SC ComicCon…SpartanNerd Thoughts

I had never heard of the SC Comic Con.  But when I learned about it, I knew my weekend destination!

The SC Comic Convention took place at the TD Convention Center on the weekend of March 25 and 26.  I arrived at about 2:00, and was greeted with a LOOOOONNNNGGGG line for admission.  Luckily, the line moved quickly, and by 2:30 we were in.  People were dressed to the max…I was wearing my humble Ace the Bathound shirt from the Legion of Collectors Box.  But there were cosplayers everywhere.

I do have a frame of reference for comparison.  The SpartanCon  is little more than an event at the public library, where they have some authors and creators show up.  It packs the library.  Which isn’t small, but isn’t humongous either.  I used to attend the MonsterCon.  That was sizable, taking up floorspace at Furman University.  And then HicloryCon was even bigger than that.  But this event DWARFED those.  Never have I seen so many vendors, artists, photo opportunities, and shop representatives in one place.

Me and the SpartanChildren walked around the place first, to take it all in.  Then we started getting specific.  SpartanTeen didn’t want to be there…he wanted to stay home and play Battlefield 4 all day.  But the SpartanKid wanted some MegaMan stuff, and I was looking for sealed MTG product, as well as Masters of the Universe related items.

The quest for MegaMan was dismal.  Right now, he just isn’t that hot of property, apparently.  We found a place that had five different stuffed MM toys.  But the SpartanKid passed on those.  He has one anyways…stuffed things really aren’t his thing anymore.   Eventually we found a metal bookmark.  Shiny!

The quest for MOTU was hardly better.  I eventually DID find some vindage items, but they were asking WAY TOO MUCH.  Basically, polybagged figures for $20.  I did see some other cool toys.  One standout was G1 MEGATRON in package.  Yes.  The PISTOL version!  $300!  IN BOX.  G1 MetroPlex was there as well, with a $600 price tag.  It didn’t appear to be complete either.  There were a few GI Joes of note…Cobra Commander, Zartan, and others.

It came down to sort of impulse buys.  I ran across the ATRAXA, PRAETOR’S VOICE deck, but in JAPANESE!  The vendor said $59.  I said I might return, and I did.  Homeboy tried to bump the price up to $79.99.  But nope.  I got it for $59.  This is a deck I have been waiting to land at a big box store, knowing the uninformed workers at Wal-Mart and Target either don’t know or don’t care about the asking value.  But I keep checking.  And no luck.  But to find this at the con, and in a foreign language, to me that is AWESOME.  I have a review coming soon!

Finally, just before we left, some impulse purchases.  The SpartanKid saw the Ocarina vendor…Now we haven’t played “Ocarina of Time.”  But it is soon to be on our WII…(or maybe I’ll wait and download it on the Nintendo Switch? I think that might be my next big purchase.)

But the SpartanKid had never realized it was a real instrument.  He was enamored with it.  So we got it.  And now he can play a few tunes.  My final right-before-I left purchase was some armor pieces for MOTUC figures.  It was the barbarian armor for VYKRON.  It was a special find…I never wanted that stupid figure, but thought the barbarian look was a real compliment to Vikor.  To find that Barbarian Armor polybagged for $10 was really nice.  And the armor compliments the normally shirtless Vikor very nicely.  I haven’t even put it on He-Man, like I thought I would!  The helmet fits on Battlefield Teela…Longtime readers might remember that I modded my Teela, removing her hair so that she could wear the snake armor.  That helmet fits pretty nicely on her head, making her a proper wife or sister for Vikor!  (That same vendor had MOTUC Talon Fighter Teela polybagged for $75.  No sale.)

I will definitely be going back to SC ComicCon.  It was fun for me and the SpartanKid.  And something cool to do!

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Man-At-Arms (Battle Ram Version)…SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review

Mattel has given us several versions of Man-At-Arms over the eight years of the line.  The Battle Ram came with one more different version.  How does this version stand up?  Keep reading!

You can see how I unboxed Man-At-Arms if you follow this link.    You can also see the review of the Battle Ram vehicle, and follow the links on that page to all sorts of cool NerdTainment.  To me, this Man-At-Arms is essentially a freeby!

