Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Masters of the Universe Classics: Year by Year - 2014
Hello again, and welcome back - AGAIN. Man, Masters of the Universe Classics just kept on going, didn't it?
It certainly stood strong, but by this point, there were some definite cracks in the structure. For 2014 we saw the return of a second subscription alongside the main one: The Club Etheria sub, meant to hit a bunch of Princess of Power characters before the end of the toyline. Speaking of which...was the line in danger? Questions were slowly starting to rise, at the time. 2013 had a couple duds, but not many. Would 2014 add more?
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.
Alright! January started things off right, with a vintage remake in the form of Two-Bad! I almost feel like they had to do this, with the complaints about concepts and oddballs like Standor from last year. One solid vintage guy like Two-Bad was a great place to start, and he was well done! The details were all recreated with extra flourish, like the leathery look to the purple half's boot and gauntlet, and the divide down the center being more than just a paint line. The only complaint I have about him is that the shield is built to awkwardly clip on to the left gauntlet around the edges, rather than being a basic C-clip that goes around the wrist, like....every shield so far. Sadly, this would be a small hint of what we would be seeing in other figures for 2014.
Two-Bad comes with this vintage shield, and a new double-mace styled from the 2002 accessory. He's an excellent figure, and highly recommended for MotU fans!
February's figure was Glimmer, from the vintage Princess of Power toyline and styled from the cartoon. This wasn't a part of the Club Etheria sub (that started further down, in July). She is a fairly stunning figure with a great color scheme, though I still would have liked the silver and purple from the vintage toy. At the very least, her colors aren't amazingly different for the cartoon. She plays an important role in the toon, so she was a highly anticipated figure within the fandom, and thankfully, she didn't disappoint, for the most part. I think there were some complaints about the skirt part not being a leotard, but it's an insignificant matter for something that doesn't look out of place at all. Glimmer doesn't stand out as the best of the best, but she's a great representation of the character, and a must-have for Princess of Power fans.
Glimmer comes with her vintage flower staff and a clear orb for her open left hand (not pictured). She didn't come with a shield, so I gave her Entrapta's shield (we'll see her later in this year). It perfectly matches her color scheme.
February's second slot went to a "large beast", I suppose you could say. This is Modulok, of the many limbs! And heads! And parts! PARTS!
Modulok is a recreation of the same vintage figure, with the exact same feature: Limbs that pop off to be rearranged however you like. It was brilliant then, it's brilliant now, and he is a MUST BUY for anyone reading this - MotU fan or no. They knocked this out of the stratosphere by simply recreating the figure with more detail, more articulation, and the same genius idea of swappable parts. Modulok pops apart easily by using ball joints, and the more Modulok you buy, the more options you have. I bought two sets, personally. I suggest you get one or more, however you can. This guy easily goes down in Classics history as one of the best.
Modulok comes with a two-part rifle, two heads, four arms, six legs, a chest, some ant-like thorax parts, and three connectors with two holes for heads or arms or whatever. Seriously, go nuts.
March was time to visit the New Adventure of He-Man again, with Hydron! Hydron was a curious space-scuba diver, with some minor futuristic stuff on him, but otherwise just a diver guy. This version (he had a variant, in the vintage toyline) never interested me, but he takes on new life in Classics form.
Hydron does everything he needs to, looking like a bulked-up remake of the original toy. I have no doubt he's impressive to fans of the vintage figure, and honestly, he's more impressive to me now that he ever was back in the day. He continues a problem that was only hinted at in 2013, and would rear it's ugly head repeatedly in 2014: The armor is a little bulky around the sides, because a change in designers at Mattel meant fixing things that weren't broken. It's not as big of a problem here, since he's clearly wearing a bulky scuba suit, but it'll be a more pronounced problem later. The problem comes from how the armor clasps around the body - originally, the armor clasped on the back of the figure. For some reason, the clasps were moved forward to the sides of the figure, making the sides thicker and more puffed-out. Once again, it's not a huge deal with Hydron, but it was one of many strange choices the new designers made. Beyond that, in terms of complaints, I also would have liked to see an unmasked head, like with Flipshot.
Honestly, I like Hydron. He somehow ended up more interesting than his vintage figure, and he's actually a really cool future diver kinda guy. He's not run-out-and-buy-it-now material, but if you run into him on the cheap; don't underestimate him. If you're a fan of the vintage figure, then I'd definitely get him.
