2013 Masters of the Universe Classics Ends Strong

By junior - February 14, 2014

MOTUC-featThe end of the year for Masters of the Universe Classics gave us a plethora of characters that reached far beyond the limited scope of the traditional Masters of the Universe characters.

November’s entries include the Evil Geldor and Princess Adora’s love interest Seahawk. December rounded out the year with the Omniscient Standor, the evil despot Plundor, and FilMation-conceived Evil Warrior Strong-Or. While the characters given weren’t the strongest, when viewed in the context of how well the year as a whole played out, these characters really do expand their various subseries nicely.

There was a lot to like about what was given. It’s not often we are given characters out of the easily-forgotten mini-comic. After Strobo, now we have Geldor, a selfish villain searching for the Secret Liquid of Life. This action figure was pretty by the numbers, and thankfully, no real compromise in his look was needed to be made for the sake of budget. His armor, tights, boots, head and accessories are all unique and well-implemented. He comes with the Secret Liquid of Life in a small vial and a character-specific axe. His joints were tights and the few paint applications given were quite nice. I would have only updated the color scheme a bit as he is one of the few characters with an overpowering singular red color to his costume. It may have been budget, and while pretty bland, he is accurate.

Next, the subscription-exclusive Seahawk has the distinction of being the second male to grace the Princess of Power sub series. Adora’s love comes with new cartoon-accurate attire, and trusty weapons from his father, the Falcon (a laser sword and a light shield). The toy was well painted (again) and his detailing was very much on the money. The only glaring minus to an otherwise fantastic figure is his sleeveless shirt. Instead of keeping it form-fitting and non-removable like Prince Adam’s outfit, they inexplicably added tabs to make it removable. The placement of the tabs is under his arms (on his lat spread), which widens his silhouette considerably. The musculature is already bulky, and this Design choice was a very ill-advised move. This was a time where they should have stuck to the prototype. Not every vestment needs to be removable. Hopefully they learned their lesson in Seahawk.

Standor is nothing more than part of a physical representation of the new partnership Mattel has created with Stan Lee and Pow Entertainment. This figure has the basic Classics male buck with all new armor and helmet. The character (of course) also has Stan Lee’s distinct head and glasses. He is easily a throwaway character but the origin bio does a great job at incorporating him into this universe, while at the same time keeping him in the background from the rest of the line. For that reason alone, the figure can sort of be a “stand alone” character in displays and story. That was a very wise choice on the part of the writer. Be aware that three of the Standors I received had bad eyeglass frame paint that bled into the lenses. The fourth one had a half-melted right hand (a factory error). Otherwise his clear black starfield armor was a nice touch, and Standor overall is a much more welcome part of the line than say Molarr or Vykron from characterization standards. He was a pleasant surprise for me.

December’s final FilMation character is the polarizing bunny despot of Trannis: Plundor. He is far and away the least favorite of my cache of new figures. But looking at him overall, while quite a bit was invested in him, sadly I do feel a bit was short-changed with this figure. He is fleshed out much more meaningfully as an action figure. The Horsemen wisely used the furry male buck, and the head is brilliantly done. The eyes, unfortunately, have paint issues aplenty, from smeared black centers, to yellow bleeding into the fur sculpt, to incomplete eye-liner (and this is from the four I received). The armor was thankfully re-envisioned (probably so he could better articulate and re-use the buck beneath) and is much more detail-oriented for a FilMation character than we have seen with the likes of Shokoti or Adora. The gloves, tights and boots were reused parts, and they work better than what he wore in the animation for sure. One hopes, however, that more ornate standard gloves and boots can come down the line. Visually speaking, some characters visually lack compared to others, and Plundor skates by with a strong combination new of armor and head sculpt. The letdown lies in his accessories: a blaster (remolded from the weapons rack in black) and Skeletor’s crystal ball axe (as seen in the FilMation cartoon). The sculpt of the new weapon seems a bit long for the axe, and the crystal ball was set a bit high compared to the source material. And since that axe is not intended for Plundor, that leaves him with a recycled gun. I know characters re-use weapons from time to time, but it was disappointing that neither accessory he had was “his”. He used “rab-bot” drones to do his bidding, and the inclusion of one of them might have tempted someone to army build them (leading to multiple purchases).

Lastly, the only remaining Evil Warrior created in FilMation joins the line. Strong-Or (or Strong Arm, as we know him), arrives with appropriate accessories and a show-inspired sculpt. That helps and hurts him. For one, it really shows on the some of the FilMation designs need to be tweaked a bit to visually fit in with the rest of the line. Where Plundor was visually strong but had weak accessories, Strong-Or has a limp and dull metal mohawk, cauliflower ears, and new (but plain) armor, trunks, and boots that are merely bordered and studded in spots (as is the Four Horsemen hallmark). I give them credit that they took the safe route (many would be upset of there was a significant departure from the original design), but I much prefer that they played up the robot aspect of his character more in the sculpt. For what it’s worth the parts are unique and well-conceived. In addition, he fared better than Batros, Icer, and Plundor in the accessories department. He includes a longer right arm piece for extending punching (hence the name) and Evil-Lyn’s shrinking ray gun from the original series. Both are fantastically sculpted, and the extension arm includes a second fist (a big surprise for me). The accessories very much salvage this figure. I never ever want to subtract points for being too accurate, but I won’t be placing him on the Evil Warriors’ front lines if you get my meaning.

One thing I forget as a subscriber is how the distribution of factions have changed the attitude taken in the line. The year was already pretty well freckled with the likes of Ram Man, Jitsu, the Rock Warriors, Castaspella, Mantenna, Snake Face, and Clamp Champ. Many of them are placed in the beginning of the year to attract subscribers. It was to be expected that the back end of the line would dig deeper into He-Man’s many story incarnations. The pool of characters is deep, and the ones selected were somewhat controversial at times. Thankfully, an amazing sculpt can warm the hearts of the most jaded Masters of the Universe Classics collector. After seeing how well 2013 contributed to the fantastic landscape of the line, I can only imagine how exciting 2014 is going to be. The final figures weren’t perfect, and the web service still needs overhauling, but I tip my hat to Mattel for continuing the best action figure line for collectors in years. They are doing right by vintage fans, and that has to be respected.


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