Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Masters of the Universe Classics: Year by Year - 2013
Hey, you're back! Not tired of this yet, I see. Well, 2012 made some folks a little tired, and while Masters of the Universe Classics didn't slow down, it did start to show some skid marks while it careened a bit on a few twists and turns. Why don't we look back on 2013 and see what they did to spice things up?
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.
January started out a little obscure, and not with a concept character. This is Netossa, from near the end of the Princess of Power toyline. Her vintage toy gimmick was a cape that doubled as a net - you could pull some strings and catch other figures in it. Classics Netossa, as you'd expect, doesn't do that. Her net cape isn't even easily removable without taking her head off. It can still function as a net, but it's not quite as fun.
Somehow, that doesn't matter! This was one vintage figure I was looking forward to from only seeing it in an archive. She just has a good color scheme and an interesting design. She came out well because of it, and that's even considering the Filmation design they used, instead of the toy design (which had a mask/helmet thing I would have liked to see). I doubt she'll ever make anyone's must-have list, but if you're lacking female characters, then this is one to get.
Netossa comes with a shield, and I suppose her cape could be considered an accessory. The sword came in a weapons pak later in 2013.
February started strong with a heavy hitter - literally! Jitsu finally chopped his way into Classics, and he was spectacular. Not only was he a major favorite when I was a kid, but they just knocked him out of the park for Classics. The original had a spring-action arm with a big golden chopping hand, so you could karate chop fools (you could also twist the hand and use it to launch things, though that apparently wasn't intended. Who knew). Classics doesn't do that, but WHO CARES. Look at this guy!
Jitsu is just as much a must-have as Fisto; for everyone. He looks great, plays well, and will pop out in a crowded display by just existing. It's the simple ideas that usually come out the best. Try to find Jitsu, if you can.
Jitsu comes with an orange sword and two kamas that can store on his back (from the 2002 design). The elaborate belt (in the last picture) came with a later figure; Ninjor. The belt still works for Ninjor, but it was definitely intended to finish off Jitsu's 2002 look.
The second figure for February was the one, the only: RAM MAN. Yes, this one had been asked about the most, in forums everywhere. It was a constant question in Mattel's Q&As; when was Ram Man coming? Would he be bigger than other figures? Would they just use the basic buck and do an overlay that makes him look bigger?
The answer was BIG and an all-new sculpt! Never before had such an anticipated figure come out so perfect. Granted, he doesn't have "spring legs" like the vintage figure, but I don't think anyone expected him to. Everything just came together like clockwork. He's huge, like he should be, the sculpt work is phenomenal, and we even got a new un-helmeted head and a place to store his axe on his back. His legs are a tad restricted, but he feels like a character that would have that, honestly. Everything else moves as it should. This is a must-have for MotU fans, and definitely one to keep an eye on if you just like toys in general.
Ram Man comes with two heads, his axe, and ALL THE BEEF.
March's figure was Fang Man.
....what, you don't know Fang Man? Everyone knows Fang Man (nobody knows Fang Man)! He was in the 80's toon as a random lackey. Skeletor took him into the past to do some crazy scheme to set the "Wheel of Infinity" (over centuries, it spins, grows in size, and explodes) under the ground where Castle Grayskull would be built, so that the Castle would be destroyed in the present!
Yeah, it didn't work. Funny thing is that the writers just forgot about Fang Man! Skeletor fails, returns to the present, but never mentions Fang Man, and you never see him again. Which means...he's still stuck in the past. Poor guy.
The figure is nice and cartoony, in a good way; if you like that sort of thing. He doesn't strike me in any particular way, though that doesn't mean he's a bad figure. Just a dragon-ish monster guy packed with a bunch of Filmation toon artifacts. If you like the look, then you'll be happy with him! He moves well, and his armor cleverly changes the basic buck into a more hunched over body type. If you don't like the look, then he's easily skippable, though his accessories are kinda cool.
Fang Man comes with The Sword of the Ancients (artifact from the toon), some sort of barrier maker thing, and the Wheel of Infinity (not pictured). The gold mace and shield are from 2013's weapons pak.