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So here is Man-At-Arms, right out of the package.  Notice that this version has a silver mace, prominently featured.  He has Filmation-inspired shin guards.  He is the same green color, and has practically the same armor as the original Man-At-Arms release.  This time he has double arm-guards, and a helmetless head that features a prominent ponytail.

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The backside features an incredibly well sculpted backpack, which has storage clips for weapons.  In the previous version, Man-At-Arms could have He-Man’s techno-sword attached here.  This time we get to install a gun and the classic mace.From this rear-facing angle, we can see how well sculpted the armor pieces are.

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If you read my review of Rio Blast, then you heard my story of who I always thought he was Man-at-Arms in disguise.  See the resemblance?  Now for a head-swap.

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I knew I was onto something!

Man-At_arms comes with the aforementioned silver mace, the classic mace, and this silver pistol.  Note that the silver mace will not fit on the the clips of Man-At-Arms back.

Why was that even included?  It seems we’ve seen that mace several times in different colors.  So it gets the silver treatment.  Big WHOOP.

It would have been nice to have more paint hits on the classic mace.  Or maybe including that 200x gun in a different color.  (How about silver.  That would have been cool!)

But oh-well.  I don’t dislike the silver mace.  I just think its weird considering the main vintage weapon associated with Duncan is the orange mace.  And so that means he came with two maces.

He looks cool with two guns…not two maces.

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The point of this Man-At-Arms is that now you get maximum options for displaying the figure.  You can take this head and the 200x gun and armor and make the ultimate 200x Man-At-Arms.  (I don’t own the Snake Man At Arms…I don’t own the 200x the gun.  OK.  I actually don’t own either…the SpartanTeen owns the gun and the original Man-At-Arms release!)

You can take the Mustached head and put on the Battle Ram version and make a filmation Duncan.  (Sorry.  I can’t find the mustached head.  The SpartanTeen lost it!)

Here is a crack at the 200x version, using the Battle Ram body.

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Man-At-Arms inclusion with the Battle Ram was a great choice.  I personally needed my own Man-Arms to help me complete the classic team of He-Man, Teela, Man-At-Arms, Orko, and Ram Man (coming from Super7 eventually!)

The only thing stupid about this figure is the silver mace.  It adds something to the figure.  It just isn’t that significant.  But I can’t take any points off for that.  MOC collectors might be annoyed that he is displayed holding that in the box, though.

So I rate the Battle Ram Man-At-Arms 5/5.  This is Mattel’s final Man-At-Arms for the Masters of the Universe Classics line.  They used this opportunity to reward long-time collectors, and help appease those annoyed by Snake Man-At-Arms.  This version allows the widest range of display options, and pulls it together nicely.

For me, it gives me my own personal Man-At-Arms to help me complete my collection of essential good guys.

Do you agree with the SpartanNerd’s rating of 5/5?  Let me know in the comments!

 

Battle Ram…SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review

Snow in the south.  What does that mean to the SpartanNerd?  While others slide their way to work…skid their way to the factory…get stuck in piled up traffic on their way to punch the clock at the warehouse, or to worry sick about the progress at the house building site, the SpartanNerd stays home.  Teaching has its perks!  And while even other teachers might get bored, sitting in their wool socks binge-watching the Netflix, the SpartanNerd stays busy…bringing nerdtainment reviews to the masses.  (Whoever you are, beloved readers, thank you!)  Someone out there reads what I publish, and this run of reviews is just for you!

I ordered the Battle Ram right before the year ended.  This is something I haven’t ordered before simply because of price.  I was seriously psyched when they first announced this item a couple of years ago.  $110 was just too much.  Then they were going to stick ridiculous shipping costs.  But not during the MattyCollector closeout event!  The Battle Ram was HALF OFF.  And I got free shipping too.  (I only paid $55 for the Battle Ram, which also comes with a new Man-At-Arms.  That’s incredible, people!)

