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Masters of the Universe Classics
by Shocka

Sometimes, overwhelming cynicism of something isn't a bad thing, and when it comes to collecting action figures there are few we should be more overwhelmingly cynical about than Mattel. One of my favorite fabrications by Matty's Scott "Toy Guru" Neitlich is the notion of "fan requested" toys. See, the nice folk over at Matty have a tendency to come out screaming defenses of toys that no one in their right mind wants as "fan requested" action figures. Now, consider Ram-Man - that was a toy that was heavily requested. A well-known, beloved, interesting character that everyone invested in Masters has heard of. Likewise, today's review, Granamyr, fans wanted so much that they took a vote as to which color they should make him - the original minicomic green, or the Filmation red. On the other hand, the awkward, dismal Star Sisters? What about the complete garbage "The Fighting Foe Men," figures that aren't even based on characters, rather nobodies from the box art of vehicle kits that few casual fans have ever seen, that are so disinteresting they made me drop my subscription for 2013 (because, yeah, I'm totally paying $100+ for three measely figures I don't want and will never want ever).

When Scott claims these have been "heavily requested" and follows it up saying that they need to make these figures otherwise we wont get Ram-Man - as in, holding hostage the stuff people actually want - well, we should be overwhelmingly cyncial. For some reason, Matty thinks we should be thankful to them for making the product we want, rather than they thankful for us for keeping them employed, and a lot of fans have swallowed this complete lapse in logic. Bullshit. If you can find someone, somewhere, requesting the Star Sisters or the Foe Men, I will give you $25,000.*

(*Not an actual guarantee.)

Granamyr is one of the oldest and wisest of the Eternian Dragons of Darksmoke, an ancient kingdom in Eternia's Dark Hemisphere. He greatly distrusts most men after the Great Wars between dragons and humans in ancient times. As one of the most powerful magic users on Eternia he possesses such extraordinary might that even Skeletor dares not challenge him. When Man-At-Arms was turned to glass by an evil spell, Granamyr provided He-Man with healing magic, but only after Eternia's bravest warrior proved he had not only great strength but great mercy and wisdom as well. The ancient dragon Granamyr guards Eternia's magical secrets and rules all of Darksmoke.

In a rare case of good timing, the MOTUC toy I'm reviewing is actually still available, because I got it without the usual six-weeks-plus wait I usually endure as an Australian subscriber. One of the great people on OzFigurama did a group order and let me get in on it, relieving me of the stressful issue of trying to order from Mattel's website on date of sale while on vacation away from a good internet connection, and subsequently got the fast shipping that arrived very quickly, so I get to take a look at him now, and you'll even have the opportunity to buy him without the usual eBay scalper prices!

Granamyr's enormous packaging takes a slight diviation from the regular MOTUC packaging; instead of being a large window box like most of the bigger figures in the series, he's in a closed box that features terrific art of the character on the front and the usual green brick design on the sides and photos of other figures on the back with a bio. Think of the Wind Raider packaging, but on a much larger scale. The artwork is by Rudy Obrero and is really cool, with an image of the giant dragon sitting in his cave surrounded by treasure.

Opening him up, you'll soon find out why this packaging overlooks the usual window box - Granamyr is so large that he is packaged disassembled. The box itself proclaims "assembly required" - the large dragon comes in 10 separate pieces that must be assembled before he can be posed and played with. His torso snaps onto his body then his head fits on his neck, then the legs, arms, wings and tail all snap onto the body.

Now, I was fortunate enough to have advance notice that a bunch of people had major problems with the limbs breaking when snapped into the body; the openings on the body aren't as durable as they need to be in some cases - it is highly recommended that you use a hairdryer on the openings in the body to ensure you don't get any unfortunate breakage. Only one of my leg joints was troubling, but it snapped into place no problem after a little heat was applied. Once he's together, he ain't coming apart, but he feels mighty durable and like he'll stand up to some play.

Granamyr is a combination of rotocast and solid plastic; his body is a softer rotocast with hard plastic limbs and head. His softer tail uses a similar plastic to the rotocast body, and the harder wings are the same as those on the 4H's Draego Man. The sculpt is terrific; he looks dead-on for the character, a very MOTU-ised dragon with a wise, elderly face and a goofy helmet that is, unfortunately, not removable.

The detail is superb. His skin has that perfect dragon-scaley detail and his purple underside looks fantastic. The paint here is excellent, with terrific shading to bring out those little details, like the creases and warts in his skin. Aside from the main reds and purples, the individual detail on his yellow eyes and black soft-plastic nails is absolutely perfect. Granamyr looks fantastic - this is a very smartly made toy.

When it comes to articulation, Granamyr is let down a little. Let me say first that Granamyr doesn't come with any accessories, which isn't really a big issue - this is one of the biggest action figures you'll ever own and I don't think anyone will be troubled by a lack of extras. It is, however, irksome that his helmet isn't removable - if it was, you could quite easily take what is a very goofy Masters design, an elderly dragon with a wacky viking helmet, and use it as an all-purpose dragon without the wacky helmet.

Further, he doesn't have any articulation at the mouth, which would have not only aided with this but also given him a bit more play and poseability. It might seem like a big ask, but frankly this is a $100 toy with shipping, and even with the size, one cannot argue that it is the best value. This also plays into my next criticism - a lack of balljointed shoulders.

This has been a problem with every large-scale MOTUC toy and there's still no good reason for it, regardless of what Scott has to say. Granamyr's arms have a bizarre range of movement that basically amounts to the guy being able to do backstroke but not take any kind of threatening pose. Again, inexcusable for a $100 toy. On a better note, his neck is a balljoint with a full range of motion, and his elbows, knees, wings, wrists and ankles share this same joint allowing for excellent motion and play. His upper legs are ratchet joints which work incredibly well with the rest of the leg articulation, allowing him to get into a "standing pose" - unfortunately, he can't actually stand himself, which is a major bummer and again brings me back to my point about putting him in other fantasy displays. I don't think it would have been too hard to rework this guy so he could stand - the tail is already a swivel joint that, with some experimentation, can be used to support him in a semi-standing crouched pose, but frankly it looks ridiculous and thus the majority of his articulation is useless, forcing him into the single iconic sitting pose that most MOTUC fans will keep him in anyway. But the missed opportunity is a real bummer - especially for what is, once again, a hundred dollar investment.

In that iconic pose, Granamyr sits 14" tall, but in his assisted standing position he's a massive 23" - one of, if not the absolute biggest toy currently available, comparable to the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man and the new completed Voltron. Having him side by side with any of the standard MOTUC figures really shows off the immense size, and it's very impressive. I don't want to linger on it but I will again mention how sad it is that it's difficult-to-impossible to have him posed against one of those two huge aforementioned MattyCollector toys - the sense of scale is a little lost when you have to have him posed sitting next to, say, Tytus, and they're about the same height. Bummer.

Still, it's amazing that we got this toy, and MOTUC fans have every reason to be over the moon with the final product - Granamyr is so cool that he'll look amazing alongside your MOTUC figures, and will even fit with any of the previous MOTU series. Because he's durable he can stand up to some play with other figures as well, and because of the unique packaging this is one of those rare figures that MOC collectors will probably open and still be able to display the package. Even despite my qualms, I am really happy having him sit next to my PC - I'm a big fan of big figures, and he looks great throughout my collection.

-- 01/07/13

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