March was subscription exclusive time, and the sub exclusive was a new design: King He-Man. This version of He-Man was made just for the Classics' storyline; where He-Man becomes king in the future and passes on his Power Sword to his son. This old King He-Man carries his 2002 Power Sword, or the Mechanical Power Sword, as it is known in the Classics story. The Mechanical Power Sword could artificially call upon the Power of Grayskull. There's no story behind the Mechanical Power Sword beyond that, so we don't know why it's all messed up and missing the handle (the handle is a piece of wood tied on there) and I LOVE it! Details like this really get the imagination juices flowing!
It's hard to call this a must-have, since it's an outlier specifically made for Classics, but dangit, I love this figure. He's well done, and I love the look and idea. If you're a MotU fan, I'd hunt this down, but I understand if you had other ideas for how He-Man would look as a king (or if you figured he'd just call himself Adam at that point). King He-Man is still a great figure, so if you like it, I would look into it.
King He-Man comes with a royal staff (all his own; not repainted from King Randor) and the battle damaged 2002 Power Sword.
This is a weird one, sold in March, but only for "Early Access" given to subscribers. This is Strobo, a character only seen in the He-Man magazine within one story. He was designed to be made into a toy, if Mattel had decided, so his parts are mostly Sy-Klone with Zodac's head and an added cape. Strobo gains power from light, which he absorbs into the mirror on his chest.
The figure is cool, though super weird. The "mirror" is just a shiny sticker, but it does a good job of being shiny. The mirror also appears to be...embedded in his chest? Possibly? The circle area is part of Sy-Klone's body, so when they painted the Sy-Klone body with a naked chest, the circle is still part of his body...sooo, is he a cyborg? Is he magical? Who knows! Naturally, that interests me greatly, since I love answering questions about figure details. I'm not sure what that says about the figure. Does it annoy you that he doesn't make any sense? 'Cause that's MotU in a nutshell. I suppose I'll say that, if you run across him on the cheap, I wouldn't pass up this weirdo. He's not must-have material, but he is worth a look. Just...not when it's sunny out. You'll probably be blinded.
Strobo comes with a few things I didn't photograph: One is an alternate head for Zodak, shown in the 2008-2009 post. The other is the "Dark Star" meteor glued to a pedestal (it's an item from the comic he appeared in). What he IS pictured with - the rifle - came in 2013's weapons pak, and was intended for him.
Finally moving on to April! Mattel let another vintage figure out of the bag - but it was a bag of SNAKES! This is Snake Face! His face is full of snakes! AHHHH!!!
The vintage Snake Face had a simple mechanism of a lever on his back that made snakes pop out of the soulless holes in his face (and some popped out of his chest, too). Classics Snake face has swappable parts, in the form of a second head and a couple armor parts that could be removed and replaced with MORE SNAKES.
I never had this one, when I was a kid, and he never showed up on my radar. When I found out about him, he still didn't impress me beyond a chuckle. When the Classics version was announced, I thought "Neat.", but that was about it. MAN was I wrong! I don't know what it is about having this in-hand, but he's a little masterpiece. The sculpting is fantastic, and both heads are pretty crazy and frightening. I would have liked the action feature to work (I even would have sacrificed a turning head) but somehow I don't find myself bothered by the lack of it. The only complaint I can muster up is that his shield is kinda small compared to the vintage figure, but it doesn't matter much. I have to highly recommend this one on the basis of design and the awe you feel when you have it in your hands. Snake Face is magnificent, and will look great with MotU figures or on a horror shelf.
Snake Face comes with a Snake Men staff, snake shield, armor parts, chest snakes, and an alternate head vomiting snakes out of his orifices.
April only had the one figure, so we're already heading off to May with yet another New Adventures of He-Man figure: Karatti!
I knew nothing about Karatti, and I never had the figure back in the 90s (I don't think I had ever seen him). This was just one of those figures I knew I was going to want, based on the design alone. I was right.
