Thursday, August 8, 2013

Toy Review – Masters of the Universe Classics Fighting Foe Men from Mattel

It took me a little while to get around to reviewing these figures. Partly because I knew it would be a pain in the ass to review three Masters of the Universe Classics figures in one post, but mostly because I wasn’t sure I was even going to keep them.

I just sold Icarius and Netossa on eBay because I just didn’t feel like I needed them. Icarius is actually a very well done figure, he’s just sort of boring and generic. Same thing with Netossa, except the non-functionality of her net pissed me off every time I looked at her. So considering those things, I thought it might be dumb to open a group of characters that weren’t even actual characters. If I can’t tolerate the presence of dull canonical characters, how the heck long would the Foe Men last on my shelf?


But I finally decided that the look of these three appealed to me enough and I was curious to have that out-of-package experience. Because you don’t truly know how much you like a figure until you’ve taken it out and played with it. This trio seemed to have enough personality to warrant closer examination.

One thing I have to address here in the intro is the dumbass names that were given to these characters. If I’m going to be describing them, you’re going to have to know who I’m talking about. 

The female is Shield Maiden Sherrilyn. This is not so bad other than the fact that “Shieldmaiden” is a designation and not a name. But if you just go with “Sherrilyn” it’s pretty much okay. Hang in there, things are about to get bad.

The blue guy is Ditztroyer. This is almost the worst name I have ever heard in my life. What is this? Who made this up? Not even a child would give an awesome looking blue wizard dude such a stupid name. Is he destructive but stupid? Awful.

But not as bad as Dawg-O-Tor, which is so bad I am embarrassed to even type it. Also, shouldn’t the blue guy be Dawg-O-Tor since he has some kind of weird, dog-looking thing on his chest? THESE NAMES ARE SO BAD.

Oh, and the Secret Origin of these figures is that they are the drivers depicted on the box art for Monogram model kits of some Masters vehicles. Sherrilyn is the Attak Trak driver, Bob pilots the Roton, and Carl is the Talon Fighter pilot.
First Glance: This really is an interesting group. They don’t necessarily look like they belong together, but I have to say I kind of dig that about them. I was talking to Mr. Beau Brown the other day and explained that in my head they’re basically Raistlin, Kitiara, and Caramon from the Dragonlance novels. Which might be a dorkier revelation than I ever should have made.
Articulation: Dawg-O-Tor and Ditztr… I can’t do it. I cannot use these stupid fucking names for a whole, entire review.
For the purposes of this review (and me not having to feel ashamed every time I type a name) the blue guy will be Bob and the other guy will be Carl.
Bob & Carl have the standard male MOTUC articulation.

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

Sherrilyn has the standard female MOTUC articulation, but with the Battleground Teela hips (which I prefer for any figure that doesn’t need to ride a horse).

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

All of the joints on each of my figures are solid. Bob’s ankles have a slight bit of rocker motion. Carl’s are just straight-up pivots.
Sculpt: Bob is made of a few different farmed parts – mostly the basic human buck – and a new head. The combinations works really well as a sculpt and does a god job of creating a new look for a new character.
The head features an almost gaunt face with a hood. I like the sculpt a lot and actually wish we had a skinnier body to go with it. I think this figure could have been even cooler with a MYP-style Prince Adam body (assuming he is actually supposed to be a wizard of some sort).
What we did get works well enough, though. Bob has the gauntlets from Mo-Larr and the greaves from (?). Combining those with the cloaked upper body looks pretty cool and is something we haven’t seen before.
Sherrilyn comes off as more distinctive than Bob and Carl because we have fewer females in the line anyway. Her amazing head and new chest armor obviously help a lot.
I absolutely love Sherrilyn’s head. Or helmet, I guess. No – it doesn’t make any sense that her head is so well-protected while she’s wearing a metal tank top and fur panties. But I don’t care because it looks awesome. The detailing on the helmet is wacky and very 50s sci-fi. I kind of wish the visor was translucent, but I guess it’s a sort of blast shield or something.
Okay, actually, now that I think about it I think it would be much better to have a female in a full suit of armor. But she still looks cool.
Carl is the most basic of this bunch, aside from his head. He’s basic He-Man buck all the way except that the left bracer matches the right. The translucent visor on his helmet is great. Except, of course, for the fact that his helmet looks like it’s just armor and not a piece of technology like Sherrilyn’s. I think I would have preferred it if they had given her this one and put a simple noseguard or something on Carl’s.
Coloring: Sherrilyn’s red, blue, and gold works quite well with the natural brown of her fur boots and panties. The only thing I would change is the color of the wraps on her boots. I would have made them red. I think maybe they’re green because the Matty designers wanted a unifying color for these seemingly disparate characters and there was nowhere else to put green on her. I love the detailing on all of the rivets and studs on Sherrilyn’s armor.
Carl has the best and least headache-inducing color scheme of the set. His base green, silver, and brown looks good and isn’t outlandish at all, almost making him too conservative for the Masters line. It's interesting that he has that white stripe in his hair; especially considering how distinctive his helmet makes him anyway.
Bob would look great if it weren’t for that orange on his torso and boots. Orange is bad enough in the first place, but this is a sort of pale, muddy orange. I think he’d look so much better if those parts matched his cloak. The green portions, however, look awesome. The metallic green trim on the flat green pieces is great. I love his black eyes, as well.
All three of my figures have tight, accurate paint jobs. There’s no splotching or misplaced apps. I would love to see this same set re-decoed in matching Horde colors – all grey, black, and red. I think that would look great. But I do like them as they are, mostly.
Flair: Carl has new chest armor with a unique crest. It snaps under his arms like most of the rest of these kinds of pieces. I very much like the design of the plates and how the rivets are recessed rather than studs. The way the shoulder pieces are done is also cool. This is one of my favorite male armors in the line, as a matter of fact.
Bob has a new cloak with a removable crazy-ass demon dog face on the front. The cloak is a new design that incorporates a chest piece for the crest. It also has a loop on the back to store Bob’s Roton staff. The crazy-ass demon dog face matches what is on the front of the Roton vehicle.
Sherrilyn’s chest armor looks awesome. Like I said above, it would be great to see her in a full suit that matched. The way the layers and rivets are done is cool and unique.
Accessories: Bob’s accessories are a staff that looks like the Roton vehicle, a big laser rifle, and a Horde crest that can replace the crazy-ass demon dog face on his chest. The staff is – surprisingly – molded out of a firm plastic. The rifle isn’t, but is not as soft as some other accessories. The staff has a nicely detailed paint job, while the rifle has just enough metallic highlights to get by. Both pieces fit in the figure’s hands in several positions and the staff slides neatly into the loop on Bob’s cloak.
Sherrilyn comes with a blaster that resembles the rear-mounted cannons on the Attak Trak, a shield that looks like one of the Traks, and a Horde crest that can replace the non-affiliated one that she comes packed with. The blaster is an awesomely designed piece and a great example of Horsemen ingenuity. The metallic blue highlights look good and are, quite frankly, a good formula to make blasters in this line not look dull. This should be the bare minimum deco for the line. The shield also looks awesome; mostly because it is translucent. It strikes me as just a little silly that it looks like the Attak Trak’s trak, but the whole line is a little silly so that’s okay.
Carl comes with the interchangeable Horde crest, a shield that looks like the Talon Fighter, and an air filter on a stick. Actually, upon closer inspection this thing looks like one of the cannons mounted on the side of the Talon Fighter model. Now I’m wondering if I should have had him holding it differently in the pictures. I just thought it was a mace. Anyway, it looks good as has the metallic highlights. The shield has a well-defined sculpt and a bright paint job. I like that it has the look of a target, which is what a shield should be.

