Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Toy Review – Masters of the Universe Classics Netossa By Mattel

I never wanted Netossa. Netossa is not on my list of Princess of Power figures that needed to be made, let alone characters that would be in the first ten. As a matter of fact, Netossa is the winner of Phantom Troublemaker’s Official Dumbest Name In the Entirety of the Masters of the Universe Universe Award.

On top of all that, Matty’s own restrictions on the line prevent the Netossa figure from including a functional version (by toy standards, anyway) of her own fucking namesake. That’s like if Skeletor had a panda bear for a head.

Okay, maybe not quite like that.

My opposition to Netossa isn’t that she’s stupid-looking. She isn’t stupid-looking and that’s kind of the whole problem. If you guys have been reading Needless Things for any time at all, you know I love the bizarre, the goofy, the stupid-looking. Netossa is bland. She doesn’t have a flame or ice theme, she doesn’t have a cute little cat hat, she isn’t a mermaid; she’s just blue and has a net. Whee.

Well, there is one more defining characteristic that Netossa has and as much as I hate to say it, I think it’s why we have a Netossa figure – she is a black lady. And while I am not generally a proponent of diversity programs, I do think toy lines should feature a wide assortment of races in the least stereotypical possible way. That’s a little tough when you’re dealing with a guy like Jitsu, whose bio might as well say he’s good at math, but Netossa is actually pretty solid. She’s just a tough lady who happens to be black. Given Mattel’s sensitivity to racial issues in the 80’s I think we should all be thankful she doesn’t have a spear gimmick.

So as much as I don’t care about the character, I do think it was good for Mattel to get a little color in the mix. The only real question is of how good of a job they did with her.
First Glance: Two things immediately strike me as bad about this figure – her hair color and her cape (which is a bad thing to be struck by when it’s the figure’s main gimmick). But everything else is surprisingly… pretty cool.
Articulation: Netossa has the standard female MOTUC articulation. 

Head – ball joint
Shoulders – ball joint
Biceps – swivel
Elbows –pivot
Wrists – swivel
Waist - swivel
Hips – ball joint
Thighs – swivel
Knees – pivot
Boot tops - swivel
Ankles – rocker joint

While Netossa does sport the same sort of thigh swivel joints as Frosta, her skirt is designed in such a way that they are concealed, so that’s already great.

Like most recent MOTUC figures her ankle joints aren’t much to speak of. They move forward and back well enough, but the side-to-side is barely there. 

Obviously her big hair interferes with her head movement a bit, but her skirt is just large enough to allow for more leg movement than you might expect.

Overall the joints on my figure are good. She doesn’t have any trouble standing or holding poses and I’m very pleased with the design of that skirt as far as how it conceals and interacts with joints. Good job, there.
Sculpt: Netossa has a new head, skirt, and… torso covering thingy. What do you call that? I mean, technically it’s the top of her dress, but it’s a separate piece. Whatever. You know what I mean.

As far as the sculpt goes Netossa’s hair is nice. I like that it has a different shape and texture than the other releases. Her head fin things are a bit odd, as they seem unaffiliated. I’m not quite sure what they’re supposed to be attached to. Also, the left one on my figure is a little crooked. Or maybe it’s the right one. I’m not sure what they’re supposed to look like. Her face is very well done and actually has racially distinctive proportions as opposed to many dark-skinned figures (or comic book characters, for that matter) that just look like Caucasians with dark skin.

Her top is pretty wacky, and I like it. The business around Netossa’s shoulders is wild. It doesn’t seem to have any relevance to net-tossing actions, but it is unique and gives the figure a striking look. Those things obviously interfere with her arm movement, but I kind of don’t care because they’re so zany. The scallops and layering of the details on her top almost make her 
seem more water-themed. Maybe that’s a fishing net? Is Mer-Man her natural enemy? I dunno.

“Welcome to Netossa’s Fish Camp! Our special today is fried Mer-Man with a side of Clawful cakes.”

