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 Snake Mountain Packaging and Minifigs

Well it finally came! After months of waiting. Honestly, I was suprised to see that the arrival date was to be ON OR BEFORE August 31. And in that way of thinking, I wasn’t suprised to see that it did not ship until mid September. Still, it is a faster turnaround than say, Magic the Gathering Secret Lair Drop Series. (You have to wait sometimes a whole year!)

Now I ordered this item because Castle Grayskull was terrific, and I have approached collecting the Masters of the Mega Construx as a sort of selective completist…(I don’t want that Battle Cat or the Havoc Staff.). I have every character on card and loose, almost. Still looking for another copy of Man-E-Faces and another copy of Scare Glow. My point is, I couldn’t pass up on the MEGA Snake Mountain.

NOTICE I KEEP SAYING “MEGA…” Mattel has changed the name again. Why? Mega Construx was a dumb name. But the way they are expressing MEGA now looks exactly like what they were trying to avoid when they moved away from the word “Mega Bloks.” That big MEGA looks like one of those blocks!

What else…I still have Castle Grayskull’s box. Because I must be insane, right?

When I compare the two boxes, it is very noticeable that they have “updated” the design aesthetic. WHY? This is very bad. There was art before…now only photos. Even as recently as the Monstroid and Land Shark, it seems there was more “art.” While it is notable on the front, on the back it is very very apparent. Castle Grayskull had this drawing on the back of the inside of the castle, that called back to the Eternia Maps that they did for the MOTUC line. Indeed, the Wind Raider also had something like this on the back. (I should go look at the other boxes. I am pretty sure Battle Bones, Wind Raider, Roton, and Talon Fighter did.). I believe I might ask Scott Neitich about this… Maybe he’ll make a video addressing it. (I notice that there is a re-issue of Castle Grayskull with this new boring style packaging.)

I am showing you more of the packaging…You can see striking differences on the side. I was curious what I would see as I opened it up. Castle Grayskull had what amounted to comic panels using the minifigures. There was a “drawn” element to them. Maybe not even any photos. But here on Snake Mountain, we just get action poses with the mini figures.

Mattel and MEGA missed an opportunity here. Now not only does this Snake Mountain needlessly mismatch to the first printing of Castle Grayskull, it makes fans like me just a little less joyful about it. The boxes were part of the wonder of getting new toys as a kid. Now we have this big downgrade. This packaging looks alot like the stuff they are doing for the MasterVerse line, (which I am not collecting.). Those boxes are a basic window with the figure on display. I daresay I even prefer what they did with the Heroes line with sporty gray and orange boxes to this style. BOO!!

But woefully, I have more to bad news to report…

What the crap! With Castle Grayskull, we got small boxes each containing a large component of the castle. And these boxes each featured the characters that were a part of the set. But here, we only get two large boxes. Not only that, these boxes have this flimsy sleeve over the top.

Now I really like the old Castle Grayskull box. It is useful for storing other MOTU related items. And because it was four interior basically shoeboxes, they lend some sturdiness to the box. There is not doubt in my mind that what they have done with Snake Mountain was a way of reducing packaging. But this Snake Mountain is a premium product with a premium price tag. It should match or exceed what came before. Instead, we have a flimsier box, a worse design choice with the two large boxes and the decorative sleeve, and boring images on the front. This packaging is getting a big F in my summation. I will use my apple pencil and color the images from the inner sleeves on my iPad when it snows or something…I did this with the Castle Grayskull art.

I will give props for ONE piece of artwork. This shows up when you open the box completely.

This is the only thing close to the style of what we got with Grayskull. And this image is on both of the instructions manuals.

SO I’VE GRIPED A TON ABOUT THE BOX.

What about the minifigures.

I’m glad I don’t have to say anymore bad stuff. The Minifigs offered here are very cool and welcome (for the most part.)

Let’s start with our feature character, Dragon Blaster Skeletor.

As a vintage toy, you put water in the dragon and pressed its head down so that it would spit water. It was kind of a specialized water gun. Here we have Skeletor with this dragon on the back. The chains pictured on the packaging look more silver, while these are light-gray-approaching white. It is cool that we have a dragon blast effect. Skeletor also comes with the purple sword. I wish they would give us proper stands with names instead of these green flat pieces. By the way, I had to dig through the boxes to get package number 1 which always contains the figures. The figures were spread across both boxes.

Thunder Punch He-Man.

No caps this time. But on his back the gunpowder cap is sculpted on, and the shield also features one. You can use the holder on the shield to place the fantastic clear-yellow sword.

