Sunday, July 8, 2018

Masters of the Universe Classics: Year by Year - 2016

This was it! 2015 pushed through with a sub drive, asking people to jump all-in as much as possible so that they could squeeze out just one more year for Classics. Well, 2016 came along and they went for it again! The collector's couldn't be squeezed much more, however. Come on in and find out what we got for the last year of Masters of the Universe Classics!

The year was...well, two years ago. 2016. Classics was finished with recreating the vintage MotU line, and took a huge chunk out of the favorites from New Adventures and Princess of Power. There wasn't much left to fuel this line, but Mattel saw fit to take one more shot. 2016 saw two subs, like the last couple years. This time, they were small; numbers so small that they hadn't been seen since the whole thing started in 2008, and on top of that, Mattel no longer had anyone writing bios, so 2016's figures were lacking in the usual bios on the backs of the packages. Two little storyless subs were all that was left for Classics: A Collector's Choice Sub (for characters fans had been asking for) and a Club Grayskull Sub, which contained figures that were not only from the Filmation 80's cartoon, but were directly sculpted to look like they jumped right off the screen! Trust me, it's different from the regular Filmation characters we'd already gotten, who were sculpted to be more "realistic" rather than "cartoony."

Case in point, January's figure for the Collector's Choice sub was Lord Masque, from the 80's cartoon. He was a bit player in the "House of Shokoti" episode; working as Shokoti's shadowy underling. In the end, it turned out he was just that - a shadow. His only goals were to release Shokoti. Otherwise, he just made an impression based on his awesome "dark wizard" style. This figure was a great idea and the design alone explains why people were asking for him. He looks cool and is so simply dressed that nothing gets in the way of his articulation. Highly recommended for anyone who likes fantasy stuff!

Lord Masque technically comes with nothing, but he is packaged with a pair of items meant for New Adventures He-Man. ...yeah, I don't know why, but I don't care, because I REALLY LOVE the sword and shield included, and I was happy to get them.

The sword and shield are from a variant of NA He-Man called Thunder Punch He-Man, which is totally different from the MotU Thunder Punch He-Man. This version sought to bring back the classic MotU twist-waist punch one last time; so that was his only gimmick. The coolest parts were the sword and shield designs, though the sword had a brittle handle and my original broke pretty quick. It was a favorite design throughout my childhood, and it was great to get it again, in non-breakable form! The best part is that the vintage TP He-Man's vest fits perfectly on the Classics body, so you can basically complete the look of the vintage figure, minus some tiny details in the boots.

February kicked off the Club Grayskull sub with the man everyone had been asking for: Filmation He-Man, just how he looked in the cartoon!

He practically jumps off the screen, lack of detail and all!

...alright, that's a harsh way to put it, but it was tough for me to get excited when the cartoon wasn't as important to me as the old mini comics. I totally understand that this figure is the blazing Icon of Masters of the Universe seen by all as the one true He-Man, but after an eight year run of highly detailed Classics figures, it was hard to see this as any sort of improvement over all the He-Men before him. Not to mention the underwhelming sword sculpt, which didn't look much like the cartoon sword.

Which was why I swapped out the sword for an Evil Mike custom sword styled more closely to the cartoon (for a figure I don't care about as much as other He-Man variants? Yeah, well, if I'm going to have him, he might as well have the right sword).

Let's just say this: He doesn't wow me in design, but he's still a major Icon, you know? They did a good job on him, for the most part, with new wrist and ankle joints. If this was your He-Man, then you pretty much owe it to yourself to pick this one up. The only complaints I can work up is the poor sword sculpt and the ankle joints looking a little busy and robotic. Beyond that, he would be more than perfect for that part of your heart that always wanted He-Man to look how he did in the cartoon. Just don't expect anything amazing out of him if you were already collecting Classics and liked the finer details.

