Packaging - ***
As a loose collector, I don’t pay much mind to the packaging of figures. The standard blister and cardback for the MOTU line is serviceable, with nice vibrant colors. A nice touch to Villain Wave #3 is the addition of purple to the lower portion of the card, which makes this wave very easy to spot on the pegs. It would’ve been nice if a slight color change had also been made to the newest heroic waves, but Mattel has opted to keep their cards the standard red throughout.
- *** ½ Prince Adam, **** everyone else
Let’s face it – the rebirth of MOTU wouldn’t be nearly as successful without the amazing sculpting work of the Four Horsemen. Their recreations of these classic characters are meticulous, detailed, and imaginative. Probably the best example of their talent in this bunch is Sy-Klone; originally simply a colorful He-Man lookalike whose main purpose in life was to house his torso-spinning gimmick, the new Sy-Klone is a cool, sleek character in his own right, and the addition of various rings to his costume (the most prominent being the huge red hoop on his back) really makes him stand out on the shelf.
Like-wise, Buzz-Off is hardly recognizable when compared to his ‘80s predecessor. Once round and goofy-grinned, the new Buzz-Off is much more insect-like, with long antennae, a third pair of appendages on his back, and bug-inspired legs and claws. There’s also a cool bug-like texture to the sculpting of his arms. Unlike Buzz-Off, Man-E-Faces is perhaps the most “true to the original” figure that the line has seen. While taller and leaner, Man-E looks quite a bit like his ‘80s counterpart. Not that that’s a bad thing – Man-E’s armor is nicely detailed, and I like how his right index finger is extended to rest on the trigger of his gun.
I’ve knocked Prince Adam down half a star based solely on his head sculpt. As has been noted hundreds of times by fans of the line, his face resembles a young Mark Hamill more than it does the cartoon Prince Adam, and the sculpting of his hair is odd at best. Below the neck, however, he’s quite nicely sculpted. Gone are the purple tights and velvet vest, and in its place is a more hip outfit including a Han Solo-inspired belt and removable (if you’re careful) plastic vest.
As is the rule of thumb for this line, however, it’s the villains who reign supreme. Since Skeletor’s lackies are comprised of various oddities and monstrosities, it’s no wonder that the villains are the most visually striking figures of the line. Two-Bad is no exception, and the Four Horsemen obviously had a field day redesigning this figure. The fusion of the alien-like Tuvar with the monstrous Badhra opened the door for all kinds of great sculpting possibilities, most notably the stark contrast in skin types (smooth blue skin joining with scaly purple), the transition from armored kilt to furry loincloth, and even the slight texture difference in the removable armor. The icing on the cake are the expressions on each face – perfectly capturing Tuvar’s calm evil and Badhra’s monstrous rage.
Paint - ***1/2
No big complaints here – all of my figures have clean lines and smooth paint jobs. There are only minor nits here and there. Perhaps the most notable problem area is on Two-Bad; his torso is cast in blue plastic, while the Badhra half is painted purple. You can see the blue peeking through the purple in certain areas, especially in the seams where the mold comes together.
Articulation - ***1/2
All five figures feature the standard (for this line) articulation – neck, two at the shoulders, waist, two at the hips, and wrists. Buzz-Off comes with four more – two for the extra appendages on his back, and two for the wings. Two-Bad has one extra for his second neck, while Sy-Klone’s large hoop is articulated (it can be posed both perpendicular and parallel to the ground). This is plenty of articulation to put these figures in lots of cool poses. It should be noted, however, that the spinning action feature on Sy-Klone requires that his shoulder and waist articulation be quite loose, and yet he can still hold just about any pose with a little effort. It’s especially nice that they figured out a way to give Man-E neck articulation, which is something his ‘80s predecessor lacked.
Action Features - *** Man-E-Faces and Sy-Klone, ** everyone else
Bah. At least none of these figures have protruding buttons, a la Whiplash or Tri-Klops. But I’m not a big fan of action features, especially when they’re intrusive of articulation. Both of Two-Bad’s arms are spring-loaded (one swings upward, the other downward), meaning his arms have to be clicked to hold various positions. Man-E, Buzz-Off, and Prince Adam all have spring-loaded waists for a punching action. Sy-Klone’s upper torso spins rapidly with a tiny dial on his back, while Man-E has the additional feature of his changing faces, via a dial on the top of his head; a nice touch this time is that each face clicks nicely into position rather than spinning freely.
Accessories - *** Sy-Klone and Man-E-Faces, *** ½ everyone else
Buzz-Off comes with a spring-loaded staff that launches a missile and his helmet which fits nicely on his head. Two-Bad comes with three accessories: a double-headed and articulated mace which continues the “fused-together” theme of the figure, his trademark shield, and removable armor; unfortunately, his mace is made of very soft material that bends to gravity after a short while. Prince Adam comes with a smaller version of the Power Sword, which would’ve been nicer with a paint op or two, and a finger-flick missile.
I deducted a bit from Sy-Klone’s score, simply because he only comes armed with a very basic shield, but I have an even bigger beef with Man-E’s gun which, while he is still able to hold it without falling over, is just too ridiculously huge for his body. It has a nice spring-loaded missile feature to it, but the size is distracting. Already the weight of the gun is causing my Man-E figure to lose his grip on it.
Value - ***1/2
Find these for $7.77 at Walmart or Target, and you get great value for your buck, especially if you manage to find them with a free video (Walmart only). All of these figures are still shipping, so collectors be patient and don’t feed the scalpers!
Overall - ***1/2
None of these figures are perfect, but darn if this line doesn’t continue to be consistently good, creative, and detailed.
Where to Buy -
Walmart and Target seem to have the best turnaround and the best prices on the latest MOTU figures, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep an eye on TRU and K-Mart as well.
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