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Bryophytus

Mythic Legions
by yo go re

Mythic Legions All-Stars Series 4 has just arrived, and what could be better at this time of year than a character who might smell like a pine tree?

Deep in the hidden hills of Xylonia lies a mysterious region called the Swale. With an ecosystem all its own that teems with enignmatic creatures rarely seen by the outside world, the Swale thrives beneath the watch of a heroic protector named Bryophythus. A lichen orc with the power to absorb and redirect the power of the plant life around him, Bryophytus serves as a shining example known for bringing order and peace to the land.

I keep reading this dude's name as though it were a couple of frat boys trying to start trouble with some guy at a bar. "Bro, fight us!" But it's not. The name ultimately comes from the Ancient Greek βρύον (brúon), meaning "tree moss" - this is the latest Mythic Legions MotU homage, and it's meant to be everybody's second-favorte plant elemental, Moss Man! So naming this new character after byrophytes makes sense - it was either that or "Pete Sphagnum," and that doesn't sound as "Tolkien-y."

Byrophytus really shows how much flocking can take away from a figure. This "Lichen Orc" is built from all the usual Mythic Legions parts - other than his shins, forearms, and groin, everything is bare skin - but all the detail we expect from those molds is now invisible beneath the fuzz. Flocking also doesn't play nicely with highly articulated figures, so in addition to the naturally uncovered areas, like the palms of his hands or the soles of his feet, we also face the reality of bald spots by his elbows, shoulders, and knees.

The flock chosen to cover the figure does look really nice, at least. It isn't just a matter of making him flat green and fuzzy; most of the fibers are a single color, yes, but there are few mixed in there randomly that are a lighter, brighter green. And that makes his coat look more organic! To assist in the Moss Man homagery, his armor and loincloth are a bronzey brown, and his belt area is painted yellow. The loincloth is the furry one, fittingly. The figure also includes some shoulder armor, which always seems like it would be hard to wear when you're bare-chested, plus one of those weapon straps that you may want to ignore, lest it rub any of the flocking off.

The MotU homages always get a second head, whether it makes any sense of not. Byrophytus' starter head is the standard one from the orcs, bald (well, bald under the flocking, of course), with pointy ears and a pair of large fangs poking up from the corners of his mighty underbite. The alternate head is still an orc, so we're already doing better than a lot of these figures do; this one was originally seen on Vorthogg, a figure from the Arethyr series, and though it's still bald, it now has a full, bushy beard - an appropriate choice, since upon seeing it for the first time, our declaration was that it would be used someday for a Beast-Man homage (and what is Moss-Man if not "green Beast-Man"?).

Byrophytus moves with swivel/hinges at the ankles, knees, hips, wrists, elbows, and shoulders; swivel thighs, forearms, and neck; and balljointed head and waist. Although the figure includes that now-regular little slip of paper warning us that the joints may be stiff and thus to be careful with them, these are some of the easiest-moving joints a Mythic Legions figure has had yet: everything moves smoothly and with just a slight pressure, but stays where you put it. Byrophytus is ready to fight, bro! Since the bracers and wrists can turn completely around, it can be hard to tell which direction the forearms are facing - we already told you have the flock smyooths out the sculpt, but it goes so close to the actual elbow that it prevents the hinge joint from being visible, a bit.

Moss-Man's accessories these days tend to be his club and a knife. Byrophytus' accessories include a Dwarf Mace, whose squarish shape is similar to what Mossy carried, and a dagger with a sheath. Perfect! Toss on the chest strap like MM's medicine purse, and you've got a pretty complete look. Then as a bonus, there's also the magic staff with the wood/orb topper, the same thing that another plant-master carried. That's thematic consistency!

So far, all the Masters of the Universe homages have matched their character's alignment: that's a slightly confusing way to say the good guys have remained good guys, and the bad guys have remained bad guys. There's nothing saying it has to be that way (in the early days, at least, MotU characters were designed first and assigned to a side later - that's why there's the whole thing about Zodac being either good or evil), but it's what the Horsemen have chosen to do. And since the heroic Moss-Man was a repaint of a villain toy, that means Mythic Legions has its first-ever heroic orc! Sure, he's a "Lichen Orc," whatever that means [it means instead of being Orcish, he's orc-ish: see, because a Lichen Orc is just Like An Orc? Ha ha ha! Wordplay! --ed.], but it's cool to see the world expanding that way.

-- 12/18/21


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