Filmation He-Man comes with the same "Filmation" sculpt sword that came with Flogg, but in flat gray. It fits nicely in a scabbard plugged into the back of He-Man's harness. He also comes with a stone with two tiny slots for the sword to sit with either She-Ra's sword, or you can throw in He-Man and Skeletor's swords from Classics, if you like (not pictured).

March's Collector's Choice figure was Vultak...also from the Filmation cartoon (but not animated style, like the Club Grayskull figures, though the difference is slight).

Vultak was the Horde's beast master, in the Princess of Power cartoon. He was your classic evil animal tamer; capturing and abusing animals for his own evil intent. The figure is a nice surprise, because I had never heard of him, and because his figure just came out spectacular. The face is snide and sinister, the wings are big and work well, and his bird feet are detailed and allow for a nice range of motion (they even have rocker ankles for wide stances). Something about this figure makes him so much fun to pose! You get a cool looking shot every time, and he always looks ready for malice. I highly recommend him for anyone, since he works well in a fantasy setting. I'm not sure how important he is to your basic MotU collector, but if this guy really stood out to you when seeing him in the cartoon, then you'll definitely want to pick this up.

Vultak comes with a wing-themed Horde crossbow and a pre-posed rope with attached metal clamp, intended for Kowl (a reference to his capture in the cartoon). I also gave Vultak the staff from Despara, who we'll see further down. The staff just worked well for him, since it looks like an animal tamer's cattle prod.

March had a little extra item, in the form of Serpentine King Hsss. This was mentioned last year when I spoke about the Snake Armor He-Man and 200X King Hsss two pack. The two pack was supposed to have this new snake torso for King Hsss, but it ended up being too large and costed out. The reigns of Classics ended up changing hands around when that two pack came out, so the new people in charge forgot about the promise to release the snake torso with a later figure. This set was made to remedy that fact; released slightly cheaper than the regular figures and packed with a bunch of extras.

The set includes the snake torso, snake legs, a Snake Men head repaint (to look like King Hsss' head is in mid-transformation), and a set of Snake Men accessories (sword, spear, mace, and shield) in green and dark steel. It was a brilliant little set (that still made people angry for some reason, but we won't go into that) and all the items improve the original King Hsss greatly.

Also you can do this. So. Yeah. There's that. In case you want King Hsss to go it go poolside.

If you have King Hsss - either version - then you're going to want this set. It might even be good on its own, since it's a creepy snake beast, but you will be getting some extra parts that won't work anywhere but on Classics figures. It's a very cool and required set for King Hsss fans.

April's Club Grayskull figure was the first variant of Trap-Jaw; his Filmation cartoon appearance.

I'm going to be biased here, and it counts for most of the Filmation cartoon figures: The first Trap-Jaw is absolutely a must, and one of the all-time greats of the Classics series. He should not be missed. This version cannot hold a candle to him. His only use is if you're a huge fan of the cartoon and always wanted a figure of his exact design. If you were going to pick between the two, I can say nothing but: Go for the first.

Regardless: Is this a good figure? Yes, of course! He even has some little improvements, like extra ankle and wrist articulation...they're just not enough to beat the detail of the first version. The basic idea is that, if you loved the old cartoon, then you'll love this figure. There's nothing wrong with him that'll make you want to stay away. It's just not my kind of Trap-Jaw, when that excellent monster of a first figure is there waiting to be played with.

Trap-Jaw comes with his blaster, and two other commonly seen weapons that never showed up on the vintage figure: A fly swatter, and a some sort of bow shaped gun. I would have liked some more wacky weapons (he had a lot, on the cartoon) but the fly swatter gets the job done well enough.

May's Collector's Choice figure was another New Adventures character that never went beyond prototype, in the vintage toyline. This is Darius, the leader of the Galactic Protectors.

Darius never saw the light of day beyond some European mini comics. His figure was never made, and he didn't make it into the cartoon, either. Still, it was a solid design, and he works well as the leader of the Galactic Protectors for the New Adventures story. Since his planet - Primus - was traditionally peaceful, it seems right that the appointed leader of their military force looks kinda like he was originally an athlete. The armor and helmet looks like football gear, and his mace weapon even looks like an Olympic hammer. I imagine that, if the denizens of Primus were not used to war, they might choose their warriors from among the strongest athletes.

