June 2007, and now we can finally get our grimy mitts on the first MOTU Classics wave.
I was a big fan of Masters of the Universe when I was a kid. My brother and I had a good deal of the figures, and we loved the imaginative mix of science fiction and fantasy that the line offered.
But does this new line capture some of the coolness of the vintage line? Read on!
Size: roughly 7.5"
Price: $20 at MattyCollector.com
Looks: Both - 4.5/5
I was a bit hesitant about the figures when I ordered them. I wasn't sure if the nostalgic sculpts were too nostalgic, i.e. not enough improvement to be readily noticeable. Fortunately, that's not the case. Although inspired by the vintage line, the figures definitely have an improved look.
He-Man has his signature G1 facial expression and bulbous muscles. But the sculpt is different, with more detail and better proportions. The paint apps are also impressive. He-Man has some "spray" on his skin for variation, and the detailing paint apps are pretty precise (in particular on his armor and face). There are a couple of blotches on his skin, but they aren't too noticeable.
Beast Man also has a great G1-driven (yet improved) sculpt, with wonderfully-detailed fur and armor. Again, the face paint apps are precise and the texture on the horns is sweet. My main complaint with Beast Man is that I would like to see some paint washes on his fur to bring out some more texture.
Articulation: Both - 5/5
Both He-Man and Beast Man have ball-in-socket necks, ball shoulders, swivel biceps, hinge elbows, swivel wrists, hinge chests, swivel waists, ball hips, swivel thighs, hinge knees, and hinge ankles. Phew... that's quite a lot! About 19 POA, depending on how you count them! And all of the articulation is useful.
Accessories: He-Man - 5/5; Beast Man - 3/5
He-Man comes with 4 accessories: a shield, a full Power Sword, a half Power Sword (presumably to combine with Skeletor's), and a sweet axe. His chest armor is also removable. I can't ask for more there.
Beast Man only comes with his whip. His chest armor is removable, but you have to pop off the head to do it. His shoulder guards are separate pieces, but I don't think they're removable. Regardless, compared to He-Man, Beast Man got the short end of the stick in this category.
Value: Both - 3.5/5
This one is difficult to judge. $20 for figures of this size is normally way too high. The Mattel DC Universe figures are about the same size and only cost $10. On the other hand, these MOTU Classics are high quality, with solid construction and precise paint apps and sculpts. You pay for quality with this line.
Coolness: Both - 5/5
As I mentioned before, I wasn't sure about the design of the figures at first. But holding them in my hand, they blow me away. I think what I like about them most is that they truly seem like toys that you can play with. Maybe that's because of their toy-like proportions, or maybe they retain a lot of the qualities of the vintage line that made it so much fun.
Overall: He-Man - 4.5/5; Beast Man - 4/5
This was a strong showing for the Mattel. They seem to have a fantastic product on their hands with this MOTU Classics line. With strong paint apps, awesome sculpts, and quality construction, this is a line to watch. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I like this line better than the 2002 line. Although 2002 MOTU had a more updated style, it was too angular and anime-y. MOTU Classics gives me what I want: ultimate versions of the He-Man figures from my childhood.