For all intents and purposes, May was a very weak month, comparatively speaking, for MOTUC fans. We are given two of the weakest entries of the year in the expensive Fighting Foe Men set, and the mutant Karatti of the New Adventures of He-Man.
I have seen these guys flooding eBay already, and a sign like that saddens my heart. New Adventures Karatti is actually a really nice toy, a few minor issues aside. The Fighting Foe Men feels like the Star Sisters all over again, but with even less loving defenders, since they are all-new characters based on the Monogram box pilots. But what the Four Horsemen did with weaponry and buck re-use really was inventive and eye-catching, and these figures deserve a chance.
Let’s start with what was so right. The FFM are really great designs. Each come with chest emblems that are swappable with Horde symbols, providing Hordak with a pirate crew, and all three include weapons that correspond to the vintage vehicles they piloted. With your imagination, I could absolutely see action features for each one, if they were ever vintage figures. These figures translate so well into the vintage line, with heavy buck reuse that feels new on them.
Karatti’s new pieces are fantastic as well– the armor even features little dings and dents for the war-mongering mutant. His head sculpt is fantastic, the weapons are interesting and unique, and the armor, while true to the 90s He-Man, fits in quite well with the vintage figures, more so than the 200x or Filmation figures. These figures really are a win in respect to character design.
They also had quite a few minuses working against them, and these types of issues can push fence-sitters in the opposite direction. The Trap Jaw legs are teetering on overuse and need to retire. I could fathom their use for the FFM, but for New Adventures (again) and the upcoming Rock Warriors, and it makes me wonder what constituted the price increase, if not for this. We are moving onto remaining characters that pretty much had 100% unique tooling. Corners like this cannot be cut anymore, or the next thing cut is the subscription.
In addition, the weapons weren’t tooled properly for the hands on some of these new figures. Karatti cannot hold his knife in the open left hand unless awkwardly twisting the machete handle into his gauntlet, pointing the blade in an awkward direction. He is also missing the karate-chopping right hand of the old toy, a great touch if it was swappable. As far as the FFM, they only suffer from their novelty. I will say that the Talon Fighter-inspired shield had stress marks on the clips after one use– Buyer beware!
These figures are a great cautionary tale for where the line needs to be headed. The part reuse was adequate, but the well is now being visited way too indiscriminately for the sake of “budget”. We get the bad compromises for the Rock Warriors, but we then see the potential in Mantenna. If there were some universal NA leg molds created for these techno thigh-high boots a lot of NA mutants use, it would be a great investment for the rest of the line. The FFM had the advantage of being a blank canvas with fun weapons, armor, and colors that fit right in with the rest of the line. Karatti looks fantastic, but if they are recycling parts, more care needs to be made on the part of design that it translates to the character holding the intended weapon. Ironically, the useless hand incapable of holding weapons was supposed to be the karate-chopping right one