Masterverse 40th Anniversary He-Man- SpartanNerd unboxing and review

I am going to take a moment away from Snake Mountain, which is slowly coming together, to review the 40th Anniversary He-Man I didn’t know existed. It was at Target, where I was looking for some Christmas presents for one of my sons. At $21.00 I decided this was a good purchase

Here are some pics for reference. The big one is the 40th anniversary He-Man. You can see the art on the back of the box, and how the cardboard tray can slide out revealing the blister with the action figure inside. You can also see my sealed 200x He-Man, and also my vintage He-Man. (Might be the re-issue. I know that the Grayskull door was mine from childhood.)

I have mostly avoided the Masterverse line of Masters of the Universe toys…The first wave, which featured He-Man and Skeletor, just threw me off. He-Man’s belt was colored too closely to his skin tone, making it seem like he had a “gut,” which just wasn’t right for the character of course. This one item, plus too much focus on the Revelation show just kept me from wanting it. It seemed to me right away that this line was going to be far inferior to the Masters of the Universe Classics line, which it was supposedly replacing.

Let me settle this up front: Mattel, Masters of the Universe Classics was the line of toys the fans deserved. It was a high bar that you set yourself. Now whatever you do that is pointed at adults has to match it. The Masterverse line does not match it. I have watched Scott Neitlich’s videos and I understand what is going on…that it was a small line aimed at collectors only and sold online. I get it. But you have set a gold standard as far as highly desirable action figures.

So now that I got my sermon posted, which they will surely never read or care about, here are my thoughts on this 40th anniversary figure.

This is my first purchase of a Masterverse figure. I have seen the boxes and all of the other figures, and thank you Mattel for giving us a good box for this one. The other figures in the Masterverse line come in boring and ugly blue boxes with plain text. But this box is not only great, it is collector friendly too! You can see from the above pic that you just open the top flap (mine had a little piece of tape) and slide the tray out. I was carefully able to remove the figure without damaging the bubble. I sold all of my MOTUC figures when I ran out of room. (This is where the funding came from that got me into the Mega line). If there is anything that this Masterverse line is doing better, it is this collector friendly package. On all of the MOTUC figures you pretty much had to destroy the package if you wanted to touch the figure. After selling the MOTCU collection, I have been collecting the Mega figures on card and also off card. This is economical enough, and helps me feel like a real collector. I have since picked up San Diego Comic Con She-Ra that had a similar collector box, and also GI-Joe Classified Cobra Commander. I am sad that in the instance of the 200x He-Man that I have on card he has to just stay on the card. (That figure seems to have come down in value recently. My box is in awful shape anyway. Notice my version is the more rare “cross” on the chest version.)

The figure looks OK in the box. Let’s get him out and play awhile.

He-Man comes with this: Power Harness (armor), Power Sword, Shield, and Battle Axe. He also comes with a fist hand and a chopping hand. I guess I should count the left hand Wrist Bracer that also comes off.

His articulation is pretty good. Shoulder, biceps, double jointed elbow, and wrist with a 360 rotation as well as a hinge for up and down. The hands just pop out of their socket, and as mentioned, the left hand bracer comes off which might help you to display him equipped with the shield. The classics version didn’t have the double jointed elbows…but…I’ll say in a minute.

He-man’s head has 360 rotation and can nod up and down. He has a torso that is more likely to bend backwards rather than ab crunch. (Remember what I said about the first Masterverse He-Man having a gut?)

You get a waist swivel, legs that come out to do a split, and now thigh cuts. Double-jointed knees, boot cut, and rocker and hinge ankles.

Go have a look at my review of MOTUC He-Man from 2013. Now let’s talk. The double-joints are supposed to be an improvement on the design. But they look bad. Also, the thigh cut doesn’t do anything for me. It is kind of similar to what we had with the female figures in the MOTUC line, where when you moved their waste, you had a flat surface that just “looked wrong.” The thighs here just look wrong. No other way around it.

The top left pic shows He-Man in the same pose as the artwork on the back of the box. (very nice art, by the way.). He has no trouble getting into this pose. The second pic shows a near-transformation pose. But can you see what I see? The arms are out of proportion. His hand is too long. This head sculpt has an unsettling facial expression. You can compare the original sculpt to the new one in the third pic. The original looked menacing. Barbaric. They have given him a more vertical head, larger eyes, and distinct eyebrows, making this He-Man appear less confident. And He-Man should exude confidence. You can really see this when posing the fist. This fist looks like Deadpool’s baby hand compared to the rest of the arm (don’t look it up if you don’t know). The backside pic shows off the way the sword fits in the harness, and the muscle flexshows the off-proportions. I will say, the furry shorts and boots have a nice wash. But there is a contrast between the molded plastic belt and bracers that seems incongruent.

