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.

Masters of the Universe Hot Wheels and Matchbox- SpartanNerd’s Collection

Here is the most recent “toy-etic” Hot wheels set. Only He-Man and Teela seem to be possibly real-life cars. The others are patently ridiculous. But a kid would really enjoy them, and they roll very fast…faster and smoother than I remember Hot Wheels did when I was a kid.

I got these in a box set for really cheap off of Amazon. This might be the third time I opened it.

While these are cool, and certainly identifiable as the character they represent, This isn’t what I want the most out of Hot Wheels. This is what I want!

And we only have these three so far. I thought really hard about getting the Comic Con two pack that included a tiny He-Man and Skeletor, but I didn’t really want it for the price, when these were on the Wal-Mart shelves for $5 or $6.

They need to come out with one of these for each and every vehicle…guess who would buy them all? The SpartanNerd would, that’s who! Do you know that we haven’t had an Attak Trak in FOREVER. In any form. There was going to be one in the Mega Construx Advent Calendar last year, but look what happened there…

Most of my collection isn’t as extravagant. I will list these in order from oldest to newest.

You can see I got these at Big Lots, and I got them right around the time the 200x property was winding down. Each comes with a post that I have been tempted to open, but NAH. It is that little picture you see beside the blue burst.

I picked these up in the past five years. The cards were in pretty bad shape when I got them. I know there were more in this line because their is an eight back on the reverse side. Could these be real cars? It seems like they are. There is a brand, title, and model year beside the vehicle.

Why did they choose these specific vehicles is a question I ask myself more recently, as I have been playing Gran Tourismo 7, and you can edit the “livery” of your cars. (If I ever figure out how to do Masters of the Universe graphics, I will share here!)

I picked up He-Man, Skeletor, and Teela at Ingles Grocery Store. I got Evil-Lyn at the Barnyard Flea Market. All within the same six months. But Beast Man was elusive. I went to conventions, toy stores, flea markets. I couldn’t find him. It seems that Hot Wheels collectors go after Volkswagens. And then you have the MOTU collectors going after Beast Man, and this created a bottleneck. When I ordered the most recent Mega Construx, I ordered it along with them for a steep price. All in the name of completion…

I mention above that I wonder why they chose the cars they picked for each character car design. I don’t know, but at Ingles right now on peg they have Superman, who is the same Mercedes Unimog truck. So either it is the heroes get this truck, or maybe it is the graphics.

I am in no way an MOTU die cast car completionist, but there IS one out there I am still looking for. It is a box truck with the simple Masters of the Universe logo on the side. I saw it somewhere for $10, and didn’t pick it up. (Oh I should have…). So now this is what I am on the lookout for.

I really enjoy looking at my Hot Wheels/Matchbox collection. How about you, Hub City Geeks? Let me know in the comments!

SpartanNerd Review…Mega Construx Slime Pit

Back two years ago, when I decided to begin collecting the Mega Construx Masters of the universe, I frantically searched to find everything I could. But the hardest thing to get was this guy.

I’m talking about Battle Bones…Not the Wind Raider. (You can frequently still find the WR in stores.)

When building the Battle Bones (a San Diego Comic Con item), I couldn’t help but think, “They could re-purpose this head into a Slime Pit.). And I thought surely they would.

But that’s not what we got. Keep reading to see my experience!

We got a Skeletor Head Slime Pit.

Now this was an unexpected idea. I suppose I was thinking larger. But in scale, I guess this makes sense in context to the scale and size of Grayskull. But not in respect to the vintage toy, but in respect of the size of the Mega Construx minifigs. On the other hand, the Talon Fighter dwarfs this.

This Skeletor head is the same mold as the others, only this time in slime green. The picture on the package shows us Horde Zombie He-Man, and also the Slime Pit. At first I thought the green behind the mouth was a wall, but I realized that it was just the hollow inside of the Skeletor head. I kind of wish that was different. That it was a proper wall. Oh well! We are talking about something that costs less than $10. And I could build that wall if I really want to.

When you get the package off, this is what you see. The gray brick will be the floor. Here is the instructions with something else in there.

Here are all of the contents. I am thinking, “He-Man must be in the bag with the green stuff, with some other slimy pieces.” Nice extras, you know.

So I opened the instructions next.

It turns out that something extra in the instructions was rubbery slime pieces. The only slime that came with this set. BOO! Here are all of the pieces separated out. This is what I must do when I open a building set. Set them all out, sort them by type and color. But there aren’t many pieces with this Skeletor Head. The package said 70 pieces, but each minifig is around 20 pieces. (When I counted, I counted 73 when including the head and the floor. Am I wrong, Hub City Geeks?)

This is a cool, green slime He-Man. As I assembled, I couldn’t help but think about The Green Goddess, who apparently shattered when people opened her MOTUC package.

