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!

SpartanNerd…Catching Up…

Has it really been three years since I posted anything?

This means that throughout Corona…throughout the last several MTG releases…Throughout the ending of MOTUC and the new Masters of the Universe lines that have come out. I have written zilch.

Well, it isn’t because I stopped being nerdy. Believe it or not, online teaching and also attending classes took all of my energy out for this project.

So here’s a few new things that have happened.

Masters of the Universe.– As the Classics line ended, I began to realize I just didn’t have enough space anymore. MOTUC items are pretty large. And I got lots of joy especially from my He-Man and Battlecat and also Skeletor and Panthor. But also the Griffin was one of my favorites. Vikor. But some of the others…I decided I could part with them. And then I decided when I saw the price I could fetch to go ahead and sell my core items. All I have left is Vikor and my custom Battleground Teela. I sold it all in May 2020. For $600. I use that money to re-invest in MOTU Mega Construx. I have the Castle Grayskull and basically every item they have released in that line. A downsize in square footage, it is easier to get these just by walking into a store. There are other advantages.

Sorry about the backdrop-less pic. This is a very large item. Kitchen table will have to do.

I decided early on that the MOTU Origins figures look too crappy…I don’t like the colors. And the Masterverse figures on first reveal, I thought “That He-Man looks “gutsy.” Meaning, the way the belt is that pale color yellow, it blends in too well with He-Man’s skin color on his belly. It looks like he has a gut. The other figures, the one that came out with the new CGI Anime line, do not appeal to me at all. I hear fans (Scott Neitlich) accepting what is going on apologetically, that this line is meant to appeal to the kids. But kids just don’t watch the cartoons anymore. Trust me. I know. Middle school teacher. So they are messing around with beloved source material and creating something “corrupt.”

I have picked up some of the MOTU Minis, and the Hot Wheels.

Magic the Gathering- For something that took up so much of my life and my children’s time, this has become a much rarer treat. Since the COVID-19 lockdowns, there haven’t been as many tournaments. We pretty much decided that SpellTable pretty much stinks. Arena isn’t a strong alternative. Now some tournaments have returned, but we have to drive a long way to get to them. Mostly these are Commander League events. And we haven’t really paid into the leagues on account we can’t reliably attend. Just the same, we have played EDH some. But the thrill of the old Modern tournaments is gone. I have done a few drafts and sealed. But it is doubtful that we will go and draft Double Masters II this weekend. That is $50 or more. To play maybe three rounds. Which I will have to drive a distance to get to … meaning I can’t stay out late in my old age driving home sleepy.

Oh yes…Secret Lair. At first I bought it all. I bought the super bundle…the one with the cats and the goblins. The Walking Dead. After awhile, I realized that this isn’t sustainable for me. They have churned out so many Secret Lairs, each with an enticing value usually, but then if you start adding all that up, you better be rich if you are a completist. I figure the Wizards/Hasbro weren’t achieving their bread and butter anymore on packs because people stopped playing. And Commander is so popular, but you can play virtually any cards you can find competitively even, that they had to capitalize on that crowd the best they could by dangling lots of shiny, pretty, artsy, and seemingly charitable carrots in front of them. So I certainly had to start pacing myself on this one. The last one I got was the Dracula one. I got my kid the pixel art lands. These things…they take forever to arrive. All the shipping delays and production delays that have plagued the past couple of years…Which brings me to the next big one.

Playstation 5. I got the money together for this…in fact some of the money from my MOTUC collection, plus some gifts, etc. I had the funds in hand right before Christmas 2020. And went to buy it, only to find…THERE WERE NONE. ANYWHERE. When did I finally get mine? OCTOBER 2021. Used! I am grateful…it has performed like a champ! You wouldn’t know. It didn’t come with a proper stand, so I had to get a third party one, which was supposed to charge the controllers and add extra fan-power. But none of that seems to be working. Still, it stands very well. The best two games for me have been Horizon: Zero Dawn, Horizon: Forbidden West, and Gran Tourismo. But I have lots more games. Spider-Man, Terraria, Mortal Kombat. I paid for the streaming services, but haven’t hardly used them…which brings me to

DISNEY+. Since this launched, I bundled with HULU (Which I already watched) and this has been what I have watched on TV. I have hung on to NetFlix for Stranger Things and Masters of the Universe: Revelation. (More on that on a different day.). The Mandalorian has been a terrific show! Obi Wan was pretty good. The Book of Boba Fett might as well have been season 3 of the Mandalorian. I haven’t watched anything else much on the service, though.

