MOTU Mer-man

Poe Ghostal recently did a guest review here at MROTW on the Masters of the Universe line.  Unfortunately, he hadn't found Mer-man yet.

That situation has been corrected, and now Jason returns to fill us in on that final figure.  Take it away Jason!

Poe Ghostal here, back with a final Masters of the Universe 2002 review. This will finish off the six main figures in the first wave.

Sculpting - ***1/2
Again, a great piece of work from the Four Horsemen, the design team hired by Mattel to redesign the Masters of the Universe (MOTU) for a 'naughts audience (sorry, but saying "the new millennium" has just gotten so old). Some MOTU fans have noticed that Mer-Man's head seems just a little different than the style of most of the other figures - it looks a bit cartoony, and with good reason. The Four Horsemen tell the story that, when they first got the old He-Man figures, they were disappointed that the Mer-Man figure looked nothing like the drawing on the back of the box. So with the new line they saw the opportunity to sculpt the Mer-Man they always wanted. The vaguely cartoony sculpt is the reason Mer-Man loses half a star; personally I don't mind too much, but I've heard from others (particularly casual collectors who aren't necessarily He-Fans) that the goofy face is a turn-off.

Paint - **1/2
Of all the new MOTU figures, Mer-Man has suffered the most in the paint department. Just what is up with the bronze armor and weapons? The old Mer-Man's armor and weapons were yellow. The bronze may have worked with the weapons, by why, Mattel, why the bronze armor? Considering the fact that Mer-Man's gauntlets and greaves are yellow, one would think the armor should match (and on a side note: why are all the villains barefoot? Actually, so far, with the exception of He-Man and Man-At-Arms, every single new figure has been barefoot. I guess only puny humans need to protect their feet). The paint ops on Mer-Man are great, just like the rest of this line; these are some of the best ops I've seen in the 6" scale. But that bronze...yuck. Never mind the fact that it will turn green from all that time underwater...or is that copper? Never mind...

Articulation - ***1/2
Mer-Man has ball-jointed hips, peg joints at the waist, neck and wrists, a ball-jointed right shoulder, a peg joint at the left shoulder, and a peg joint at the left elbow. The reason for the odd articulation on the left elbow is to facilitate his "jabbing" action feature. I know the peg joint at the left shoulder was necessary for the feature, but I've got to deduct a half-point for it. Otherwise the articulation is great, and you can get him into some excellent poses.

Accessories - **
Mer-Man comes with a sword, a trident, and some removable armor. At first I thought the trident was really a kind of a staff until I noticed the handgrip in the middle of the shaft: this allows Mer-Man to hold the weapon in the air. Both his right and left hands hold both weapons fine, and both can be slid into the back of the armor.

It's the armor where this figure loses some serious points. Aside from the terrible coloring, why isn't it anchored around the waist? My guess is the tough bronze plastic, which is different from the more rubbery kind used on the other figures' armor, was too brittle for straps. So why not some snaps, like Man-At-Arms's armor? As it is, Mer-Man's armor rattles all around his body. I'd hate to get into a fight with such slippery armor.

Action Feature - ****
Mer-Man has what I think is the best action feature of the whole line. His left arm has some unusual articulation, with a peg joint (instead of a ball joint) at the shoulder and another at the elbow. When you press the button on his back, the left arm jabs forward, going from a bent elbow to a straight arm thrust out before him. It's a quick jab, and looks awesome with either weapon in his hand. I usually don't like action features but this one is pretty neat.

Value - ***
The figures are running between $7-10 at the various retail outlets and online stores. $7 is probably about right. Unfortunately, Mer-Man seems to be rather scarce right now. According to Mattel he will be out in force in a few months; you could probably score one on eBay, but I suggest you have patience (unlike me) and wait for him to hit the brick 'n mortar stores

Overall - ***1/2
Another well-sculpted, fun figure from this great new line. I look forward to seeing the Four Horsemen's interpretations of other classic MOTU characters in the future.

Figure from the collection of Poe Ghostal.

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