The Horde crests that come with the figures are very easy to switch out with the standard crests. They fit into place quite well. But these people do not look Hordely in the least. Even Cy-chop looks more like a Horde member than this trio. I’ll be keeping them separate as a roving band of neutral adventurers.
Packaging: This trio comes in the large beast packaging. I like these window boxes, but I think I’m beginning to lean Beau Brown’s way and think that releases like this should come in closed boxes with art on them. The impending release of Modulok is what made me think this. I really hope he comes that way, even to the extent of being unassembled and in plastic baggies.
There is, of course, the standard bio on the back:
It irritates me that they don’t each have a bio. I do like how they were incorporated into the story and the Horde, though.
Value: $75 for these three figures is absolutely absurd. No way are F-listers like this worth that price. Especially once you add shipping on top.
Overall: When I first heard that Matty was producing these characters I was not happy. They made the Star Sisters seem as important as Teela in comparison. But then when I saw pictures I was slightly more interested. They had that special weirdness that makes me love collecting this ridiculously overpriced line.

Once I opened the set up, I was very happy with it. I like these three as a team and think they look great together on the shelf. They could look a lot better with some of the deco changes I described, but I am happy enough with what I’ve got. Not seventy-five dollars happy, but happy.

4 out of 5

Obviously this set is the furthest thing from essential and is likely a pass for all but the dumbest most dedicated MOTUC collectors. Or just those of us who appreciate the weirder, more obscure characters.

If you want these guys, give it a few months and I bet you can get them on eBay or at a local con for a good bit less than the original price. If I could find one cheap enough I might even buy another set to paint in more Horde-appropriate colors. Well, to intend to paint in more Horde-appropriate colors.

-Phantom

7 comments:

  1. Fun fact! The fighting foe men are actually named after the four horsemen. Sheri Lynn cook, Owen "o dawg" oertling and Shane dittsworth. Not that it makes them any better.

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  2. I'm looking forward to getting this set, I'm just waiting until I can get it for under $50. I've missed a couple of auctions in the last two weeks where I could have jumped in, but either forgot or couldn't get to the computer in time to bid.

    Each character is named for someone who works at Mattel, and the gray strip of hair is also there for the same reason. I found a breakdown once of where the names came from and what positions the employees had, but I don't remember them because I couldn't care less. If I ever get my hands on a set they'll all have new names anyway.

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    1. It would be one thing if they told that story on the packaging. I mean, the names would still be shitty, but at least I would know why. This is kind of the same thing as when you see a movie that doesn't make any sense and people are like, "Well, you really need to watch the web-only prequel or the tie-in comic or the special features on the DVD." That doesn't fly.
      Of course, in this case the names are still terrible.
      Get the eBay app for your phone. It's great.

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    2. Cool, I'll look into the app. Also, horray for me, I just got them, $46 shipped. Looking forward to getting these ridiculously named, but (to me) cool looking guys.

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  3. I just got my Fighting Foe men today, and I think they're a lot of fun. I was really looking forward to getting Bob, because I thought he looked neat, but I'm surprised at how much I like Carl too. For such a generic looking guy, he makes a great MOTUC figure. He is just generic enough that he could pretty much fit in anywhere, he could be a new master, a cannon fodder palace guard, or put him with your DCUC figures as a giant muscle man.

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    1. Yeah, I know people weren't super-stoked about this set, but I think the Horsemen did a great job.

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