Ram Man

You never know what they are going to do with Ram Man. There are a few different versions…200x he was huge. In Filmation and the vintage toy he was shorter. The MOTUC version was a very large and heavy figure. No versions have had springy legs since the 1980’s. But here they made a good Rammy. I thought we might get to remove the helmet, but it doesn’t seem to be removable. This is a bummer because you could give him the flat steel bald head. You also could use that helmet somewhere else.

Another Evil-Lyn. This time in vintage toy yellow. But the magic staff she has is much less impressive than all of the other versions we have gotten, including the “Heroes” printing in the same color. If I have to complain about one of the figures it is Evil-Lyn because we have so many versions of her, we already have this colorway…why not give us a Clawful or Jitsu or almost anyone else that we haven’t gotten yet. A Snake Man would have been outstanding, and they are tied to the lore of Snake Mountain. Now I have three Evil-Lyn sealed in box and three out of package. (If I am counting right.)

We get Screech.

This is Temple of Darkness Zoar’s stand, as I haven’t opened the castle yet to get out Screech’s feet and its own stand. It is the same as the other two birds we have, only purple. They really should give us proper birds with the wings spread out.

Webstor.

Here is one I didn’t have as a kid…I was actually only vaguely aware of him for some reason. I am unsure if the vintage one had those extra legs on the back…that seems like more of a 200x detail. He has a rope feature and an orange gun. I feel like he is kind of a plain kind of character without those big insect legs. (I do have some of the cartoons on DVD.). I really like what they did in 200x with this character…extra creepy.

And finally….Trap Jaw in vintage toy colors!

Love it! Notice I used these purple pieces to highlight the black details. I complained about getting Filmation colored Trap Jaw in my review of recent figure releases. And we have Minicomics Trap Jaw that came with the improved turret gun for Castle Grayskull in a Skeletor head set. But here is the Trap Jaw that I remember the best. My only complaint about any of the trap Jaw figures it that there is no little clip to hang the accessories on his belt.

The minifigures recieve a 5/5 because they are great. Snake Mountain’s packaging is a solid F because Mattel has done better and just didn’t seem to try this time. I give that packaging a 1/5. (I’ll probably still hang on to it because I am insane.)

Do you agree or disagree, Hub City Geeks? Let me know in the comments! I will keep posting updates as I work through Snake Mountain. (I have only built six little baggies so far, and there isn’t much to see yet.)

Mega Construx Castle Grayskull…Retrospective

Snake Mountain is supposed to arrive tomorrow!!!

Because I didn’t document the build or even do a review of the terrific Castle Grayskull, I thought today would be a good day to have some things to say about it.

Without a doubt, I had never put together such a large set of blocks. I picked up the Lego Batmobile meant for adults from a thrift store once like fifteen years ago, but it had 900 something pieces if I remember correctly. And a big problem with that was that the pieces were mostly jet black. Castle Grayskull was a 3,508 piece build. YIKES! And in this case, Mattel boasts a new color…”Grayskull Green,” which is what most of this set was made of.

Here is the completed facade.

When you see it in a picture, say on the front of the magnificent box, you don’t realize how each little exposed stud or piece of flat brick or rounded block (barrel style) had to be carefully placed by a designer. You can see from the front of the castle here that the bottom is very heavy. The way the side towers curve around is a genius design, and one that reflects some of the quirkiness of Mega Construx builds. The instructions, (two thick almost catalogues) breaks each step down into a manageable project. For instance, each tower was handled by the bottom half, then the top half, and then connect to the main structure. See those olive colored pieces? I thought of those as a “reward” every time I got to place one…it broke up the monotony of Grayskull Green. I wonder how much psychology went into that choice?

Here is the back

The roof was really kind of a nightmare. Each one of those shingles had to be placed just right in order for the panels of roofing to fit together properly. Some have right handed slants, and others left handed. Some point up and some down. And they better be aligned properly! The “handle” at the top. NEVER USE IT AS A HANDLE. I certainly haven’t. The castle is definitely too heavy for that. This is there for the aesthetics of being true to the original.

Speaking of being true to the original…this castle is actually a model of the Masters of the Universe Classics castle. It maintains many features that that play-set has. (I am only told about this from Pixel Dan videos and the like. I don’t own one and have no room for it anyway. And $700!). See that “mouth” shaped wall underneath the triangular “eye” windows? That’s a break away wall!

