MattyCollector. What can one really say at this point. The writing has been on the wall for some time now so it'll be interesting to see how much longer this grand experiment in direct sales will last. It might have a chance if they can break free of Digital River; the now ridiculous shipping costs and near-constant nightmare of billing mistakes I keep hearing of have kept me from picking up many figures over the last year. But, every once in a while they'll have have enough at once that I'll place order, or a sale like at Black Friday. And even rarer yet, I'll spot a reasonable price at a convention or a friend will bust a purge. But even then I tend to just sit on the stuff without opening or enjoying it (indeed, 70% of my MotUC collection is still carded in boxes). BUT, all of that changes... NOW! By which, of course, I mean that I just recently opened up the stack of Matty figures I've amassed from over the last 6 months.
Mattel - DC Total Heroes Ultra: Batman Beyond
Man, someone at Mattel really loves Batman Beyond! I mean, they just keep sneaking him in to lines. I really dug the show but the character doesn't really fit in the broader DC Universe nor with the types of characters in the rest of this line. And yeah he was "fan voted" but come on... he was up against Reverse Flash, modern Blue Beetle and a blank body for customizers - of course this figure was going to be the most popular. He turned out pretty darn cool, all things considered. He uses the base body of the rest of the Total Heroes line but gets new forearms with the two bat-spikes and a new belt. Accessory wise he gets quite a bit - the standard 3 pairs of interchangeable hands, four batarangs, removable winged backpack, a mini Micron, a flaccid bat-mask and the signature three alternate heads. The alternate heads are a bit obvious with both the Cowl and Terry McGinnis heads, but the third is actually middle-aged Bruce from the first episode's flashback and that is a very cool touch! Micron is also a neat inclusion since he was never done in the JLU line and roughly fits in there. The stylized aesthetic of the line actually works well for this figure rendering it, probably, my favorite Batman Beyond toy to date (now if only we could get some of the villains)! Still though, I would have preferred several other character to this one (Dr. Fate, Martian Manhunter, Darkseid, Orion, etc.)
Mattel - DC Total Heroes Ultra: Firestorm
Firestorm has been a favorite ever since Super Powers and this figure continues his tradition of gorgeous looking figures! He comes with the standard three pairs of hands (flat, fist & grip, two nuclear fist "arrays"), a removable "ghost of" Professor Stein, a big yellow/orange blast tube which connects to a giant ram head and finally the signature three alternate heads - White, Black and Atomic. The head options make this the second best Total Heroes Ultra release, after the Green Lantern Corps, because it affords you, in effect, three different characters - and that is damned cool! My knowledge of Firestorm is wickedly thin beyond just how cool toys of him are so this is basically my intro to Prof. Stein and what a weird but kinda neat thing that ghost head is. The bummer, though, is that the head is basically just a swivel joint and uses a totally different peg than the standard figure so that's (annoyingly) not a fourth alternate head. I'm familiar with the "atomic hand bursts" so that's a fun inclusion but (a) they'd be neater in translucent plastic and (b) the wrist clips are soooooo small they barely fit on! Indeed I had try and unplug the hands just enough since they'll only fit over the wrist peg; but then the hands fall out easily and... ugh - Mattel. And the energy shaft (a reuse from the GL Corps set) and the ram I just do not get. Maybe it'll pass as a construct for Sinestro... except that the shaft is a loose fit and the joints on the figures are strong enough to support it's weight... Mattel! Regardless, this figure looks awesome and is a very, very welcome addition to the line!
Mattel - Masters of the Universe Classics: Battle Lion
This big green bastard was basically love at first sight for me. Not only is he a big, cool, green lion he give me something to do with the re-release King Grayksull I picked up a year or two ago during a Black Friday sale! This cat is basically just a slight retool of Battle Cat (they took that sculpt and just added a tuft at the end of the tail, a mane around the head and extended the fangs) but he still looks cool and unique. Plus, he gets different armor which is also the same as the MO2K Battle Cat armor, allowing to do that variation too. Ultimately my only real issue with the figure is that the neck joint is so limited that the head can't look up any higher "straight ahead," and pretty much the same for the torso balljoint, so this guy will never roar properly. Aside from that, though, this kitteh is most welcome addition to the family!