Karatti is your basic Predator-style hunter with a martial arts theme; his vintage figure just had a swinging-arms action. He needs none of that, as you'd expect. Karatti does well on his own through his design; from the cybernetic armor and jaw, to the crazy axe-gun. If you look close at his "hair", you can see they're some sort of tendrils rather than hair. Also: Look at those abs! He has more than the required amount of abs - there's more! MORE ABS! It's possible that he has abs in place of a crotch; I'm not sure. I think it's obvious that I love this figure, and I feel like he more than breaks away from MotU. He's a great one for all toy collectors; his only drawback is the open left hand - I had to rubber-band his knife in there. Otherwise, he's fantastic.
Karatti comes with a knife and his axe/gun, which can be held as a gun or as an axe.
May's second offering was a three pack: The Fighting Foe Men! Okay, bare with me on this one; it's another obscure batch of figures. You see, back during the vintage line, some model kits were released for some of the MotU vehicles. Each model kit had unique box art; different from the normal vehicle boxes. The box art depicted random, unnamed characters driving the vehicles that were partially covered by the vehicle's cockpits. These randos were made into the Fighting Foe Men - a name taken from concept MotU ideas.
Each figure was named after a Four Horsemen designer (sculptors for the MotUC line) and given accessories matching the vehicles they were seen driving.
Our first guy is Ditzstroyer (once again, named after real people's names mixed with MotU-like words). He's a Roton pilot, so he comes with a large rifle based on the Roton gun in the model kit box art, and a cool staff with a Roton design. Something about this guy makes him awesome to me...I don't know what. His colors clash, he looks like he's wearing a cheap halloween costume, and...I love it. I just love it. He works, somehow. Plus, I love that staff!
Our second figure is Shield Maiden Sherrilyn, based on what was originally a male driving the Attak Trak. She comes with a shield that looks like the Attak Trak's tank tread, and a double-barreled gun based on the Attak Trak's side guns. She might be my favorite of the set just based on her look - the helmet is amazing!
I ended up making her a weapons expert and gave her a few other items.
The third figure is Dawg-O-Tor...once again, based on someone's name from the Four Horsemen. He was seen flying the Talon Fighter on the model kit box, and he comes with a mace based on the gun from the vehicle, and a shield shaped like the Talon Fighter itself.
This was a strange set. I think it bombed hard, though it's hard to say, because I've seen the figures all over...just, as customs. I've also seen them the most as separate bagged items at comic shops. I understand why they're not popular - I mean, just look at the obscure background! No one but the hardest of hard core MotU fans would know what these are, and even then, I doubt most fans even knew about those model kits. I know I didn't!
In the end, I guess I have to say what I almost always say: I like them. They're not the most amazing figures out of the Classics line, but they have almost no ties to anything, so they separate from MotU easily as just cool looking figures. Not...amazing figures, but cool all the same, because I love concept toys, and because the costumes look so cheesy (in a good way). Plus, these might be of interest for customs if they've stayed cheap (I haven't checked in while). I even bought a second Dawg-O-Tor on the cheap just to use his body for Vykron's tank armor from the last post.
The Fighting Foe Men come with their unique accessories, and then all have an alternate Horde symbol that can be swapped out with their personal symbols, because the story has them join the Horde at some point. The little Horde symbols might be good for customizing too!
June only had one figure, and it was Octavia, the squid/maybe octopus lady (though I'm sure those are squid arms). She comes straight from the Princess of Power cartoon, and never had a figure in the vintage line. Octavia was a Horde captain for their sea missions, and actually came across as formidable. She made for a fantastic looking figure, too! Sadly, at the time, Mattel was no longer doing bendy items, thanks to Snout Spout's cracked trunk (though it could have been avoided by using rubbery plastic, instead of the soft spongy stuff used on Snout Spout). Octavia's tentacles are hard plastic, which limits her abilities, though they are at least on disc hinges attached to her back, and can be swapped around easily for a little more versatility. Still, I would have liked to have been able to have her wrap the tentacles around enemies.
Octavia, regardless of her limited tentacles, is actually pretty cool! The design is imposing, but the face sculpt really sells this one! She's just so focused and ANGRY. Octavia has no time for nonsense, and she looks like she can mop the floor with her enemies quickly enough so that you won't have any time to give her any nonsense. I want to recommend this one to anybody, but I do still have to say that she could have had far more use if those tentacles weren't so solid. She's still fun, but she could have been spectacular.
