Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Toy Review – Masters of the Universe Classics Huntara from Mattel

I have never been aroused by an action figure, not even the Adult Superstars Brianna Banks figure. But if it was going to happen, it would’ve been because of a purple chick with lightsabers.
Er, excuse me – laser emitter swords. Or whatever.
This is the best picture I could find. From He-Man.org
I know Huntara appeared in an episode of She-Ra: Princess of Power, but beyond that I don’t really know much about the character. If memory serves she won a fan poll to get made and I’m pretty sure I voted for her. Either that or my brain is just making up crazy toy mythology. Again.
What really matters is that, to me, this is an alien version of Grace Jones from Conan the Destroyer, which came out the year before Huntara’s episode – cleverly titled “Huntara” – aired. 
I doubt I’m the first person to have had this revelation, but I haven’t seen it mentioned elsewhere (Perhaps Lou Scheimer mentions it in his and Andy Mangels’ excellent book, Creating the Filmation Generation, which I am working my way through now).
As we discussed in Episode 33 of the Needless Things Podcast, Grace Jones is a force of nature in Conan. She created one of the most striking and memorable characters in the history of fantasy/sci-fi cinema and while I’d love to have an actual figure of her, in the meantime I’ll settle for this one on my Masters shelves.
First Glance

Huntara is a great-looking figure. She has a color palette that we haven’t seen before in the line and she is instantly recognizable as a powerful woman. So much so that before I looked it up I assumed she was from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. I don’t mean that to denigrate Princess of Power in any way, but most of the characters from that show are a lot more frou-frou than ones from He-Man. Huntara looks like a tough chick that would cut a peacock lady in half.

Packaging

The standard MOTUC blister card. Maybe someday I’ll write some kind of analysis of packaging. Just now I’m thinking about whether I prefer generic packaging across a line like this or packaging that is more character specific in design like Mattel’s WWE Elite Collection (which I reviewed a number of here on the site last week).

This is an unusual bio for the line in that it is embellished very little from Huntara’s actual televised story. I like the idea of these rigidly moral people. I do find it odd that they glossed over the key plot point that Huntara and She-Ra eventually came to an understanding and parted as friends.

Looks

The head sculpt further reinforces my idea that this is Grace Jones. It’s not just the overall design of the character, Huntara’s facial features resemble the actress. The hair and ponytail look good, but I would have preferred it if the ponytail hung straight down. Still, the detailing is great. The paint is clean and solid. The color on her lips and her eyeliner have very specific shapes and serve to set Huntara apart even more than her unique color scheme.

I dig the tattoos on the side of her head.

Her armor is somewhat Eastern-looking, though the profile is in line with Jones’ costume. In a way this almost feels like a 200X design. The plated shoulder pads create a powerful profile while the rest of the costume is impractical but cool-looking. The plated skirt matches up with the shoulder pads. I wish Matty would use the Battleground Teela hips for these figures with shorter skirts. I can’t understand why they think it’s okay to have these unsightly hip joints hanging out. And it’s not like those hips are just cut joints. They do have a range to them. I could live without the thigh swivels if it meant I wouldn’t have to look at them.

Huntara’s harness has clips on the back to hold her not-lightsabers. I like that this was done and that they even accounted for the crossing over one another by making one clip slightly taller than the other, but there’s a whole other issue here that I’ll get into below.

The footwear is a weird sort of sandal/boot thing that looks odd but works. I think I’d like these better if there were greaves on the front and straps in the back, but now I’m just being picky. And also – these do match the animation.

The combination of a strong profile and a cool color scheme make Huntara work. The lavender skin and white hair is something new to the line and the black, blue, and bronze gear on top of that creates a look that’s going to stand out amongst all the peacock and bee ladies.

Accessories

Huntara comes with an axe and two laser swords.

The swords are Twin Silaxian Stun Swords, which I found out thanks to the internet. Again – I find it so frustrating and lazy of Matty to not include this sort of information on the packaging. The swords are made of soft, crappy material and mine were bent up pretty badly. I haven’t fixed them yet because I really just haven’t had time. And this pisses me off even more. I shouldn’t have to be making time to fix 6” scale action figures that I paid over thirty bucks for.

The other problem with these is that the emitters and the blades are all one piece, so if Huntara actually stored them on the back of her harness like this she’d probably cut her legs off. These things are just poorly designed. And that’s tough for me to say about cool-looking translucent laser swords. But Matty fucked these up.

The axe is Oo-Larr’s, which means that the only decent accessory to come with this figure does not, in fact, belong to this character. This weapon looks great to the point that it’s hard to believe it came from the same people that made these crappy lightsabers. The sculpt is fantastic, it’s molded out of a firm plastic, and the paint apps are wonderful. This looks like a worn, well-used weapon.

Fun

Weapon issues aside, Huntara is great. She’s as poseable as any MOTUC female, which means she can do most of the stuff you’d want a warrior woman to be able to do. She’s balanced very nicely and can hold a variety of poses unsupported. Mine has tight joints that work nicely.

The axe is too big for her hand, though I suppose you could force it in. There’s really no reason to since it goes with Oo-Larr. If the swords weren’t so crummy they would be awesome additions to the figure. I love when weapons can be stored on a figure and can be used. If just a little more thought had gone into them this would be an almost perfect figure.

Overall

Huntara looks awesome. She’s definitely one of my favorite Princess of Power figures that the Masters line has produced. The design is striking, but then you add in my whole perceived homage to Grace Jones and the cool factor easily doubles.

Unfortunately, those Twin Silaxian Stun Swords are integral to the character. It might have actually been better if they hadn’t sculpted the clips onto the back of her harness because then I could just give her some other weapons and not think about it. But because of those clips I know that she’s supposed to have these swords.

Those ugly hip joints aren't helping, either.

4 out of 5

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3 comments:

  1. This is a very cool figure, and was one of the selling points on my subbing again. I don't think I made the Grace Jones connection, but I totally see it.
    I usually don't pay any attention to the bios, but I have to point out that saying her people "pride themselves on their pure sense of good and evil" followed by her offering "her trapping and fighting skills for anyone willing to pay her high prices" seems contradictory.

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    1. Maybe they have a pure sense of good and evil but don't necessarily follow it? I dunno. How are the swords on yours? My co-host, Beau, said his were fine.

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    2. Mine were bent a bit from the package, but I straightened them out with a hairdryer and they've been fine since then.

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