Mattel - Masters of the Universe Classics: Eldor
My god, how awesome is this figure!? I was first turned on to this character by our own Poe and the weirdness of muscles + old mage grabbed my imagination too, and what the Four Horsemen have done with him.... man, I am so tempted to get a second. The sculpt is im-frikkin'-peccable! The staff is so weirdly stylized, it's so wonderfully Froud-ish! The removable hood and sculpted coat interact so insanely perfectly that you can barely tell they're separate pieces, and, even more unbelievably, the jacket looks 100% normal with and without it! Now that is some G-D incredible design work there! And then... there is the big awesome book! Sadly there is no way for Eldor to hold it and the pages are blank within, but geez louise is it cool looking. I am so terribly tempted to get a second and have a friend sew up a soft good skirt to extend the cloak and make a fabric or fur bag that he can carry the book with. This figure, guys, this figure is toy perfection!!!
Mattel - Masters of the Universe Classics: Gwildor
For reasons even I don't totally understand this has been my most anticipated figure since Day 1. I was kind of "famously" against the entire concept of Masters of the Universe Classics/Mattycollector but Gwildor was the one figure I vowed to myself I'd get should they ever make him - and now here he is. Sculptural perfection. Sculptural. Perfection. I am so utterly blown away by how glorious this guy looks in hand! And that's kind of his one problem... that is 110% Billy Barty. It's a figure from the movie. It doesn't fit with the rest of MotUC. They stylized and hybridized Blade, but not Gwildor and I'm confused, frankly, but equally annoyed and pleased. At least I have a phenomenal, way-better-than-he-should-be Gwildor now. He comes with a cool staff, presumably from the film, that is one of the best encapsulation of the "science meets sorcery" world of He-Man. He also gets gets the cosmic accessory that came with Preternia He-Man repainted into the colors from the original Gwildor toy, plus a giant, more-film-accurate version of the key (complete with wriststrap, though it's sculpted on and unusable). And to add further confusion to the whole affair, he came packed on a card about 1.5 times the sized of a normal one despite the fact that he would have fit comfortably in such a blister.
Mattel - Masters of the Universe Classics: Mermista
I love aqua/underwater themed stuff and thusly I love mermaids, so of course I was gonna get this broad - the effective feather in the cap of the P.o.P. collection I never wanted (thanks subscriptions). She's sculpted pretty well and painted even better, particularly her face. I'm quite tickled by the alternate human legs for her (as if anyone would say "legs or a tail? Legs!") but despite their blandness there is some method to their madness because she cannot remain upright with her tail. The fin is sculpted with an eye more towards aesthetic than function and while she comes with a tiny stand it's clip is too loose and weight too negligible to offer any support (Indeed I hand to pose her lurching forward just to keep her upright enough to take a photo). And indeed it gets worse folks! They coated her damn tail in glitter! What. The. Fu-ell!?! It looks novel but the glitter just rubs off too easily giving your fingers/shelves an annoying shimmer too. It's completely beyond me why they didn't just use pearlescent plastic like the Total Heroes Aquaman. She's neat, but ultimately annoying.
Mattel - Masters of the Universe Classics: Rio Blast
Rio Blast is one of those latter-day cool MotU characters that I think we were all pretty jazzed to see brought in to this line. The sculpt is another one of the Horsemen's best but this figure is a disappointment, thanks solely to his torso cover. It's another one of these with the connector pegs on the sides, rather than the back, which means he's annoyingly wide and can't put his arms flush to his body. It also does reach fully to his waist giving him a bit of a "belly shirt" which is tacky and contrary to the character. The real crime, though, is in his trademark "flip-down" shirt... it's totally messed up. The "tech" is so shallow the shirt can't close, and it's one a hinge joint that is super conspicuous but doesn't even line up with the sculpted on hose meant to justify the hinge's aesthetic purpose. In short, it's an "epic fail." Rumor on the web is that the guy in charge of manufacturing, or something, hated working on this line and willfully sabotaged the Horsemen's designs - and this figure makes me believe it. The accessory packs are dead, but I truly wish they'd bring them back once more are a way to get out a fixed/retooled torso cover for this guy. Countless customizers have shown it ain't hard to do right. Beyond that severe disappointment he comes with a ton of accessories with having minimal knowledge of the original figure I had no real idea where anything but the chest-gun went our how the backpack worked, so that was another another 15 minutes of frustrating trial-and-error. Still though, despite all of that I still do like the figure. His sculpt is great and I, for one, love the very character-driven head he's got!