Hydron comes with his vintage multi-harpoon weapon (that can store in the loop on his left hip), a clear dome helmet, and a breathing unit/propulsion pack. I paired him with a sword from a weapons pak, because the light blue blade seemed to compliment him.
March was sub exclusive month, so we got the mysterious Unnamed One - and I don't just mean "mysterious" in terms of story! Mattel didn't even show us who or what the Unnamed One was until he was released!
The Unnamed One, for the Classics story, is the mysterious creator of the Snake Men, having combined the DNA of a ton of dangerous species to make his personal army. He's from the same race as Orko, so....yeah, this is pretty much an evil Orko. That means I instantly love it, though, that's not to say that his only draw is my love for evil-versions-of-the-hero - I mean, look at him! The design is awesome! Not only do you get the Orko-like head, but you also get this awesome demon mask for true villain status. I really have to suggest this one for all; if he doesn't interest you on a MotU level, then he makes for an awesome evil warlock. What's not to love about this figure? You know, other than the fact that he's probably exorbitantly priced on the aftermarket...
The Unnamed One comes with a magic snake staff, a translucent green magical snake blast (yes, those are tiny snake heads at the end of the blast), an alternate helmeted head, and a clear stand to allow him to "float."
OOOH, April was exciting! This was a highly anticipated figure for...well, I'm not sure how many people loved this guy. It depends on how many saw the live action MotU movie. I was one of those people, and I lived and breathed that movie, back in the day. This is Blade, as he appeared in the movie!
There's a lot of movie figures I want, but Mattel didn't (and still doesn't, so far as I know) have the rights to the movie, so they were only able to make figures of characters that had figures in the vintage line. The vintage Blade looked a little different from the movie, and though they didn't own the rights, there apparently wasn't anything stopping Mattel from basing this figure almost totally on the movie, rather than the vintage toy. This might as well have jumped right out of the film (save for the innate buffness of Classics figures). Sadly, he suffers from the thick sides thing, where the clasps for the armor are on his sides. The theme of "don't fix what ain't broke" also rears it's head with his straight sword; for some reason, the handle is WAY too big (like a dollar store toy with weapons that are too big for it). By this time in Classics, you could see a lot of weird mistakes and hiccups that just weren't there back in the earlier days.
Regardless, I still love this figure. I was able to cut down the straight sword's handle so it fit without stretching the hand, and the armor doesn't bother me that much. There's so much other stuff to love! The chain mail, the bladed shoulders and headgear, the crossbow arm, a friggin' eyepatch! So badass! This one is impressive enough for everyone, I think, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that he was exhibiting some of the faults present near the end of Classics. I wouldn't let that stop you, though.
Blade comes with two swords: One from the vintage toy (curved), and one from the movie (straight). Technically, he had two of each depending on the movie or toy, but instead he's just got one of each style (and the movie sword didn't have red on it; the designers just looked up the wrong prop on accident). The swords store at his sides. He also comes with a laser whip that was used in the movie to whip the captured He-Man into submission.
Moving on to May, with Scorpia; one of The Horde's big time muscle ladies. The Club Etheria sub hadn't even started yet, and already this was our second Princess of Power figure! Scorpia is another figure that never had any toy representation before this, so a lot of fans were looking forward to her. Thankfully, she came out with no problems. The figure is solid in both design and paint, and she even sports a brand new Horde crossbow designed just for Classics. You couldn't ask for anything more with Scorpia, since she looks like she jumped off the screen of the old cartoon (plus some awesome detail in the arms and tail that make it look like a real scorpion parts). I don't think Scorpia breaks away from Classics too well, but if you're a Princess of Power fan, this is a must-have, no question.
Scorpia only comes with the scorpion-themed crossbow, but she doesn't need much else. The scorpion arms and tail are imposing enough!
May's second slot was filled with a big 'ol beast: Battle Lion! This was clearly a modified Battle Cat, but somehow just changing the head makes Battle Lion seem so much bigger.
Battle Lion is King Grayskull's steed, from the 2002 cartoon. The idea is like with King Grayskull: When Adam transforms, he takes on Grayskull's strength and gets all buff. So, likewise, when Cringer transforms, he takes on Battle Lion's buffness. So, Battle Lion is supposed to be the OG big green kitty.