Octavia comes with four Horde themed swords that can be held in her hands, or clipped to her tentacles, and a Horde standard crossbow designed to look like a cuttlefish.
The fireworks fly in July once more, and this time it was because Clamp Champ was punching fools into the air and watching them explode. They exploded because Clamp Champ is awesome. Naturally.
Clamp Champ is a bit of a lazy concept turned awesome due to the color scheme and design, and because of his representation in the mini-comic. The vintage figure's ability wasn't even something that the figure did - he just came with a clamp. He clamped enemies with it. That's it. Otherwise, the figure itself was a normal, awesome looking dude.
The magic of Clamp Champ was burned into my brain because of the mini-comic, which showed him catching an arrow out of the air, and then punching Ninjor so hard that Ninjor flew back into Scare Glow. He punched a ninja into a glowing fear skeleton. It was awesome. And he didn't use his clamp once - it never even appeared in the comic! It was clear that the clamp was boring, but The Champ himself was awesome! Sadly, I never got the vintage figure.
Thankfully, the Classics version is awesome! He is a little strange, in that his face sculpt is a little older looking that the original design, and his fro isn't as big, but all the design points are still there, and he comes with an extra clamp and a backpack molded into his armor from the 2002 version (I drilled a small hold in the backpack so I could add a wire going from the pack to the small clamp). His vintage clamp comes back, though without the "clamping" feature...which I felt was a misstep. It's so huge that it easily could have had the snapping-closed feature of the original, so it comes off as a little less fun than it could have been, and it's also a little awkward having him hold it like the vintage figure did. I wish it clipped to his wrist so it could be used as a shield and a clamp.
...okay, so I spent some time complaining, but he is still a favorite overall. Clamp Champ comes with his main clamp and a smaller clamp. The blue axe and shield are from the very first weapons pak, and I felt they worked well for him.
And WHOOPS, I almost completely forgot about Clamp Champ at the time, because July's other figure was New Adventures He-Man! One of my all time favorite toys, when I was growing up. Prepare yourself: I'm going to be biased.
I want to keep these brief, and this one will be covered in-depth eventually, so I'll just say that New Adventures He-Man was used over and over, when I was a kid. He came at just the perfect time, when I was old enough to not break my toys, and He-Man was still on the brain from having read all the old mini-comics many times over. NA He-Man came along and was not only He-Man, but He-Man with translucent accessories, and he was also a bit thinner and more believably able to be used as a sort of "me" character (not that I was any sort of muscular, but you get what I mean. He was blonde, I was blonde...it worked out). Needless to say: NA He-Man was many things over the years.
Thankfully, for the most part, the Classics version brought back nearly everything I loved about the original and upgraded it with more detail. The only drawbacks were that the shield was a little small, and the hands were "improved" with disc hinges, but plastic was much softer, making for a loser grip. You may notice some clear rubber bands on the handle of the sword, so he grips it better.
After fixing the grip, HE'S AWESOME. He has both of his armors, his sword, shield, and an alternate helmeted head (with some new details on the back of the helmet). They even tied him closer to his original figure by adding his old Iron Cross to his chest strap! NA He-Man was everything I had hoped for, and makes a fine action figure all around. Considering that I'm biased, you can take what I have to say with a grain of salt, but I think you'll agree once you get him in-hand.
If you're a fan of the New Adventure's variants, you can put the vintage NA Thunder Punch He-Man's harness on the Classics version and it fits perfectly. Match that with the sword and shield that came with Lord Masque (we'll see him in a later year) and you have a near perfect NA Thunder Punch He-Man.
Go buy this one man. Don't even pay attention to the rabid fan controlling me behind the curtain.
July had a third figure (and it was a terrible time for him to show up, since he's made of ice): Icer. He was part of a separate sub (like the 30th sub) called the Club Filmation sub. It was comprised of characters only from the 80's cartoons Masters of the Universe and Princess of Power. It was a little odd, since there had already been some Filmation characters in the basic sub, but I think this was just a way to get MORE figures out within the same year. I bit the hook.
Icer doesn't do so good in the heat, but he's lucky enough to be high up in Michigan with me, so at least half of the year is darkened by the "cold shadow of winter".
