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Masters of the Universe Classics
Stratos

Masters of the Universe Classics Stratos action figure from Mattel

If you were wondering whether the very cool new line from Mattel, the Masters of the Universe Classics, was a hit or not, all you have to do is look at the ordering patterns. The first two releases, He-man and Beastman, last three months. The next release, Skeletor, sells out much quicker, lasting only a couple weeks. And then the third release (fourth figure), Stratos sells out in 3 days. Mattel made fewer Skeletors and Stratos figures, but not THAT fewer.

Of course, some of this increased demand is false, being generated by 'flippers', buyers who are picking up the Stratos figure just because they're seeing so much buzz about the line. These buyers are looking to make a quick buck, and are merely trying to insert themselves into the supply chain without adding value. This kind of false demand can be very dangerous to the line. Why? Because if Mattel ups production to meet this demand (as well as the true demand), they'll end up overproducing once the fly by night flippers skip out a few figures down the road.

So what is Mattel to do? They have to increase production to meet demand, but not so far as to overproduce. I think an interesting guide would be not just what the increased sales demand is, but what the increased Ebay listings are. Of course, if you don't consider this in advance, it's hard to fill in the past history, but it's worth considering for the future.
Marvel Icons Colossus action figure from Hasbro
Marvel Icons Colossus action figure from HasbroMarvel Icons Colossus action figure from Hasbro
Marvel Icons Colossus action figure from Hasbro
Marvel Icons Colossus action figure from Hasbro
Marvel Icons Colossus action figure from Hasbro

If you were to take the number of Ebay listings for He-man and Beastman for the first two weeks after they started shipping and compare that to the number of Ebay listings for Stratos this week and next, I think you would get a sense for how many flippers had entered the market. Use that information to offset some of the increased demand for Stratos, to avoid overproducing future figures. In fact, you could develop a Flipper Quotient that would assist with any line where demand suddenly increased due to tremendous market buzz. Yep, that's all going to be in the book I'm writing one of these days.

But let's get back to Stratos. He's one of the good guys in MOTU, leader of the bird people. And since I'm not a big MOTU fan, that's about the extent of my knowledge around the character. He was $20 at MattyCollector.com while he lasted.

Packaging - ***1/2
I really like the retro packaging, particularly the lighter colors and brighter graphics. These aren't collector friendly - you'll have to tear them apart to get the figure out, and there was one mildly annoying rubberband around the legs. But they are quite small compared to the figure itself, and still shows off the figure well.

Sculpting - ***1/2
I mentioned in my earlier review of the He-Man, Beastman and Skeletor figures that we could expect to see some re-use across the line. Stratos is the first extremely obvious example of this. He uses the same fur/hair covered body as Beastman, as well as the same right hand and loincloth. He has a new headsculpt of course, as well as new feet and the funky sculpted wings on his arms.

The design is very much in line with the old cartoon, and I love the sculpted cowl, goggles and beard. While the head's a little small, it fits with the overall figure design up to this point.

I also really like the sculpted wings, but we already know the Four Horsemen can do great wings/feathers - just look at the DCUC Hawkman.

If I have one complaint with the sculpt, it's the feet. They are smooth with cloth-like wrinkles near the ankles, but the calves are clearly hairy. It's like he's wearing some sort of soft booty...he needed hairy feet for a more consistent look.

Stratos is on par height-wise with Beastman (as you'd expect) coming in at about 6 3/4".

Paint - **1/2
There's not a lot of paint on these figures, with most of the pieces cast in the appropriate color. Unlike Beastman, Stratos doesn't have the uber-cool face paint to add to his look. What face paint he does have is a bit off as well, with the gray 'eyelids' running down on to the black lens of the googles.

Stratos also REALLY needs some more paint details. The solid blue harness and rocket pack is a big hunk of too consistent plastic, and the red belt needs a little something extra as well.

Articulation - ***1/2
Mattel has just about gotten the perfecct articulation here, just enough to make the toys pose well and add to the fun factor, but not enough to get in the way. They've also done a good job of incorporating the articulation with the sculpt.

There's the expected ball jointed neck, and it has a decent range of movement. The ball jointed shoulders and hips work well, with joints on both sides of the balls. The single pin elbows, pin ankles and single pin knees work well, and there's cut wrists, an ab-crunch chest and a cut waist as well. The figure can take some very natural stances, and looks great on the shelf.

Accessories - Bupkis
While the previous three figures had at least one, sometimes two or three extras, poor Stratos gets nothing. Ouch. Yea, he's got a cool rocket pack, but it's not an accessory as such.

Fun Factor - ****
While Stratos might have his own individual problems, I have to say that this line is a tremendously fun series of toys. Yea, it's unlikely that many kids will actually get to play with them, but that's a shame. If other lines marketed directly to kids were this well done, those lines would do far better in sales.

Value - *1/2
At twenty bucks, there's no doubt that these guys are expensive. Stratos takes an extra hit because he's a) one of the largely reused figures and b) comes with nothing in terms of accessories. Yep, I like the line quite a bit, but at $20, there still needs to be more here.

Things To Watch Out For
I didn't have any issues.

Overall - ***
Considering the re-used parts, the lack of accessories, and the twenty dollar price tag, I suspect I might be too soft on this figure. He probably should lose another half star here, but I'm still so impressed with this line overall that I can't bring myself to do it. Faker might not be so lucky.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - **1/2
Articulation - ***
Accessories - Bupkis
Fun Factor - ****
Value - *1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
Obviously, MattyCollector was the route to go, but as I said, they're sold out. You're next best bet right now is ebay, but remember that the next figure in the series - Faker - goes up March 16th.

Related Links -
I've checked out the He-man, Beastman and Skeletor figures so far.

Discussion:
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Reader Ratings!
Here's your chance to weigh in!  Select your rating for this figure(s) to the right.  Yea, it's a five star system and not a four star system like mine, but it's the best I've been able to come up with so far.  You can only rate once from any particular IP.  My score converted to a five star system for comparison: 3.75

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Marvel Icons Colossus action figure from Hasbro



Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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