When it rains it, pours. How about that for a lame opening cliché? Droughts can cause people to say and do strange things, as can the feeling of relief after months of denial. No, I am not talking about the weather in this instance (though the lack of rain in these parts is getting ridiculous), but rather a drawn-out dry spell in the Masters of the Universe Classics line; a dry spell that has lasted almost an entire year of female character-less collecting. She-Ra! How you seem to have landed on my shelf so long ago! After all this time, can you believe that we are featuring two MOTUC First Looks in a row profiling a new female figure? Did you miss our rrreport on Catrrra (last time, I promise)? I know I am breaking our normal protocol in featuring a First Look of a Quarterly Figure prior to the designated Monthly, but I just could not resist the opportunity to feature two females in a row. Yep, Battle Ground Teela (I still can’t believe it) is coming to you next month, hot on the heels of Cy’ra and since the Nicky No-Face seems like a noble guy at heart, I am sure he won’t mind embodying the old adage of “Ladies First”.
While I think I made it pretty clear that I am very excited to finally have a figure of Catra, something I have wanted to own for a long time, up until a few months ago, I never thought I would need, let alone get this figure of Teela. I love the original MOTUC Teela figure; it is a beautiful rendition and looks every bit how I wanted her to look. This somewhat esoteric appearance of her from the old MOTU comic is also just too good to pass up. In fact, in keeping the with barbarian theme of a lot of the oldest Masters media, she might even fit in better than the standard version. I mean, Teela has always been an ass-kicker, and her white outfit is very suitable for a high-ranking and independent woman; but evildoers of the Battle Ground beware – this Teela is all business and you probably won’t live long enough to realize your true peril. It is already too late.
But where to start? Not only does this figure provide a lot of fans with a long time pipe dream come to life in terms of representation, she is also our first release with A LOT of the new female base body parts. Does form or function come first? The fact that this figure offers a lot in both categories is what is going to make her such a quick sell out when she goes up on Matty Collector in June, and even if you are opining over the very striking lack of a regular Teela re-release, Battle Ground Teela should, at the very, very least, be a nice hold over for you. Okay, so the flip of the coin says form is going first…
One of the best things about MOTU for me is the fact that it was ALWAYS a toy line first. I got my first Masters figures at a very young age, and even though I was a slave to the TV when the cartoon was on, the fact that the toys came first pushed my imagination past anything that I outwardly experience. That continues to this day as, in my own head, my Masters legend is a giant hodge-podge of story, characterization and influence from just about every piece of MOTU media, mixed with stories and timelines from my own head. That mash-up continues to this day with the character bios, as I take what I like from them and integrate them into my mythos and leave out what I don’t like or need. Well, needless to say that this bio caused quite a rift, especially in relation to the Sorceress, but I was actually hoping that they would make this Teela an all new character. It is fine that they didn’t as this is Mattel’s character, but I am going to make this Teela go with Vikor at any rate. Because man, she goes GREAT with Vikor.
This is the fightin’est Teela we have ever gotten and for a biography that deals with her more magical and mystic qualities, the figure is THE primal representation of the character. She was made to be posed in rumble-style fight scenes and while it is prophesized that the meek will inherit the Earth, Teela gonna inherit Eternia because if she has to, she will be able to exit everyone from their corporeal state. As far as I am concerned she beats every figure in the line when it comes to looking awesome in fight poses. Go ahead and give it a try. I have posted (probably too many) action pictures of this figure and have yet to find a way to make her not look like a bad ass, and I am not the best figure poser to be sure. Battle Ground Teela just brings it and makes it easy for even the post awkward poser to be EPIC.
The first Teela had a very stately expression about her, a cool and respectable demeanor that makes men follow you into battle; this Teela is stern and piercing and really doesn’t need anyone to follow her into battle as she will just do all the work herself. The head sculpt, despite being less adorned with make-up and has a change in hair color, still looks like Teela. It is just that this is a different side to the same coin. Say what you will about superhero women and their penchant for wearing make-up into battle because this Teela doesn’t have time for any of that BS. Ironically though, with the mention of make-up, this Teela’s face is a little shiny as the head is cast in the flesh colored plastic (think She-Ra) so she could have actually used a little make-up (see: paint). That is one of only two minor quibbles I have with the figure, the other has to do with the plastic used for the hair.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the hair sculpt and the paint is also lovely. Those clever Horsemen, they even gave her hair the shape it needs so that you can do a head swap with the original Teela figure and this new head will fit on the old body, even with the high collar from the costume. Those Jersey Boys are always looking out for us. But the hair is hard so it does not have much, if any, give to it. Not that it inhibits movement much, but I still get a little nervous when long hair is cast in rigid plastic, I would much rather have engineering err on the side of using more pliable plastic. Opinions (if there are any) will vary on this I am sure.
Her outfit is very basic (and sparse) but fits in very well the MOTU aesthetic, again maybe even more than her original togs. It is made up some reused parts in the arms and boots, as well as some new pieces (the bikini top and Furry Shorts for Her ©). I really like the new color scheme used for the upper arm bracers and the gauntlets. Having the gold highlights on the embellishments really brings out the detail that has not been as apparent in previous uses; they almost look like new pieces. Since the boots are a carryover from the first Teela (and the Goddess and Evil-Lyn for that matter) they have the superior ankle articulation (I REALLY hope they go back to this as it was lost in the She-Ra boot), but they are also very tall so while Teels gets some height, it is tough to judge some of the vertical impact of some of the new body pieces, but more on that in minute.