For some reason I don’t have great pictures of the inside…You get three floors. Everything you would expect is there and more. There is a trap door operated by the throne.

There is a jail, this time with an operating cage door. The jaw-bridge opens, though the sword key is just a gimmick and unnecessary. There is a computer, an elevator, a weapon rack (actually two), and a trainer. In the top dome, there is a hidden attic where the orb is kept.

Here is the Sorceress and the Goddess in front of the the orb. (Can these two be in the same place at the same time???)

This set came with the Sorceress, the Green Goddess, Skeletor, He-Man, Man-At-Arms, and red Beast Man. Oh. And let’s not forget Zoar. (So did this set come with THREE OF THE SAME CHARACTER?)

IMPROVEMENTS TO THE CASTLE.

There was a Skeletor head set that came with mini-comics colored Trap Jaw featuring an improved turret gun. I highly recommend it! The gun that came with this doesn’t look like the original, and also doesn’t fit well on the parapet.

The Talon Fighter and Point Dread. This vehicle set came with instructions to retrofit Castle Grayskull with the Point Dread castle piece so that you can park the plane on top of the tower. (A feature of the vintage toy). This makes the castle six to eight inches taller, so the SpartanNerd hasn’t ever done this…my shelf space won’t allow for it unless I place it on the top shelf, which takes away the joy of seeing it. (Snake Mountain might have to go on the top shelf…)

One day during the Coronavirus lockdowns, I decided to take the castle out and get some photos.

NOT A HOAX! NOT A DREAM!: MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: THE SUNBIRD LEGACY

Here is my take on an Earl Norem classic. I used the Masters of the Universe Classics figures (and 200x Beast Man), and placed the Mega Construx castle in the background as proportionately accurate as I could to the original art. (I did the best with what I had with me.). Notice that I removed the pawn from the top. I actually prefer it this way.

After getting this picture and a few others outside in the woods, the castle crumbled in the bucket that I used to bring the stuff. So I had the privilege to build it again! FUN!

Mega Construx She-Ra vs. Hordak and Mostroid…SpartanNerd Review

The Monstroid. Here is a toy I DID NOT have as a child. I had around 80% of He-Man and Masters of the Universe items. But the Monstroid wasn’t one of the things I had. I was aware of it from catalogs and the He-Man magazine. And the Monstroids were the giant robots He-Man and She-Ra fight at the Fright Zone in the He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special. This toy doesn’t resemble them much, however.

So this is my first Monstroid.

Don’t you love the title. Is there another character here?

Here is the back of the box.

I didn’t spend much time looking at the back, as will become evident as I document the build.

Here are the sides of the box. Very nice artwork on these Mega Construx Masters of the Universe sets, I must say.

Enough gawking. Let’s open it up!

You get these four baggies. Because I have been building these, by now I know that the minifigures will be in bag number 1. So let’s get them out of the way first.

This is our very first Hordak in Mega Construx minifigure form. Also, our first Evil Horde member. Here we have the toy-accurate Hordak. I am a little disappointed that we didn’t get the bat staff. But we did get the Horde Crossbow, which is important for all Horde members in the future.

She-Ra. As I assembled this, the first thing I said was… “Those boots are so stinkin’ cute!” And they are indeed! Of course, I didn’t own She-Ra growing up, nor did I care to. As an adult, now I have TWO! (200x in box.). One thing, though. Check out the head sculpt.

It’s all one big thing. With the male characters, you can remove their hair. But She-Ra keeps with the apparent standard that the girls have to have their hair sculpted to the head and non-removable. Why, exactly?

One more thing. The cape. Both Hordak and She-Ra have a cape, and they are interchangeable. But Hordak looks pretty dumb wearing that short cape. The long cape looks good on She-Ra, and will look good on other characters as well. (Sorry, no pics of the cape swap.)

Was there another character? He wasn’t mentioned in the title. OH WELL…

Must

Not

Be…

Just kidding. Here is Prince Adam in his Mini-Eternia blue vest.

Nobody asked for this…and because the set is titled She-Ra vs. Hordak and the Monstroid, it is like he was tossed in last minute. I’m glad to have him, but we already have a Prince Adam in toy accurate/Filmation style. (Pictured, we also have the first extra piece. An extra handle for the shield.)

Here I would have rather had an ally for She-Ra from her girls toy line. Or maybe another Evil Horde member. I would have rather had Prince Adam on card in this style. It just doesn’t make sense what they did here. Do we even have a Prince Adam on card? Notable, he does have the Alcala-style Sword, but in black.

