Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Toy Review - Masters of the Universe Classics Strobo from Mattel

Strobo is another one of those minicomics weirdos that I don’t know anything about. But I have to say - just judging from him, Geldor, and some of the other minicomics releases that I would like to read all of the minicomics.
I know that they’re archived in a couple of different places online, but I really don’t enjoy reading things on my computer. If Mattel offered some kind of printed collection (which I know they’d never do because it would cost them a bajillion dollars and only four people would be interested in it and they’d have to sell it for $600 and even then they would only be able to print it in black and white) I would definitely buy it. Actually, I think that might be the sort of thing that IDW should look at. If their incredible collections of comic strips are anything to go by, I think an archival collection of Masters of the Universe minicomics would be great.
Or Mattel could just rip off that style and quality and keep all of the money for themselves.
Regardless of my prior awareness of Strobo, I knew I wanted him the first time I saw him because he is a silly-looking mostly-naked guy that comes with Zodak’s head. Then I saw that he was going to be the traveling convention Exclusive and I figured I would never be able to get my hands on one because Mattel doesn’t go to any conventions anywhere near Atlanta and I can’t really afford to travel anywhere and definitely can’t afford to pay secondary market prices for such things.
There was one year where Mattel was going to come to Dragon Con, but that totally fell apart for reasons that still aren’t clear.
Luckily for me, Strobo was offered during Matty’s Black Friday sale. Apparently quantities were plentiful because I was at work when he first went up and it took me over twenty-four hours to be able to order him. And he was only twenty-five bucks, not the regular twenty-seven!
FIRST GLANCE

When I pulled Strobo out of the mailer box I was thrilled. He looks even sillier in person. And I had totally forgotten that he comes with that meteorite thing.
PACKAGING

The attractive and functional Masters of the Universe Classics blister box. It’s super – looks good and is easy to open.
This is a heck of a bio. I’ve always loved the idea of the guy that maintains the balance between good and evil. Imagine you’re in the midst of battle and Strobo shows up – for a brief time you don’t know if he’s going to help you or disintegrate you. But you don’t attack the guy because if he is there to help your side, he can fucking disintegrate people. He’s there to maintain balance, so your side is gonna win this one. I also like that he “uses the forces of light to battle his enemies”. That’s “light” not “Light”. I think more often than not the term “forces of Light” refers to good and not literal luminescence, so that’s interesting.
LOOKS

I believe Strobo has a new cloak and a new trunks/belt piece, but I’m not positive. At this point in the line it becomes time-consuming to look back at every figure and verify things other than heads and Trap-Jaw legs. Strobo has a repainted Zodac head and the rest is from Sy-Klone.

The head is as different as it needs to be. The sculpt is still cool-looking and I love the bug-eyed space helmet. The paint is a success because rather than simply putting different colors in the same places, the design is different. Now the whole helmet is silver (which looks great) and the raised portion over the mouth is made to look like it is connected to the part that goes up between the eyes because it’s all red. The paint on the helmet and the exposed flesh is good and nothing bleeds out beyond its boundaries.

Strobo’s torso is, quite frankly, horrifying. The Anwat Gar chest plate is mounted right in the middle of a bunch of flesh and muscles. Sy-Klone was the same way, but he’s an android. My only gripe about Strobo comes from this area and it’s that I think the ridge surrounding the chest plate should have been painted. Clearly that part wouldn’t have been skin, so I think it’s just lazy to have left it that color. I do love how shiny and reflective the sticker in the middle is, though. I’m glad they didn’t just paint that. 
 
I kind of wish Strobo’s boots matched his gloves. The boots and gloves have solid paint apps. The gloves are shiny red with metallic blue space ridges and the boots are a flat blue with a wash and metallic blue space ridges. All fo the colors stay where they are supposed to. Sy-Klone’s boots and gloves were a good choice for this guy because the space ridges do have a definite 50s sci-fi look to them. They definitely came from outer space.

The new trunks are sufficiently mechanical looking to pull off a cosmic feel and are painted shiny red to match the gloves. The segmented silver belt looks cool and none fo the paint has come off of the rubber.
The more I look at it the more I think Strobo’s cloak is new. I don’t think anybody else’s is shaped quite like this, and the front is clearly molded to allow for the chest plate. You can’t quite tell in the pictures, but the fasteners are metallic blue.

I like Strobo just fine the way he is, but there are some things I might have done differently. I would have had his trunks match his boots rather than his gloves (I know I said his boots should be red, but now I’m thinking his trunks should be blue). Or maybe he should just be wearing pants. I think he might look better with pants, though I’m not sure I would like him as much. And that chest plate should absolutely have paint around it. Just some silver or grey.
ACCESSORIES

Strobo comes with Zodak’s helmet-less head and a green orb on a stand.
The Zodak head looks great and I immediately put it on my Zodak. The colors match the original figure perfectly. And It just feels like it was made at the same time as that figure. I wish the eyebrows were either sculpted or not there at all. Not there at all might look cool, but then you’d never be able to tell when Zodak was surprised.
The meteor thing has some kind of significance, but I can’t remember what. I hate it when they don’t include that information in the bio. It looks pretty awesome and is translucent green with a dark wash. The top of the glossy red stand is made of a soft plastic and one of the tines on mine is bent, but whatever. My issue is that the meteor doesn’t come off of the stand. Why the heck not? That bugs me. Otherwise this thing looks pretty cool.
FUN
Strobo has the standard MOTUC articulation and can achieve most reasonable humanoid poses. His huge torso and arms mean that if he were real he probably couldn’t wipe his own ass, but thankfully action figures don’t poop.

All of the joints on my figure are tight and work well. The cape doesn’t interfere with posing too much, so that’s good.

Strobo’s chest plate gimmick kept me playing with him for a while. I kept taking pictures, trying to find the perfect angle to make it look like his chest was shooting a beam of light:

That was fun.

He’s a goofy guy with a gimmick. I played around with him a good bit and was almost inspired to try and take some more photos doing stuff with his chest plate. I think he’d be a good figure for any collector just because of his odd looks and throwback sticker feature.
OVERALL

 Strobo isn’t a must-have, but he has a lot going for him. He’s a Cosmic Enforcer, which makes him part of a small but easy to obtain faction. He’s sufficiently silly-looking to make an impact on your shelf. And he’s one of the very few Masters of the Universe Classics figures to have an actual gimmick.

I believe your only option for this guy is BigBad, a local con, or eBay. As always I recommend the local con, but if you have to have him now and don’t mind paying eBay prices I don’t think you’ll be disappointed once you have him.
4 out of 5
"Alas, poor Zodak - I knew him well..."

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