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Hordak
Masters of the Universe Classics

Hordak Masters of the Universe Classics action figure by Mattel

The exceptional Masters of the Universe Classics series continues its monthly releases with the June debut of Hordak. Whodat? Hordak!

As the front of the package explains, there's this horde. And there not just a horde, there an EVIL horde. And Hordak (horde? hordak? get it?) isn't just their leader, he's their EVIL leader. This whole situation just has evil written all over it.

Hordak has been a regular since the original line, one of the coolest looking villains in the series. He was Skeletor's mentor til the bastard turned on him (yea, like he couldn't see THAT coming), and trapped him in another dimension. You never want to turn your back on those evil mages.

As I said, he was the June 15th release at Matty Collector, and sold out pretty fast, drying up in less than a couple hours as I recall. Next up is the July 15th release of Man-At-Arms, and then the San Diego Comic Con exclusive He-ro, who has a bit of a history with our friend Hordak here.

The figures cost $20 each, plus shipping and handling of around $9. With the recent announcement that the Movie Masters figures would become Mattycollector exclusives, and the new Ghostbusters line is also a Mattycollector line, it's obvious that Mattel is hitting the collector focused lines pretty hard. Let's just hope their future efforts are as well done as MOTUC.
Hordak Masters of the Universe Classics action figure by Mattel
Hordak Masters of the Universe Classics action figure by Mattel
Hordak Masters of the Universe Classics action figure by Mattel
Hordak Masters of the Universe Classics action figure by Mattel
Hordak Masters of the Universe Classics action figure by Mattel
Hordak Masters of the Universe Classics action figure by Mattel
Hordak Masters of the Universe Classics action figure by Mattel

Packaging - ***1/2
I still love the packaging, and it's high on my list right now for best of the year. Sure, there's some amazing stuff being done with high end collectibles, but when you're talking about normally priced action figures, these retro style cardback/bubble packages are about the coolest out there.


It is worth mentioning though that the bubble design and top label can make it tough to see the faces on the characters. I know that other MOCers have complained about this (Poe Ghostal first brought it to my attention), and I think it's a valid complaint.

Sculpt - ****
I thought that perhaps Hordak would be my first overall four star MOTUC figure, but alas, a couple issues in some later categories held him back. Still, there's no doubt in my mind that the sculpt rocks all kinds of evil horde butt.

Hordak sports more detail work than most of the rest of the series, with the exception of Mer-man. The head sculpt plays up the bone-like appearance of his bat face, with fine wrinkles and folds, and some texturing and bumps on the skin. If you're born looking like this, you aren't going to run a day care center. Unless it's an EVIL day care center.

While one of the basic principles of the MOTUC series is re-use, we actually get quite a few new sculpted parts with Hordak, boosting his score further. There's the cool scooped hood, with a flowing rubber cape down the back. There's the new chest armor, completely with sculpted bat symbol and small rivets, and the underlying smooth belly. There's a new arm band on the left arm, similar to what he wore in previous incarnations. There's completely new feet and shin armor, designed to protect the EVIL three clawed toes. Even his fur loin cloth is sorta 'new', being used previously only on the Grayskull figure that was the SDCC exclusive.

Not only is all this new, but there's plenty of small detail, right down to tiny rivets, fangs and fur. This is one of the best sculpts in the series so far, and while I'm sure he'll be topped in the Overall score by a future release, it will be tough for them to do a cooler looking sculpt.

I know some folks don't like the sculpted cape, but it's easy enough to remove. Pop off the head, and you can remove both the cape and the cowl, if you prefer.

Hordak fits in nicely, scale-wise, with the rest of this 7" line. Check out the final photo for a group shot.

Paint - **1/2
Ah, there had to be a rotten apple hiding in the barrel someplace. It's the paint, unfortunately.

The silver paint work on the various armor high points, like the edge of the hood, edge of the tunic, and edges of the shin guards, is very sloppy and inconsistent. To be fair, I think this is on purpose. It appears like they tried to do some sort of wipe technique on the silver to make it looked more like tarnished, battle damaged metal. But while it sounds like a good idea, the execution isn't up to par. Instead of worn and realistic, it looks splotchy and cheap, and hurts the overall appearance of the figure.

That's my biggest issue, but not the only one. There's plenty of slop around other cut lines as well, especially between the red and black on the torso armor. Smaller details like the rivets are uneven paint blobs, and a little more detail work in the face would have really made this figure pop. There's a lot more detail work here than the usual MOTUC release, but unfortunately, it's not up to the quality I expect.

Articulation - ***1/2
There's never been any shortage of articulation with this series, and all the joints are useful as well.

Hordak's neck is a bit restricted by the hood design though, making the tilt action a bit tough. It's not impossible though, and still works better than a straight cut joint.

The ball jointed shoulders and hips, pin elbows, knees, and ankles, and cut wrists, calves and waist all add up to creating a figure that can take just about any pose you'd like.

I had no issues with loose joints either, and the pins used are tough and sturdy all around. This is the kind of articulation that works great, and can hold up to kind of play only an eight year old can dish out.

Accessories - ***1/2
Unlike Zodac before him, Hordak comes packing a punch in this category. He gets another of the cool evil staffs, adorned with the nifty red bat symbol and some impressive spikes and claws. I have to say that they've done a terrific job with all the decorated staffs in this series so far, and it's probably one of the reasons my three favorites so far are Hordak, Skeletor and Mer-man.

I have heard reports of some folks getting staffs where the spikes on top weren't lined up correctly. Damn Mattel QC!

He also has a bat faced cross bow that he can hold in either hand. It doesn't fire anything - action features aren't a part of this line, thank goodness - but it does have a sculpted arrow loaded, protruding from the creature's mouth.

Finally, he has a little bat buddy, sculpted with nice detail and evil intent. The bat can fit tightly on either wrist, thanks to the sculpted legs and tail.

Fun Factor - ****
If you are one of the parents that has picked up the old show on DVD and introduced your kids to it, and they love the characters, then these are about the greatest toys you could get them. They have everything that makes an action figure great, from sculpts that actually look like the character, to great articulation and cool accessories.

Of course, if your kids wouldn't know Hordak from Horschack, they might be less enthused. Even so, the character design of Hordak is classic enough to fit in as a bad guy with other lines.

Value - **
At $20 plus shipping, these guys are still a bit overpriced.  Hordak has the advantage of enough accessories to make me happy, but $15 is far more in line with what you're getting.

Things To Watch Out For
Zippo. You could give this figure to any 8 year old to play with and he'd survive longer than your average mass market toy.

Overall - ***1/2
Hordak had the chance to be the first four star MOTUC figure, but his paint ops let him down, at least for me. He's still one of my top three though, right up there with Skeletor and Mer-man.

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

Where to Buy -
At this point, you're stiffed. You need to get in early with these figures, and buy them when they go live at Matty Collector. Remember, Man-At-Arms is next on July 15th - mark it on your calendar. If you have your heart set on Hordak, you can always hit ebay.

Related Links -
I've kept up with the line so far, reviewing ZodacFaker, Mer-man and Stratos, and started with He-man, Skeletor and Beastman together in one review.



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Hordak Masters of the Universe Classics action figure by Mattel



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

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