I have been excited about this for quite some time.  Ever since The Four Horsemen revealed their original sculpt at the San Diego Comic Con…(I only saw pictures, like most of you readers.  I have never been to San Diego.)  I mentioned as well that the Wind Raider never has been my favorite vehicle.  To me, it always seems kind of generic for some reason.  And as a kid, the wings broke off and it was forever funkified by bathtub water.  (Because you see, we naturally made it into a boat as it didn’t have wings anymore.)

But on to the Battle Ram.  My original Battle Ram is still with me!  Keep reading for a comparison time!  (Shout out to Pixel Dan.  Who unquestionably probably doesn’t read this blog.)

The Masters of the Universe Classics Battle Ram came in this shipper box.

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This box is huge.  And when I see this giant mailer, I realize how big a MOTUC vehicle has to be to accommodate that nearly seven inch scale.  I have some other large MOTUC items.  But this is set to be the largest yet!

I am re-using this box this time, to cart my vintage figures back over to the school to put on display for the rest of the school year. (Now I have to make room in the Nerd Closet for this beast of a vehicle!)   It is nice and sturdy, and suits all kinds of re-use purposes.  I know, there are some collectors out there who have each of these in storage.  Come on guys.  Really?  Just.  Why?

(I am known to throw the packaging away, usually.  It’s just cardboard!  The item inside is what’s important to me.  And like Rob Base says.  “Their your toys.  Play with them!”

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You can see all of this goodness is really crammed into the box.  Man-At_arms is prominently  in front of the vehicle.  Maybe an odd choice?  They could have seated him on it and maybe saved some space?  But I suppose having the figure displayed in the window box is more important to MOC collectors.

The back of the box shows a diagram of the Battle Ram with some details.  It even goes as far as to point out that the Griffin Head is the custom piece done by Duncan.  This diagram is going through a little bit of pain to point out that the Jet Sled in front isn’t the same as what’s in the package, I think.  The other details are cool.  Isn’t Gwildor of the Tadorian race?  Or is that what creature’s head is depicted on the missile?

This is a nifty box.  I will have to check the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Art Book and look at the other schematic drawings of vehicles preserved there.  This drawing might be in there also…

Time to knife open the package!  There are lots of rubber bands tying the Man-At-Arms in.  And worry-ingly, check out this problem.  On the Roast Gooble Dinner podcast, I heard lots of people talking about Jitsu’s ponytail getting broken off in the package.  Looks like potential for something like that happening here…

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Thankfully, I managed to free the scary piece of hair without damaging it.

And here is the product, as vanilla as I can show you, right out of the package.

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Now readers…I am going to post the review of Man-At-Arms in a different post.  This figure deserves a fair review like all of the others, but I am afraid the Battle Ram is so awesome it overpowers old Duncan!

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So how big is it?

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Here are some other large MOTUC items I have just for reference.  (I hate this picture).

The Griffin’s impressive wingspan is a little bit longer than the Battle Ram.  Megator seems just the right height to get splattered in the face by the missile!  (That is a real working action feature!  The missile is a bit rubbery, but not too much!)

The point is, this is one hulk of plastic.  I can’t imagine owning Castle Grayskull.  That thing makes this vehicle look small…

As in the vintage model, the Jet Sled detaches from the Battle Ram portion.  The MOTUC version doesn’t do so as easily, however.  You have to wiggle it with a little bit of force, and there is a definite “SNAP” sound that happens, as the tabs that lock it into place seem to be stressing a little bit.  And that is my only complaint about the entire vehicle!

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You can see that this time we have the snake head version of the Sky Sled. (War Sled, props to James Eatock).  I won’t be displaying the Battle Ram with the snake head.  I’m not sure if the snake head version is ever depicted in media attached to the Battle Ram?  I will always have the Griffin head version on the front.

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Teela makes everything look better!  Sky High villainously belongs on the snake version.

The new Jet Sled War Sled is exactly like the other.  You should go and read that review right now if you haven’t.  Because they are the same item.  Just one has a griffin head, and one has a snake head.  (Really, it is a fantastic vehicle, that I rated 5/5.  I have had tons of fun flying it around and scaring my cats.  Sorry that some of the pics of Sky High are inexplicably missing, but the Jet Sled pics are all there.)

