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Review of Fearless Photog
Masters of the Universe Classics action figure

Mattel
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 3.5 out of 4

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MOTUC Fearless Photog action figure by Mattel

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Introduction

Here's a rarity - doing a review on a leap day! Happy birthday to all the leap year babies...

This month, Matty Collector released a rather unusual figure in their Masters of the Universe Classics series - The Fearless Photog. What makes this figure unusual isn't just that he was never released in the original series in any form, but that he was never in any cartoon, comic, or other release of any kind...ever. And yet the character design is more than 25 years old.

Back in 1986, Mattel held a contest for children to design their own character. Twelve finalists were selected, and then fans were allowed to vote on their favorite. The winner was designed by Nathan Bitner, and was the Fearless Photog.

As the winner, Nathan received a $100,000 scholarship and a trip to Disney. Twelve year old Nathan was a photography nut at the time, hence the design - the Photog's power is to drain his enemies of their energy. See? All those American Indians were right.

But the Photog never made it into actual production. Gee, a major corporation going back on their word - how surprising! No, the real surprise is that Mattel did finally make good on their promise. It just took 25 years!

The Photog was part of the February Matty sale, and ran $22. Yes, they hiked the price a couple bucks this year on all the MOTUC releases. *sigh*

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
MOTUC Fearless Photog action figure by Mattel

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Packaging - ***1/2
You've seen this package before, and that consistency is a good thing. They started out with a great looking package, and by retaining the fundamental design over the long haul, they've made a very cool looking carded display. If you're not a MOCer, you probably don't care, but it's still a key factor for my packaging score.

They did make one addition that I thought was a great touch - they included a cloud burst with the words "created by Nathan Bitner".

MOTUC Fearless Photog action figure by Mattel

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Sculpting - ****
While the basic body remains the same, there's a ton of new sculpted features with this figure.

The large head is done up like some sort of high tech camera gear. They've used a clear plastic lens, adding to the realism, and Nathan's original design looks great in three dimensions thanks to the Four Horsemen.

My favorite aspect is the film reel belt, a nice nod to the technology of yesterday, although when the character was first designed, it was still a media of choice.

The other major addition is the chest plate, which shows the souls or energy or whatever it is that Photog has taken from his enemy. It's a little lenticular image moving left to right across his chest, and it's very well done.

MOTUC Fearless Photog action figure by Mattel

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Paint - ***1/2
While most of the paint work is good, there are a couple minor issues.

The work on the head is clean, although there's not a lot of detail. The silver has that futuristic vibe, and the use of the clear plastic for the lens was a nice touch.

The body has some weak cut lines between the black and yellow, but these are two colors that are tough to have right next to each other. There's a minor nick here and there, but nothing too critical.

Overall, I love the color scheme, and the work on the film reels and the cool chest emblem take this guy up a notch over the usual.

MOTUC Fearless Photog action figure by Mattel

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Articulation - ***1/2
All the usual MOTUC articulation is here, from ball jointed shoulders to pin ankles, but some of the joints work better or worse than their counterparts on other figures.

The first example (and the one that pulls it down from four stars just slightly) is the ball jointed neck. This joint is restricted here by the large camera head, making it a bit less useful than on other characters.

On the flip side, the ball jointed hips are less restricted, with no funky skirt or armor to get in the way.

MOTUC Fearless Photog action figure by Mattel

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Accessories - ***1/2
He comes with two key items - his reflective lens shield, and his cool reel blaster.

The shield has a non-folding clip on the back to attach it to either forearm. He can easily hold the reel blaster as well, although I'm not quite sure what the blaster does. The original figure wasn't designed with it, as it's a new Four Horsemen concept.

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Action Feature - ****
Normally, MOTUC figures don't have action features - that's a good thing. Most action features get in the way of the actual playability of the toy.

Here, the feature is pretty simple - push forward on the top 'fin', and the camera lens eye juts out slightly, as though he's zooming in on his target. It's quite simple in its execution, and mine works well.

I have heard that others have had either a cracked lens, or a stuck lens, but I was fortunate to have neither issue on mine. Obviously you'll want to watch for these defects. If I had received one with these sort of quality issues, I would have severely docked the figure - that sort of manufacturing issue is not acceptable.

MOTUC Fearless Photog action figure by Mattel

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Fun Factor - ****
The MOTUC series is a damn fine toy line, and this figure hearkens back to the silly, goofy nature of the overall concept. The accessories and articulation make it a lot of fun for kids and collectors, and the history adds a certain flair.

Value - **
Yep, they're sneaking in a price hike, with this figure hitting $22. Ten percent isn't huge I suppose, but I was just getting accustomed to paying $20 - you know I'm going to be a tad negative about two more bucks.

Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing!

MOTUC Fearless Photog action figure by Mattel

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Overall - ***1/2
It's only the second month of the year, and already we have another winner in the MOTUC series. True, this is actually part of the offshoot line called the 30th Anniversary Club, but it's still a MOTUC figure.

A lot of hard core fans weren't interested in this guy, cool historical back story or not. I've found they tend to be more into the barbarian figures than the sci-fi type figures, and clearly this guy falls more into the latter. Still, for a practical non-fan such as myself, this is one of the coolest designs I've seen in awhile, and I'm quite impressed by the young Bitner's ingenuity and ability to work within the original style of the show.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ****
Value - **
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy 
Obviously, the smart bet was to pick him up earlier this month at Matty Collector when he was $22. He's sold out now, however - don't make the same mistake next month. Online options include these site sponsors:

- has him for $35.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Yep, I've looked at quite a few MOTUC figures.

- the recent Demo-man is one of my favs.

- I also liked the recent Snout Spout and Wind Raider.

- Spymonkey Creations did more weapons recently.

- other figures include the large Megator, the giant Tytus. Leech, Icarius, Clawful, the Faceless One, CatraSy-KloneKing Hssss, VikorBuzz OffGrizzlorRobotoGygorChief CarnivusWhiplashOrko, Count MarzoShe-RaOptikkEvil-LynMoss ManTrap JawAdoraScare glowTeelaMan-at-armsHordak, ZodacFaker, Mer-man, Stratos, WebstorTri-klops, and starting out with He-man, Skeletor and Beastman together in one review.

- I also covered Battle Cat and  Panthor, the big kitties.

- check out the cool MOTUC Display stands.

- I've also looked at the cool custom swords and shields you can get from SpyMonkey Creations.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
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MOTUC Fearless Photog action figure by Mattel

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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