Toy Fair 2013: Mattel & The Masters Of The Universe

By junior - February 15, 2013

2013 may be the year Matty goes on the decline as they begin to wrap up the Masters of the Universe Classics, but they’re not leaving without some powerful swings, and hats off to Scott and company for a valiant effort.

Masters of the Universe Classics had a very big reveal at Toy Fair.  No, I am not even referring to the reveal of the fully painted prototype of Castle Grayskull– besides the subscription, and the castle, fans of the old series are being treated to a 6 month subscription all their own: Club Filmation!

Club Filmation gives fans six of the most-wanted (and easily incorporated) characters, one per month, starting in July.  Shokoti was a dream figure, though lacking the detail of the main line… whether that’s god or bad remains to be seen. Her Darkling is great, although sadly missing a flight stand. It’s almost criminal, given he floats like Orko.  Batros was given Spikor’s mace in a nice black and red deco, to match his armor. Folks were hoping for more than pseudo-Horde style, but how can one complain about speculation? Lastly, Icer is in clear blue, looking cool while brandishing his icicle spike and the long-awaited Staff of Avian. My one regret is the staff– there was no handle engineered so Stratos can hold it, which seems like a missed opportunity. Secondly, the mini comic version of the staff has a vastly superior design, with an egg adorning the top. The staff we’re getting appears bland and evil in design, antithetical to its proper wielder.

As expected, we were introduced to the Castle Grayskull, Sorceress’ iconic home. The castle updates and improves on the original in every way– the interior is colorfully-painted, dropped vintage pieces are re-introduced, stickered details are now fully-sculpted and painted… it’s three floors of colossal adventure! Mattel trumpeted the speed in which the castle was built, but I pray haste didn’t make waste– fans are paying $250 sight unseen for this, and we are spotting a smaller height, a questionable launch pad site for the Wind Raider, a throne Sorceress sits in only after her feathers are plucked, and a smaller drawbridge than planned. It may boil down to what input they can give the factory before steel is cut– design has a big obstacle to overcome… the blind faith of a jaded fan base.
The main line gets some powerful additions, as well. New Adventures He-Man feels more complete in his armor and helmeted head. Some fans picked up on the warped face model, but hopefully that can be corrected. Mantenna and Castaspella demonstrate what the line could be like, completely un-compromised. Mantenna features a 100% new tool, tooling I pray won’t be forced on less popular characters like Modulok. His eyes are incredible and swappable, and his unique crossbow doesn’t disappoint. Castaspella features lots of new tooling, her recognizable Filmation clothes and deco with vintage toy accents, and three outstanding accessories: her magic wheel, her magic blast effect, and her new shield magically created in clear yellow. She is the most impressive female figure since Teela.
Mattel had a lot to show for MOTU, but the bugs were visible. With QC being a question mark already, hopefully the left hand will see what the right hand is doing at long last. They need to earn the fans’ trust back. Scott needs less hubris with the “cancel the Castle if you aren’t satisfied” rhetoric and more listening to fan feedback so early in the production cycle.  It can only help and honor the faith fans put into pre-ordering. He needs to remind us again that we did this; it’s happening because of us. If we can ask one favor, Scott: don’t spite us. $250 is a lot of faith to put in your product sight unseen. More feed back never hurts. A lot can happen in ten months. I say that with hope.

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