Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Guest Toy Review by Mr. Beau Brown: Masters of the Universe Classics Spirit of Hordak by Mattel

This is the first Guest Toy Review here on Needless Things, which is somewhat of a surprise. I’ve had articles about vampires, wrestling, and even camping. You’d think toys would have come up sooner.
I’m thrilled that this one is from Mr. Beau Brown, co-host of the Needless Things Podcast (eventually) and Master of Puppets. Beau has a much stronger passion for Masters of the Universe than me, which makes the subject of today’s review particularly appropriate – the massively irritating Spirit of Hordak. You can read how I feel about this damn thing right here.
As stated there, Beau was one of the folks lucky enough to get one. And now he’s nice enough to be reviewing it for us, since it looks like there’s no way in heck I’m ever going to get one.
Greetings Phantomaniacs!

Guest reviewer Beau Brown here to talk all about the Spirit of Hordak figure or “Stinky Pinky” since he caused such a stink online. Since poor Phantom missed out because he actually works for a living and can't be on Mattycollector.com 24/7, I offered to do the review.


The Spirit of Hordak figure or SoH depicts the magical astral form that Hordak projected from his imprisonment in Despondos and guided Keldor to learn dark magic and eventually transform him into Skeletor. He is depicted this way in the new minicomics as well as the MYP cartoon.


Mattel threw us a curve ball with this guy and the fan base is decidedly split about it. As one of the lucky few who just happened to be online during the tiny window during which he was initially available I am a little biased in favor of it, however also as someone who missed out on Strobo the first time around and was pretty 1st world problems pissed about it, I feel I understand both sides. There are basically two camps. The people who are pissed because there was no warning at all about the release and it sold out so quickly, and the people who think it is fun that there is a element of mystery and surprise to the hobby of toy collecting (the Hunt if you will) that is completely missing in our age of the internet.


As a subscriber I commit to laying down money for figures I haven’t even seen yet and won't even get until months and months later. In return for that financial commitment I expect to get everything I want. That is what I am subscribing for, the guarantee that I will get what I want. Now Mattel has said that the figure will continue to be released in short bursts over time and that if people want one they will eventually get one. In fact he was on sale again during Early Access this month. Personally Early Access has failed to live up to expectations. Since I missed Strobo, all Early Access has done is give me the chance to buy old figures I already have out of left over customer service stock. I have yet to reap any benefits.

The timing was TERRIBLE. As a subscriber I got hit hard this month. The Fighting Foe Men 3-pack and Karatti (all figures that I am not super excited about, although I do like the blue guy, he looks cool) are scheduled for this month. That is already $100 I am laying down. So when I ordered Spirit of Hordak it occurred to me that it sure would be great to have him ship with my subscription so that I could save on shipping. The shipping for my sub for a 3 pack and another fig was the same amount as the shipping just for SoH. In fact I contacted Matty customer service to request this. First I received my shipping notice informing me that SoH had already shipped and then after that I heard back from Customer Service:

Dear Beau Brown,

Thank you for contacting the MattyCollector.com online store.

We apologize for the inconvenience. Unfortunately, we do not have the
capability to combine the shipment of individual orders to Club
subscriptions.

Sincerely,
Sherwin L.
MattyCollector.com online store
Customer Service

So no, they are not capable of doing that.

I made the mistake of commenting about this on one of the MOTUC FB groups whereupon everyone who was being crybabies about not getting one, called me a crybaby for complaining about extra shipping, in fact going so far to say that they wished I hadn’t gotten it all. This reminded me why I don't participate much in the forums.
If you take a look at the release schedule, they should have put this off until September. There is no monthly sub figure in September, unless you have the Club Filmation Sub, in which case you will get Batros. So regular sub holders would be getting nothing and have money to spend. In June we are only getting Octavia, that would have worked great too. Instead they release it during of the most expensive months of the whole year and punched the few lucky sub holders in their cock wallets. I won’t even get into how expensive this must have been for international sub holders.


All that aside, it is fun. It is a chase figure, they are called that for a reason. Scott can't win for losing with the fan base. This was a great idea on paper, it doesn’t cost any tooling dollars to do a straight up repaint. There is no new tooling on the figure and translucency is fun. In fact one of the few figures I am missing is the Spirit of Grayskull King Grayskull variant. It is a little bit of a cash grab on the part of Mattel and either one of two things happened. Either it was a new idea to do something fun that didn’t cost them much, or this figure was part of the original road-map as a quarterly variant and since the road-map has been scaled back, they cut it out of the regular line up since it would feel a little cheap as a regular release. This way only the people who want it will get it and doesn’t take up a slot in the regular release schedule.

Which also may have been why they decided to do it this way. If this had been a regular variant release I think you would have seen just as much if not more negative feedback from the fans since nobody really wanted this guy and he doesn’t have a single new piece. At least by doing it this way people are still pissed, but by making it rare, they will want it just for its rarity. This way they feel cheated because they don't have it rather than feeling cheated and getting it. Which in a twisted sort of logic makes sense.