The figure is just as good as Battle Cat, and like I said, the new large head does a great job giving the illusion that he's bigger than Battle Cat. On top of that, the armor he's wearing is straight-up the 2002 Battle Cat armor, so you can swap all of it on to Battle Cat and get a Classics version of the 2002 Battle Cat! This one isn't a must-have by any means, but it does a good job doing what it needs to do, so if this one strikes your fancy, I'd pick it up.
Battle Lion comes with a mask, claw armor, and a saddle.
June's figure was another vintage remake: Extendar, master of extension cords! If you need power, he's there to....wait, no, he's just good at extending.
The vintage Extendar would extend by sliding his limbs out, so, true to Classics fashion, the remake has swappable extender parts. On one hand, this reduces a bit of the fun of the original, but on the other hand, you can double up on the extender parts (like the last picture) and make extra long limbs for action shots. In the end, he turned out pretty great! Mattel mimicked the vintage pearlescent silver/white very well, and he stands out nicely with a shine. If I had any complaints, it's that the arms look a little long when not extended, but it's a small detail that isn't noticeable in most cases. Extendar makes for a great knight toy, and I recommend him if you can find him for a decent price. A must have for MotU fans, though!
Extendar comes with a lance, expandable shield, and extensions for his arms, legs, torso, and neck.
July brought us our second New Adventures of He-Man figure: Flogg, the guy with a crazy...fishing rod. Or something.
Flogg is a major badguy in New Adventures, and his role changes depending on the media. In the mini comics, he shows up, threatens Skeletor when he arrived, and then was immediately put into servitude by Skeletor. In the cartoon, Skeletor played it cool and lied to Flogg, saying he only wanted to help Flogg with his goals (probably because everyone was already following Flogg, so it was easier to play the adviser roll so Flogg could stay "in charge"). One way or another, the character or figure never made much of an impression on me, but the Classics figure did!
Once again, the details of the New Adventures figures always make for great Classics figures. The armor is awesome, and he's even got some nicely detailed pockets on the back of his belt. Amazingly enough, his only new parts are the torso armor, crotch piece, thighs, and head. The lower legs are Trap-Jaw (which we've seen a million times), the feet are Hordak's, and the arms are from the Horde Troopers. Everything comes together perfectly, and he really stands out among the other figures. I can't really call him a must-have overall, but he's certainly worth it if you're a fan of the character.
Flogg comes with his whip thing. It looks like it might also be some sort of rifle at the same time? That's how I think of it, anyway. He also came with a "Filmation Power Sword" for He-Man (not pictured) though the sword looks more like a squished version of the basic Power Sword. It doesn't look much like the Power Sword from the cartoon. The last item is just a rifle I gave him, from the first weapons pak.
July was the start of the Club Etheria sub (regardless of all the other Etheria residents we had before this), and it began with Double Trouble....a little bundle of problems.
As I've stated: 2014 was the start of a lot of problems. The new designers didn't have a good grasp of toys and toy functions. Double Trouble is, sadly, a good example. The vintage figure was a simple Man-E-Faces style figure: you turned the knob on her head, and her face switched from friendly, to angry (the story being that she was a spy, but you didn't know which side she was spying for).
Mattel nailed Man-E-Faces, so it should have been simple enough for Double Trouble, right? Well...for some reason, they redesigned the Four Horsemen's head sculpt to be this awkward tube, and then painted the whole thing in flesh color, so it looked like she didn't have a chin (even though the vintage figure didn't need that). I fixed it by painting the neck black, so it's not so pronounced in my pictures. The next problem was that they halted the helmet from turning by adding two useless tabs on the inside. The head could still turn within the helmet, but you couldn't turn the whole head so she could look side to side. When you cut the tabs, the whole helmet turns so she can look around....but why were those tabs there in the first place? Removing the tabs made everything better and you lost nothing. I'm not sure what the designers were thinking.
Once you fix those two things, she's actually pretty cool! The colors are awesome, the translucent cape looks great, and the Horsemen made a brand new crossbow for her that can be twisted around to be a basic crossbow, or a Horde crossbow (I also gave her Queen Marleena's sword, because the green pommel matched her well).
If you don't mind fixing her, she actually isn't too bad. Regardless, she's still a testament to the decline of the Classics series near the end.