That's not the story, but it goes to show that the design is solid enough to get the creative juices flowing. The detail on this guy is fantastic, and the paintwork really makes him shine - literally. I had no interest in this guy originally, but the figure draws your eye no matter where he is in your toy room. His only drawback are the armor parts on his thighs; they're so thick that they run into the crotch piece, making his legs unable to move forward very far. Still, he's able to take decent enough stances, and he holds his weapon well. On top of that, he sports the first removable helmet in the Classics line (everyone else had a separate head). It fits well and doesn't scratch up the sculpt when removed. If you like the futuristic look, there aren't many reasons to skip him, but you can't deny that his obscurity probably makes him low on the want list. Still, if you see him, I'd give him a shot, if for nothing else then the pure art that is the sculpting of his head and armor.

Darius comes with a hammer mace, a removable cape and helmet, and a shield that takes its design from He-Man's final variant shield in the New Adventures toyline.

June's Club Grayskull figure was none other than the man himself: Skeletor, as he appeared in the Filmation cartoon.

You'd think I would be as unimpressed with this one as I had been with He-Man and Trap-Jaw, but Skeletor is different. There is little that I remember from the cartoon, since I was too young, but Skeletor stood out. His laugh, his skull, and his accompanying figure. I was ALL about Skeletor, back in the day. Still am. So, with that in mind: I very much welcome the cartoon version of Skeletor!

He came out fantastic! Jumps right off the screen in all the best ways, and benefits greatly from the new ankles and wrist articulation. The skull is what really makes it (though I would have painted the inside of the hood black) and you can vividly hear his laugh just looking at the skull. There's a chance I may get rid of the other Filmation styled figures, but this one is here to stay. Just like with the rest: If you're a fan of the cartoon, you will want this figure. No question.

Skeletor comes with his Havoc Staff and - strangely enough - a sword meant for the mini comic Skeletor that you could build with Demo-Man's extra head.

There were also other items (that came with other figures) that had been seen in the cartoon, wielded by Skeletor:

This magic axe came with Plundor, and was an item that Skeletor frequently used in the cartoon.

And this crossbone sword came with Lizard Man, and was another item Skeletor used in the cartoon from time to time, since the two-halves-of-the-Power-Sword thing wasn't a plot point in the cartoon.

These two items aren't required, but I feel like they round him out.

July's Collector's Choice figure visited New Adventures yet again, with Crita, the space witch! I think. Either that, or she's a space glam rocker from the 80's.

Crita is an interesting character; playing the part of Evil Lyn for the New Adventures series, except the sexual tension between her and Skeletor is creepy and weird, but it works! She appeared in the cartoon only, so the Classics figure is her first time in plastic. Crita is spectacularly 80's, which is strange, since she's from a 90's cartoon. She sports big, BIG feathered hair, leg-warmer-like boots, and gloves that go part of the way over her hands, so...yeah. Totally 80's. She's not a bad figure, but she is severely limited by the shawl thing attached to her hands. If one hand moves out, the other one gets pulled along by that shawl. It makes it hard for her to take too many interesting poses, not to mention the skirt restricting her legs. So she can't move much below the waist, and her arms can't move to the side or forward. There's not much to do with her for general toy fans, and I don't even know if there's enough NA fans out there to care about her! She's a good representation of Crita, if you're interested, but don't expect her to do too much.

Crita comes with a wand, an extended wand (into a whip) and some sort of gas gun (if I'm not mistaken) used in the cartoon.

Time for the Collector's Choice exclusive, Despara, the evil Horde's Force Captain and murder specialist!