Here is the set of all three.

Let’s look at how the build went, and I will let you know what I was thinking as I worked.

Here is the front of the instruction booklet. It is the same art as the front, with less textual clutter.

Below is the art on the back. It shows off the Battle Cat that I won’t be getting, and the Land Shark that I reviewed already here on SpartanNerd.com.

It’s time to talk about how we name things, boys and girls. Here is the Brick Separator tool. NOPE. WAY TOO NEGATIVE. It has been re-named the BUILDING TOOL. See what they did there? They went from a negative description of what the item is to a positive description featuring something it can’t do. It can’t build. It can only separate. But, there is hope!

Here is the contents of baggie 2. If you have been following my blog, then you know I have to set all the pieces out classified in order. So here that is.

Here is the infamous “impossible” slab of three and then two.

The next picture shows off what has to be the dumbest face in all of MOTU. And that is saying something. These are tampograph stickers…I know it is of the original toy, that I don’t have emotional attachment to. Perhaps people out there disagree with me?

I mean…the Monstroid is a crab, right? Here is baggie #2 completed, along with the included extra parts.

I made another funny joke! (Notice I included Prince Adam as an extra part. When I got MOTUC Orko, Prince Adam was included as an “accessory.” That must be what they are doing here also.”

Here are the contents of Bag #3.

“I’m not seeing it.” The thought that ran through my head.

Remember when I said I didn’t grow up with this toy, and also I didn’t spend time studying the back of the box? Well, as I built this part, I thought, “What is this? It looks like a transmission?”

Turns out I was kind of correct. Here is the rest of Bag #3 assembled with extra parts.

What that part is…it’s a “winder.” When you turn it with your fingers, it makes the yellow axle spin. Except, it didn’t work for me…(More on that as you keep reading.)

On to Bag #4.

As I organized these on the mat, I coudn’t help but kind of be reminded of assembling the Lego Batmobile so many years ago. And then Castle Grayskull. All these parts are the same color, and they kind of intimidate me.

Here is bag #4 assembled, which was the legs. It reminds me of a Dwarf Spider Droid from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.

Here is the full set in a mock of the front cover. Also, the extra parts.

One problem, You are supposed to turn the winder, which turns the axle, which is plugged into the bottom of the main body with the arms. When you wind it, the monstroid spins around on top, swinging Prince Adam around. But mine wouldn’t work. I wound up disassembling it again, where I had to finagle with that “transmission” piece and make sure the gears lined up correctly. This didn’t take that long, because it is really a simple build. But I was alarmed.

Now for some shots of the Monstroid with other similar sets.

Point Dread and the Talon Fighter is a couple of hundred pieces larger. Monstroid doesn’t feel as grand either.

Maybe it’s not fair for me to compare the Monstroid to the Battle Bones. Battle Bones is close to a hundred more pieces, but look how much “more” it is. I am fond of the face on the Battle Bones…I mean, I guess the head is one of its main features. And then I have the emotional attachment to it also. Also, I paid three times as much for Battle Bones…(San Diego Comic Con exclusive.)

So here is the Wind Raider. I could just compare the Talon Fighter just as well, I suppose. The Monstroid was $30, while the Wind Raider was $20. Both have great action features. The Monstroid doesn’t have a good place to seat a figure, though, except in the claws. So the Wind Raider winds that one. But then, the character is artificial intelligence, I suppose…(Notice, I had some more fun with Roboto!)

So how do I rate this set?

I want to be unbiased here…Like I said, Monstroid wasn’t much a part of my childhood. On the other hand, getting Hordak was outstanding, and the future looks bright for Princess of Power toys in this Mega Construx line. On the other hand, the Prince Adam here seems to be a misguided choice. I am an on-card collector, but I guess Prince Adam in blue clothes might not sell that well as an individual. The Monstroid’s mechanical problem was my error, so I won’t count off on that.

I don’t feel like this is a solid five points. Four points easily. Monstroid is reasonably cool, except for the face. I kind of wish the crab claws had springs that would really make the hands pinch though. We get Hordak and She-Ra. Prince Adam is OK with the Alcala sword. It took me an hour and a half to build, but I was mildly interrupted a few times, and I also took pictures as I went. And like the Slime Pit, I feel it should be bigger.

So I am going for 4/5. Do you agree or disagree, Hub City Geeks? Let me know in the comments. I also would like to know about your experiences with the Monstroid as a child, because I missed out evidently, and none of my friends seemed to have this either.