The new outfit pieces, the bikini and shorts, are very well done too in terms of construction. They are both made of very flexible plastic, and the furry shorts make me wish we could go back in time and use this plastic on ALL of the hip pieces/coverings in the line as they do not inhibit the articulation. I wonder when and where we might get some reuse out of them as I cannot think of many females in the MOTU-verse that ever wore the boy shorts. I would be willing to see how they might adapt them and even though we JUST got a Catra figure, I wonder if they ever go back and make a figure of the vintage toy look if they might be able to use them there.
The bikini top is also functional without getting in the way and has a very Conan fantasy feel to it, probably why I like this figure to go with Vikor. Teela’s new torso does not have articulation to it so there is no movement for the top to inhibit; but even if there was, it is soft enough not hold it back. I like the look of it but I was doing a straight comparison to the source material I would say that the cups are slightly too big in relation to what they are covering up, but that is somewhat subjective as it still looks good on. Oh, and since you were probably wondering, YES it will come off if you heat it up a bit and YES they are under there but NO I will not take pictures. June is not that far away if you are dying to see.
For the breakdown of the figure itself, that just leaves the new body pieces and they come in the form of new thighs and a new torso. For me, the torso is more of an aesthetic improvement while the new legs are a functional gain. While the torso sacrifices the ab-crunch POA, it has a MUCH more svelte and feminine shape to it. One of the biggest complaints about lady body 1.0 was that, when covered by an outfit, it looked too think and a bit dumpy. Now, I think Catra dispels some of that so to me the real burden/blame should be shifted to the outfits and not the torso, but this is still and improvement, especially for the ladies that like to walk around baring their stomachs. I wonder if Marlena uses this new piece (we should know soon) so we can get an idea of what it looks like covered up; I am not completely convinced that this was not more of a one-off piece for this figure or part of the greater need in the 2.0 body. The fact remains that this is actually sculpted anatomically while the first version was not. It provides a standard waist twist but, as said before, no front to back movement.
The legs bring a new articulation construction into the MOTUC line, but if you are a DCUC collector you will be familiar with the scheme. Yep, she has Wonder Woman style hips. That means that she will still get the side to side and back and forth movement, but the upper leg twist is gone. Frankly, for what we get in the improved look of the shape of the leg, I do not miss that point. You still get the twist at the boot top anyway so I am marking this as an improvement. It really sells the look of Teela’s short shorts and when we get to characters like Glimmer or Angella, the ones with body suit like outfits, the sculpts will not look chopped up. Past that though, the shape and form of these legs are so similar to the last ones, just looking at them makes it hard to tell that they are all new. Which is fine, the girls in this line have always had nice legs.
All of these new pieces culminate to attempt to solve the other issues many had with the first female body – the height. I hate to delay the real outcome here, but I am not sure that this figure is the best to use as a model since there are still some crucial parts (i.e. the boots/shins) that are in reuse. Plus, as I said, I am not sure if we are looking at the actual 2.0 torso at this point. I think the new thighs certainly have the potential to help make for a shorter female body, but as it stands with BG Teela, the difference from the first body is negligible. At least to me. She does seem smaller but at a one to one comparison, it is still pretty close. So, I will continue to wait with interest for Marlena or She-Ra 2.0 or the other yet-to-be-announced female that we are promised this year to see where the height difference can go. If you think about it though, with all of the different parts Mattel and 4H are suddenly stockpiling, it will make for a lot of variance amongst the females and to me, that is much more important the a straight up consistent loss of a half an inch or less.
Finally, Teela comes with the two weapons featured in the comic panel reference for the figure – a basic broad sword and blaster. I like both of these pieces for different reasons but they both go great with the figure. The blaster has a cool, otherworldly vibe to it and almost feels retro. More still, it REALLY reminds me of a Horde weapon from the FilMation series so I might have to give it to Catra. Either way, I would welcome some reuse and I hope it makes it into a weapons pack someday. I also much prefer this plainer broad sword to the one that came with the first Teela. It fits better with the overall feel of the line and is very adaptable for other characters (Marlena will already be reusing it). It looks like it came from the Vikor era as well so I just keep finding reasons to support my placement of this Teela with him on the shelf.
If I can leave you with one thing, this is a really fun figure. It probably has some of the best “play” value of any figure in the line so far. The design and engineering go a long way to that end as they support great posability, but she also looks good doing it. I know this figure means a lot to a lot of people so I hope it turns out to be fun for them. I am not sure if I am ready to call BG Teela my favorite female figure of the line as I am pretty blown away by Catra, but she is certainly up there. As a step to a refined MOTUC female design scheme she take some pretty big positive steps and will make discussion of future female figure assemblage much more interesting as the part pool has opened up. So, when you get your figure, make her kill lots of little plastic men, it is a lot of fun. She goes on sale at Matty Collector on June 15th.
*Thanks again to the gang at Mattel for sending along this sample and for showing that being scantily clad on Eternia is not just for the guys anymore!