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Horde Prime

Masters of the Universe Classics
by Shocka

Originally with Masters of the Universe Classics I was not intending on being a line completist. There was no reason to: with the poor Australian-to-American dollar conversion rate, and the difficulty in buying ordinary characters who sold out within minutes there was no point trying to be an obsessive. Fortunately, as the Australian dollar improved MattyCollector picked up their game and made it possible to acquire any of the toys I wanted. As I've mentioned repeatedly in the past my personal philosophy when it comes to collecting toys is that collectors should have the toys they want available to them, and at a fair price. Exclusivity rarely makes things better for collectors.

Evil dictator of a galaxy-spanning empire, the tyrannical Horde Prime rules from his throne on Horde World. Systematically wiping out many of the Cosmic Enforcers, Anillis gained his greatest triumph when he infected his arch enemy He-Ro with a mind wiping techno-organic virus and banished him to the far off magical planet of Eternia. Knowing his scheming younger brother's ambition, Anillis sent him on a foolish quest to ensure He-Ro was defeated, never realizing that in doing so he would set about a destined series of events that five millennia later would lead to his defeat at the hands of the twin warriors He-Man and She-Ra!

So this guy is one of the Big Bads of the MOTU universe, an authority over Hordak, the resident antagonist of POP (Princess of Power). That's enough for me! The packaging is the same as the rest of the line, with the required "Evil Horde" sticker adoring the front.

Horde Prime's sculpt is excellent, building upon the design of Hordak with the same black-and-red color scheme that looks more armored, more technical than the simpler Hordak. The entire toy is basically black and red, which looks great - he's got a really unique look that makes sense and is incredibly pleasing to the eye.

The color scheme is shared by his long flowing cape, attached by the Horde insignia that graces the front. Ditto his huge helmet (which we'll get to in a moment, but notably makes him much taller than the average MOTUC). This is important in drawing attention to his status and threat to the universe, and it's really cool design. He shares his grand articulation and durability with Hordak, with balljoints at the shoulders and hips, hinge joints at the elbows, knees, ankles and abdomen, and swivels at the biceps, wrists, waist and calves. He has new shins, gloves(?) and chestplate, plus Roboto's arms and The Faceless One's Quake-skirt.

When it comes to accessories, Horde Prime is much more pleasing than the last MOTUC we covered: he features his two interchangeable heads, which we'll get to in a moment, as well as his removable helmet/headgear thing, and a crossbow. That crossbow is really cool; pulling off Horde Prime's hand means you can stick that on via plug, giving him the same look as Hordak's transforming hand-to-weapon thing from POP. It's really nicely painted and detailed, a nice change from the single-color weapons we've seen before, and makes him look really awesome.

The removable helmet thing, which conceals his SUPER SECRET FACE, is equally as cool: the character appears to be wearing some kind of heavy armor, with a technological edge that reminds me of the style of Tron, or perhaps the headgear worn by the female krogan from Mass Effect.

Now, with little familiarity with the character and no desire whatsoever to fumble around on official He-Man forums, I don't know what the deal is with the interchangeable heads. Included in the package is a very weird cat-type head with yellow eyes and a stupid red-orange helmet with antenna, which looks stupid off and on the action figure. If Horde Prime himself has antenna, then why would they be extruding from his helmet instead of just his head? Or if they're part of the helmet design, why would he want to look so silly? He has pink under the eyes like he's wearing makeup on his cheeks, and unpainted facial hair that extends to below the head like a second set of antenna. If you have any interest at all in making Horde Prime look "not dumb" this head goes straight into the accessory drawer, never to be seen again.

The SUPER SECRET ALTERNATE HEAD is hidden beneath the headgear in the package, and it's much cooler: although we won't reveal it here for those who wish to avoid spoilers, it looks really impressive and adds to the bio story on the back of the card, or that they're from the same evil race, or whatever.

I hadn't intended on subscribing this year - I very much dislike the notion of having to buy toys I don't want just because I'm locked in for a sub, but 2012 has actually been a really good year for MattyCollector products, which led me to getting all of the subscriptions. I'm not sure whether this will continue for next year's, specifically because of the more undesirable offerings. Although I have the vast majority of the MOTUC, to say I'm a completist is a bit of a misnomer - there are some toys that were just too unlikeable to make me buy them. As nostalgic as I am for Masters, my knowledge of the universe only goes so far, so there has to be something more to sell me on characters I'm not already familiar with, and that is the quality of AWESOME. Draego-Man, for example, has that quality in spades. He's great. I never had any knowledge of the Space Mutants, but characters like the giant eye guy, and the slime-headed thing with the tentacles, are awesome enough that I'd buy them regardless of what line they came from. And so, today, we come to another toy I have no prior knowledge of, but like just because he's darn cool.

Horde Prime is another great addition to the series, and really makes me wish we'd seen a Horde Trooper two-pack for next year's sub, as to continue padding out the ranks of the Evil Horde. With the unhappy possibility of the MOTUC line drawing to a close, let's hope that Mattel can complete the line with most, if not all, of our favorite characters as well as desired army builders and the occasional unknown awesome.

-- 07/23/12

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