SpartanNerd Review…He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Art Book

This product is AMAZING!!!  I can’t recommend it enough!  I never purchased an art book before for myself, but the SpartanKid has Mega Man Star Force Official Complete Works.   I think that is fine…but the He-Man book blows that away!

(Many thanks to Daniel at the Tangled Web in Spartanburg South Carolina for giving me a discount!  What a great store!)

Obviously, I can’t just take a bunch of photos of each page.  (I wonder how long it would be until Dark Horse/Mattel sent me an order to take them down?)  Instead, I will summarize why I think this book is great, and include just a few pics.

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The front and the back cover are the least spectacular parts of the book.  Why does DreamWorks have a credit?  Barely mentioned here is the Power and Honor Foundation, who owns/houses/curates the art!  (I believe Emiliano Santalucia and James Eatock have a lot to do with this organization.)

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There are several document scans as well as scans of early work.  This book serves as a great visual documentary.  Most everyone has seen this image, that “Vikor” was eventually modeled after.  The original He-Man!

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You get a piece of reproduction cell art!  And you can put the image over different Filiation backgrounds!

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No one will ever deny that Earl Norem was the GREATEST MOTU ARTIST!  This book has several prints of Norem’s work.  This one is my LEAST favorite, and it is amazing!  The more I look at Norem;s work, the more details I notice!

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Here is another Norem.  There are several pieces of movie art.  And that is surprising to me.  Rights to stuff that deals with that movie always seems to be a point of contention.

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Unsurprising, there is lots of 200x art.  Here is Eternos Palace from the show.

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I have this art card.  I really like it!  I think it came with a DVD or something.  I have had it taped to my office wall before. The art book lets you see it extra large!

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The MOTUC Castle Grayskull Box art by Rudy Obrero is preserved here.  It folds out to reveal the entire MOTUC classics card back cross-sell art.  (Up to the point of printing, of course!)

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Something I never thought I would own…the MOTUC maps!  Only Masters of the Universe Classics subscribers received these, or people who purchased certain products.  (Castle Grayskull comes to mind.)  Every map is presented in this book!

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The book takes you all the way from Mark Taylor and Roger Sweet to the modern age of comics!  SpartanNerd readers know I love the new comics!  Here is one of the covers they presented in the book.  There are several other pieces of modern DC comics art as well!

The last part of the book was looking ahead, concept art, etc.  I wonder how much of this is DreamWorks.  (That is who is working on the current movie project, right?)  At least we already know that the gold plated Battle Cat armor is being used in He-Man and the Eternity War storyline.  But what about Skeletor at the bottom?

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The book takes you on a grand trip through the history, present, and future of Masters of the Universe.  I neglected to show you…

New Adventures art

Pre-Ternia art

Princess of Power art

An early Beast Man (too similar to Chewbacca)!

MV Creations work (Looks like Emiliano and Val put there differences aside for this project)

Sculptures

And oh so much more.  If you like Masters of the Universe, this is the book for you!

Can I say anything negative about the book?  I wish it had the full art of Norem’s He-Man and Skeletor’s epic fight, where Skeletor commands elephants and He-Man is riding a lion!  This is the first piece of art you see when you get past the gift-wrap print that is found on the hard-cover backing.  But it is partial.  (That is one of my favorite Earl Norem paintings!)

The other thing is…and maybe I’m wrong.  But the book is 400+ pages.  And the pages are HEAVY WEIGHT.  I am concerned that the book may fall apart over time with lots of use.

I give the Mattel/Dark Horse/Dreamworks He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Art Book a solid 5/5!  Hopefully the Power and Honor Foundation will be able to continue putting out books like this in the future!

SpartanNerd…Cool Idea- Photograph Toys with a Black Light!

Just some fun I had today…something really substantial forthcoming, however, oh Hub City Geeks!

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Skeletor is just about my favorite subject to photograph.  With a black light, his face looks extra gruesome.

I thought it would be cool to put the Havoc Staff that came with the Faceless One in the black light.  It isn’t that apparent in the pic below, but the pink translucent details on the “powered up” part of the staff changed bone white!