He-Man goes back in the box nicely, where I think he will stay.

I didn’t have any trouble getting him back in the box. Here he is with my other carded Masters figures.

I think I believed this purchase would scratch the itch of collecting He-Mann figs again. In the box, maybe. But he just isn’t as inspiring as was the MOTUC figures were. I don’t think I am likely to remove him from this package again. Maybe when it snows.

So what do I rate this figure?

The packaging is a 5/5. The toy is about a 2/5. So this puts it in the 3/5 camp. You would think that a 40th anniversary figure would be a solid 5/5. It should be. At least it was affordable, unlike the Magic the Gathering 30th anniversary fake cards (60 fake cards for $1000). Thanks professor! I didn’t know this product existed, so it was kind of an impulse buy. I wonder if they will make a Skeletor. Surely they will. But I will probably pass on it.

UPDATE: I had a good look at the first release of the Masterverse He-Man today unsealed in a case in a store. This 40th anniversary figure has a MASSIVE chest in comparison.

ONE MORE THING: I was just moving the MEGA CONSTRUX Castle Grayskull to the top shelf…It crumbled. I guess I am taking even more of a commercial from Snake Mountain.

SpartanNerd Review…Mega Construx Slime Pit

Back two years ago, when I decided to begin collecting the Mega Construx Masters of the universe, I frantically searched to find everything I could. But the hardest thing to get was this guy.

I’m talking about Battle Bones…Not the Wind Raider. (You can frequently still find the WR in stores.)

When building the Battle Bones (a San Diego Comic Con item), I couldn’t help but think, “They could re-purpose this head into a Slime Pit.). And I thought surely they would.

But that’s not what we got. Keep reading to see my experience!

We got a Skeletor Head Slime Pit.

Now this was an unexpected idea. I suppose I was thinking larger. But in scale, I guess this makes sense in context to the scale and size of Grayskull. But not in respect to the vintage toy, but in respect of the size of the Mega Construx minifigs. On the other hand, the Talon Fighter dwarfs this.

This Skeletor head is the same mold as the others, only this time in slime green. The picture on the package shows us Horde Zombie He-Man, and also the Slime Pit. At first I thought the green behind the mouth was a wall, but I realized that it was just the hollow inside of the Skeletor head. I kind of wish that was different. That it was a proper wall. Oh well! We are talking about something that costs less than $10. And I could build that wall if I really want to.

When you get the package off, this is what you see. The gray brick will be the floor. Here is the instructions with something else in there.

Here are all of the contents. I am thinking, “He-Man must be in the bag with the green stuff, with some other slimy pieces.” Nice extras, you know.

So I opened the instructions next.

It turns out that something extra in the instructions was rubbery slime pieces. The only slime that came with this set. BOO! Here are all of the pieces separated out. This is what I must do when I open a building set. Set them all out, sort them by type and color. But there aren’t many pieces with this Skeletor Head. The package said 70 pieces, but each minifig is around 20 pieces. (When I counted, I counted 73 when including the head and the floor. Am I wrong, Hub City Geeks?)

This is a cool, green slime He-Man. As I assembled, I couldn’t help but think about The Green Goddess, who apparently shattered when people opened her MOTUC package.

No extra slime pieces here. And here is the second thing I would improve about this set. There should be more “sliminess” to it. It isn’t even very gross. I remember the toy as a child really freaking out my mother. And she took that slime away from us and we never got to play with it. (Hope you are reading this now, Mom.). I believe this should have come with more things to make it even more gross-out. Maybe a can of slime. Or just more rubbery pieces. Or even green pieces. OH WELL.

Now on to the assembly. Let me preface this by saying that I prefer building LEGO’s to any other bricks like Mega Blocks/Construx. I have put together plenty of the different kinds over the years between the SpartanNerd and the Spartan Kids. Lego bricks have aesthetic principles and roundly stick to a certain vision of kid friendliness and pop sensibilities. (SpartanNerd takes a bow for that sentence!) It isn’t like Mega Construx doesn’t have this, but the Lego thing never does anything that involves winging a piece on a stud, or other questionable hi-jinx that might compromise the structural integrity or even make a more difficult build. The Mega Construx I suppose is aimed at an older audience, so I guess older customers might not even care. But who am I mostly writing this blog to?

