Monday, May 28, 2012

Toy Review – Masters of the Universe Classics Stinkor By Mattel


Okay, before I get into this one I feel I need to address the controversy that was Stinkorgate.
If you are unfamiliar with the mass panic that shocked the internet late last month, here’s the deal:
Stinkor’s forearms are reversed!
I know, I know. After King Hssss and Roboto and the original He-Man before them; how the flying blue fuck could Mattel possibly screw up and reverse another, even more obvious part of a figure’s anatomy?

Well, according to Scott “Nite Lik” Nietlich they didn’t. In a post on the Mattycollector website the brand manager asserted that the switch-up on the skunk man’s forearms was intentional. He said the intent was to make the figure “pop on your shelf”. This is a phrase he has been using quite a lot lately. I don’t quite know what to make of that phrase, as in a line full of people with orange fur, giant fists, fish heads, and various other major deformities I’m not sure how much more effort needs to be put into making a character unique. I don’t know that the skunk man with the bright orange vest needed any help standing out, you know?
Also, the Four Horsemen – the artists who initially design these toys – stated quite clearly that they created Stinkor with his forearms aligned the regular way.
So given all of that, there are some folks who have been very vocal about doubting Scott “Lt. Spector” Nietlich’s honesty about the whole situation. These people seem to think that Nietlich is lying to cover up yet another production error rather than deal with more criticism from the customer base, who he likes to refer to as “fans” because you do favors for fans and you do business with customers. And you have obligations to customers such as quality, timeliness, and value.
Personally, I don’t give a shit. I would never have even known about Stinkor’s forearms if it hadn’t been pointed out and I’d bet money a large percentage of the folks who have been whining so much are the same way. Even after the change was pointed out I could hardly tell and it certainly didn’t look bad. The figure wasn’t deformed or incorrect in any noticeable way. I figured once it showed up I would do what I always do – decide if I liked it or not.
There seem to be two types of people on the Mattycollector.com forums – total OCD assholes who find something to bitch about every single time Matty makes an announcement about anything, and mindless sheep who gleefully gobble up every shit Matty takes on its customers and defend the admittedly questionable practices of the company while doing it.
Both of those kinds of people drive me nuts.
So anyway, Stinkor (and Slush Head) arrived the other day and I got my opportunity to judge things in person.
I had no idea how stinky Stinkor was going to be or how far that stink might carry. Moss Man’s scent was incredibly strong and infused the entire downstairs with piney freshness. It drove Mrs. Troublemaker crazy. She wouldn’t go down there for weeks. All I knew about Stinkor was that the scent used to make him stinky was patchouli and I cannot stand patchouli. This meant I had to have a plan for opening the guy and taking my pictures. I had already told Evil that if Stinkor was too strong I was going to give the figure to him. But I still wanted to do a review, especially after Stinkorgate.
So when I looked out on the carport and saw that box sitting there, I told Lil’ Troublemaker we were going to go outside and take some pictures. He knows all about taking pictures of toys, as he always helps me out when I have something new. Typically I’ll open something up, take pictures, and then let him play with it for a while. He’s kind of my product quality department. Mattel should hire him.