Surprise, it's really Adora! This was a different interpretation of Adora in her Force Captain days for the Horde, when she was still brainwashed. She originally appeared in the recent MotU comics, and sported a helmet that made her look like a female Hordak. All in all, a better disguise, if you're trying to hide the princess of another kingdom. It's a really cool idea, and even comes with an unmasked head of Adora looking all military.

The figure itself is great and works as well as the rest, but there was a confusing choice which bring things back to 2014, when confusing choices was the norm. For some reason, her weapons don't follow the same standards that the rest follow: All the female accessories have a basic handle size, which is smaller than the male accessory handle size, because the female hands are sculpted smaller. For some reason, Despara's sword handles are small, but awkwardly shaped, so they don't sit quite right. The strangest choice is the staff she came with; it's just using the male accessory size, so the staff is massive in her hands and stretches them out so that she can't hold the swords without heating and squishing the hands closed (which is why I gave her staff to Vultak). It strikes me as lazy; like someone wasn't paying attention.

Regardless, she's still an impressive figure, and the swords stay in her hands for the most part. I've also noticed some people aren't crazy like me, and are somehow not bothered by the large accessories stretching out the female, that's a thing! If you like the idea, I can't say that there's anything terrible enough to keep you away, and I do still like the figure quite a bit! I'm just disappointed in the strange and lazy weapon thing that...probably isn't that big a deal to most folks.

Despara comes with two swords that can store in loops on the back of her cape, a staff that isn't made for her, and an alternate head.

Here we are in August, and you know what that meant! SDCC time, and time again for a ton of figures to----

----wait, no. There was no SDCC exclusive! Nor were there a ton of figures! Just Beast Man and the Club Grayskull exclusive. What a small load this year was!

The basic Club Grayskull figure was Beast Man, as he appeared in the 80's Filmation cartoon. This is another one that doesn't excite me that much, because Beast Man wasn't really a favorite back in the day, and my interest only slightly heightened with the Classics figure. Something about him never really caught on with me, and needless to say, the cartoon version doesn't do anything to change the feeling. If you're a fan, there's no reason to stay away! He looks just like the animation and there isn't much to get in the way of his articulation. I may not be a huge fan of the lack of detail, but he's still a great figure.

Beast Man comes with his whip (this time rigid plastic) and a shield meant for someone else (not pictured). I never did figure out who the shield was supposed to be for.

Club Grayskull's exclusive figure was Evil Seed, 80's cartoon style!

We spoke about Evil Seed in 2015, where we saw the 200X version of Evil Seed in all his glory. The Filmation cartoon version is an entirely different design, and it works so well with the 200X design! Looking at the two, this cartoon version clearly looks like a "bud" while the 200X version looks like the "bloom." They go hand in hand, and I feel like both are very much worth owning for that fact, and because both are visually interesting and sinister in different ways. The 200X version is sinister in a classic action-movie style, where he's clearly looking to destroy you. The Filmation cartoon version looks sinister in an old black-and-white film way; you can almost imagine him in a silent film with his words being written on a black screen after he speaks. He's more of a plotting evil, and the face really shows it. I highly suggest both, though, if you're only going to get one, I almost have to jump to this one's side. There's just something about this one's face! He may not move much below the waist, but he's still highly recommended to all.

Evil Seed comes with a vine attachment for his hand, and a separate vine trap to wrap over unsuspecting enemies.

September's Collector's Choice figure was General Sunder; a man who worked for the Horde, but didn't fully get behind the whole Evil Empire deal.

General Sunder was from the Princess of Power cartoon, and was used as a viewpoint from the side of the enemy; the Horde. He worked for the Horde, but genuinely felt that they were doing something good (somehow) until he witnessed the evil deeds the Horde performed on a daily basis. Everywhere. All the time (I'm sure there's more to the story). He appeared more than once, and it's a classic idea for a story, so he stuck out in the minds of the fans, leading to Sunder's frequent mention in want lists. He finally made it in the last year, and he came out pretty well! Not only does he use most of the excellent Horde Trooper mold, but the new head and armor compliment them and allows him to seamlessly blend in with the Troopers while looking like a leader.