I like the skirt (I would say “love”, but I’m a dude and will reign in my enthusiasm for a toy lady garment for the sake of my masculinity) not only for its functionality but also for the design. The longer part that hangs down in the front is another unique touch that lends the potentially bland Netossa a bit more personality. It’s a cool look and something different from the other ladies in the line.

The rest of the figure is parts we’ve seen before and they all work. No real reason to give this lady new boots or bracers with the amount of other distinctions she has.
Coloring: I hate her hair color. I think it looks dumb. To the point where I might actually paint it because otherwise this is turning out to be a very good figure. But I can’t really fault the hair color. It does match the vintage figure and that’s the whole point of this line. So I’m not deducting points for it; I just don’t like it.

The face, on the other hand, looks great. The colors of the makeup are bold without contrasting the skin tone too much. I appreciate the amount of skill that goes into the color design for the faces on the female figures in this line. There is a fine line between looking like a dirty whore like Catra does and looking fancy like She-Ra and Netossa. 

Actually, I’m not a big fan of her color scheme in general. I think part of it comes from Frosta being do recent and having the same colors, but part of it is just wanting something a little brighter. I think gold and purple would have looked really good. Or they could have just been blatant and gone with red, black, and green. But again – they’re sticking to the look of the vintage figure. And in that they did a good job. There are enough details and shades of blue to look neat.

All of the paint on my figure is well-placed. There isn’t any blotching or slop and none of my joints ended up stuck. The joints all look good color-matching-wise as well. We got into a bit of a rut at the end of 2012 with all kinds of poor decisions regarding plastics and paints and I had kind of gotten used to shitty joints. It looks like we might getting back to an acceptable standard in the line. Looking back, there are a few figures I should have really rated a bit more harshly than I did.
Flair: And now for the cape.

It’s dumb. It doesn’t hang well, it doesn’t particularly resemble a net, and it isn’t functional in any way because of the shape. I understand Matty and the Horsemen not wanting to use soft goods in this line, but I think this is the one instance where it should have been done. All it would have taken was a drawstring design at the top of the cape and we would have a nice, functional net that worked with the figure. Instead we have a big hunk of rubber crap.

Not only that, it’s a big hunk of rubber crap with a shitty paint job. The border and the interior actually look very good, but that black spot on the back is fucking terrible. Somebody somewhere claimed it was a planned part of the design, but whoever planned that should be fired from ever making a decision about a toy again. It’s a black splotch. It doesn’t serve a purpose, it doesn’t indicate anything about a specific portion of the cape, and it looks like shit.
Accessories: Netossa comes with the same old Princess of Power shield, which I am quite frankly sick of. It has a dark blue gem this time. I would have preferred a sword. Actually, a trident would have been really cool given the traditional gladiatorial combination of trident and net. If Mer-Man’s wasn’t so honkin’ big I might give his to this poor girl.
Packaging: It’s the regular MOTUC blister card. Still neat and still effective. Here’s her bio:
Exotic accent!
Value: No way. This is simply not a twenty-five (!) dollar action figure. And not just because she’s a character I didn’t care to own – this is actually a pretty darn good figure aside from the net and the lack of accessories. But it’s those things that hurt the value.
Overall: I simply can’t imagine that Netossa is on anybody’s must-have list. As such, I feel like the Horsemen and Mattel really should have put a little extra effort into making her special. While I do like the figure on its own, she isn’t anything I would miss having. Not the best start to the new year. Better than I thought she’d be, but definitely not exciting.

3 out of 5

Give it a year and I bet you’ll be able to pick up a Netossa for cheap. I think I’m going to add mine to the pile of figures I plan to paint someday. I honestly think If I paint the hair black, do the purple and gold costume, and fashion a fabric net this could be a great figure. I might even hunt down a decent trident. I think I’ve got a spare one from an Aquaman in a drawer somewhere.

-Phantom

2 comments:

  1. I have to disagree. I think Castaspella is the stupidest name in all of MOTU.

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    Replies
    1. They're both totally stupid. For some reason Netossa bugs me more.

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