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Fearless Photog

Masters of the Universe Classics
by Shocka

Right now everyone is getting themselves worked up over the current MOTUC-in-jeopardy subscription situation, so I'd like to step back and review one of my favorite figures from the line - possibly favorite figures of all time.

Apprentice to Gwildor, Jey often daydreamed of life as a member of the Masters of the Universe. His dreams became a reality when he was selected along with five other inventors by the science council to journey to Eternos to present his latest creation; the Photog Emulator. During the presentation, a slight miscalculation led to a flux overload merging Jey with his invention. Finding he could drain his enemies' powers and display their defeat on his chest, Jey called himself the Fearless Photog and was offered membership with his idols in the Masters of the Universe. He fought heroically during the Second Ultimate Battleground helping to defeat several of Skeletor's warriors, including Clawful and Whiplash. Photog drains his enemies' power, displaying their defeat for all to see!

The Fearless Photog has quite a storied history - originally the design and winning contest entry of 12-year old Nathan Bitner for the character design competition Mattel held in 1986. Amongst the prizes for the winner was the production of the action figure itself, something that never happened until the special 30th Anniversary subline spun off from the main Masters of the Universe Classics line this year. It was excellent to hear that this innovative design was finally getting immortalized in toy form, and the result is awesome. To me, this Fearless Photog represents what Masters of the Universe Classics could have been: beautifully sculpted, wonderfully articulated, fully realized versions of these characters as action figures - complete with their original character-defining action feature.

Yes, Photog is the rarest of rare, a Classics figure with an action feature, and it's an excellent one. But we'll get to that in a moment. Standing just under 7" tall, he's got one of the best sculpts we've seen across this already high-quality line. The Four Horseman have just done a magnificent job bringing the original design to life. The body is painted a neat black, yellow and blue paintscheme, which looks excellent and has no problems on mine.

Photog has the kind of muscly body we expect from MOTUC, but with all of the added details to make him his own specific character - his belt comprises little film reels, and his chest is adorned with a lenticular sticker of a person running that looks like real film. Actually, it looks like something mindbending: moving just a little while looking at it makes it move in such a way as to impress or induce nausea. Either way, it's awesome.

The head is the standout new piece, and it's superb - somewhere between a cyclops head and a film camera, it's an awesome metallic blue color and features the aforementioned action feature: pressing the lever at the top slides his camera-lens-cum-"eye" out, and it's awesome. Be aware a fair few people had this cracked, which is really unfortunate and I'm really thankful mine is intact. Definitely mark this guy down if the lens is broken.

I get why a lot of people are opposed to action features - they're often in the way of sculpt and articulation - but in this case, it is perfectly complimentary to the figure. This is what I was hoping for most of the MOTUC: consider the upcoming Mosquitor, who lacks the original awesome action feature of real liquid "blood" in his chest, with a boring replacement, which is just clear slides of translucent plastic. It's very disappointing, and replicating the original wouldn't have got in the way of the sculpt or articulation - if anything, it would have made the sculpt better. But fans cry out over anything resembling an action feature, so it's remarkable we ended up with this excellent little feature on the Fearless Photog.*

Fearless Photog features the same amazing articulation as basically every other MOTUC, and also comes with two great accessories: the first is his blaster, which is something of a film-projector-gun, which works for his unique character and design. The other is a shield that resembles a camera flash, which is equally awesome. It's sculpted with transparent plastic over a yellow backing, which means it actually reflects light, adding to the authenticity and general wonderfulness that makes this toy flat-out fantastic! If we had to deal with the Mighty Spector to get this amazing toy, then I feel it's a fair trade.

So Fearless Photog is one of my favorite new figures, and I'm ever so happy he became an addition to this series. As with Snouty, a lot of fans were upset that he doesn't fit into their preconceived notion of Masters of the Universe as sword-and-sworcery-only, but regardless he fits in really nicely alongside your Space Mutants and other New Adventures of He-Man figures - or just alongside Man-At-Arms or any of the technology-built MOTU characters. I can't recommend this guy enough. I've come to really love the MOTUC series over the years, even the poorer entries into the series, and this guy really stands out, representing everything that makes these figures great with none of the drawbacks. He rocks.


*To expand, I acknowledge that action features like "punching" actions often really hold back great toys, but on the other hand, Thunder Punch He-Man is just "He-Man" without the ability to actually punch. Why bother sculpting the cap-holder if he can't use it? Ditto the moronic Hurricane Hordak, far and away the worst action figure in this line. Since MOTU characters were often defined by the toy's action feature, it makes no sense not to have them - and that goes double for these action-feature-specific variants. But we do understand the difference between presentation-action-features, like having the blood in Mosquitor and the gears in Roboto, and attacking-action-features, like in Thunder Punch He-Man, and can see why one would be okay with the former but not the latter. back

**This bear toy pictured is totally awesome - anyone know where he comes from?

-- 07/30/12


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