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Moss Man
Masters of the Universe Classics

Moss Man Masters of the Universe Classics MOTUC by Mattel


Debacle. Disaster. Catastrophe. Fiasco. Cataclysm. Apocalypse. Who would have thought that all these words (okay, maybe the last one is going a little far) would describe the sale of poor, pine scented Moss Man, the latest release in Mattel's Masters of the Universe Classics? Sadly, I suppose 'most MOTUC collectors' is the answer.

Let's be clear though - this line has more than its fair share of whiners, collectors who wouldn't be happy unless Matty himself (or at least Scott Neitleich himself wearing a paper mache Matty head) delivered each month's figure to their door step.

That being said, Mattel continues to have issues managing this line. It's not just the whiners that are upset - it's pretty much everyone that buys the product.

This month, Moss Man went on sale. To understand some of the issues, you have to have a little back story on the situation with this particular figure. When Mattel first showed the flocked figure, his ears were covered, and this caused much gnashing of teeth and wailing of voices. Collectors clearly were in the majority in not liking the flocked ears, and Mattel tried to make them happy by dropping the fuzzy lobes.

The MOTUC subscribers are all getting the 'better' unflocked version, which is what you'll see in my review tonight. However, Mattel offered for sale both the flocked and unflocked versions on their site, although there were supposedly far, far fewer flocked produced.

This was the starting point for the Perfect MOTUC Ordering Storm, but it wasn't the only issue. By producing BOTH versions, Mattel inadvertently created more demand - lots of collectors, even those who didn't like the flocked ears, were going to buy BOTH to have a complete collection.
Moss Man Masters of the Universe Classics MOTUC by Mattel
Moss Man Masters of the Universe Classics MOTUC by Mattel
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Moss Man Masters of the Universe Classics MOTUC by Mattel
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Moss Man Masters of the Universe Classics MOTUC by Mattel
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Moss Man Masters of the Universe Classics MOTUC by Mattel
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Moss Man Masters of the Universe Classics MOTUC by Mattel
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Moss Man Masters of the Universe Classics MOTUC by Mattel
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Moss Man Masters of the Universe Classics MOTUC by Mattel

To throw a little gasoline on the fire, Mattel announced several days in advance that there would be very few flocked ears, that even the unflocked would probably sell quickly, so you better be there and buy them fast, to the point of saying you'd be better off paying the multiple shipping charges rather than trying to put other items (i.e. MM Scarecrow) in your cart before checking out with Mossy.

So what does all that mean? On the Ides of March, most MOTUC collectors got to know how Caesar felt. Et tu, Mattel? Moss Man, in both Flocked and Unflocked varieties, sold out in less than 5 minutes. Since they actually went on sale at 11:57 rather than exactly 12:00pm, many collectors saw them only there for a few seconds, or not at all. Guess how collectors felt about that? Yep, that's the word they used.

In the end, it's a whole lot of noise that drowns out poor Mossy himself, and his sweet, sweet scent. Let's look at the unflocked version, ignoring Mattel's bigger issues.

Packaging - ***1/2
I've said it before, but it's worth saying again - I love the retro packages. They do tend to block the face a bit, and not all the accessories are easily visible, but the shape of the bubble, the card art, and the text all add to the overall 'nostalgia done better' strategy of the series.

I still wish they were collector friendly, since this is clearly being marketed as a collector line, but the lack of such is not surprising.

Sculpting - ***1/2
The Four Horsemen have provided two head sculpts this time around, and as we've seen with some prior releases, one head sculpt is more modern, one more retro. Both show off the usual talents of the FH.

One is also angry, with a snarl that shows off all his formidable canines. It's also worth noting that this is the Beastman head sculpt, which is the same re-use that we saw with the original. The other is pensive and thoughtful...sort of. Either that, or he just realized how bad his pine scent really is.

It's interesting to see how one head sculpt looks so much more intelligent than the other. I'm going with the smarter look, largely because the head is sculpted to sit higher on the neck and allows for better posing. But I have to admit that old angry puss is pretty sweet looking as well, particularly if you're going for a battle pose.

The left hand is sculpted to hold the weapons (who knew Moss Man was a lefty?) and the right is in a relaxed grip. 

He stands great on his own of course, and because he's using the same basic body as the rest of the line, he fits in great scale-wise as well.

Paint/Flocking - ****
There's not a ton of paint here, since the flocking covers pretty much everything, but what few ops there are are very clean.