Icer is a translucent blue figure - an ice man - who wears furry boots and shorts and wristbands, along with a furry hood...to keep warm? None of his details make any sense, but he's neat all the same. I had to look up his appearance in the cartoon, but it was actually impressive with how creepy he sounded, and how hard it was for the heroes to stop him. The figure doesn't do anything amazing, but I love translucent figures, so he ends up being a favorite. His furry clothes are hilarious, so he doesn't really come off as something that'll work outside of MotU, but he may catch some eyes just by the fact that he's translucent. I'd suggest giving him a look, if he's cheap, but I also understand if this one is a little too goofy for most of you.
Icer comes with a icicle and the "Staff of Avion" from the cartoon (not pictured).
Hey, it's August again - time for SDCC! Once again, we only got one exclusive, but it was a doozy: This is Stonedar and Rokkon, the rock warriors!
The Rock Warriors were in the vintage MotU line, and were pretty simple: Just fold them over and they become rocks! Naturally, it was hard to make the Classics buck fold over into a complete rock, so some steps were taken to severely complicate the idea to get it to work. The figures have removable rock parts on the back, arms, and legs, and then they fold over another separate rock base to make the complete rock. It's a lot of parts!
On one hand, the simplicity of the original designs are completely lost, which takes something away from the idea. On the other hand, I had Rokkon (the blue and orange one above) when I was a kid, and I have to admit that it's neat seeing him with removable rock parts so I can admire the inner design a little more. Plus, the rock parts stay on well enough, even if it's a bit of a job to get him into rock mode. When I first got these guys, I was a little disappointed, but time was kind to them, and I like messing with the rock parts now. I don't think they really shine out above the rest or as stand-alone toys, but if you're a Rock Warriors fan, I wouldn't pass these up.
Stonedar and Rokkon come with rock parts for their arms, legs, back, and a rock base. They each carry a weird satellite gun that can be held or plugged in to their chests.
August's basic figure was Castaspella, from the Princess of Power toyline and cartoon. Her design is based heavily on her cartoon appearance, though there are some toy details, and her magical effect wheel is mostly from the toy. She was one I was interested in when I had originally perused the Princess of Power archives, because she looked like a sun-burst. Sadly, they removed her orange and yellow color scheme for the toon and replaced the orange with blue, making her a University of Michigan fan. I still like the figure, but I think I would have liked her more with the toy's color scheme.
Castaspella shines the most with her accessories, which include the magical effect wheel on her back, a translucent yellow shield, and a translucent yellow magical burst that can attach to her open left hand. If you're a fan of Castaspella, I'd pick this one up. I don't think she really shines beyond her status in Princess of Power, though.
August also had a Club Filmation figure, in the form of Shokoti, from the Masters of the Universe cartoon. She was used in a sort of two-part Halloween episode, complete with creepy magic lady (Shokoti), darkness, tentacle beasts, and the ultimate plan of resurrecting a Lovecraftian Eldritch horror.
I love this figure, and the episodes she came from. I didn't remember them from childhood either; I looked them up when the figure was announced. It stands the test of time, if you consider the time frame and give it some leeway for being a campy 80's toon. There was some stuff I'm sure would have freaked me out when I was little. Thankfully, the figure jumps right out of the episode, black soulless eyes and all. For a simply designed Filmation character, Shokoti reminds me of classic Conan the Barbarian ladies or a little bit of Vamprella (minus all the skin showing). I knew I was going to like the figure, but I liked her even more in-hand. I highly recommend Shokoti for all toy fans, and I consider that impressive for a character straight out of the cartoon. Shokoti is just a badass dark lady of the void.
Shokoti comes only with her betentacled Darkling. I gave her the Shaping Staff that came with Entrapta (we'll see her in a later year) because it just looked good with Shokoti.
September's Club Filmation figure was Batros, which was a fine example of "No, you really have to hold this one to appreciate it." He was goofy and hilarious from day one when he was announced, and I honestly thought I would make some jokes with him and maybe sell him off. I was wrong.