Comics- I have moved back into collecting these. I picked up IDW’s “Best of” TMNT books. I am looking to get a frame to display them in.

I have been collecting all of the IDW Transformers books…this was actually how I got back into collecting comics. IDW decided to reboot the franchise, and I felt it was a good “jumping in” place. Highlights of this have been “Shattered Glass” and “King Grimlock.” The main story kind of meandered a little bit. I was introduced to a bunch of characters I didn’t know or had forgotten. I also got into “Beast Wars”… which was admittedly NOT MY CARTOON. Unfortunately, IDW passed on the license, and all of these stories have come to a wrap up, which has seemed very rushed. But my love of getting the covers and important/valuable books has become rooted again. I collected up all of the “Batman/Catwoman” story, got back into Spider-Man and Ghost Rider. But I have dropped DC for the most part. In fact, almost everything they have been publishing in any form is tripe that panders to anyone except the classic fan. I thought “The Batman” was a much slower slog than it needed to be. My next problem is the amount of room this hobby is taking up…

Gundam- I built my first Master Grade…EW EPYON. I am still applying decals. But this has been a terrific project! I eill post pictures when I finish.

It is good to be coming back to the blogosphere…an I hope to have a review tomorrow!

Masters of the Universe Minicomics Collection

I reviewed the Masters of the Universe Minicomics Collection back in May, after having a tough time getting my hands on a copy.  Since then, I have slowly read through every page, and can give you more of a review of the contents rather than just the product.

VINTAGE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE

First thing first.  “Miniternia” is definitely a favorite universe of mine now.  I was aware of it, and had read a few books from it.  When I was a kid, these books just confused me because they were so different from what I was used to (the Filmation cartoon.)  But reading these as an adult, there is a definite vibe to those books not found anywhere else.  There are comparisons to Conan the Barbarian, but as a Conan fan, I don’t think so.  Miniternia is a great comic story…an innocent story in a way, and in a way more pure of a story from a writers standpoint.  Mattel gave the writers carte blanche, as long as they depicted the toys.  The barbarian He-Man is awesome, and the miniternia Skeletor is more insane than his other versions.

I remember hearing that there were fundamentalist Christians boycotting and protesting He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.  I was vaguely aware of this as a child (I AM a Christian, and was raised in a Christian home.)  But as an adult, I heard people talk about it on the Roast Gooble Dinner podcasts.  I can see how, after reading over half of the book, I’d bet the word “demon” and “devil” were invoked in almost every single story!  Watching the Filmation show, this also comes up…I don’t know if that was daring on the part of the writers, or what?

 

You can clearly see transitional guidance between Miniternia and the comics that more closely resembled Filmation shows.  The stories become even flimsier sometimes, and highlighting of the products becomes central, rather than story and character development.  Then one day, out of nowhere, the Evil Horde becomes more prominent.  As a kid, the Horde annoyed me because to me, Skeletor was supposed to be the ultimate baddy.  And Hordak was apparently his teacher.  I came to love the Horde as much as anything else in MOTU, but I can see why I felt that way.  Mattel began to push the Horde in the mini comics, and there were more Horde figures on the shelves, and the commercials depicted the Horde more.  They were supposed to be another faction…which worked well in a house with three kids.  Hordes became She-Ra’s main villain, but I didn’t watch She-Ra…(yeah, right!)

I remember the Snake Men story vibrantly from when I was a child…my oldest brother was very interested in them.  My mother (and grandmother) are deathly terrified of snakes, so…I never really thought of them as another faction…just as a side team that worked for Skeletor, which is exactly how the mini comics portray them.  Throw in that Kobra Kahn and Tongue Lasher appeared on Skeletor’s team on the Filmation show working with Skeletor, and you can see why.  It was the Mike Young 200x show that really highlighted them as another team…an even deadlier team that Skeletor’s bunch.

