New Adventures figure! 2010 showed that Mattel was serious about the longevity of this line; spreading out the big time wants slowly, so that the lesser wants could shine and bring joy to those few folks who really wanted the oddballs.

Stay tuned, and we'll see if next year keeps up the magic: Jump to 2011!


  1. Man King! Gosh, I remember the adventures of Man King so well. This was a really nice walkthrough of the second full year of the line. 2010 was an exciting time for MOTUC. I'll be honest: I've had almost zero interest in any of Super 7's MOTUC offerings. I was very excite when they took over but between the higher prices and seemingly poor quality control (from what I've heard and read) I just have no interest. It's sad because I still love the Mattel figures dearly!

    1. Thanks, I'm glad you remember MAN KING! He is father to us all.

      I hear you, on Super 7's offerings. The "Ultimate" versions were great, but I think they still used Mattel's factories. Once Super 7 started doing their own thing...well, they've got some kinks to work out. The first full wave of new stuff wasn't too bad! On the other hand, the one that was bad was REAL bad, in that Delora's head broke off (when she came with a second head, so you were supposed to remove it) and the paint scrapes right off of her. Also, Filmation Teela just wasn't lookin' great, but Mattel messed that one up too, so I guess she's hard to capture (unless you're one of the many sculptors who have made a new head for her). The good ones were GREAT, though! Lodar was a long awaited character for me, and they knocked it out of the park. Quakke is also pretty rad, and Fangor is a flat-out fantastic figure. They also nearly ripped Filmation Hordak and Man-At-Arms right off the screen; they look that good. While the Delora problem was BAD, there was enough good to make me buy the next batch. If they come out with any problems...well, I dunno if I'm gona give them a third time.

  2. MAN-KING, aka Big M aka GODKING aka THEBEARDEST aka dad.