What the heck makes him so cool? NO IDEA. Really. I just like him. He moves well, the wings are well placed on his arms, and he almost looks a little menacing for a guy in a fuzzy bat costume. If you find him for cheap, just get him and see what you think. I dunno what it is about this weirdo, but he's really cool and I don't think I can convince you with just pictures.
Batros comes with a black and red Spikor mace.
September's basic figure was Sky High with his Sky Sled (called Jet Sled because of copyright reasons). Sky High is like the Fighting Foe Men, in that Sky High was seen far in the background of some box art as a pilot for the Wind Raider. His details were filled in and he was born as a Classics figure!
As a Wind Raider pilot, Sky High came with some wings designed off of the Wind Raider wings - they can clip to his back as wings or act as a double-bladed sword in his hand.
The Sky Sled is the front part of the Battle Ram, another vintage MotU vehicle. This Sky Sled was sold separately because Mattel wasn't sure if they would sell the Battle Ram yet, and the Sky Sled was a common vehicle in the Filmation cartoon. Both Sky High and the Sky Sled are fantastic, and both come highly recommended. They may not be amazing outside of MotU, but they are definite must-haves for MotU fans - even if you don't like weird hardly-visible background characters from box art.
This set comes with the Sky Sled, Sky High, and his bladed wings (the black rifle came from another figure we'll see below).
We land in October again, and somehow Mattel manages to hit a big time favorite for my birth month for the fifth time in a row. This is Mantenna, the horrifying four-legged, anus-mouthed eye beast. It's like the Flying Purple People Eater song, but metal.
The vintage Mantenna was a big favorite, because when you moved the lever on his back, his eyes popped out. What more did you need? He was also a weird monster that worked with just about any other toys. I think the vintage Mantenna is actually still worth hunting down as a display piece or something to keep people away from you when you set it on your desk at work. The Classics version works for that too! This one recreates all the details, but better. The vintage version's legs were fused together, so he technically only had two legs, with the implication of four. His weird sucker mouth was also a black asterisk, which made me think it was a nose for the longest time.
It's not a nose. Oh man. I can't stress enough how cool this figure is. If you like Mantenna, then you will DROOL over this monstrosity. It's everything you could hope for. He's also great for any toy fan - a real work of art. This will look good anywhere, fighting anything.
Mantenna comes with a Horde crossbow (the staff is from another set we'll see in October) and two sets of eyes - set-in and sticking out. His mouth comes off so you can swap the eyes comfortably, which also creates a mouthless, eyeless horror separate from the horror that he already is. Buy this on sight.
October's second figure was another obscure guy from the 2002 cartoon: Lord Dactys. He's another leader and member of the Eternian Council (a gathering of leaders) like Chief Carnivus. This is yet another figure that breaks out of the MotU story and becomes an amazing toy. In fact, I'd say he works best outside of MotU and just as a cool bat demon figure. Lord Dactys is a neat illusion of size - he uses the basic buck, but some new tall feet and a head with a longer neck (plus the wingspan) make him seem huge compared to other figures. He may not do much in the MotU stories, but he's an awesome figure, and if you like MotU just on the basis of toy design, then this one is right up your alley. Lord Dactys will not disappoint and will fit in wherever you need some fantasy monster goodness.
Lord Dactys only comes with a sword, but it's a dang cool sword.
October's last figure, and part of the Club Filmation sub, was Nepthu, from an episode of the Masters of the Universe cartoon. He was a regular man possessed by an Ankh with the Scarab of the Sun embedded in it. It gives him tremendous power, and He-Man has to stop him from being evil and all that. I never did look up the episode, but I doubt it would have helped his case. The figure ended up a little boring, and lacks any amount of evil what so ever. I mean, look at that face! He's downright friendly. What a nice guy!
On the other hand, it got the old imagination gears turning, unexpectedly. The friendly face and the Ankh makes me think "Cult Leader", you know, the kind that promises peace at the cost of manual labor and eventual sacrifice. I added a robe from a Sigma Six Storm Shadow and a gold halberd from 2013's weapons pak, then added the crystal bird on top (the crystal bird is the Sorceress trapped in her bird form by Nepthu). I like him a lot better now, but that still doesn't make him a must-have. He's okay at best, and fairly forgettable.