Of all of the things about He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, I rarely ever complain. But now is my chance.  The “Three Towers” really annoy me.  It is one of the rarest toys to be found, and is therefore a valuable item.  But I don’t care.  The whole concept is STUPID.

Lets replace Castle Grayskull and Snake mountain with two smaller versions, and put a stupid lion tower in the middle.  We can connect the whole universe together with a roller coaster thingy.

There are SOO many reasons why I dislike the three towers.  It is billed as “playset Eternia.”  So the whole planet of Eternia can fit into one Playset?  This was EXACTLY how it was depicted in the minicomics.  I heard someone call it “Grayskull 2.0.”  Castle Grayskull was supposed to be this ultimate place of power.  But the Three Towers were meant to supplant all of that.

Eternia must be about the size of Spartanburg or upstate South Carolina…It seems it takes King Grayskull in the Mike Young cartoon about three days to cross the whole place.  Maybe the three towers fit that scheme?  There is a map in the He-Man art book, it came with certain characters if you subscribed to the “Club Grayskull” or whatever.  That map shows the towers stretched out across a huge central continent.  That MIGHT be plausible.  But why would they all connect together by a vehicle?  And if “Viper Tower” was meant to be Snake Mountain (It DID more closely resemble the cartoon version), and Grayskull tower was supposed to be the base for the good guys…just why?  I believe Mattel sensed that the vintage line was coming to an end, and were getting desperate.

SHE-RA, PRINCESS OF POWER

The She-Ra comics were pretty cute.   One of the interviews mentions that there were strict guidelines for drawing female characters.  That is apparent…the depictions of all those she-ra women are not sexy at all.  Sometimes they are child-like and pretty.  The She-Ra comics “de-evolve” from Minicomics format into Storybook format.  There is an incorrect footnote in the first She-Ra story, that says the Evil Horde is not mentioned in the comics ever again after the first one.  But that was inaccurate as the final two She-Ra stories have Catra mentioning the Horde, and also depict Horde troopers.

These books give you less of a sense of “the great rebellion,” and more just sweet little stories.  Catra, “the jealous beauty” is the main villain in these stories, but she can’t really do anything worse than children do to each other, it seems.  She steals a treasure box, she crashes a party by spraying everyone with water.  She spreads a rumor.  SERIOUSLY?

I made it through all of the She-Ra books, and rather enjoyed them.  But they are far too shallow.  I enjoyed the way they usually depicted She-Ra with the mask and Adora with the headband…A device you never saw on the cartoon.  And I thought the story of “Crystal Dimension” was interesting, where Swift Wind was transformed into a crystal version of himself.

I never really got a sense that The Crystal Castle was a She-Ra’s place of power?  It seemed to be a place where she and her friends lived instead.  The enchanted forest was there.  But Catra seemed to be homeless.

THE NEW ADVENTURES OF HE-MAN

As a child, I was just getting “too old” for toys as New Adventures came out.  My oldest brother wasted no time in getting a few toys, but I don’t think I ever saw a single episode of the cartoon.  I DID remember reading the comic, however.

I wasn’t aware that there were only four comics ever produced for that toy-line.  I DID know that it was short lived.

Basically, the vintage He-Man and Skeletor characters translated smoothly over to the futuristic versions, with Skeletor getting burned badly while witnessing Adam transform into He-Man, and having to “fix himself” with bionic parts.  The only idiotic thing is that He-Man’s sword is already a “techno sword.”  They should have been able to draw the classic sword in those few panels.  I always thought it was kind of stupid that the power of Grayskull had to be transferred into that starship…Really?  The art and the storytelling in these books is good, but different from the earlier ones.  As we read through all of these, we really see Bruce Timm’s art style mature up.  Once, He-Man even looks like we would see Batman on the nineties cartoon!  (Not in a New Adventures book…one of the final vintage comics.)

