Thursday, January 15, 2015

Toy Review – Masters of the Universe Classics Galactic Protector She-Ra from Mattel

I didn’t subscribe to Club Etheria. Call me a bad fan or somebody that doesn’t understand how toy lines work or whatever – I get it. But as much as I do see several characters from the Princess of Power toy line as important to the franchise, I didn’t imagine those characters would see release as part of the Etheria sub. And I was mostly right.

Even the figure I’m reviewing today is hardly essential outside of its own biographical addition to the Classics canon, which I’ll discuss in a minute.

Double Mischief, Madame Razz & Broom, Sweet Bee, and Spinnerella are all passes for me. I suppose Madame Razz and Broom are important in a story way, but they never had figures and honestly I just don’t feel like their looks fit in with the Classics line. If I couldn’t tolerate Clawful’s goofy cartoon face, I certainly wouldn’t be able to deal with those two on my shelf.

And then there’s Light Hope and Galactic Protector She-Ra. 
 
Light Hope is an essential character, story-wise. He’s Etheria’s version of the Sorceress and I’m glad that Mattel figured out a way to get him into the line. I mean, other than producing a big, rainbow cylinder. I need a Light Hope figure and I’m not looking forward to shelling out for one.

Galactic Protector She-Ra is a thing that, as far as I know, didn’t even exist until this figure happened. She totally makes sense and looks awesome, but I bet there are even hardcore fans who could do without her. I am not one of those. As soon as I saw this design I knew I’d have to have this figure.

I had had zero interest in the figures up until She-Ra hit, so I didn’t know what was going on with the sale days. I knew Light Hope was the sub Exclusive, which suggested that the rest would be available on a sale day, but Matty had been making such a big deal about numbers that I wasn’t sure if any of the Club Etheria figures would make it to sale days. I hadn’t had a reason to participate in any of the Early Access sales, either. 
 
I eventually decided to go ahead and put in a preorder for this She-Ra with BigBadToyStore, knowing how much I wanted this figure and being willing to pay a premium. I always feel kind of bad doing that when I know I might cancel it, but they have a very friendly policy and I do end up buying plenty of stuff from them.

Anyway, to finish a long, boring story that I told because I don’t have much to say about the character because she didn’t exist until now, I bought Galactic Protector She-Ra during Early Access.

First Glance

It’s She-Ra as a kickass space Valkyrie. Of course that’s awesome. Her normal gold is now silver to match He-Man’s inversion in the opposite direction and the new color scheme looks awesome.

The belt and holster don’t look totally right, but I’ll look at those more closely in a minute.

Packaging

Big blister card, consistent packaging, attractive design, blah, blah, blah. Love it.

Galactic Protector She-Ra’s bio is great. It’s also a bummer. In it, He-Man and Skeletor are killed by Horde Prime, but then She-Ra defeats Horde Prime, but then Horde Prime infects She-Ra’s armor and turns her back into Despara, who then resurrects Skeletor and helps bring about the Fall of Eternia.

And that’s where it ends. With He-Man dead, She-Ra evil, Skeletor back, and Eternia fallen (whatever that means).

There are a lot of things to take from this. With Despara mentioned by name, I would hope that means we might get a figure. I didn’t like the first of the new Masters comics from DC, but I’ve heard they’re better now and I really love the Despara design (Despara is She-Ra when she was an evil member of the Evil Horde, which I suppose is redundant).

It seems like King He-Man’s bio takes place after this, with its mention of Adora defeating Skeletor and Skeletor being a threat once again. What that one does not mention is what happened to Adora herself, so there’s bound to be a follow-up there. I can’t imagine the line ends with her stuck as Despara.

The mention of the Horde member’s prolonged lifespans is also interesting. I wasn;t aware that this was a thing. And She-Ra ends it, so that’s bound ot have some kind of significance.
I really hope that Mattel has plans to release a version of these Classics bios as a cohesive whole, in chronological order. I’d buy it. 
 
Looks

How incredible is that helmet? Even if you don’t look at anything else on this figure, that helmet is incredible. As far as I’m concerned, this alone makes the figure a must-have.