Nepthu comes with his Ankh and the Sorceress trapped in crystal (which might be the coolest thing about him).
A quick detour before we hit the final item for October (it was an expensive month!): Kowl, from the vintage Princess of Power toyline. This guy came in the 2013 weapons pak, which was usually just weapons. This is how Kowl appeared in the toyline (the cartoon changed him to pink). He's a decent little figure, if you're into Kowl. Nothing that goes beyond She-Ra interest, though.
OKAY. Last one for expensive October, and pretty much another birthday present to me (that I had to pay for) 'cause I had always wanted one of these: Horde Troopers!
This was a two pack of the Horde's expendable robot troopers, which was pretty much everyone's dream at this point. One Horde Trooper would have been exciting enough, but a two pack (one with battle damage marks) just blew us all away. The figures are lacking the "explode apart" action of the vintage troopers, but I don't think anyone cared (you can still remove the armor and see the robotic innards, though. It's a brand new body). They look great, move well, and they're freakin' robots, man. Isn't that the best? Isn't that what we all strive for? No? Just me?
The Horde Troopers come with some staves (elongated forms of the vintage club), shields, stun batons (from the Princess of Power cartoon), and some new Horde crossbows designed just for the troopers (the one with the odd looking head is a head from a whole other figure i'll cover in a later year). Buy some Horde Troopers, somehow. I don't think it'll be cheap. You might have to gnaw off a leg and partake in some back-alley dealings, but it'll be worth it.
Finally moving on to November, and a figure that was important to a select few (like me): Geldor, the random warlord from a single mini-comic!
...he doesn't come with sunglasses, I just like how he looks with them.
Geldor comes from a mini-comic called "The Secret Liquid of Life", where Geldor tries to get the Liquid of Life, fails, and gets eaten by a tree. ISN'T HE AWESOME?
Alright, so maybe not, but it was one of a stack of mini-comics that I read over and over when I was a kid, and Geldor stuck out to me. The figure pretty much jumps right out of the mini-comic, weird pie-server axe and all (though the axe was only on the front of the comic; he used a sword like the one in the picture through the rest of the comic. The sword came in the weapons pak from this year). There's a good chance nobody cared about him, and if that's so, he'll be cheap enough to buy as a random Fist of the North Star badguy. I mean look at him! This guy has definitely been Already Dead a few times. Highly recommended. Don't care what you say.
Geldor comes with a super square axe and a tiny clear jar containing the Secret Liquid of Life (not pictured, because I decided to show him with sunglasses instead).
November's Club Filmation figure was Sea Hawk, the dashing rogue from the Princess of Power cartoon. He's not known much beyond MotU fans, but he did appear in the toon more than a few times, so he made an impression.
This Sea Hawk figure draws his appearance from later in the series, when he obtained a bunch of artifacts from his father: Seven League Boots for super jumps, a Photon Cutlass that can cut through anything, and an Impact Ring that can form a shield or allow him to always win at Punchies. He's a real Errol Flynn type swash buckler, so I can imagine he might be of interest to some outside MotU, but I doubt it would be much. She-Ra fans will get a kick out of him, I'm sure, and he's certainly worth getting (though his jacket is a little large, making his arms stick out). I ended up liking him a lot more than I thought I would, so he definitely comes recommended for fans of the series!
Sea Hawk comes with his Photon Cutlass, an energy shield, and loads of swagger.
This is it! December of 2013, and we'll talk about the most amazing thing first: CASTLE GRAYSKULL. That's right, it's a big ol' sized-up version of the vintage playset, complete with more details, an extra floor, and little nooks and crannies full of secrets. I covered it extensively in a multi-part review starting here, so I won't say much beyond that it's awesome and everything you could hope for out of a new version of Castle Grayskull. If you want to know more, set aside a few hours and read the ridiculous amount of text I wrote for that four part monster of a review (I also reviewed the vintage castle and 2002 castle, if you're interested).
No one ever thought we'd make it to Castle Grayskull, but the impossible happened, and it was glorious.
Alright, on to December's figures: Our first is...Plundor. He's from the Masters of the Universe cartoon, but he's not part of the Club Filmation sub, because reasons. Plundor was part of your standard environmental episode, where he's a vicious despot draining a planet's resources for money. Also he's a pink bunny man. He's a pink bunny man who is destroying the landscape for cash.