200x COMICS

I almost forgot!  The singular “pack-in” comic is included here.  With Val Staples and Emiliano Santalucia forming the bond that would become MV Creations, (and eventually break apart into the saddest schism maybe in the whole brand.) There are two comics here, one that never made it to print.

These are similar to the 200x comics that Image and Cross Gen would publish, but shorter and having a lot less content.  The art is just about exactly the same.  Emiliano is great!  (The second book was drawn by someone else, who somewhat emulated Emiliano’s style.)

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE CLASSICS MINI COMICS

Before the collection, I had no opportunities to read these stories.  I heard fans complain about them because they leave out a lot of story details that should be filled in.  The first one is a modern retelling of the first vintage Preternia book, and the following two pull together the entire story to include even the New Adventures.  An interesting detail, this story portrays He-Ro as the originator of the Power of Grayskull when he passes the Sword of He over to King Grayskull in death.  Funny how it ended, with a remark about building a castle and naming it after He-Ro.  (It would be named Castle Grayskull!)

I also thought the twist where Skeletor gets the techno virus from Bionatops in order to transform into his New Adventures form was also fun!  I was confused about King Grayskull, King He-man (he makes an appearance!) and King Miro.  What was that all about?

The art on these books are terrifically modern, and yes, they COULD have gave us more story.  I see how these serve the same purpose as the earlier mini comics…justify more toys.  They even introduced members of He-Ro’s team that have never been produced, simply to spark interest.  Ultimately, mini-comics aren’t the best vehicle for telling a grand story…they are a place to jump off and use your imagination.  And since Scott Neitlich was the guy in charge of these, that statement sounds exactly like something he would have said.

EXTRAS

The Mini-Comic collection contains lots of interviews…most of them seem to have come directly from Roast Gooble Dinner podcasts.  Maybe the DID actually re-interview some of the people…and maybe these are redacted and edited versions of those interviews.  I enjoyed reading them all, thought they didn’t teach me much of anything new because I had already heard it from the mouth of the person being interviewed.

So, just when I think James Eatock has astounded me with his intense Fanhood and knowledge of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, he surprises me yet again!

James “Bustatoons” Eatock apparently is the owner of a discarded and never produced mini comic, which is published at the back of this book.  It apparently never made it to the coloring stage.  I wonder if more stuff like this is out there?  And what a find…AND how does someone like him find all this stuff?  The comic is apparently the supposed pack-in with Flying Fists He-Man…it has some details issues, which might be why it was scrapped.  But it is a terrific read.

And finally we have an outline of a never-produced mini comic, which would have featured Faker prominently.  It is cool to read over, and I wonder if any fans who are good artists have made this book as fan art?

I enjoyed reading the Minicomics collection, and recommend it to anyone who is a fan of He-Man…a great value at under $30.  Reading this kept me from purchasing other comics for awhile…I always had something new to read, and this will make its way to my office at work to read in my “spare time.”

 

SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review…Masters of the Universe Classics Evilseed

When Evilseed went on sale, I decided I would get him, only to be held off by circumstances.  I thought I would have to catch him on Cyber Monday, maybe.  But he remained on sale…perhaps he didn’t sell out?  Regardless, I ordered mine, and over a week later he arrived in this mailer.

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I quickly opened it, to reveal the sealed packaging.

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The front of the box has a nice window that has Evilseed on display.  You can clearly see his accessories…he has the tag line of “Evil Master of Plants.”  And that’s about it.  Just from seeing here…he is quite incredible looking, if you are a MIC collector.  But that’s not me.

I flipped the box over, and check it out!  For the first time, I own all of the characters on the back of the box!

Evilseed gets a new “real name” and bio, photographed here for you, oh Hub City Geeks.  But I’m just throwing away the package.  Notably, the bio says that Moss Man created Evilseed.  A good story.  But I prefer the Mike Young version that this figure is based on.

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Removing Evilseed from the package isn’t difficult.  He did have some rubber bands, and the vine-whip accessory had to be wrangled out of the blister.  But other than that, it was all good.  Notably, there was no “smell” associated with this figure.  (If you will recall, Moss Man” had a very strong pine scent.)

Here he is in the first pose I made for him.