It also is notable that LEGO doesn’t even acknowledge their competition. But right on Mattel’s website, you can see where people post their customs and proudly give the formulas, which mix the Mega Construx blocks with Lego, Kreo, and other brands. It is like Lego is the more serious “fun” brand. And Mega Construx is us casual fans. I just wanted to say this first and get it out of the way. I knew going into this I would encounter some things that feel questionable or are nonintuitive. (I built the largest set ever- Castle Grayskull. I know very well what I might see.)

BACK TO THE BUILD

We build the bottom first.

It began as I expected. Build the bottom first. These red pieces make me wish there was more red here. The Slime Pit is partially a Horde thing. Black, gray, and red are their thing. And with the bone pieces, you really evoke Hordak. (See an upcoming post!)

This connection is one of those that felt kind of janky. But after I snapped them together, it remained firm.

And here it is. Step 9. Notice how the four studs don’t line up with the five. This strictly seems to be the kind of thing Mega Construx does that Lego doesn’t seem to do. The solution works out in the end, but it just seems wrong when you are building it. That piece on top with the two studs and then the three studs is also an unusual piece.

Here are the drawn-on eyes. Tampograft I suppose. I remember when I did the Battle Bones eyes, and the Talon Fighter’s eyes, the eyes just kind of emerged from the build. This is a cheap trick, though. Yes…I know. >$10.

See those pieces that are at the nose? These are the stuff of nightmares sometimes. This time no drama. But when I did the Battle Bones and other sets, it seems like they would flick off, be backwards or hard to tell what to do from the instructions. Also, notice here that one has a different angle than the other. How are we supposed to know which to use? I figured it out, with the instrutions and all. But what if I lose the instructions? What if it is a kid building this? (What would happen would be I would help my kids build it, and then about an hour later all of the pieces would be mixed in to a giant bucket.

Here is the finished product.

I definitely see how I can improve this set. It isn’t terrible, and it is clear what is going on here. But could it have been better? Absolutely. “Horde Zombie He-Man” or “Slime Pit He-Man” is actually kind of obscure, being found only in like one mini-comic, but Mattel has made him ubiquitous as a toy in recent years. He is translucent green. Who doesn’t like that? But the rest of this set. I just feel underwhelmed. I actually said to my kid “I am thinking about getting a few more of these to add the slime pieces. And I could strip down the He-Man figures to make other zombies.”

Here are two other Skeletor Head sets to compare this to. I have them all, but these two are in the most presentable condition. And I’ll tell you why they are better!

He-Man and the Jet Sled. What wasn’t great about this? It completely captures what the original toy was. It even came with the exclusive blue armor. Placing it on a propeller at the top of Skeletor’s head makes for a goofy gimmick, but it makes good use of the real estate, and you can display your Jet Sled flying. I give it a 5/5. NEXT!

Here is something I don’t remember having as a child. But check out the diorama piece that this is! I don’t know why they chose to do Zodac this way. I would have rather had the 200x Zodak, especially since we got a Zodac with the Talon Fighter. (An astute MOTU fan will know the difference!). I guess he looks like he is wearing a scuba mask all the time anyway. Still, I enjoy the diorama. There is fun to be had here. I don’t remember this toy as a child, but it perfectly encapsulates the adventure. I will give this one a 4/5 really only because there aren’t more water features in this line.

But I feel I can only give the Slime Pit a 3/5. It is good to get the green He-Man. But the Slime Pit leaves much to be desired. It isn’t gross enough. MORE SLIME. The build has some weakness to it. I had pictured something like that Battle Bones head on a mighty horror movie wall, perhaps with some green pieces to replicate slime if not a rubber puddle or even actual slime. Instead, we get this sort of soul -less offering.

So. Hub City Geeks. Do you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments!

Masters of the Universe Classics Unboxing and Review…Weapons Rack!

Happy New Year!  Do you now have swag stacked upon boxes piled up on returns as well as items not yet sitting in a permanent spot?
My MOTUC characters have been like this for awhile…extra weapons scattered about, or stored away in a little baggie.  But not anymore!  Here is my review of the MOTUC Weapons Rack!
I wondered if this box was going to say “Weapons Rak.”
It was misspelled on the Matty Collector Website!

The Weapons Rack was something I wanted when it came out, but couldn’t fork over at the time.  And the way that Mattel does things, it disappeared and I never had a chance to get it again.  With Castle Grayskull having been on sale (didn’t sell out as they predicted, did it?), They wanted to be sure that people could display the castle with the proper Weapons Rack.  After all, the vintage version CAME with a weapons rack, which is what this thing I bought is modeled after.

(I have not purchased a MOTUC Castle Grayskull.  There are a couple of problems. 1.I don’t have that many figures.  2. It costs way too much.  3. Where would I put it?  I do however, think it is terrific, and am glad they made it.  Maybe someday I will have it.  But there are other ways I have to spend $300 + shipping right now.  I am a cheapskate, remember?)