The shape and sculpt of this thing is fantastic. I love the combination of outer space lines and designs with those wings, which themselves are smooth and retro-sci-fi-looking. I consider it a minor miracle that they aren’t bent or warped in some way. The red and blue of the gems on the helmet are repeated throughout the figure, creating a nice sense of uniformity. I feel like it was very important for this figure to have that flow of design and color. Being an original concept, this She-Ra had to feel like a unique and complete design and not a cobbled-together afterthought. It would have been very easy to just put Galactic Protector He-Man’s armor and clothes on She-Ra and call it a day. Instead, the designers chose colors and styles that were true to She-Ra and contrasted and complimented He-Man’s. 
 
That visor. You guys know how much I love translucence in my toys. That visor is great. And not just the wonderful translucent green – the goggle-like shape and the way it appears to project from under the helmet are fantastic. And... it's removable:

Which I didn't realize until after I wrote the first draft of this review. It slides out, but stays put relatively securely.

The sculpt and paint on the rest of the head are standard She-Ra, which is to say great. The Horsemen nailed She-Ra’s look the first time and it still looks awesome and recognizable. She just has a more regal profile than any other character in this line.

She-Ra’s cloak is removable in the same way as the other figures in this line – you pop her head off. The neck on this thing is great. It has the shape of the collar of a space suit and has the blue and red gems of the helmet on the front. This thick collar makes her cloak look a bit more utilitarian than most. I dig it. The inside of the cloak matches the figure’s blue leggings and the outside is that pure white that is She-Ra’s trademark. It hangs in a nicely asymmetrical way and has a shape that’s a bit more interesting than other cloaks in the line.
I’m very interested in knowing what inspired the starburst/flower/whatever design on She-Ra’s tunic. It’s sort of similar to the design on the original’s dress, but also sort of not. It is different and interesting and for that I like it.

The bottom portion of the tunic is a cool shape that we haven’t seen before with a lot of nice designs sculpted on. On top of that is a very outer-spacey belt. The red on the belt and the blue on the front of the tunic at the top and bottom once again reflect the helmet’s gems.

Adora’s boots and bracers were good choices and look great in silver. I also like the decision to give her the same blue leggings as her outer space brother.

Accessories

The figure comes with a belted holster and blaster, a laser sword, and a laser shield.

The sword is awesome – a perfect companion to Galactic Protector He-Man’s Laser Power Sword. The shapes are fantastic and it fits perfectly and securely into the figure’s hands.

The shield has a tremendously detailed sculpt. That sculpt isn’t done any favors by being cast in this translucent material with no paint, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t know how these laser shields work, but they look awesome. The shield clips securely onto the figure’s forearm and actually sits quite a bit better than a lot of shields in the line. Sometimes they just don’t look right, but this one does.

I love that they threw the belt and blaster in with this figure. It’s the same set that came with Marlena. The texture and detailing on the belt and holster are great, not to mention the painted details. The blaster looks great and has lots of paint. I’m not sure I like the brown. It just looks a little odd against the rest of the figure. Black wouldn’t have been right, but I’m thinking silver might look good. It would match the belt on her waist, anyway. I have a small pile of Masters things that I want to paint, so I might give that a try. I have an extra one of these holsters from the second Marlena figure I bought.

Fun

We all know the drill by now – the Classics figures have pretty much all of the joints you could want. This She-Ra doesn’t have the boot-top swivels that some of the figures have (though I don’t think any of the females do) and she has the hip joints that I really don’t like. If they are exposed at all they look terrible. Fortunately this figure’s tunic is designed in such a way that it covers those unsightly joints.

All of the joints on my figure are tight and move freely. It can hold pretty much any pose you can achieve, though the cloak makes it a bit top-heavy.

This is a fun figure to play with and pose. The shield and sword combo always presents a lot of neat posing opportunities.

Overall

I’m about as happy with this figure as I could be. You might notice that this is the first Masters of the Universe Classics review I’ve done in months. That’s how much I like her. The brown holster is my sole point of contention, but I didn’t even know the figure was coming with it, so I can’t really complain. And once it’s silver I might be a lot happier.

This is one of my favorite figures from the whole Classics line. I love the design and to me this is proof that there is enough talent at Matty to create new, original versions of Masters characters. I’d be up for more of this sort of thing if that’s a possibility for 2016. And I definitely want a Despara.

5 out of 5

It’s not often that a MOTUC figure gets a perfect score from me, but this excellent variation deserves it. Additionally, if they do end up making Stridor/Night Stalker (and I don’t see how they can avoid it) I might be tempted to buy an extra to paint as some sort of robo-Spirit to go with this She-Ra. We’ll see.

As a matter of fact, you could get one right now and help out Needless Things!:





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