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.