Here we are in August again, and time for SDCC (and a glut of other figures). The exclusive this time was a Filmation inspired Hordak; which was just a repaint of the basic Hordak in Filmation colors. This one was hotly contested when he was released, because many fans wanted a purely Filmation Hordak, who looks like the animation. Personally, I really like this one (and Super 7 released a pure animated Hordak recently, so both parties are happy now).
I'm not sure why I like this one so much. Maybe because it's like a cybernetically enhanced Hordak, as if he was near death and brought back to life with technology. Which kinda makes sense, for the Classics story, where Skeletor steals all his power!
Design wise, this is just Hordak again, in new colors, with a swappable arm. The robot arm is a mix of Trap-Jaw's shoulder, Flipshot's bicep, and Hurricane Hordak's cannon arm. It works out nicely, though it can't mix any of Hurrcane Hordak's weapons. Instead, it has a new ball joint hole for an optional robot hand. Overall, while I like this one, nothing really stands out and makes me say "Wow, you gotta get him!" Still, he's a neat color scheme for Hordak, and if you find him on the cheap, I'd get him. If you're looking for a Filmation Hordak, though, I'd look to Super 7's version.
Hordak comes with a gray recolor of his Classics staff, a little figure of his sidekick Imp (not pictured), and his robot arm and hand. The white crossbow is from the Spirit of Hordak figure, and the yellow bursts are from a Mega Man X figure.
The first of August's basic sub figures was Flutterina, the butterfly lady. This was one of the few figures that didn't interest me much when I saw her in the vintage archive, but the Classics figure improved her greatly. Something about the vintage figure just didn't match very well, while the Classics figure (based on the toon) just has a more cohesive color scheme going on. I liked this figure a lot more than I thought I would, though the hair and wings stop her from looking around. There's something about the orange suit and the gold highlights that looks great with the wings; and the purple hair brings it together. I'm not sure if she's worth hunting down, but she might be worth a look on the cheap. If you're a fan of the vintage figure, well, this one is different, but I feel like it's a big improvement.
Flutterina comes with a sword (I painted the pommel blue), and a shield. Her wings attach by the same connectors that attach Draego-Man's and Granamyr's wings, so...you can swap those around, if you like.
August's second figure was OOOOHH MAN, IT'S MY BABY!
You remember how I gushed about 2013's New Adventures He-Man? Well, there was only one other figure I liked more, from the New Adventures series.
This is "intergalactic" Skeletor, or Skeletor's design from The New Adventures of He-Man. The vintage toy was a much maligned figure, having been thinner and a little weird looking. You can find that opinion anywhere, and perhaps you'll see it as hideous if you look it up - but you're in MY TOWN, BUDDY. We're gona talk about how awesome the vintage figure was! I was technically a little young for the original MotU, so when New Adventures came along, I was just the right age to accept a cyborg Skeletor (my favorite character ever, at the time). I'll go into the depths of my insanity for the figure in a full review, so for now I'll just say that I was highly anticipating this figure. For most of Classics, I never thought we'd see it, and if we did, I assumed they would change or get rid of most of his unique details.
All of those unique details are intact and glorious! However, the new designers made some interesting choices, which was sadly standard for this year. Since NA Skeletor's body was covered in wires (and his crooked cybernetic spine was visible on his back), they had to make a whole overlay for the basic body. I personally would have went for a new torso, but I suppose they have to save money where they can. On one hand, it makes his body look a little puffy, and once again, the designers put the clasps on his sides instead of on his back. On the other hand...well, I like it. He's HUGE. Exactly like you'd think he would be, since he's shoved full of cybernetic parts. Not nicely, either! Most of his mechanical parts look horribly shoved into his body, coming in and out at various points. Even the armor on his chest looks attached with tubes and wires, like it's fused to this skin! This is because, for the mini comic story, Skeletor performed the cybernetic surgery himself in a medical lab.
So, I can excuse the puffy skin armor, but they also randomly made his hands a bit gummy, making it a little hard for him to hold his new heavy staff (which is strange, since we've seen these hands on Horde Prime and they weren't gummy there). Skeletor is also top heavy, with the large cape, and his feet don't have enough heel support, so he tends to fall back or rest on the cape if he isn't posed right.