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Here is Modulock wearing the alternate Beast Man armor.  The unusual and unexpected thing is the plastic on the torso and visible in his joints at the knees and elbows glow a different color in the black light!  I noticed this with Draego Man too.  (Not pictured)

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I’ve never thought that the vintage Mantenna was a very menacing looking figure.  (This is my original toy from the 1980’s.)  Placing a blacklight on him changes this.  The red details become that salmon-isn color, which contrasts to the blue parts of his body that disappear in the blacklight somewhat.  His eyeball paint is about gone, but because of this it makes that weird thing that is his mouth seem extra creepy!

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The cool thing about Grimlock isis weapons.  They look translucent amber in person.  In the blacklight, though they pp like the science fiction things they should pop like.

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Last but not least, LILIANA!  The cool thing about this pic is as I was editing it with iPhoto, I was playing with the sharpness controls.  Lilliana almost disappeared when the control was at 0.  As you moved the slider, she would slowly appear or disappear!  Just like magic!  Because her substantially exposed skin is “flesh-tone”, and her clothes are all purple, this caused the disappearing effect.  I wish I had a modded Liliana card with this picture on it!

SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review…Masters of the Universe Classics “Snake Armor He-Man vs. Battle Armor King Hsss” Two Pack

I always wanted to have Snake Armor He-Man from the 200x line.  Unfortunately, I’ve never seen one in stores, and apparently it only was sold in Europe.

When Mattel revealed the MOTUC version, as a double pack with 200x King Hsss…I was very surprised.  Here is a company that has consistently said they weren’t going to do “anime stylized” figures.  I, like everyone else interested, watched Pixel Dan’s video review…and I knew this would be my next purchase.  Then came the big news of a 200x subscription line…I am still deciding on that.  But I am very glad to know that they are visiting that old line and bringing new figures from the show that were never released, like Ceratus and Calix.

I ordered this as soon as it was available on February 16, and today it arrived on March 2.  Not so good.  Not that the amount of time the shipping took has anything to do with the value of the figure, but it is kind of a bummer that it took so long.

Anyways, on with the review!

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The toys arrived in this mailer box.  Similar to what we have seen in the past.  You can see the names of the figures prominently on the front.

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Removing the inner box from the mailer reveals this packaging.  It is similar pakaging to what we got with the Palace Guard two pack.  There is a Snake Men sticker conspicuously on the blister bubble.

Flipping the box over…wait a minute.  (sniff sniff).  What’s that (sniff sniff) smell?

I’ve heard of new car smell.  And there is/was a blog or show on the web “That New Toy Smell.”  But I never actually smelled a new toy outside of a toy that was supposed to smell.  And I have to say, it isn’t very pleasant.  It is a strong smell, that overcomes the packaging.  I heard complaints on Roast Gooble Dinner podcast about some of the new plastic Mattel using smelling “like urinal cakes.”  I wouldn’t quite describe this smell as that bad.  It smells of chemicals, though.  And like new paint.

Onto flipping the box.

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We get some pictures of other snake men in the line, notably Tongue Lasher, my favorite Snake Man…until today!

The bios are interesting, and you can read them on your own time, Hub City Geeks.  I am just throwing this packaging away.  (As I type this, I am looking at the two figures on my kitchen table, and they continue to smell funny.)

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Both figures are MAGNIFICENT!  The sculpt of He-Man’s armor…what they’ve done with the concept is incredible!  And there are lots of tiny details.  He-Man is one of those figures I could stare at for a while and keep finding new things.  King Hsss likewise, has a remarkable sculpt, and this time, they adapted the 200x look into his Armor instead of making a new buck, or whatever.  Both figures feature loin cloths reminiscent of the 200x time period.  King Hsss comes with a snake staff and a shield, just like the older version…

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No shoulder swapping has been done to the new King Hsss!  The older version has a certain nostalgia, but the newer version carries Egyptian details.

He-Man has received a new head sculpt, and this is what has people excited the most about getting these figures, I think.

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No more fish-head haircut for He-Man  Notice that there is a sword holder on his back, designed to hold the 200x sword!

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He-Man also has the claw accessory that was prominently featured in the cartoon.  It just clips right into his gauntlet.

