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Masters of the Universe Classics
by Shocka

Over the past couple of years I've become a completist on the Masters of the Universe Classics line; this wasn't intentional, rather something that just came into being as less and less new interesting toys were being produced elsewhere and Matty were making a convincing argument to subscribe. Who doesn't want a bunch of great new toys each month? I've said it repeatedly in the past but I'll say it again: when we look back on this line, I am confident it will be celebrated as one of the best action figure lines ever made. The sculpting is great, the articulation is plentiful, the accessories are cool and the characters are a great combination of awesome designs with happy nostalgia. The distribution issues wont be as memorable as the great products. From the main MOTUC line the "30th Anniversary" has spun off, which includes specialist figures like the previously never produced Fearless Photog, and a brand new create-a-character competition figure. It also debuts Draego-Man, a brand new character specially created for the 30th Anniversary by the Four Horsemen, those amazing lads who have sculpted all of these toys as well as many other favorites.

During the Great Wars, the Dragons of Darksmoke fought in many epic battles against King Grayskull and the Snake Men. A magical half human half dragon creation of the Great Black Wizard, Draego-Man was shunned by Granamyr and allied himself instead with the Free People of Eternia. After the Truce of the Three Towers, Draego-Man became so disgusted with the humans that he isolated himself from all civilization, living as an outcast in the Caverns of Rakash. After several millennia of bitter retreat, Draego-Man discovered Skeletor's plans to enslave his dragon kin and use them as weapons against the Royal Palace. He returned from hiding to join Skeletor's Evil Warriors seeking revenge against all who betrayed him. Draego-Man uses his flame breath and ability to manipulate fire to battle for the side of evil!

Draego-Man is a really big figure and this shows in his packaging; although he's got the same excellent blister as the other Masters of the Universe Classics he's really squashed into that little package. His wings and tail are separate for assembly after opening, and the package is emblazoned with the new 30th Anniversary deco as well as a new bio for the character. Despite being squashed in he still looks neat for MOC collectors, those jerks. Releasing him from the plastic prison and putting him together, he's really awesome - this was a labor of love for The Four Horseman and it absolutely shows.

They've done an amazing job, using a mixture of new and reused parts to create an exceptional action figure. I won't list where all the parts come from - wait, yes I will! He gets his arms and legs from King Hiss, his shin armor from He-Ro, his tail from Whiplash (obviously) and his feet and shorts from Hordak. I will say his new head and wings look great with the superb colour scheme and fantastic paint apps, that bring out the little highlights on the sculpt.

Draego-Man's "skin" (or scales or whatever) are a vibrant crimson red, while the insides of his wings are a fiery orange - his throat and the underside of his tail, too! He has blank yellow eyes and black horns, and tiny white teeth poke out of his hot, lipless beak. The bulk of his armor is a flat purple, but it's been accented with metallic blue; both colors that have a lot of contrast with red. In the center of his armor is a stylized dragon head with crossed bones behind it.

Draego-Man is just as articulated as the rest of the MOTUC - that is to say he's awesomely playable and poseable. Those wings have their own balljoints, so you can pose them however you like, and everything else is just as good as your other MOTUC. I might have some gripes with reuse in action figure design, but you can't argue against sculpts that allow for so much poseability. I might have liked a jaw hinge to go with the rest of his movement, but it's no big deal.

Of slightly more concern are the accessories, of which there is only the one: a flaming sword. Pictures from last year's SDCC tantalized us with a shield, as well as a whip and a flamed-off version of the sword (it would have featured one hilt and interchangeable blades). All of which looked better and more suitable than what we have here, but it could be worse. The sheer size of Draego-Man kind of makes up for it - he's a big action figure with more plastic than the rest of the MOTUC, so maybe it makes sense that some things had to be scrapped so we'd get him here like this.

That size makes him particularly interesting to not just MOTUC collectors, but other collectors as well. He'll fit in with other medieval themed toys, or even as a nice big dragon for GI Joes or other 3¾" toys to battle with. I really like Draego-Man, much more than I thought I would - the design originally didn't grab me, but having him in my hands to play with has made me a quick convert. He looks awesome next to He-Man or fighting the Jedi, and that's exactly the kind of toy I want to buy - not just one that appeals to my awe and nostalgia, but my imagination as well. Draego-Man is highly recommended!

-- 06/25/12

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