Mattel - Masters of the Universe Classics: Shokoti
I have no flippin' idea who this is but she looks neat! The outfit is fairly bland, which I believe to be accurate to the Filmation series/design but that opens up the can of worms that is "What is the MotUC" style? While there is a general same-ness across the line mainly thanks to the part reuse there does seem to be a dominate influence from the medium of origin, which is neat in theory but ultimately kind of drives me nuts as Filmation/MO2K characters end up much less detailed and more rounded than the toy or concept based figures. Case in point, Shokoti and Eldor looks wildly different next to each other. But ultimately the only thing that really matter (for me) with this line is "is it a cool figure," and Shokoti is. I really dig her in much in the same way I like the Fighting Foe Men - she just looks neat. But honestly, her key selling point is that crazy as heck Lovecraftian, one-eyed, three-mouthed tentacled sidekick she comes packed with. I don't know who or what that is, but when she showed up on the Black Friday sale I knew I had to have her for that piece alone - it's awesome!
Mattel - Masters of the Universe Classics: Intergalactic Skeletor
Gwildor may have been my one guy, but this version of Skeletor has been riding near the top of my list too (or at least ever since they stared in with New Adventures figures). I was really curious to see what the Horsemen would do with this design and they totally knocked it out of the park - it's so weird and wonderful! The detailing, the colors - it's all great, and I'm constantly debating about picking up a second. The staff is cool and I quite dig the removable helmet but, of course, it's the alternate Faker head that steals the accessories show. I have a long, frustrating history of passing up Faker since I don't like the character and find the figure boring, but now I am really kicking myself because this "Terminator" head instantly saves him and turns the figure into some cool and that I'd be happy to have on display. Alas! But again, I really, really like this figure and he only has one flaw - "belly shirt" torso. Ugh, just a couple millimeters away from perfection!
Mattel - Masters of the Universe Classics: Snake Armor He-Man & Snake Armor King Hssss
I never found nor got the original Snake Armor He-Man, plus I, in general, dig the 2002 series plus this seemed like a perfect "anchor" set for that subset - but why I am defending this purchase? I'm not unhappy with it! King Hssss is pretty fun; he strikes me as "just a repaint" but he's more unique than that. He-Man is the rockstar here, though, and he turned out super, duper cool - and I don't even like the Snake Armor! The sculpt is fantastic and the more brawny aesthetic of the like really help sell the Snake Armor design on him. I especially love the use of the snake shoulder/bicep for the right arm which give the impression of armor! It would have been nice if they Power Sword were different somehow, perhaps "open" in the "X" configuration, but it's certainly not a deal breaker. Both of these figure turned out remarkably neat for how stale the line has been feeling, and certainly for how many variations of He-Man we've gotten.
Mattel - Masters of the Universe Classics: Two-Bad
I can't believe my luck to have found and scored this guy at a reasonable price on the after-market. Two-bad was the last of the "famous"/"core" characters (at least to my perception/definition) to be released and Mattel pulled the super dick move of making him unavailable day-of and effectively a subscription exclusive, soooooo eff you Mattel. The one figure in 2014 you know will sell and you're more concerned about subs than moving total units - yup, I'm out. The "business" of the figure is strange to me too, the way lines run these days is to get out as much re-use as possible, which I get, but then that funnels down the "needs more tooling money" figures towards the less-popular years when sales are lower... sooooo... great? Anyway, he/they are finally out and he/they are fantastic! It's pretty much everything you could hope for from Horsemen designed and sculpted Two-Bad. It's just a shame Mattel doesn't want you to have it.
Mattel - Masters of the Universe Classics: Unnamed One
Well this little bugger proved to be quite the controversial figure, and that fortunately worked out well for me as his price is perhaps the most reasonable of all sub-exclusives. I get the controversy, the idea that the most evil being ever is this guy, but you know what, I've never really been all that invested in MotU and have only gotten figure cause they look cool - and this figure looks damn cool! I'm a big sucker for "bizarro" versions so I like him as Bizarro-Orko alone but that design and coloring is pretty darn neat too. I super dig his energy blast (and am quite impressed his tiny hand/arm can support it's weight - suck on that Total Heroes!) and his staff is cool (not to mention the pleasant inclusion of a "hover stand") but the alternate head is fairly bad ass! I don't quite prefer it to the evil-Orko head but I've seen some cool "customs" with it on other blue-skinned figures and might have to track down an extra Dactus as result.
Mattel - Masters of the Universe Minis: Faker & Man-At-Arms
I like the look of these figures and the promise of a Castle Grayskull mixed the "high" post-SDCC convinced me to sub-in for these, but then I chose quarterly shipping so they just sat on my Intergalactic Skeletor as well as the first three sets of this series until December despite there being nothing to indicate that would be the case, ugh - Matty! The MO2K figure turned me into a big Man-At-Arms fan so I'm quite pleased to get him in this style, and I'm quite tickled that he comes with the MO2K hand-cannon too. Faker is, blegh, Faker. Weirdly he comes with a slit on his back to hold the power sword; weird only because so few figures in the line do.