The Battle Ram is a display piece…as such, you can do the traditional thing…

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Or you can go 1980’s playtime, full on!

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Check out the backside of the Battle Ram.

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I don’t remember this detail.  This large mask thing…was it ever a sticker on the vintage Battler Ram?  This detail is sculpted on, like every other detail of the Battle Ram.  But this mask thing is very conspicuous.  The bright colors don’t really match the rest of the tank.  It doesn’t take away from it, I just found it kind of shocking because I didn’t remember it, and this isn’t on my vintage Battle Ram.  Maybe my parents didn’t apply it when they assembled it?  Or maybe I peeled it off?  There doesn’t seem to be any residue, however…

Every single knob, control panel, exhaust pipe, vent, indicator light, engine piece, all of it.  Fantastic sculpting.  I can’t gloat about that enough.  It is incredible!  It is this work that makes Masters of the Universe Classics the ultimate toyline.  Not only just for adult collectors, but this item in the hands of a kid…wow, it can capture their imagination.

Now for that “Comparison Time” I hooked you with earlier.

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My childhood Battle Ram is dwarfed by the MOTUC version.  The plastic is just about split in seam right up the middle of both the Sky Sled and the engine piece.

One thing about them both, and maybe only I notice this because I am the only music teacher interested in MOTUC in the whole entire world I am certain…both Battle Rams make the same sound when they roll!  This was the very first thing I noticed.  As soon as I freed it from the box, I set it on the floor and gave it a good push.  There is a certain “hollow” sound to the thing as it rolls.  I’m not sure what makes it so.  But it is.  It is the exact same experience.  When I rolled the new vehicle across the floor, a ton of memories flooded back into my head.  I mention how this is the ultimate action figure line…how kids can totally have their imagination captured.  Us adults can re-live it because of the incredible detail put into something as awesome as this.

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As a kid, my favorite vehicle was the Attak Trak.  But as a battery powered vehicle, it had limitations.  (dead batteries.)  What would I play with instead…the Battle Ram was my go-to guy.  And now that there isn’t even an Attak Trak for MOTUC, and there may never be, the Battle Ram takes over by force of destiny!  (That sounded cool.)

The SpartanNerd rates the Battle Ram at 5/5.  It is perfect!  The only thing close to a complaint that I can make is that it is slightly hard to separate the Jet Sled from the Battle Ram.  I believe that over time that may work itself out.  So no big deal.

The SpartanNerd rates the Battle Ram 5/5.  Do you agree or disagree?  Let me know in the comments!

Rio Blast…SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review (Masters of the Universe Classics)

I ordered Rio Blast during the big MattyCollector sale, really you can’t beat free shipping on what are normally expensive figures.   But these were marked down really low, and I just couldn’t help it!  (Ting Lashor, Squeeze, Rio Blast, and Battle Ram).  I mentioned in my Squeeze review about how I got Rio Blast as a kid…

I have some history with the vintage Rio Blast.  I used to get the Masters of the Universe magazine as a kid, and this was where I most often saw the character portrayed.  He never made it into the Filmation cartoons.  BUT he has a definite “Bravestarr” vibe, being a futuristic cowboy.

So many fans are put off by that.  But come on guys.  Skeletor has NINJOR.  So the good guys get their off-brand character.

Rio Blast came in a brown mailer.  He is carded on the regular Masters of the Universe Classics green brick packaging.  The backside of the box shows off several figures.  (Total excitement about Ram Man coming my way from Super-7!)  And Rio Blast gets a bio.

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Just light commentary from the SpartanNerd here.  There is no mention of  Rio Blasts life choices.  Many fans were rooting for Mattel to make this figure homosexual.  I’m glad they left that detail out. Leave it up to the fans.  It’s up to us anyway, right?  MY childhood version of Rio Blast is he is actually Duncan in disguise!  Doesn’t anyone else see a resemblance?  He has such a cool name that it overpowers that Man-at-Arms ness.  But don’t you think this weapon system is something like Duncan would build?

Onto the review.  The box comes with all of this.

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Rio Blast can stand just fine on his own.  He has all of the articulation of the other figures.

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But he has two trigger hands that can’t actually hold any gun.  (I tried several, including some non-MOTUC).