You're either gona love this or hate this. I find him hilarious (funny enough to keep, even) and I've even grown fond of him as more than a one-off - like he's traveling the stars looking to start business after business, trying to make it rich again. I doubt he's on anyone's radar, but he's good for what he is, and if you're one of the few who's a fan of Plundor, well, he's a fine figure! So there's that.
Plundor comes with a basic black rifle (seen with Sky High, further up) and Skeletor's magic axe, from the cartoon (not pictured). In my picture, he's holding Optikk's recolored weapons from an earlier weapons pak.
December's Club Filmation guy is also from the Masters of the Universe cartoon (of course): This is Strongarm! Er..."Strong-Or", because of copyright reasons. I'll just keep calling him Strongarm.
Strongarm appeared in one episode, where he was one of Skeletor's lackeys; the rare badass kind, with a huge metal, extending arm. He was apparently strong enough to go toe-to-toe with He-Man, so that's pretty cool. Design wise, he's definitely cartoony, but in a good way. He comes off as a cartoony robot monster, but mixed with a Japanese Kaiju that Ultraman would fight. There's a certain charm in that, and hopefully you can see it. I wasn't sure what I would think of this one, when he was announced, but I loved him instantly when I got him in-hand. Strongarm is a great figure, and highly recommended for anyone, though, especially people who love that Microman/Ultraman badguy thing he's got going on.
Strongarm comes with two arms; one normal and one extended. He also comes with a shrink ray (from the cartoon, not pictured). He's holding a sword from the first weapons pak, in my photo.
We're technically done with 2013 now, but there are a couple outliers that require special mention.
The first is the Spirit of Hordak, which was Mattel's shot at making a "chase figure" online. It was annoying as hell, since it just meant he would pop up on the store from time to time, and you'd go online to read posts about how he had just shown up earlier that day while you were at work. Thankfully they ended up setting a time when people could actually buy it, and I managed to get one. He's a translucent red version of Hordak, referencing his appearance to Skeletor in the 2002 series (though I think he was just a head in the cartoon, so this is more of a reinterpretation). A lot of folks managed to purchase more than one, for customs, because look at that body! Translucent red is awesome. The figure is pretty neat (though I've got a thing for translucent toys, so I'm biased) but I don't know if he's easy to find or really worth it. In the end, he's a neat side-thing, but only worth it if you happen to find him without paying out the nose.
Our last figure is the strangest of them all: This is Standor, an exclusive to a convention called Camikaze. He was later sold in Mattel's store, which was how I obtained him.
...and yes, that's Stan Lee. The legendary creator of...He-Man? Well, no, he had nothing to do with it. This was just a Stan Lee figure created as some sorta God for the MotU universe when he never had a hand in any of it?
Man, I'm not gona try to explain any of this. The figure is cool because of these reasons: 1.) He has cool glasses you can use on other figures (like Geldor), and 2.) The sparkly space armor is rad and is useful for various customs like this:
That's a gold skull from Castle Grayskull with Standor's helmet to create a sort of God Skeletor, with all the power. I haven't kept him like this, 'cause I wana keep my options open for customization.
Standor is weird, and doesn't make any sense, but he makes for a cool figure and parts! I wouldn't count this as important to hunt down at all, but if you run into it on the cheap, it's kinda neat. And weird.
That's it for 2013 of Masters of the Universe Classics! It was a...strange year. There were two subs - standard and Filmation - and yet the year was so full of Filmation characters both in and out of the Filmation sub! I felt like this year was trying to hammer out a ton of fan wants; both obscure ones and sought after ones. They trickled out the vintage remakes sparingly (since they were running out), but what they did drop came down and hit like a Ram Man, literally! It's crazy to call 2013 random while also praising it for dropping some big time wants (NA He-Man recreated to the last detail? Never thought it would happen!), but I guess that's not too far off from previous years. This year was just the first where vintage stuff was running thin and Mattel was trying to stretch things out as far as they could.
Was that a good thing? Bad thing? Let's find out in 2014!