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Evilseed has a terrific sculpt.  When I first saw this revealed, I knew I had to get one to go with my Moss Man.  The Four Horsemen hit a homerun every time!  Check out all of the little scaly looking parts.  Check out the thorns and vines.  I went back and watched “Orko’s Garden,” “Council of Evil” part 1 & 2, and “The Last Stand” today to check my facts.  I have ready other reviews, and there is some criticism of this version being too bulked up.  In the MYP cartoon, his IS skinner at the torso and waist, but the entire upper body looks almost perfect.  The thicker torso here is welcome, if you ask me.  While they could have used some amalgamation of Lizard Man’s parts, I think this was the way to go.  It doesn’t look wrong at all.  Maybe he’s been working out?

Evilseed has that terrific sculpt, and also the standard articulation that all of the other MOTUC figures have.  Rocker joint ankles, hinged knees, ball jointed shoulders, waist twist, ab crunch, ball jointed shoulders, bicep swivels, hinged elbows, a swivel wrist, and a ball jointed head that can rotate freely and be swapped out.

The cool new addition to the articulation is the way the vines look on the legs.  They are made of a more rubbery material, and are a continuation of the waist piece.  These come down and loop around the knees, which means Evilseed has both loose vines on his knees and articulation there!

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How about this face!  If he had a mother….

For real, this is one of the most evil faces ever sculpted for MOTUC.  Evilseed’s overall green color is a stark and EVIL contrast to this sinister eyes and mouth, which are bright red in color.  This is the only red on the figure…everyghing else is green, black, or brown.  This highlights the evil human nature of the figure, and even makes him appear alien.  Where his hair should be, we have this bunch of creepy looking vines/grass/seaweed.

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The torso is evidently just the same sort of Torso that He-Man or most of the others have.  But this time there is non-removable armor sculpted with he specific viney details demanded of Evilseed.  There is a very striking collar that comes up beside his head on both sides, giving him a plant/vampire look.  You can see the vine details on his back, and also two mysterious green thorns in the middle of his back.

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One of Evilseed’s two accessories is “The Scepter of Power.”  My research tells me that this Filmation artifact was in the episode, “The Magic Falls.”  I don’t personally own this episode on DVD.  I started to watch it on YouTube, when I discovered that all of those videos appear to be playing at too fast a clip, giving a chipmunk effect to most of the music and voices.  It was unbearable to me.  And As a music teacher, the difference in key created by the effect was just too jarring. Anyways, Evilseed looks really good with the Scepter of Power.  It is supposed to be for King Randor, but since I am not a fan of “Throne Room Randor” and, nor the Burger King version of the regular Randor, I decided to settle on letting Prince Adam hold it.  (He would inherit it anyway, right?)

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Not bad at all.

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The other accessory is this vine-whip creature.  You can position it almost anywhere on his body.  I think I might try and order more of these!  I think he should have come with more of them.  Watching the MYP version made me realize how ridiculous and over-exaggerated the vines that Evilseed controlled were.  But it worked really well in that cartoon.  Evilseed even made T-Rex sorts of plants, and hydra plants also.  He also would use them to transport around on…Mattel could have given us an interchanging waist so we could display him as seen transporting around on a “trunk” of vines!

In getting this figure, one of my aims was display him in battle with Moss Man.  Here is my first attempt!

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Even with the “plant god” head on, Moss Man appears to be from a different line entirely.  Both are green, but the flocking on Moss Man blurs his details.

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Evilseed looks pretty good with Moss Man’s weapon, but the seed-bag armor with knife doesn’t fit properly across Evilseed because of the collar piece of the armor.  It fits loosely around his waist, which is something I do with Moss Man sometimes.

It might be better to use it to imprison him…

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Heheh…looks like Orko is going to set him free…

Evilseed was a part of Skeletor’s Council of Evil…We can compare Evilseed to Count Marzo and Skeletor by reenacting a scene from the cartoon.

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SpartanNerd Rating of Masters of the Universe Classics Evilseed.