What a fantastic sculpt! Check out the Spurs!

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His knee pads clip on with little bumps kind of like the visor for Flipshot.  ( Too bad I can’t find the visor right now).   They don’t hinder the articulation any.  Rio Blast has excellent paint.  His guns, however could use some more detailing.

Here is what Rio Blast looks like all armed up.  I don’t remember the hoses on the vintage figure.    The backpack plugs into Rio Blasts back.  The guns pull up and overhead just like the vintage one.  You insert the hand guns in these little holes on the underside of his arm. The torso gun fits on the shirt flap.  And the knee guns fit on the knee pads.

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Space Toy vs Cowboy Toy…

The only stupid thing about this figure is what’s going on with the chest area.  His shirt has a huge hinge, and that is for that flap to fold down for his torso gun.  But the flap never can rest flush against the body.  This is an inelegant solution to the torso gun problem.  They made a “Buzzsaw Hordak” for MOTUC..and he has a cavity in his chest for that buzz-saw.  Why didn’t they use the same torso piece for Rio Blast?

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My backpack’s overhead seems a little bent. Some people have pointed out that Rio Blasts eyes can’t see straight though the visor. It’s true, they don’t line up.  But I’d like to think of it more like a HUD, where it is just there for reference instead of something he has to use.

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Most of the time, I won’t have Rio Blast in full arsenal mode.  He will look normal, wielding only one weapon.  But there are times when he might be fighting the Griffin or Megator, when all guns out is going to happen!

How do I rate Rio Blast?  For me, Rio Blast is kind of like Mosquitor (who I don’t have from MOTUC, or in vintage anymore 😦   )  Rio Blast was an awesome figure for me as a kid, and this version of him only falls short in the chest-gun department.  Some people have said they don’t like the newer hairstyle he sports in this version, but I do.  It pays homage to the vintage. but looks updated.  I think this might be one of the finer sculpts of a figure.  His pants and hairstyle make it work.

Besides the chest issue, the only other thing to improve would be add a cowboy hat!  (I’ll have to see if I can find one that fits him.)

I am going to give Rio Blast and his pants (with SPURS) a 4/5.  He loses a solid point because of the lack of ingenuity surrounding the chest gun.  That hinge is unforgivable, and that the flap doesn’t clip tight to the armor is clunky and wrong.

But he has a great sculpt.  He stands well.  He looks like his vintage figure in both modes.  Rio Blast can’t lose more than one point.

THE SPARTANNERD RANKS MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE CLASSICS RIO BLAST A 4/5.  Do you agree or disagree?  Let me know in the comments!

 

 

SpartanNerd Micro-Reviews 3

  1. I went and saw Star Wars: Rogue One on December 15, (The day before release) with a special ticket from the Tangled Web.  I had on my Darth Vader costume, and didn’t actually have to show my ticket!  The movie was more of a war movie than the drama we’ve all come to expect from the franchise.  Spoilers ahead…the plans for how to blow up the Death Star falls into the Rebels hands!  (You knew that already…)  A real review will be forthcoming after I see the movie a second time.  It was enjoyable, in a similar way to the oldest Star Wars movies.  But that is all I will say for now.

2. I ordered Rio Blast from the December 15 MattyCollector.com sale.  Once again, I passed up the chance to get the Wind Raider and the Battle Ram.  Maybe I will get them before the sale ends…I usually get some monetary gifts for Christmas.

3.  On the other hand, I might rather get some Magic Cards to improve my favorite Modern deck, Five Color Gifts.

4.  I have been reading “Death of the Family” again…That New 52 Joker continues to be creepy!

5.  SUPER MARIO RUN…It is alright.  I am a pretty decent Mario player.  I’ve never been a big fan of the screen that moves for you.  Those make some of the most frustrating levels in Mario sometimes.  Super Mario Run…he just runs for you, and you can’t go backwards if you miss the tiniest opportunities to grab that last Black coin, for instance, on world 1-1   The whole Toad Kingdom Builder thing feels rather incomplete to me as well.

