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Asterionn

Mythic Legions
by yo go re

The Four Horsemen? Making an action figure of a minotaur? It'll never work!

Sworn to protect Castle Silverhorn - a fortress hidden deep in the Greentop forest - Asterionn, the mighty minotaur, is the first line of defense for Xylonia's Flock. As captain of Xylonia's guard, he is the mastermind behind the impenetrable maze of trees, branches, and thorns surrounding the castle. With strength and power matched only by his purity of mind and spirit, Asterionn serves as the heart of Castle Silverhorn.

Considering the way the Four Horsemen's "let's sell directly to our fans" empire began, Asterionn was one of the figures in this initial lineup I was most looking forward to. Now, he's not the same breed of minotaur as Xetheus, or even from the same world, but it's a nod to the past - one that doesn't club you over the head the way some companies would. They could have named him "Zeefeeis" or "Fannex" or even just called him Xemnoss, but instead they gave him a name out of the original Greek myths. Asterion (one N) was the stepfather of Minos, who was the father of the original Minotaur - who actually shared his grandfather's name, meaning he was Asterion, too.

Hard as it is to believe, it's been a decade since the first FANtastic Exclusive figures came out, so it's interesting to compare Asterionn to the Minotaur Soldiers and see how the design sensibilities have evolved. Asterionn's head is broad and flat, looking more like a real bovine than the stylized mancows of the Seventh Kingdom. His horns curve forward over his little ears, his solid black eyes are outlined by tan lids, and though we don't get a point of articulation to open his jaw, he does have some massive nostrils! There are veins sculpted in the skin on the sides of his snout, and a tuft of fur between his horns. This is not a humanoid cow, it's a cow head on a human body.

Speaking of human bodies, Asterionn has one. Yes, he has a little bit of armor - the same sharp gloves, greaves, and waist armor as the Orc Legion Builder - but for the most part he's bare. Bare arms, bare legs, a bare torso that we haven't gotten to review yet... he is not a fan of clothes, is the point. His feet are new, because they're big black hooves, and so that we don't just have a bull's head on a plain body, there's a cool new "collar" piece that serves as an anatomical transition between the human's skin and the bull's fur. It allows the existing neck joint to poke through, but also bulks up the shoulders so the shift from one species to the other feels more natural. The edge between them is hidden by a large medallion that's strapped to his chest.

Actually, now that we stop and look at Asterionn, it seems he does reference Xetheus, just in a subtle manner. Look at his colors: his skin may be tanned, but his armor is gold, blue, and and brick red. Xetheus' armor was gold with brick red accents, and his fur was blue. They could have chosen any colors for the new toy, but instead gave us a low-key throwback that only their intended audience would notice.

The Mythic Legions figures are incredibly well-articulated, and also incredibly modular. Asterionn has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders and elbows, swivel forearms, swivel/hinge wrists, balljointed waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge knees, and swivel/hinge/swivel ankles. Pretty much every one of those joints can be pulled apart with only a modicum of force, allowing you to mix and match parts to create your own unique designs. The waist armor is all soft PVC, so the legs don't get impeded at all. Unfortunately, there's some difference between this bare chest and the armored one we've seen on the previous figures, because if you flex his waist back even a little, you can clearly see the balljoint in there.

At first, it seems like there are no surprises with the accessories: he has the two-handed sword we've seen before, the modular axe we've seen before, the wepaon strap we've seen before, and the shield we've seen before. Yes, the shield is printed with the symbol of Xylonia's Flock in blue on gold, and the weapons have silver blades and golden handles, but it's still all the same. Clearly we can't give unique weapons to every character, but couldn't we at least give unique weapons to every faction? The magicians, the cannibals, the military and the tree-huggers all go to the same armorer to buy their axes and shields? Logistically, we can recognize that the Four Horsemen were pouring a lot of expense into these figures to begin with, and more exotic weapons would have taken a huge bite out of the budget, but as collectors who don't actually have to look at the manufacturing realities, we wish there was more variety.

But in at least one case, there is: Asterionn has removable pauldrons in his accessory bag, just like everyone else, but his are a unique mold that seem designed to work specifically with his extra-thick neck. And luckily for us, he looks great either with or without them.

I didn't go all-in on the Mythic Legions, because there are just too many awesome toy Kickstarters happening these days and there was no way I could afford to. But even while picking and choosing which figures I'd get, I knew Asterionn had to be one of them. He's not a new stealth member of the Mynothecean Six, but he's still a nice homage to the company's history.

-- 07/31/16


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