Sunder was good on his own, but Mattel opted to give him some variant heads meant for Horde Troopers:

One head sported large black eyes, and was based on the "Past Troopers", or the head design used for the Troopers when the cartoon showed a flashback (like when Hordak originally kidnapped Adora). The heads were apparently simpler, back then.

Another head was based on the slight modification for underwater use. These Troopers were seen in ocean missions, and were also lead by Octavia, the Horde's Force Captain of the seas.

The last head was based on the MotU comics released not long ago. This "monster" head seemed to be just a normal Horde Trooper, though it works for  a singular character if you put your mind to it.

General Sunder is a pretty cool figure, so I wouldn't hesitate to get him if you're just in it for the extra trooper heads - you won't be disappointed by Sunder! Still, it is disappointing that you have to buy him over and over if you wanted to army build the other head styles. Regardless, Sunder is a good figure, and I think Princess of Power fans will enjoy him.

General Sunder comes with a new sculpted Horde axe and two pistols that store in the holsters at his sides. He is also packed with three Horde Trooper heads that he can also use (though it won't look quite as right).

September had a large beast item for the Collector's Choice sub, in the form of a Night Stalker; a mechanical horse/tank.

This is a vehicle from the vintage MotU line, and while it looked cool, I never saw it as a must-have, when I was a kid. Even when it was announced for Classics, I knew it would probably be cool, but I was wary of taking on more large vehicle items. Once I got it in hand, though, I knew this beast was a keeper! Anything that wasn't articulated on the original has been articulated for Classics, and I feel like the designers went out of their way to really make this one special. Not only are all the leg joints movable but, unlike with the other horses, this one easy to stand and will stay solid in many different poses. The best part is the neck: The segmented neck is all ball jointed, so you can bend it side to side and up and down and it all looks natural (for a mechanical horse, anyway). The other great part about this beast is the size and the robotic, boxy style to it. The thing is solid, and looks like it could take a beating. The figures don't even ride it like a normal horse - it has a seat set into the horse's body, so this thing is like a little tank. Literally! There are guns on the front and a little turret on the back! Could you imagine a war with hundreds of these things running around?

Needless to say: I love this thing, and it gets the imagination going like nothing else. I never knew what a great I idea it was, or how awesome of a design the original had been. It is well worth picking up and taking up some of your large vehicle space. Easily the best "horse" in the series.

The Night Stalker comes with a removable helmet, but that's it. There's not much more that you need.

October's Club Grayskull figure was a big time fan want: Evil-Lyn, Filmation cartoon style!

Evil-Lyn was a figure that I felt had already been done well, by this point. The vintage yellow skinned one was great, and 200X repaint ended up fantastic, even without a newly sculpted 200X costume. The fans are ever done with Evil-Lyn, though. There were fans who still wanted a full 200X remake, and still more who wanted the Filmation version, since that one was just as iconic as Filmation He-Man or Skeletor. It was natural to expect that Filmation Evil-Lyn would make it into the Club Grayskull sub.

As usual, for me, this one is lowest on my list of Evil-Lyns. The last two were fantastic, and this one lessens the details. Still, like the rest, there's nothing actually bad about this figure, and if you want a Filmation Evil-Lyn, I would hunt this down, because it is the complete package. She looks like she's plucked right off the animation, and she even comes with an un-helmeted head with a great cocky smirk that brings the whole figure home - it's the only reason I plan to keep this one, even though the other Evil-Lyns are better, in my eyes. That's how cool that head sculpt is. So, if you're looking for an Evil-Lyn, I would go with one of the first two. If you're looking for Filmation Evil-Lyn, then this one is great and definitely worth your time.

Evil-Lyn comes with the little wand seen in the first picture (the purple wand with the green crystal is from the first weapons pak, and I felt like it matched her better), an un-helmeted head, and a Corodite Crystal (an item used in both the 80's cartoon and the 2002 cartoon). The flame effects are from Tamashii Effect parts.