Evilseed has terrific sculpting.  He is highly articulated, even specifically for his figure.  (With the vines around his knees.)  His paint looks good, and there was no “pee plastic” smell like I detected from King Hsss and Snake Armor He-Man.  He comes with two accessories…the only complaint I can level is I wish we had MORE vines.  But this can be easily done.

So I give MOTUC Evilseed a 5/5!  I am not the least bit disappointed in this figure.  Every detail matches my specifications!  There are some people who complain that this isn’t Filmation’s “turnip head” version.  But I don’t even like that version…it was even a reason I might not subscribe to that little add-on sub.  This 200x version looks evil, not goofy.  He is ready for battle…ready to kick some plants!

The SpartanNerd gives Masters of the Universe Classics Evilseed a 5/5.  Do you agree or disagree?  Let me know in the comments!

SpartanNerd and SpartanTeen Review…Neo Zeon Mobile Suit MSN-06S Sinanju “Ver-Ka” (Titanium Finish)

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Of all of the Gundams we have reviewed, the Sinanju is the most impressive.  In several ways.  This Gundam has a “titanium finish,” basically vac-metal plastic.  It makes it shine!  Combine this effect with the size of the figure at Master Grade 1/100 scale and the many accessories and even an additional stand, and you have an incredible item.  Above is the box.  And longtime readers know that the SpartanNerd really likes his foil!

This item cost $140, and we purchased the stand for an additional $20.  (The stand is usable with most if not all Gundams, but is detailed specifically for Sinanju Ver-Ka.)  This is a special edition, with the vac-metal.  The normal Ver-Ka would cost around $80.

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The box is almost entirely in Japanese.  As well as the instructions.  This is commonplace for basically every Gundam we have built.

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Above is the instructions for the decals and stickers.  The SpartanTeen used the regular sticker decals, rather than the water-slide decals.

I am going to show the Gundam in pieces, sort of.  There is so much here I had to “cull down” the amount of photos.

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The head really shows the small details.  The two “holes” on the side of the mask are meant to be vulcan cannons!  You can see the vac-metal and the plain gray plastic.  The crimson color goes well with the flat gray.  There is an eye detail that can’t really be seen because of the size and impressiveness of the rest of the head.

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Here is the backpack, showing all of its details in 3X faster mode.  (The legs also have details for “3x faster mode.”)  The backpack was the only truly “stupid problem.”  The backpack WOULD NOT attach to the figure as it was supposed to.  It works by a little slot mechanism that seemed to be obstructed by excessive plastic.  We solved the problem with some super-glue.  We checked other reviews of the figure, and found that ours seems to be an exception rather than the rule.

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Here the Sinanju stands, unarmed, and without his backpack.  It is very articulated.  The fingers all move like human fingers.  The arms move like a humans, the legs move like a humans.  It is a “super-articulated” design.  The shoulder armor and knee armor move to accommodate the most articulation.

The stickers are very much a foil item, and the Gundam doesn’t look right without those details.  All of the gold pictured here is a reflection of the flash of my camera!  That is how shiny it is!

The feet are on a rocker joint, and divided into toe and heel sections.

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The cockpit opens, revealing Char Aznable inside.  The cockpit is surrounded by yellow “psycho-frame” components.  The Gundam came with two different pilots.  One to stand beside on display, and one to stay in the cockpit.  The SpartanTeen (nor the SpartanNerd) can paint the tiny details required….We would if we could.  But that is a little out of our skill level at this point.

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Here are most of the accessories.  I say most, because, the Grenade Launcher/Shotgun wasn’t ready at the time of the review.  Notice the “beam-effect” parts.  These are interchangeable with the axe, and with the shield.

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You can see, this opens up an incredible array of display options!  The shield is very large and impressive.  The SpartanTeen doesn’t prefer the axe.  (This is more of a SpartanNerd thing.  See He-Man!)

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The beam saber isn’t a lightsaber at all.  The beam effect is detailed and rippled, rather than being a straight lazer sword.  It did come with two beam effects, we just wanted the readers to see the hilt disarmed as well as armed.

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The gun has expandable options as well.  The scope can move, and you can add parts from the shotgun/grenade launcher.  (Not pictured.)  Notable, the shield has a place to store the shotgun/grenade launcher.