First Glance: Stinkor is another striking figure. The black and white contrasting with the orange looks interesting enough, but then you throw in the blue accessories and you have something that would really stand out on the toy aisle. You almost might say Stinkor would really pop on the shelf. But it has nothing to do with his forearm orientation.
Sculpt: Let’s see here – Stinkor has Beast Man/Stratos’ torso, arms, and legs. He has Skeletor’s forearms (reversed), hands, calves, and feet. That’s a standard furry loincloth/belt combo. Matty gave ol’ stinky here two new heads, both modeled on an aspect of the classic Stinkor. One is the straight-up skunk head with Teddy bear ears and the other is based off of the card art or the 2002 version; depending on who you talk to. He also has a built-up neck piece like Mer-Man’s, but furry.
With all of that, Stinkor has the standard MOTUC articulation – ball joints at the head, shoulders, and hips. Swivels at the biceps, wrists, waist, thighs, and boot tops. There are single pivot elbows and knees, rocker ankles, and an abdominal joint.
Stinkor appears to be made mostly of rubber. I have a problem with this. His arms and legs are very soft and feel, quite frankly, cheap and crappy. Like a Dollar Tree toy. This does not affect the look of the figure or the posability. It just feels cheap. That being said, all of Stinkor’s joints work well and move smoothly. He holds any position you put him in.
Also, the forearms look just fine. I stared at those damn things forever trying to figure out what problem people could possibly have with them. Nothing. As a matter of fact, I spent so much time scrutinizing those forearms that I almost missed this heinousness:
Ugh. That’s pretty bad. The elbow pin and the shoulder connection are a bright white that looks pretty awful. A little paint would have been nice, though I’m not so sure that would have worked for the shoulder. I guess I’ll hit the elbows with some black paint. I probably won’t bother with those white armpits. My story is that those are streaks left by the heavy-duty prescription strength deodorant he has to use just to be around the rest of the Evil Warriors.
The sculpted fur look very good and everything about the figure is clean and well-done. Both heads look cool and have incredibly angry expressions. 
The 2002 head looks a little more vicious, but I prefer the Teddy bear head for some reason. I thought I would be displaying the other one, but once I had them on I liked the rounded ears. The heads are a soft plastic (which I am fine with) and swap easily.
Stinkor’s chest gear looks very cool. It is a softer plastic, but it does interfere with his abdominal joint a bit. Some might consider this an accessory, but I have no plans to take it off. The face protector sits in front and is positioned nicely, which is a good thing because it has to hold his little blue gas mask in place. But we’ll get to that. The detailing, plating, and circuitry on Stinkor’s gear looks cool and it fits him very well, which is the reason I didn’t want to take it off. You never know how easily these types of things are going to go back on. I’m not making an Evil Warriors swimsuit calendar here.
There is a little, blue plug on the face protector that can be removed so you can insert one of the accessories. The plug fits well and isn’t going to just fall out on its own. Actually, I didn’t even realize it was removable until I took a closer look at the cylinder that plugs in there.
Design: Surprisingly, the black and white paint job looks great. Both are thick enough and there is no bleeding outside of the patterns. The orange isn’t quite neon but also isn’t dull, and the shades all match across the gloves, boots, and vest.
The heads are both pretty much the same except for the shape. The face is nicely detailed and I like that the pupils are a bit different on each one. The Teddy bear head has rectangular slots and the 2002 head’s are more elliptical. Both have tight paint jobs with no errors.
When I opened my Stinkor there were some flecks of orange paint all over him, but they brushed off easily and I can’t tell where they came from. None of his orange parts are missing any paint or have any scuffs. I assumed that the flecks had come from his loin cloth, but the paint on that soft plastic piece is surprisingly intact.
The chest gear has some nice little bits of detailing with some metallic red and orange bits.
And now it is time to discuss the stink.
Moss Man’s pine scent was so strong that when we opened the door to the carport we could smell it emanating from the package sitting by the door. If Stinkor had smelled that strongly I would have given him to Evil. But he didn’t. I couldn’t smell him through the shipping box or the mailer or even through his packaging. It wasn’t until I pulled the card away from the blister and put my nose right up to the hole that I smelled his stench:
And it was, indeed, stinky. Really stinky. Gross. But the important part is that you can’t smell it until you get within about four inches of Stinkor. The smell infusion (or whatever) was done perfectly, to the point where it boggles my mind that Mattel can’t figure out how to make a bendy trunk or a white marshmallow man.
Accessories: Stinkor comes with a bunch of stuff. In addition to the alternate head he comes with a shield, a new blaster, a gas mask, and a little canister that plugs into the face protector on his chest gear.
It took me a while to figure out how to attach the gas mask to his face. There is a notch that sort of clips under his chin and the inside is molded to fit snugly on either face. It sort of stays on.
The little canister is sized so that Stinkor can hold it and it also plugs securely into the face protector. It has metallic red paint on the little grill and looks pretty neat.
The shield is the same round one we’ve seen before, but in blue plastic. It clips snugly onto Stinkor’s arm.
The blaster is new and looks really cool. It looks like some sort of vaporizer and fits Stinkor really well, but could easily go with somebody else. It fits perfectly in the figure’s hand and stays there thanks to a small notch cut just above the grip to accommodate the thumb.
Here’s the problem: the blue accessories – the gas mask, shield, and blaster – have no deco. At all. They are straight-up blue plastic and look so cheap and crappy compared to other weapons in the line. I’m pretty sure this is one of those cost-cutting measures Scott “ToyGuru” Nietlich is so fond of mentioning as justification for the price hike and I find it totally unacceptable. All of a sudden we have new, shoddy pieces that do not fit in with what has previously been released in this toy line. Up to this point Matty and the Horsemen have been so fucking good about consistency and making sure every single toy in this line fit in with every other toy. Now we have these cheap-looking weapons that don’t fit. You can’t put this un-detailed blaster next to Preternia He-Man’s rifle or Optikk’s blaster or even Slush Head’s weapon. It looks terrible. Bad, bad show, Matty.
Packaging: Same ol’ MOTUC package. I like it and it gets the job done. The 30th logo looks so neat I’m going to miss it next year.
Overall: Holy shit this figure pisses me off. Stinkor looks so perfect initially and just about falls apart upon closer inspection. I want so badly to love him and sort of do despite his faults, but the things that were done wrong were done way wrong. The soft plastic for his limbs, the lame blue weapons, and the gas mask that just doesn’t quite work make him just average.
3 out of 5
Sorry. I just can’t give him better than that. He is still a nice figure to look at, but those flaws are still flaws.
If you love Stinkor – and who doesn’t? – you can get one at BigBadToyStore or on eBay.
This is one of my favorite pictures I have ever taken:
I put it up on InstaGram and just had to repost it here.
-Phantom

2 comments:

  1. What? You can't tell what's wrong with the forearms!? How can that be? Arghh, I'm mad about it you should be too!!!

    I kid, I kid. I wish crap like this didn't bother me, but it's hard for me to ignore. Once I see something like this it cannot be unseen. I have always been very detail oriented, at least in terms of toys and anatomy, and I think that just got worse when I went into a graphic design degree program.

    Just for the record, I am not calling neitlich a liar in regards to the forearm swap being reversed. I just think someone somewhere lied about it and then it became official. That hot opinion just comes from the idea that everyone one I ever met who was involved with design was very detail-oriented, so I believe people on a design team would see the same problems with switching forearms as I would.

    The unpainted accessories are the biggest issue I have with Stinkor, I think they definitely make him look cheap. I also think the orange is a bit too vibrant, but that's just a preference. Overall I'm just disappointed because he "feels" like a cheap figure to me. Which is odd because I don't get that same impression from slush head.

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    1. You're right about Slush Head. He does not seem to even be from the same era of the line, let alone the same month. I don't get it.
      Also, I love Stinkor's forearms! I think ALL FOREARMS SHOULD BE REVERSED 4-EVA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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