October had a second item, for the Collector's Choice sub: TUSKADOR, the big beefcake who dresses like a cybernetic elephant man!

Tuskador was from the New Adventures of He-Man cartoon and toyline, but he was never seen like this! The original was man-sized and sporting the same details, but the Classics version is BEEF-sized and sporting two styles of tusks for MAXIMUM TUSKING. There was never more of a surprise figure than this one! He was asked for by fans for a good while, and every time I was confused as to why people liked him so much. I might have stayed confused, if he had been normal sized. Making him gigantic was genius! This figure is awesome! Every time I pick him up I have a hard time putting him down. He's massive, heavy, and probably able to kill a man if you threw Tuskador at his head. The best part is that he actually uses Ram Man's humongous body and builds off of it. Those are Ram Man's arms, feet, and chest. The rest is new sculpted items placed over or attached to the body. Brilliant figure, highly recommended to all toy fans!

Tuskador comes with a pair of short tusks (from the cartoon) and a pair of long tusks (from the vintage toy). Whatever tusks you're not using can be plugged into the back for storage. Tuskador also comes with a small rifle (or a large pistol?) that can be stored in the loop on his right side. His helmet can be removed and clipped back on with tabs on the side of the helmet.

November floated in with another Collector's Choice figure; a Horde Wraith!

This wizard was seen only in a flashback on the 2002 cartoon; floating around and helping to cast spells. The Horde Wraiths were mage soldiers, so they were seen in numbers, much like the ground-pounding Horde Troopers. The Wraiths were just as nameless and throw-away as the Troopers, I assume, so they were ripe for army building (though I only got the one). The sculpting is awesome, though there are some minor gripes: For one, the staff is super rubbery. You could wrap it around your finger, if you wanted. The other problem is that they didn't want to mess up the Wrath's "casting hands", so they're both open. Because of this, he can't hold anything, so they added this awkward blade thing on the side of the staff for his fingers to slide into. He never looks like he's holding it well, and the thing will warp under even mild warmth, so it's almost useless. It's disappointing, because I have to give props to the Horsemen for sculpting it to be a staff and a standard Horde crossbow! If you toss it to the side, though, you still have a great figure! He moves well, looks intimating, and he can work in any fantasy setting. Definitely recommended for any toy fan.

The Horde Wrath comes with his rubber staff and a clear plastic stand to plug in underneath his robe, so he looks like he's floating (the purple flame is a Tamashii Effect).

Whoa, here we are in December already! The last basic figure for the Club Grayskull sub was Filmation...Clawful? Really?

That's right! Clawful was based on a concept, for the Filmation cartoon. His final toy concept hadn't been finished, so Filmation used this and let caution fly to the wind! How do you sell toys when the character doesn't even look like it?

I'm kidding, of course. Nobody cares; the only thing that matters is that this version got a figure, because he looks great! This is one that stands out as the best of Club Grayskull, because I don't already have him! Technically. I mean, he doesn't really fight for space with Clawful, because the two of them look nothing alike. This is practically a brand new figure that just share's Clawful's name! I love that, and I was glad to get something that was brand new to me. This dragon-ish looking dude is a bit cartoony, but I feel like he still fits in with Classics (especially with Fang Man). He doesn't do anything amazing, so I doubt he'll be an interest to random toy collectors, but he's definitely cool enough for Filmation fans. His only drawback is that his claws are hard plastic, and you have to pry them open to get him to hold his club - but he doesn't need the club anyway; he looks cool enough without it.

Clawful comes with a green club and the Horn Of Evil; an artifact from the Filmation cartoon.

There was one more item, for December, but it wasn't part of either sub, because it was a big 'ol vehicle:

 This is the Roton, a remake of the same vintage vehicle from MotU.