He-Man and King Hsss have all of the articulation of other MOTUC figures: Ball jointed head, ball jointed shoulders, bicep swivels, rotating wrists, an ab crunch, rotating waist, ball jointed legs, knees with a hinge, and rocker ankles.  Neither figure has a boot cut swivel, but that is generally unnecessary.

King Hsss’ head swivel is hampered by his headdress a little bit.  Otherwise, all of the joints feel tight and the figures stand very nicely.  I would like to point out that the loin cloth on both figures hampers their ability to ride on a steed…He-Man can’t properly ride Battle Cat (if you happened to get Battle Lion and armor swap.)

You can remove King Hsss torso and swap out with the snake form from the previous figure.  Mattel is promising a 200x snake form to be packed with a different figure.   I feel that the older snake form looks like a buck-toothed rabbit.

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You can try trading He-Man’s head sculpt onto different figures, and vice versa. You can make a truly 200x regular He-Man now if you have King Grayskull’s armor.  Or you could take the armor off of the 200x He-Man, and use that…it fits the classics figures just fine.  (I don’t have these options available, sadly.)

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But putting that 200x head on Prince Adam looks SWEET!  He looks like some kind of model, don’t you think!

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Here is a COMPARISON TIME:  Wolf Armor He-Man 200x and Snake Armor He-Man MOTUC

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Hsss’ staff and shield are given to us in muted colors this time.  I especially like the staff in this color.  It looks extra evil.  And the darker colored shield is also better than the brighter shield we got before.

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He-Man’s sword is the same as the other swords we have from 200x, but this time the cross on the hilt is highlighted in black.  Some things are lacking in this department for He-Man.

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Sure we have awesome new armor…(incidentally, non-removable armor).  But Snake Armor He-Man needs a snake shield.  He also needs a sword that can open up to fire the power of Grayskull at Serpos, like we saw in the final episode of the 200x series.

So what’s my rating?

I had a blast coming up with cool poses for each figure.  They look absolutely awesome together.  My favorite thing is the action pose you see above, where He-Man is fighting King Hsss.  This armor lends makes you believe this figure is a real snake fighter!

But no way around it…I have to take off some for a couple of reasons.  We didn’t get all we need with these figures.  King Hsss missing his alt mode.  He-man not having a transforming sword or a shield.  And then there is that smell.  That has to be enough to really effect some people’s fun.

But the positives really outweigh the negatives.  The sculpts are amazing.  The customizability that is opened up with these figures is also very nice.  The figures are fun to play with and look at.  I can’t say enough about all of the details.  The paint is very intricate as well.  This has to make up for some of the bad.

So I am going to rate this set a solid 3/5 or a cautious 4/5.  If you are a fan of 200x, or just the snake men in general, then this product is for you.  I mentioned above, this sculpt of King Hsss has promoted him to my favorite snake man.  And I really like the part swapping options opened up with the new 200x head sculpt.

SpartanNerd… Thoughts on Toyfair Reveals

Toyfair usually has a few things that catch my eye.  This year though, I think is going to get me to purchasing.

To start with, there is a new MattyCollector Subscription being offered…a “200x Masters of the Universe Classics” line.  (Not sure the official name.Oh yeah.  Club 200x.)  I think I am going to subscribe.  I skipped on the Anniversary Line, and the Filiation line, AND the minis line.  But considering the figures planned, I am game.  Revealed so far is Calix (he needs a red shirt), Ceratus, and EvilSeed.  I speculate that we will get Old Man Marzo, a Skeleton Warrior, and Stratos’ sister or similar.  There is also a head pack coming, with the 200x head for Snout Spout (AWESOME!), Buzz Off’s 200x head (ALSO AWESOME!)  I figure we might get 200x Prince Adam in the main Classics line, as this subscription specifically says that the characters will be never-before-released.

I’m so excited I went ahead and purchased the Snake Armor He-Man and 200x King Hsss two pack today…(review coming as soon as it arrives!)

(I could care less about Peek-a-Blue and Angela.  Angela could be much more awesome.  Mara is cool though, maybe the best New Adventures side character so far.)