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Masters of the Universe
by yo go re

The first time around the Eternian block, Mattel made its Masters of the Universe line profitable by wantonly reusing parts - heck, there were probably only about five or six unique bodies, but new characters were created by swapping parts, mixing and matching accessories and throwing on a new paint app. It didn't take much in those days.

That constant recycling led to one of the best things about the Four Horsemen's reborn MotU line: while they seldom re-used any parts, they designed a lot of the parts to look almost re-used: for instance, in the original line, Trap-Jaw and Man-E-Faces had the same legs; in the relaunch, their legs had similar stylistic elements, but were completely new sculpts. That attention to detail and obvious love for the original material served the line well, until Mattel's mismanagement caused it to fail.

One of the best-known retreads from the original line was Stinkor - he was nothing but Mer-Man painted black and given Mekaneck's armor to wear. The guy was one of the two-ups displayed after the line folded, and sure enough, he had the same design aesthetic.

Modern Stinkor seems to draw from more sources than just Mer-Man - and if you didn't know about that connection, it might be easy to overlook. The Horsemen designed Mer-Man's head to look like the original card-back art, which was more aquatic than the actual toy ended up being. Due to that, Stinkor's head is now very different from Mer-Man's, because it does look like the 80s version. Did that make sense?

The armor shares its basic shape with Mekaneck's, though it does have some substantial differences. For one, it no longer resembles an elongated face: Mekaneck holds his head high (no pun intended), so his armor rises to meet his face; Stinkor, however, is slightly hunched, so to cover his mouth, the armor slopes down. This effect is exaggerated by the fact that the armor comes up higher across Stinky's shoulders, nearly to the middle of his head, while Mek's barely exists at all on his back. There are various tubes, hoses and gages on Stinkor's chest and belt and a pair of blue tanks on his back, which connect to a facemask - it turns out even Stinkor isn't immune to his own terrible odor, and needs fresh air to breathe. Wuss.

A word about that smell. Stinkor's claim to fame in the old days was that, like the kid you sat next to in third grade, he positively reeked. He didn't have any of the crazy action features that were starting to gain ground in the toy line then, he just smelled rank. In fact, if you still have the original figure, odds are he still does today. Mossman may have lost all his hair easily, but Stinkor still stinks. Why is that?

Though we had no way of identifying the smell when we were kids, Stinkor's smell is one we probably got more familiar with as we got older: like the white guy with dreadlocks you sat next to in 11th grade, his unique odor was patchouli oil. The plastic used to mold Stinkor was infused with the stuff, which is why it didn't rub off or fade over time - he stunk from the inside out.

Though there was some discussion of making this statue smell like the old toy did, that didn't happen. You don't even get New Toy Smell, since he's resin rather than plastic. However, you can pick up a small bottle of patchouli at any halfway decent skate shop, so if you want to make him stink on your own, go for it.

Stinkor's arms, rather than retaining Mer-Man's odd little fins, now have bulbous gauntlets at the wrists, which perhaps function as blasters, allowing him to aim his funk. The design of the things is similar to Stratos' wrists, which is further reinforced by the fur sculpted up the rest of the arms. His hands are new metallic claws, helping to set him apart. He has three-toed feet, just like Mer-Man, but his boots are technological. You can see the influence of the design in his rounded kneepads and the spikes running down the back of his calves, but that's about it.

Stinkor has no articulation, of course, but he does have an accessory: just like the original, he has no weapon, just a simple blue shield. It's basically just a disc with rivets sculpted around the edge, and it plugs into his left wrist. It may seem like Stinkor's been short-changed, but it's '80s-accurate. It's a nice shiny blue, and matches the tanks on his back. If there were any errors with the paint anywhere on the figure, you can be sure we would have mentioned them by now.

yo, whattup, dawg? Excised from the original cartoon as "a walking fart joke," Stinkor got some love (and an origin) in Cartoon Network's short revival. He was originally a little white creature named Odiphus who looked like a mogwai, but a chemical accident mutated him into the humanoid skunk we know and love. Just why an albino alien ape-thing would turn into a black and white striped approximation of an Earth skunk is a mystery for the ages.

evil base Each of the Masters of the Universe figure-scale statues comes with a hexagonal display base. Actually, they all come with the same display base: a generic technological thing that's color-coded to the character's allegience. Skeletor's minions pose on a rusty red base.

You glance at Stinkor, and you can instantly recognize his connection both to the old figure and to Mer-Man, but really look at him, get in there and examine all the tiny details that the Horsemen gave him, and you'll see the beauty of the design.


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