Mattel - Masters of the Universe Minis: He-Man & Mer-Man
It's pretty novel that they did Battle Armor He-Man in lieu of regular He-Man since they did those version in the SDCC two-pack, but that just kind of adds insult to injury here that these new Minis are so much smaller than those. Not only does feel like a bit of a rip-off, considering the price, but the huge-arms/tiny-legs aesthetic completely misfires at this scale making these guy tough to keep upright. And lets, once again, note the very clearly sculpted-to-be-balljoints shoulders which are only swivels. With the exception of the small scale that's the one thing really hold these back from being fun toys. Otherwise, the figures are neat and have pretty clean paint. I love Merman and turned out well; he even gets a clip on his back to hold his sword though He-Man does not.
Mattel - Masters of the Universe Minis: King He-Man & Clawful
Clawful is one of my preferred villains, again that whole underwater-obsession I have, and he turned out pretty well here. King He-Man though... well I kind of hate him. The figure turned out pretty darn well in sculpt and paint, though his cape renders him exceptionally back-heavy. My real problem with him is actually, well, him. I really can't say the design is very appealing at all and to the best of my knowledge this is just a thing made up for MotUC, which gives the set a very back-pat-y, self-agrandizer vibe. The idea that we have this joker in lieu of Buzz-Off, Roboto or, for heaven's sake, Teela, is pretty annoying (if not offensive).
Mattel - Masters of the Universe Minis: Scareglow & Stratos
Talk about opposites, man, here is my least favorite hero and one of my favorite villains! I'm sure he's somebody's favorite but I've just never "got" Stratos. The colorscheme, dominated by gray, is... unappealing at best. And then, what, he's a monkey man whith bird wings robotically attached to his wrists? It's like an ironic hipster's wet dream. Conversely, Scareglow is just a kickass villain, all the cooler in his simplicity. Plus, he and his blade glow in the dark! It's kind of a bummer these guys only come with one accessory each since several other figures get two, but it's not like they're known for more than weapon.
Mattel - Masters of the Universe Minis: Skeletor & Moss Man
Isn't Mossman a bad guy? Why's he fighting his boss? I can imagine MotUC retconned him into a good, or at least indifferent, guy and that his inclusion was mainly an excuse to appease the nutjobs that preferred flocked figures. His weapons are nice, wood-y variations of familiar designs and I am oddly, particularly fond of his tree-trunk shield. Skeletor gets his Battle Armor variation as well and looks fine in it. Oddly, his face is very neon green which is distracting and gaudy.
Mattel - Masters of the Universe Minis: Zodac & Beast Man
Hmmm, actually I guess Zodac is my least favorite hero, because.... BLAND. He gets his ray and battle staff, the latter of which actually separates in order to fit through his tiny grasp. Beast-Man, conversely, is another favorite villain of mine and he turned out well here, though once again a great sculpt is lessened by scale. He actually seems proportionally smaller than Zodac, which is a bummer and it's a real shame they didn't get him out in that larger scale because it would be stellar to have him towering over the others. He gets a whip and a cool mace, though, annoyingly, he can only hold one at a time.
Mattel - Masters of the Universe Minis: Castle Grayskull
Ultimately the Mini (Micro?) figures turned out pretty great in sculpt and paint, but their tiny size is surprisingly off-putting. Thus, the main selling point to the line becomes.... Build-a-Castle (I mean "Collect-n-Connect®™"). It's a great concept, and is indeed the selling point that got me to buy in. The design is fun and stylized nicely, but it does diverge a bit from the classic silhouette rendering it a bit more "generic" looking. The two turrets and the top of the "skull" have recessed, flat floors so that the work as stands - I love that, but a Castle with even turrets and without a central dome doesn't seem properly Grayskull once all is said and done. But, it does have the iconic skull, so at least there's that. Plus, the door/drawbridge opens, which is fun. The six pieces interlock very securely using hex pegs, and in a shocking twist of fate, Mattel actually showed some foresight for once and include four extra, backwards facing pegholes which means they continue building out the Castle! Of course that'll never happen since the second Minis sub failed (as it seems all subs are bound to do at this point), but it's fun to dream and remarkable to behold prove that Mattel is thinking beyond the here-and-now for once.