The Roton was simple enough: You push the vehicle and the spinner on the bottom twirls around and knocks down enemies! The best part about this vintage remake is that it does the same thing! You push it and it spins! It's just huge, compared to the original. It also sports a new cockpit top that is based on the model kit version (the top didn't come with the vintage vehicle). Beyond that, all the vintage stickers are replaced with sculpted details, and the set came with a brand new figure:

A Skelcon, which were random lackeys working for Skeletor in an old picture book. They didn't appear anywhere else, but they're still a neat idea, and they made enough of an impression for fans to ask for them in figure form. Heck, when the fans asked for them, I think other fans jumped on board just because the design is so cool! I had never heard of them before someone brought it up, and I was an immediate fan once I saw them. The figure turned out even better than the concept in the books! This thing is just a straight-up fantasy demon creature; like something out of an old play or kid's book from centuries ago. It's like the thing they used to tell children about in the old days - something that'll eat you if you're not being good. It's just too bad that this figure could only be obtained through buying a huge vehicle!

The Skelcon comes with a bone knife (that fits in the sheath at his side) and a bone spear.

If you can manage to find a Skelcon without the vehicle - GET IT. MotU fan or not. If you like the look of the vehicle, you can't go wrong there either! This vehicle is possibly my favorite of the few vehicles in the line; mostly because the spinning feature makes me smile and...well, I'm easy to please. The thing is like an evil Roomba, what more could you want? Both are highly recommended.

That was it for December, and....well, Classics! Almost, save for one last


Brought to you by chase figures and convention figures.

The first is the chase figure for 2016, which was as annoying to catch as the rest, but thankfully he became strangely available after Classics died. He showed up online and even in a few stores! I wouldn't say he's easy to find at this time, but it's entirely possible. This is Anti He-Man.

Another evil He-Man? Yes! But much more obscure than Faker's confusing existence. Anti He-Man is from a German audio book about an alternate dimension containing Anti Eternia, where everything is reverse. Skeletor is the good guy, and He-Man is the badguy. The audio book describes Anti He-Man as a dark figure with red hair, so naturally the fan interpretations have him as a jet black He-Man with red hair. It's a simple repaint, but reading the transcript of the audio book really brings him to life. Anti He-Man is a dark lord of Anti Eternia, and master of Castle Hellskull, which is the reverse of Grayskull - a shining white castle with an angelic face on the front, instead of a skull. How can you not love that idea? The surface is just a black He-Man repaint, but beneath you've got a killer story idea.

This could have been just a repaint of He-Man and his accessories, but thankfully they added a couple items to spice him up: The mini-comic styled Power Sword and Castle Grayskull Man's shield, but in black with a red skull. Beyond that, Anti He-Man comes with the basic Power Sword, axe, and shield that He-Man has. I realize this is a simple repaint, but give that audio book a read and I think you'll be interested in him. He's just as good as He-Man, so if you already like the mold, why not buy him again in black?

We're down to our last two! In 2016, Mattel decided to make a few exclusives for the MotU convention, Power Con. These were some fan wants, but obscure to very obscure, so they weren't high on people's lists - but they were still great choices!

The first is Beast Man, in red, to match how he looked in the original four mini-comics (and on some promotional items). Beast Man was never my favorite, but somehow this simple repaint really hit the right notes for me. I'm not sure what it is; this instantly became my regular Beast Man (which says a lot, since he beat out the nostalgia of my Beast Man with the yellow armor). The yellow eyes make him look a little more crazed and berserk. The red is also vibrant and has a little black wash to break it up, so it doesn't feel like one solid color. Out of these Power Con exclusives, I'd say this one is the best, and most important, if you wanted to get another mini-comic styled character to go with He-Man, Skeletor, and Mer-Man. I'm not sure how hard he is to get, but if you're a mini-comic fan, you need him.

Beast Man only came with his basic whip, in red.

Also, not pictured: There was a mini-comic colored Granamyr, in green, as a big item exclusive. I ended up skipping it, due to cost, though I would have preferred it over the red version if I had gotten a choice between the two at the same time.