I'd like the exposed teeth to be a little less clumpy, and the pose on the pupiled eyes is a bit weird. The smart head has the expected pupiless eyes, and they are clean and sharp.

Some folks are not going to like the flocking, and I can understand why. He is a bit on the fuzzy side...but that's flocking. There's a reason the 70's Joes were called 'fuzz heads'.

I like it however, much more than I expected to. The joints are not flocked, ensuring that it won't be rubbed off with normal posing. The rest of the coverage is very thick, and very well done. This isn't going to rub off with normal handling.

It's been applied very consistently, and the edges near the joints are done with a smooth transition, rather than being a sharp cut. This makes the change from fuzzy to clean more natural looking. The color of the body and the color of the fuzz is fairly close too, further improving the appearance of Robin Williams'....er....Moss Man's fuzzy exterior.

He's also pine scented - really. It's overpowering when you first open him up, but it's not so bad once he's out in the fresh air. It's amusing, but not a big selling point for me.

Articulation - ***
The articulation is pretty much identical to every past release - ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders and hips, pin elbows, ankles and knees, cut waist, ab-crunch, and wrists.

The snarling head doesn't work as well with the ball neck as the calm head, and that's too bad, since I like that sculpt a bit better. But there's not nearly as much tilt action possible with that version.

The rest of the joints work as you'd expect, with one very notable exception. The wrists seem to be glued or flocked tight, and I'm not willing to try to snap them free considering how tough it was to get this guy.

Accessories - ****
Mossy has a nice share of goodies, topped off with an extra head. The extra head is becoming a regular item with MOTUC figures, and I'm all for it.

The extra head is technically the calm, intelligent, "I just smelled something bad" version, since he comes wearing his angry face. The angry face works great for battle poses, as I mentioned before.

And he has two weapons for any such pose - his mace and a small knife. The knife fits in a scabbard on his belt, or in his left hand. The mace fits there as well, or can be hooked on the back of his vine strap.

Since this shoulder harness is very easy to remove, and since it's not necessary for his look, I'm counting it as an accessory as well. That means he has four extras, quite a few for most figures these days, and with one being a completely different head, he gets top score here.

Fun Factor - ****
I don't know how many times I can say it, but these are GREAT toys. Much like the Retro Action Superheroes, give these to a kid and he'd have a great time, even if he had no idea who the characters are. Truly great toys are fun for every generation, and these are no exception. Too bad so few kids are ever going to get their hands on them to find out.

Value - **1/2
The extra accessories - especially the second head - make the $20 price tag a whole lot easier to take. Add in the flocking process, which I expect is more expensive than the usual paint operations, and you get at least an average value here. 

Things to Watch Out For -
As I mentioned earlier, my wrists are stuck pretty tight. Twisting them would result in tearing the pins, so I'm not doing it. With the flocking, I don't think it would be a great idea to heat or freeze them either, but you could always give it a try. Just don't come crying to me if Mossy starts to molt.

Overall - ***1/2
I wasn't too thrilled with Mossy in the early photos. The flocking seems to be a bit too much, turning him from man covered in moss to man covered in green monkey hair.

But in person I like him far better. I think this is due in part to the difference in scale between photos and the in hand experience. In photos, you get a much closer look at the figure, making the fuzzy nature of the flocking more apparent. But in person, this fuzziness takes on it's normal look, and is much more like the mossy appearance you hope for.

I'm also very happy with the accessories, and I have to say that any time we can get two heads from two styles, I'm going to be more willing to add a little extra in the score.

The figures isn't worth all the controversy he's created, but he's still a nice addition to the display. I hope that all the angst created by his release doesn't hurt the line, but it's looking more and more like he's done far more damage to the series than good he's brought to the display.

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

Where to Buy -
This was a Matty Collector exclusive. The next figures going on sale are Evil-Lyn, Wun-dar, the re-issue of Hordak, and the first weapons pack, all on April 19th.

Related Links -
Other figures I've covered in the line include:

- my most recent was on the MOTUC Display stands,

- just before that I covered Battle Cat and Trap Jaw, and prior to that was Adora.

- I really liked Scareglow, although he's not exactly what you'd call a key character.

- Adora isn't the first girl in the series - Teela has that honor.

- before that there was Webstor, one of my favorite, and Tri-klops, another one of my favs.

- prior to that was Man-at-armsHordak, ZodacFaker, Mer-man and Stratos, starting out with He-man, Skeletor and Beastman together in one review.

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Moss Man Masters of the Universe Classics MOTUC by Mattel


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

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