Here’s what you see when you open the box.  A nice window on card,
featuring the furniture and the weapons, packed in weapons pack style.

This is what is on the back.  Oddly, only one palace guard?
Here is a picture of the weapons that came with it.  The red ones are especially nice!  The silver ones have a little patina to them, that might not be coming through in my picture.  The silver ones are supposed to be an homage to the original weapons that came with Castle Grayskull, and the red ones are supposed to be an homage to “Man-E-Weapons.”
Here is the rack, with nothing on it.
Rows of pegs to display your weapons!

Here is how I set it up at first.  Front view.  I like how there is a little post to put
the shields on on both sides, as well as pegs to hang some weapons on the sides.

Here is the back view of my initial setup.
Here you can see the mace hanging on the right side.

How do other weapons work with this, that is, other than those that came with it?  I decided to do a good and evil theme!

My evil theme!

My good theme!

What are the limits of the weapons rack?  I went and found all kinds of MOTUC weapons to load it down with!  Here is a front and back view!  Read the captions for a contest!

Can you identify all of these weapons, readers?!  Send a comment for prize!

I will respond back and you can send me your address!  (The prize will go to whoever names the most.  Look at both the front and back view pictures, please.)  

This weapons rack is worth fighting for!

My rating for the Weapons Rack?  5/5!  It is a superb sculpt, serves its purpose well, and looks amazing with the figures.

Comic Review…He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #5….The Origin of Despara (She-Ra)

I might be one of the few commentators out there who enjoy the new Masters of the Universe comic.  I hope it’s truly doing well…And I hope the Justice League crossover gives it a big boost as well.

Of all the things about the comic that could be said, the most striking thing has been the appearance of She-Ra as Despara.  She has a butch haircut, and goes around in Hordak’s body armor ruthlessly….and I mean ruthlessly killing rebels and masters.  She is more than Force Captain Adora could have ever been, (in regard to the Filmation story.)  No she’s a cold blooded zealot, wanting to shine victory on Hordak.

The origin story here did not disappoint!

Here’s the cover.

I am glad to see the classic feminine look of She-Ra here.  We really haven’t gotten to see this much in the DC New 52 version of the comics….aside from a variant cover that I have not been able to get.  But if anything, Comics have proven that the cover doesn’t usually tell us much.

But this cover does….In this issue, the lies of the Horde become apparent to Despara….And she learns that she was Adora from the Shadow Weaver, who in this story has been a “mother” to her.

I like everything about this re-telling.  In fact, in the old established story, some things didn’t make any sense.  Here it all makes perfect sense.  It is well explained, and furthermore, we see the Horde’s twist on things, having the origin told from the Shadow Weaver’s point of view.

Skeletor stole Adora from the crib…Why didn’t he take Adam?  This story explains it.  The Sorceress intervened.

Why hasn’t Randor, or anyone else mentioned it yet…His mind has been wiped!  Everyone’s has been to help them with their grief by the Sorceress.

And Marlena…she’s dead too, evidently.

A couple of other things I liked.  Shadow Weaver shows her jealousy of Hordak here.  She speaks ill of  him and his arrogance.  She continues to see herself as Despara’s mother, a character quality I was unaware of.  (I haven’t watched much She-Ra….I AM a boy, you know.)  She also speaks of Skeletor in glowing terms…It’s like she’s in love with him.  This is also apparently new.  FInally, she says that she believes the Sorceress allowed Adora to be taken.  Not sure if this is her trying to put more slant on it or what, but it makes sense the way she says it.  She says that it is the kind of sacrifice Grayskull would require.  And that only one of the twins was required to fulfill the prophecy.

So my logic is, in the taking of Adora, 20 or so years were bought to train Adam to become He-Man.  At least this is how Shadow Weaver, a dark mage, tells it.

In this issue we see the Shadow Weaver killed by Hordak and his godlike power.  Why can’t he so easily kill Adora?  A good question.

What I didn’t like.

Teela had to stab her at the end, didn’t she?  Why couldn’t she have taken the heroic high road?  The writers are typecasting Teela into someone more hardcore than she should be.  I don’t much care for the snarky conversations between her and Adam, or the way she snaps virtually everyone else up.  She always gets the last word in these stories, and is such a prominent character that you could almost call this book “Teela and the Masters of the Universe.”  Here it is no different.  Despara heals Teela, and Teela thanks her by stabbing her back.