The last item is a real weird one: Camo Khan, a variant of Kobra Khan.

This one is based on an anomaly: one of the few times an international company - with the rights to make MotU figures - decided to make their own figure. Camo Khan, or Kobra Khan Camuflado, was exclusive to Argentina. He was just Kobra Khan, but with a camo pattern and Buzz-Off's clawed arms, along with Clawful's green mace. It was strange, but still a unique and official MotU figure that the fans wanted to see in Classics form.

I gotta say...they were right to want him. This is one of the more confusing pieces, because the idea is so strange and obscure, but the figure comes out SO cool. The pattern works, the gold looks great with it, and the claws actually make Khan more intimidating. The mace is kind of boring, but with those claws, he doesn't really need it. I'm not sure what this one goes for in the after market, but I would try to hunt it down. You'll love him, once you get him in hand. He's even cool enough to interest non-MotU fans, I think, but I don't think he would be cheap enough for a "that's neat" purchase. Definitely recommended.

Camo Khan only comes with a Clawful mace, in a slightly brighter green than the original or the weapons pak one.

And so, Masters of the Universe Classics ended. From 2008 to 2016, this line systematically pumped out figure after figure until the whole vintage MotU line had been remade, big chunks of the Princess of Power and New Adventures lines had been remade, and even some vehicles joined the ranks! Along the way, we also got some fantastic historical items from throughout MotU's life, like concept characters, prototypes, rare variants, and even different interpretations of characters, like from the cartoons or comic books!

Was it all good? All bad? It's hard to say, and even harder when you weren't there for the ride (and it's tough to trace the route if you want to take the ride after the fact, which is why I did these breakdowns). I was there from the beginning; participating in conversations in forums and listening to Mattel respond. From that standpoint, you heard a lot of complaints. Many of those complaints helped make the line better! Others were harder to understand. If you read through forums, you would find a lot of complaints about quality control, yet, through the whole series I only had to return one figure, and replace one or two parts by trading with other collectors. The complaints I agreed with were the ones that were large and obvious, like the Green Goddess breaking, or the loose ankles early on in the line. There were other smaller things that, while valid, they just didn't bother me, like reversed shoulders (it's hard to explain, but most of you won't notice anyway), or strange choices like reversing Stinkor's forearms (another one you probably won't notice, and was such a non issue to me that I didn't mention it in the little review).

So, in the end, it was exactly what you might expect: The line was like any other toyline. There were some problems, some fixes, some rampant and unresolved problems, but....not many. Overall, the line was great! In fact, I might go so far as to say it was one of the best; out of everything I've collected. Some of that is just nostalgia speaking, but a lot more of it is counted by how many times I said "This figure is great for all collectors!" There were just so many great toys in this line. Toys that any toy fan would enjoy. I feel like that sets this series above the rest, though maybe not high above them all (but it's up there). I can't think of any problems that break the toyline as a whole. There were some really bad things (especially when they switched designers and had to reinvent some designs that were already working fine the way they were) but each individual figure usually had something good about them, whether it be sculpting or just plain fun accessories.

I'm happy to say that one of my favorite toylines from back in the day - Masters of the Universe - wasn't just remade here. It grew. Expanded into almost literally everything MotU had been or was going to be. It might not have been able to hit every individual fan's desires, but making everyone happy is rarely a possible feat. If you want to jump into this line, you'll have some work ahead of you, but hopefully I've made the research a little simpler. There's a reason so many of these figures are expensive on the after market. It was a spectacular toyline.

...and many fans didn't want it to end.

Stay tuned to find out what happened to Classics when it was picked up a company called Super 7!

1 comment:

  1. hi, my name is mark kox and i am a creative writer, i find the masters of the universe to be very fascinating. every since the 1980's when i watched the series i was impressed. now, i feel it's past time to re-revamp the line again with character ideas that mattel scraped and some new ones too: more giant characters and increase the scale to 7 inches and taler for other characters.