...and I love the figure. I love it, I can't help it. He's amazing. Even with the flaws. The pictures show that he can be posed well, and I didn't have to put that much work into getting him to stand or hold his staff. Every time I pick the figure up, I smile. I even bought a second one so I could remove the cape (the vintage figure had a removable cape, and I used that feature often enough to want it on this one). So...take my thoughts with a grain of salt. A lot of people were unhappy with this one, but I friggin' love it and highly recommend it to everyone.
Skeletor comes with his badass staff, helmet, and a second battle damaged head for Faker.
August's Club Etheria figure was Madame Razz; the Princess of Power toon's equivalent to Orko.
Madame Razz wasn't terribly important to me, but she was big-time important to She-Ra fans! She played the part of friend, adviser, and wacky magical provider, much like Orko in MotU, with a little bit of Man-At-Arms thrown in. So far as I can tell, she jumps right off the screen and seems to be a good representation of her! I hadn't heard any complaints, anyway. She does what she needs to do, and I think any She-Ra fan would be happy to have her. The only drawback is that they forgot to paint the shins black, which are the tops of her tall boots, though it's not that obvious if you're not looking for it.
Madame Razz comes with her buddy Broom to fly around on, though you've got to pose her just right to get her on there (the magical burst in the first picture is from a Marvel Legends figure).
We finally move on to September, and yet another vintage remake from the MotU line: Rio Blast!
The vintage Rio Blast had flip-out guns all over his body, which meant that the body also had large cavities for the guns to sit in. Classics Rio Blast doesn't have any cavities, so the weapons all pop on to the different areas, taking away from the fun a little. On top of that, the new designers struck again with puffy armor (though it's less visible on this one) and just shoddy workmanship with the chest flap. The large red chest gun attaches to a peg on the inside of the flap, but there's no recess in the mechanical chest area to receive that peg...so the flap just sticks out. I'm not usually one to complain over and over about little details, but the chest flap is just lazy work, no question. Someone messed up and didn't even check their work afterward. I have no doubt that this would have been caught, earlier in the toyline.
The end result is a good looking figure (because of the Four Horsemen's sculpting) but a poorly designed toy in terms of working in all the features. Still, if you're a huge fan of Rio Blast, I think you still may like him. He still looks pretty great with all his weapons out. It's just that Rio Blast had the potential to be a fantastic figure, but instead ends up just okay (or worse, depending on how heinous you consider the screw-ups to be).
Rio Blast comes with two thigh guns, two wrist guns, a chest gun, and his large artillery backpack with attached pipes that can slide into his forearms.
September's Club Etheria figure was Entrapta, the Horde lady with living hair.
Entrapta was a vintage Princess of Power figure, and she also appeared on the cartoon. Like with most of these figures, she's mostly based on her cartoon appearance. Her deal was living hair, so naturally she got BIG braids with little loops at the end for trapping other figures. I would have liked to have seen more articulation in the hair, especially since her accessories weren't that amazing - they could have cut the accessories and just focused on articulating the hair as her weapons (as it was, I gave both of her accessories away to other figures anyway). At the very least, the hair is on two disc-hinge joints where they attach to the head, and then has a cut joint at the end of each braid. She's not amazing, but she's not bad, either. I actually ended up liking her a lot more than I thought I would, based mostly on her uniqueness as a brightly colored villain.
Entrapta comes with a shield (given to Glimmer) and The Shaping Staff (an artifact from the Filmation MotU cartoon that I gave to Shokoti). Those items didn't really fit her, so I gave her She-Ra's axe-comb and a pistol from Queen Marleena.
Here we are in October again, and for the first time in Classics, this October didn't hit a huge want for my birth month. It's all luck of the draw, of course, but it's funny that it coincided with the decline of the line's quality.
October's basic figure was Eldor, from the canceled Powers of Grayskull toyline (it was supposed to be the line after the vintage MotU line). He was a prototype that never saw production, so this was his first time in figure form. He came out really well! The sculpting is amazing. His only real problem is that the hood accessory doesn't sit quite right; it's too high up on the head to look realistic. It's not a huge problem, since his head sculpt and little metal skull cap are awesome, but it's still disappointing that they couldn't get the hood to rest on his head. Eldor makes for a great wizard figure, though I doubt he's easy enough to find for casual buyers. He's not so much a must-have for MotU fans either, but if you like the look, I wouldn't hesitate to get him.