Back to the topic of him being cheap to produce. Sometimes for trademark reasons they will print names of characters on the white mailer boxes. I've seen The Fighting Foe Men, Glimmer, and Preternia all on mailer boxes in the past. Oo-lar was printed on this one. Oo-lar is the Jungle He-man depicted in the mini-comics. Believe it or not Oo-lar wears less clothes than regular He-man. As you can see all he is is He-man with a smaller loincloth. I imagine they would do a new head but other than that he would be all reuse parts and a loincloth. Now hopefully this guy will come with some great accessories other than his spear. Maybe some more artifacts from the minicomics like they are doing with Filmation items. They will certainly need to do something to jazz him up. Since he might be a pretty disappointing variant as well.


The cardback for SoH does feature all Horde characters and Keldor which I like. I like it when the other characters on the cardback relate to the figure. I think Spector gets featured on cardback a little more than he should. Snake Face's card back for example.


Study Hard. Be Evil.

Hordak comes with the white Horde crossbow that was teased to us earlier this year and led to great speculation, NONE of which was a SoH figure. So if you want to display your regular Hordak with his vintage look as oppose to his staff or gray crossbow, now you can (as a MYP series fan I prefer the staff). I think it was a stupid tease, a tease is ideally going to have some truth to it like a clue that could lead you to the right guess. Nobody was expecting, or arguably wanting this figure.


So I reckon I ought to get to the physical toy. I found some time to finally open him. I do not casually open my figures. Since MOTU is the only thing I collect, I savor each and every figure I get to open. I have a ritual. I want plenty of light. I use the same pocket knife to open all of them. I keep the card backs and the UPC codes. I have some strange urge to keep the UPCs based on the extremely unrealistic idea that some day they will do a mail away offer where you send in the UPCs for a bonus figure. This of course will never happen and yet I continue on. I enjoy the heady fresh plastic smell and am whisked away through sense memory to simpler times. Then I spend some time posing them and switching out accessories with older stuff and seeing how they look posed with other character appropriate figures.

I won’t go into all of the articulation part of a toy review since you can read that on other reviews and I think it is boring to read or listen to.


The only paint that he has is one shade of dark red on his Horde emblem on his armor, his eyes and his Horde arm band. All of this is done well and looks great. I won't be displaying him with his crossbow since it doesn’t really make sense with the whole astral/magic projection vibe he has going on. Which also means he doesn’t really come with any accessories at all for himself. I will most likely pose him with a flight stand to add to that hovering image idea. I have a Great Unrest display shelf and he would look good there behind Keldor since it doesn’t make sense to pose him with Hordak and the rest of the Horde.



You can see some interesting things about the internal structures of the figures in him. He has an A1 and A2 carved into the front and back inside of his abdomen that you can see.
In closing you really have a lot more controversy than actual toy going on here. It was a great way to build buzz whether positive or negative for Mattycollector.com trying to encourage people to keep checking the site for him. I applaud Matty for trying to do something fun and give us the thrill of the hunt and not have everything spoiled for us months in advance. However I also completely understand being pissed as a subscriber who may have missed out and feel cheated. Hopefully, like Scott has said, there are enough of him to go around and everyone will eventually get him who wants him. I certainly prefer getting him like this as oppose to him taking up a variant slot that could go to someone like Terror Claws Skeletor (who is awesome, but not Flying Fists He-man because he sucks).


Things getting kinky back at the Fright Zone

I give him a 2/5. He gets points for being something exciting, new, outside the box and I love the Horde and will happily get anything else related to them. When judged solely as a figure though he loses big points for having zero demand and not a single bit of new tooling. The white crossbow tease was definitely a letdown. He also pissed off lots and lots of people.

For those of you who missed him I wish you luck and hope that everyone out there who wants one eventually gets one.

Thanks to Phantom for letting me do my very first review!
I will be back soon for reviews of Granamyr and Temple of Darkness Sorceress.

Good Journey!
-Beau

Thanks, Beau!

Clearly you are a much better photographer than I am. Or have a nicer camera.
And let me just say that I thought it was really cool that Beau used his own format for the review rather than just doing the same thing I do. I mean, that would have been fine, but I think it’s more interesting if everybody on the site has their own style. After Beau offered to do this I was kind of curious as to the approach he’d take.

I can’t wait to see what he thinks of Granamyr and ToD Sorceress. I passed on both of those and haven’t even seen them in person. Not that that’s going to change.

Side Note: Who wants to place bets on me coming back from HeroesCon with one or both of those?

-Phantom

2 comments:

  1. The more pictures I see of SoH, the less I want one. I can see that he is translucent, but he doesn't seem very see through (I don't know if that makes sense). I really like my translucent figures to have almost a glassy aspect to them, and this guy looks kind of frosted.
    On top of that, he is this weird pink color (which matches the comic), but I would have preferred a deeper red.
    Nevertheless, thanks for the review. I think Mattel has released him in a stupid way, but only because I think they're not taking care of the subscribers. If they wanted to play this game for cherry pickers like myself, cool, but give subscribers a chance to get him without jumping through hoops.

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