Also, we’ve seen who killed in this series…

Leech, Sorceress, Flutterina, and now Marlena and Shadow Weaver.  And at 11:30 at night my memory might be evading me.

Keep in mind that we’ve only had a six issue web series, a six issue mini-series, and five issues of the ongoing series.  If I’m right, that adds up to a character killed off in 1 out of 3 books.  What other comic can survive like this….My thinking is that the writers are thinking short term.  “No way this series is going to last much longer.”  I hope I’m not right.

At least Man-At-Arms hasn’t been turned into a snake man.

And at least Orko is still a good guy….oh…he’s not…..

What I hope to see

Next issue is the last issue of this story arc.  I hope to see Despara shed that name and claim Adora.  I hope to see her raise the sword and become She-Ra…The classic version we know…not the soldier from Wreck-It Ralph.  Somehow the sword gets to her, and it’s power breaks the fog of lies that surround her.

And I hope she tips the scales away from Hordak.

But for the future…I want to see a She-Ra book of her own.  Now we will have a hero with a truly dark history.  Someone who has to find redemption from the evil she has committed.  The book would show us how she gains the trust of the rebels and breaks the back of the Horde.  It would be awesome!

Is it too much of a fantasy?  Let me know!  Commentors could win a prize!

MOTUC Figure Review….The Faceless One

The Faceless one is a figure that I found intriguing in the Mike Young cartoon.  I thought, “Hmmm…… Wish I had a figure of that!”  Later when I saw the episode where it was revealed that he was Evil-Lynn’s father, this was a lot more depth than I originally gave him.  And as I watched re-runs on DVD, Netflix, etc, I began to notice similarities between his castle and Skeletor’s Havoc Staff.

The MOTUC version of the figure taps into that.

Time to dig in.

This figure belongs to SpartanSmurf #2….and he’s had it for awhile.  So no box.  But I assure you that it was the standard MOTUC packaging.

You’ll have to find the bio out there on the internet….But in short he is stuck guarding the Ram Stone.  And Skeletor stole the Havoc Staff from him.  And Evil-Lynn has done some time traveling……

The first thing you’ll notice is that he appears to be a little bulkier than the other figures.  This is because of his cape…armor…shroud………His clothes.  They fit over the figure and just kind of sit on top loosely.

The next thing you will probably notice is that he does indeed have a face.  Not a very detailed face…But the face is there.  The Four Horsemen have discussed this at length.  They say they tried a ton of different sculpts, but this is what they liked best.  They were trying to capture what was on the cartoon, which was shadows of his features, kind of, only.  His face sort of glowed, or maybe radiated on the cartoon.  Here it looks sort of like a Roswell Alien.  I personally like it myself.  But it does have a face.  I feel that they could have done other things that would have been cool….made it glow in the dark, or ….. I don’t really know.  But what we have here is fine.  I won’t take any marks off for it.

Back to the armor…or whatever that is.  It is a big sculpted piece that serves several purposes.  It adds a lot of weight to the figure, though, and becomes a factor when standing him, and posing him.  When he is wearing it, he can’t properly raise his arms.  You can raise them, but then the armor covers up his face and just looks wrong….So…..

As mentioned, removing the armor piece reveals the standard male buck.  It is painted black.  He has extensive skirt-pieces hanging down, which are non removable.  I have seen some people use this body to make a custom movie skeletor!  Cool idea.  I won’t be doing that, though.

The Faceless One comes with two other accessories….The Ram Stone and the Havoc Staff.

The Ram Stone was used in the cartoon to “open any door on Eternia” which of course meant Castle Grayskull.  It projected the apparition of a ram, which rammed and rammed at the castle.  The toy version is painted shiny green.  And it resembles a ram.  (duh!)  One of The Faceless One’s hands is sculpted to hold the Ram Stone….It is the same sculpt used on Count Marzo’s hand.  This means his left hand cannot hold a weapon.  But it can appear to be casting a spell, or hold an object like the Ram Stone.

The Havoc Staff differs from Skeletor’s only in color.  It is a two tone purple and translucent pink.  The idea is that it is the staff powered up about to blast someone!  Cool accessory!

The Faceless One continues to have stiff joints, even after a lot of play.  I don’t see any paint chipping or anything like that, even after a good 8 months.

So I rate The Faceless One 4/5.  He is a good mystical fantasy dude.  I am delighted to see him actually as a figure….Who knew one would ever exist?  On the other hand, as cool as his clothes are, they restrict his arm movement, and so he loses a point for that.

What is your score?  Comment on my blog, oh Hub City Geeks!  We’re almost at 1000 pageviews.  If you comment (within a few days), I have a great prize waiting to send you!

“Once you dig in……”