Eldor comes with a hood, staff, and a book of spells (it opens, but nothing is written inside).
Though there were no big time wants for my birth month, October's Club Etheria figure at least came close. This is Sweet Bee, from the Princess of Power toyline and cartoon.
Sweet Bee was a figure I was looking forward to since I saw her in the vintage archive. The bee theme is always cool, and I felt like the Classics formula could improve upon her. Thankfully, that appeared to be the case, at least for me. I feel like this one is the best of both worlds - the toon and the vintage toy. On top of that, they added a space helmet from her appearance on the toon, and a brand new bee gun, designed just for Classics. There wasn't much else to do here; it's a total improvement on all counts. I'm still drawn to this figure, even four years later, but I find it hard to explain why with just pictures. Maybe you'll like her just as much, if you get her in-hand. This is a great figure for She-Ra fans, a must have for Sweet Bee fans, and probably not amazing for general toy fans, but i'd give her a look if you see her cheap.
Sweet Bee comes with a set of bee wings (also interchangeable with other wings in the Classics series), a yellow shield, an alternate helmeted head, and her stinger gun.
October had one more trick up it's sleeve to impress me for my birth month: Light Hope, the Club Etheria exclusive figure!
Light Hope is more of a concept, than an actual character. In the Princess of Power cartoon, he's a shaft of rainbow light within the Crystal Castle (She-Ra's Castle Grayskull, pretty much). He acts as the show's equivalent to The Sorceress, from MotU. Since he never had a physical body, the Horsemen designed one for him, in the form of a figure mostly made of translucent rainbow plastic and gold paint. This was an awesome idea, and the figure is just stunning! He's a pleasure to look at, and takes design cues from the Crystal Castle, even having a little replica of it on the top of his staff (almost making him the Crystal Castle's equivalent to Castle Grayskullman). He was a brilliant idea all around, and worth hunting down for anyone who loves translucent figures. Definitely a must-have for She-Ra fans.
Light Hope comes with a clear staff (the second picture has him holding She-Ra's sword; he doesn't come with one).
November started off with a bang, caused by the cannon on top of the Battle Ram! That's right; this sucker dropped outside any of the subs, so you had to get online and nab it (though it was large and expensive, so it was not hard to get).
We've seen part of the Battle Ram before, in the Sky High and Sky Sled set last year. The Sky Sled part of the Battle Ram was a common vehicle in the MotU cartoon, so it made sense to make a smaller set that could be more easily army built than buying a ton of Battle Rams. The first Sky Sled used the vintage gargoyle head on the front, though, and to keep the Battle Ram's Sky Sled unique, they changed the gargoyle head to the snake head seen on the villain's Sky Sleds in the cartoon. So, technically the Battle Ram isn't a complete recreation of the vintage vehicle without getting the first Sky Sled set with Sky High.
Whatever; doesn't matter. What does matter is that this is a beautiful recreation of the Battle Ram, for the most part, and if you're a fan of the old vehicle, you're going to want this. Just like with the Wind Raider, all the previously stickered parts are now sculpted detail. The missile launches, the wheels roll, and the thing is just plain fun.
The last piece in the set is another figure of Man-At-Arms; this time a sort of homage to his Filmation design, but with a new unhelmeted head styled after his look in the 2002 cartoon. So, he's an odd mix, and I kinda feel like he's there just to give us a new headsculpt and a half-hearted Filmation figure. He's far and away from a reason to get this set, but if you already want the vehicle, it doesn't hurt to get this decent body as custom fodder. He's especially useful if you have the Dekker figure and want a place to use his younger head sculpt on this body.
This is a fantastic set, if expensive and probably more so now that it's four years old. I doubt it'll be easy to come by, but if you want it so badly that you end up dropping a bunch of cash on it, you at least won't be disappointed.
The Battle Ram comes with two parts: The Sky Sled and the Ram itself. A monster-faced missile launches from the top of the Ram, and then the Man-At-Arms figure comes with his mace, a silver grayskull mace, and a silver pistol.
On to Novembers regular figures: The first basic figure for the regular sub was Tung Lashor, an old favorite from the vintage toyline!