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Here is the Sinanju standing on his own.  The backpack adds a lot of weight, causing some balance issue, but not much.  Notable, it was easy not to have the legs snapped all the way in.  They kept coming off until the SpartanTeen figured out how to fully snap them in.  (Sorry, the lighting system took accidental damage, and so this picture and all the rest are using flash only

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Here is the Sinanju holding the shield an on his custom stand.  The stand is a separate item, and will be reviewed later.  But the stand is the perfect way to display this incredible investment.

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As we have done in the past, we are now going to give this Gundam a grade!

Here is our criteria, each item getting a score.  We would like to say ahead of time, this Gundam is almost perfect!

Each item gets a score…
1 Too wrong
2 not right enough
3 could be better
4 pretty good, but…
5 perfect
Construction
Was it difficult considering the level it is supposed to be?  4
Stupid problems?   3  (cables around the legs, and backpack had to be glued.)
Instructions easy to read?  5
Diagrams clear?   5
Stickers? Paint    5
Articulation
stands easily?    5
moves without falling apart    5
posable/interchangeable hands    5
lots of articulation points     5
Dynamic poses    5
Accessories
Weapons     5
holds weapons/appropriate weapons      4  (some problem holding the gun and shields.)
Stand   5  (available as a separate item.)
expansions    5  (see above)
Weapon storage   5
playability
durable     4
photogenic    5
holds weapons?    5
Reasonable Facimile to media representation    5
Aesthetics    5   (that shiny plastic is incredible!)
Figure-specific features
morph/ transform/ change form    5
action feature    3
LED lights   1
Diarama     5
Pilot included?  Does he fit in the cockpit or is he in scale or not.    5
To tabulate the score, we add up all of the values, and then come up with an average.
The SpartanTeen and SpartanNerd Gundam Evaluation Checklist says that the Sinanju receives a 4.92.  So far the only Gundam coming in higher is Char’s Zaku II-S (2.0), which had a score of 5.2.
What do you think?  Leave us some feedback in the comments!

SpartanNerd Project…Earl Norem Poses

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I had this crazy idea.  Really more of a dream.  I could get each person who is interviewed in the Masters of the Universe Art Book  to sign their article.  Or maybe a piece of art.  I know it never would happen…I am not a well traveled person.  But it was a fine thought.

But not soon after the book was published, one of the greatest artists of Masters of the Universe passed away.  Earl Norem.  I wrote my thoughts right here on the SpartanNerd Blog.  (Link)

To help illustrate my love for Norem’s work, I thought I would attempt to emulate it with the incredible Masters of the Universe Classics figures.  So here is my attempt at “The Sunbird Legacy.”

A few Caveats have to apply.

  • The figures have one expression.  Some have alternate heads.  But you still have a limitation.
  • The hair can be wrong.
  • Norem didn’t always paint the weapons the same way.
  • I don’t have the diorama piece.  As this stuff becomes more available to me, I will see about photographing some of it.

I chose this picture because I thought it was one of the most do-able.  My favorite is the one with He-Man on a lion and Skeletor leading an elephant army, with the space battle among the meteors a close second.  But you’ll see.

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I tried the Snake Armor He-Man head.  But it doesn’t look as good as the original.  In the picture, Skeletor’s sword is more of a scimitar.  The closest I had available is Draego Man’s sword.  The Havoc Staff is bigger than the one in the painting.  This proves to be the biggest problem.  I felt like the pose above was too…boring.  Not capturing the motion of Norem’s work.

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This photo is closer to Earl Norem.  Still not perfect.  It is really hard to get Skeletor to balance like this.  If you look at the Norem at length…(as I have,) you can see that He-Man and Skeletor have very parallel hips.  He-Man’s figure can’t quite stress his head back or hold his shield at quite the same angle, and still keep balance.  (He-Man has weak ankles.)

The colors are pretty good.  The white background is about as good as I could do.  I applied a filter to mute it a little.

So, Hub City Geeks.  What do you think about my new venture?  Can you do better?  Send me your pics, and let me know in the comments!