No extra slime pieces here. And here is the second thing I would improve about this set. There should be more “sliminess” to it. It isn’t even very gross. I remember the toy as a child really freaking out my mother. And she took that slime away from us and we never got to play with it. (Hope you are reading this now, Mom.). I believe this should have come with more things to make it even more gross-out. Maybe a can of slime. Or just more rubbery pieces. Or even green pieces. OH WELL.

Now on to the assembly. Let me preface this by saying that I prefer building LEGO’s to any other bricks like Mega Blocks/Construx. I have put together plenty of the different kinds over the years between the SpartanNerd and the Spartan Kids. Lego bricks have aesthetic principles and roundly stick to a certain vision of kid friendliness and pop sensibilities. (SpartanNerd takes a bow for that sentence!) It isn’t like Mega Construx doesn’t have this, but the Lego thing never does anything that involves winging a piece on a stud, or other questionable hi-jinx that might compromise the structural integrity or even make a more difficult build. The Mega Construx I suppose is aimed at an older audience, so I guess older customers might not even care. But who am I mostly writing this blog to?

It also is notable that LEGO doesn’t even acknowledge their competition. But right on Mattel’s website, you can see where people post their customs and proudly give the formulas, which mix the Mega Construx blocks with Lego, Kreo, and other brands. It is like Lego is the more serious “fun” brand. And Mega Construx is us casual fans. I just wanted to say this first and get it out of the way. I knew going into this I would encounter some things that feel questionable or are nonintuitive. (I built the largest set ever- Castle Grayskull. I know very well what I might see.)

BACK TO THE BUILD

We build the bottom first.

It began as I expected. Build the bottom first. These red pieces make me wish there was more red here. The Slime Pit is partially a Horde thing. Black, gray, and red are their thing. And with the bone pieces, you really evoke Hordak. (See an upcoming post!)

This connection is one of those that felt kind of janky. But after I snapped them together, it remained firm.

And here it is. Step 9. Notice how the four studs don’t line up with the five. This strictly seems to be the kind of thing Mega Construx does that Lego doesn’t seem to do. The solution works out in the end, but it just seems wrong when you are building it. That piece on top with the two studs and then the three studs is also an unusual piece.

Here are the drawn-on eyes. Tampograft I suppose. I remember when I did the Battle Bones eyes, and the Talon Fighter’s eyes, the eyes just kind of emerged from the build. This is a cheap trick, though. Yes…I know. >$10.

See those pieces that are at the nose? These are the stuff of nightmares sometimes. This time no drama. But when I did the Battle Bones and other sets, it seems like they would flick off, be backwards or hard to tell what to do from the instructions. Also, notice here that one has a different angle than the other. How are we supposed to know which to use? I figured it out, with the instrutions and all. But what if I lose the instructions? What if it is a kid building this? (What would happen would be I would help my kids build it, and then about an hour later all of the pieces would be mixed in to a giant bucket.

Here is the finished product.

I definitely see how I can improve this set. It isn’t terrible, and it is clear what is going on here. But could it have been better? Absolutely. “Horde Zombie He-Man” or “Slime Pit He-Man” is actually kind of obscure, being found only in like one mini-comic, but Mattel has made him ubiquitous as a toy in recent years. He is translucent green. Who doesn’t like that? But the rest of this set. I just feel underwhelmed. I actually said to my kid “I am thinking about getting a few more of these to add the slime pieces. And I could strip down the He-Man figures to make other zombies.”

Here are two other Skeletor Head sets to compare this to. I have them all, but these two are in the most presentable condition. And I’ll tell you why they are better!

He-Man and the Jet Sled. What wasn’t great about this? It completely captures what the original toy was. It even came with the exclusive blue armor. Placing it on a propeller at the top of Skeletor’s head makes for a goofy gimmick, but it makes good use of the real estate, and you can display your Jet Sled flying. I give it a 5/5. NEXT!

Here is something I don’t remember having as a child. But check out the diorama piece that this is! I don’t know why they chose to do Zodac this way. I would have rather had the 200x Zodak, especially since we got a Zodac with the Talon Fighter. (An astute MOTU fan will know the difference!). I guess he looks like he is wearing a scuba mask all the time anyway. Still, I enjoy the diorama. There is fun to be had here. I don’t remember this toy as a child, but it perfectly encapsulates the adventure. I will give this one a 4/5 really only because there aren’t more water features in this line.

But I feel I can only give the Slime Pit a 3/5. It is good to get the green He-Man. But the Slime Pit leaves much to be desired. It isn’t gross enough. MORE SLIME. The build has some weakness to it. I had pictured something like that Battle Bones head on a mighty horror movie wall, perhaps with some green pieces to replicate slime if not a rubber puddle or even actual slime. Instead, we get this sort of soul -less offering.

So. Hub City Geeks. Do you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments!

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!