6.  Final Fantasy X…I have been playing this.  It was a feat for its time.  But the voice acting not being synced, the obvious skips between character sprite screens and cut scenes.  These bring a very dated feel to the game.  Maybe the remasterd version isn’t as bad?  For now this game is scratching my FF itch.  Final Fantasy XV can wait until it gets discounted.  (That game looks amazing!)

7.  Finally, Mega Construx Mega Bloks.  What is the whole Mega Construx angle all about?  I don’t see much difference.  Here is a pictureimage.jpeg that the SpartanKid took of his most recent

 

 

 

acquisition.

8.  And finally.  The preview for Power Rangers….that blew me away, and people at the Tangled Web showing of Star Wars Rogue One literally shouted and clapped when they saw the trailer, which took me by surprise, with most everyone else.  Who would have thought Power Rangers could look so cool?  I’m sure I’ll have more to say…I have a long and unappreciative history with the Power Rangers.

 

 

 

SQUEEZE…SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review

I remember being a kid, and going to the store.  It was likely “Sky City”, which was a department store that was big in Spartanburg before Wal-Mart moved in and started killing smaller retail businesses.  Anyways, my mom would generally get me and my brothers a He-Man guy, and they were usually under $5.   I remember this so well because Squeeze was one of the last figures I ever saw in a store for sale.  I never owned him…I think I walked out with Rio-Blast that day…and always the mystery of what Squeeze was all about lingered.

Until now!

Squeeze came in the regular box.   But…look how they had to cram him!


Why didnt I get this as a kid?   Probably was the mouth and head.

Here is the figure right out of the box.  You can see he has a lone accessory…a specially designed snake staff.   Squeeze has a stupid armor-bra, that is non-removable.  He has awesome spikes on his leg armor…one of his coolest and under appreciated features!   I am a big fan of the bright green, purple, orange, and silver coloring.   I still dislike the “alligator” head.
You can also see those incredible arms.

The arms make him triple in size, at least!

They are bendy, and can be posed and shaped however you like.  They hold their pose.  The shoulder is a ratchet joint.  So it clicks satisfyingly however you want.  His wrists swivel, and he has HUGE hands.   I’m glad we got hands instead of snake heads.  (Swappable hands would have been cool)


The arms have these qualities at a price, however.  Squeeze is so top heavy that his legs can’t really hold him up.  They can…but he never seems stable.   Mine has weak joints, making the problem worse.  AND the way the boots are designed, you can’t get the same range of motion as you can with other figures.


In the above pose, I have him propped against the backdrop.

His arms CAN help him stand and balance.   But it would have been better if the legs were stronger.  The more I played with Squeeze, the more I saw his hips get weaker as well as his knees.

His snake staff is different than the other snake mens’.  It is also kind of bendy, though it reminds me of a hammer a little bit too.

As mentioned in my last post, I got SQUEEZE along with several other figures in MattyCollector’s big closing sale.  I have played more with SQEEZE than any of the other figures.  And I think it is because of handy convenience.  You can do what you want with those arms, and then set it back down.

But I have lots of negative things to say.

The head is stupid.  Why no swappable 200x variant?  200x Squeeze was ugly too.  But not an alligator.  And along that line…why no swappable hands so we could have the 200x “Staction” look.  Squeeze was always ejecting snake projectiles out of his arms in the cartoon.  OK.  How about this…interchangeable normal arms?

But that was all WISHFUL THINKING.  What we have here is a weak-jointed MOTUC figure.  The shoulder joints are very tight and satisfying.  But the waist, torso, and knees are all loose joints, that get looser the more you play with it, and a problem exacerbated by the top heaviness of the arms.

And worse.  These are the worse ankles in any MOTUC figure as far as lacking articulation.  You can barely rock the feet back and forth.  BARELY.  the way the boot is designed, it keeps it from happening.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think this is fun.  But it is far from perfect as a figure.  I am going to give SQUEEZE a 2/5.  He has the spirit of what the vintage figure was all about.  But as an adult collector figure, we got hosed in the detail and articulation department.

So, the SpartanNerd gives Masters of the Universe Classics SQUEEZE a 2/5.  Do you agree or disagree?  Let me know in the comments!