Tung Lashor should be less fun, since his vintage figure had this awesome tongue flicking action when you moved a wheel on his back, and the Classics figure just has a swappable head - but dang man, he just looks awesome! Every detail was recreated for this guy, and he even got a brand new torso sculpt to bring the old figure to life! He's menacing, evil looking, and one of the strangest Snake Men of the bunch, since he's clearly a poison dart frog. I can't recommend this guy highly enough, and I'm hoping the pictures show what I mean. He's simply magnificent in looks and in function.
Tung Lashor comes with a Snake Men staff in purple, and his unique dragonfly crossbow (both from his vintage figure). He also has two heads, one with the tongue out, and one with the mouth closed (that I didn't photograph, for some reason...).
November's second basic sub figure was in the large beast catergory: Arrow, Bow's steed.
This one is just the horse sculpt again, which I wasn't a huge fan of, but it gets the job done. Arrow is a decent horse with a mowhawk, so he gets points for being metal (maybe 80's hair metal, but still metal). This one is pretty forgettable, and probably on my list for dropping at some point. A good, basic horse, but nothing to write home about.
Arrow comes with a set of wings, in case you want to make him a winged horse, like the vintage toy. I didn't photograph them because...well I wasn't all that impressed by Arrow. Sorry, horsey.
Now we're talking! Even when the toyline was starting to take a dive in quality, it could still pump out a best-of-the-series kind of figure, in for the form of Galactic Protector She-Ra! She was the Club Etheria figure for November.
This figure and concept is totally exclusive to Masters of the Universe Classics. When He-Man goes off to space for New Adventures, they decided to have She-Ra go with him for the Classics story. This required a new look, and the designer took cues from She-Ra's vintage toy and mixed it with NA He-Man's design to create this masterpiece. Since NA He-Man mainly used gold, She-Ra was switched to mainly silver. Her sword and shield mirror He-Man's translucent green accessories (though She-Ra's shield is amazing, compared to He-Man's basic green shield) and she wears her own special helmet to go along with He-Man's helmeted New Adventures look. The overall design is like a badass space Valkyrie, and I highly recommend her to everyone who loves toys. She stands out among the rest, and may be in my top five for best Classics figures in general. You absolutely will not be disappointed by this amazing figure. I'm glad they were able to get out something so top-notch when the line was suffering from various problems left and right.
Galactic Protector She-Ra comes with the Sword Of Protection (space style) that can be stored in a loop on the back of her cape, and an awesome translucent green bird shield. She also wears yet another recolor of the pistol and holster originally seen on Adora, and her green visor can be removed.
We're on the final stretch, with December's first figure; one that I never thought I'd see! This is Gwildor, from the live action Masters of the Universe movie.
The live action He-Man movie was wrought with problems. Some of them involved money, and some involved the inability to do certain things, like have Orko flying around all the time. To avoid this, they created Gwildor, who played a similar roll to Orko in the bumbling comedic sidekick zone. Gwildor was also the creator of the Macguffin for the whole film: The Cosmic Key. As the creator, Gwildor naturally comes with a recolor of the Cosmic Key that came with Preternia Disguise He-Man (the vintage toy Gwildor's Cosmic Key was silver and red, so this repaint homages that). He also comes with what the description states is a larger "prototype" Cosmic Key, though it's really just designed directly off the movie version (even has the leather carrying strap). I'm not sure why it wasn't shrunk down for regular use, but I can't say I'm not happy to have it as it is. If the same mold is ever reused, I'd love to see it in movie colors, and smaller.
Gwildor himself is just magnificent. He jumps right off the screen; I can't even find anything out of place on this design. You can almost hear him speak just looking at him. He was never a big-time want for me, at least, until I got him in hand. The nostalgia is off the charts with this one, even if he was never a favorite character. I can't imagine that he would be sought after by any old toy collector, but any fan of the movie will definitely want to hunt this one down.
Gwildor comes with two Comic Keys: A repaint of the previous one in toy colors, and a large "Prototype" version, also in toy colors. Gwildor also carries his personal staff, taken right from the movie design.
The basic sub figure for December was Mermista, the mermaid, from the Princess of Power toyline and cartoon.
Mermista was a simple mermaid toy, for the Princess of Power line. You could make her a mermaid or a human by just removing the mermaid tail. Simple and effective! The Classics version didn't have a slip-on mermaid tail, rather, they used the leg-swap function they had used on figures like King Hsss. Just pop off the legs and replace it with a sparkly mermaid tail!
Mermista works just as well as you'd expect, though she doesn't do much for me. I like the colors and the added shell accessory, but the figure didn't inspire me much when I got her in hand. She's still a fine figure, though! Definitely worth hunting down for fans of Mermista, or just for mermaid fans.
Mermista comes with a shell horn, a green shield, her mermaid fin, and a clear plastic stand to hold her up in mermaid form.
December's Club Etheria figure was Spinnerella, the dancing whirlwind!
This was one that I thought could be interesting in Classics form, back when I looked through the vintage Princess of Power archives. The problem was her dress and arm tassels - they were cloth, on the vintage figure. Naturally, since that's expensive, the Classics figure used plastic instead of cloth to...mediocre effect. Not that she's a bad figure; in fact, I ended up liking her quite a bit when I got her in-hand. The biggest problem is with the arm tassels, since she has to be posed just-so to allow them to look natural. On one hand, she's limited. On the other hand, the correct pose actually looks pretty cool!
The best parts about her are the colors and the overall character design, while the worst parts are the arm tassels (in some cases) and the choice of accessories. She comes with a shield and a spear - the shield can't attach to her arm very well, thanks to the tasseled gauntlets, and the spear just seems like a cumbersome weapon for someone whose special ability is spinning. I ended up swapping accessories with 2015's figure, Queen Angelina. Spinnerella's shield and spear matched Angelina's colors perfectly, and Angelina's silver sword (seen above) ended up matching Spinnerella. Problem solved! If you're a fan of Spinnerella, then I'd suggest getting her, but she doesn't feel worth top-dollar. I'd wait to find her kinda cheap.
Spinnerella comes with a pink and blue spear (repainted from The Goddess' spear) and a pink shield. She also has multiple hair parts to give her either a vintage toy look, or a cartoon look (I've got her in the toy look, above).
That was it for December, but we do have another BONUS ROUND coming below! There were two items outside the subs. The first was a chase two pack containing these two:
Cartoon colors Kowl, and Loo-Kee. Neither of these were particularly special to me, but they felt like important characters to the Princess of Power series, so I figured...what the heck. Kowl showed up before in 2013's weapons pak (in toy colors) and Loo-Kee was a first.
Kowl was a know-it-all type and a foil to Bow, and Loo-Kee was pretty neat idea: Loo-Kee was hidden somewhere in every episode. At the end, Loo-Kee would show you where he had been, and then rattle off the episode's PSA for whatever lesson was to be learned that day. I felt like that was a great idea; mixing the PSA with a hide-and-seek game within the show. Makes me appreciate Loo-Kee a little more.
Both figures are limited to cut-joints arms and necks, but they don't need much more than that. They're more than serviceable for what they are, so if you're a big fan of She-Ra, you'll probably want to hunt this set down.
Last stop! This is Goat Man; a convention exclusive figure that was sold later on Mattel's online store. He hails from a MotU book where he gets punched by Fisto...and that's it. Goat Man managed to get a figure by design alone! Hopefully it's obvious why. If you don't like that classic fantasy design, then you probably aren't even reading this review! He's just as good as any early Classics figure, so there's no complaints stopping me from recommending him to everyone - assuming you can find him. I doubt it'll be easy, since...well, who would get rid of this dude? He works just about anywhere that has a fantasy theme! I'd snag him if you run into him at a good price.
Goat Man comes with a nicely detailed hammer, and the Staff of Avion for Stratos (an artifact from the vintage mini comics; not pictured).
That was it for 2014; what I consider to be the beginning of the decline of Masters of the Universe Classics. There were a lot of oddball screw-ups for a line that had so few for five years prior. Granted, this year brought some of my favorite figures, but it also messed up some that could have also been major favorites, if not for the strange design choices. The end result was more good than bad, but if you go through my previous year reviews, you'll see a lot more gushing than meh-ing, like you see here. Part of it might have been the lack of big-time character choices (since so many had already been made), but I feel like the major problem was the change in designers; so many strange little decisions that might not have been made before.
This was also the year that saw Classics decline in interest all around, so the next two years were up in the air! What would they do to keep the line alive and finish off the vintage MotU and Princess of Power toylines? Find out in 2015!