Wow! Have you had a great weekend of Masters of the Universe Classics? I mean, on Friday night we brought you a First Look at the November-shipping Swiftwind figure and then yesterday we learned that we are getting a Snakemen Man-at-Arm and mother-truckin’ Horde Prime in June of next year. Woo! Horde Prime, can you believe it? I mean the scope of what is now being included in this line has gotten to be so expansive it is pretty well near-impossible to guess what we might see next. We have classic vintage figure updates, concept figures, characters from the mini comics, giants, beasts army builders and as of the coming December – vehicles. Yep, after much anticipation Toy Guru and Four Horsemen are adding another dimension to the MOTUC line with first ever vehicle, the Wind Raider. I know the wait has been long and painful since the vehicle concept was tipped at SDCC 2010 (with that mock-up Battle Ram that I still desperately want) and when the Raider was first shown at SDCC of this year anticipation fervor set in quickly. Well, I know it was originally supposed to be released tomorrow but it has since been pushed to December to help spread the expense around. So, we are going to probably (though completely unintentionally) make the wait even more torturous with this extensive First Look. Now, we have lots of pictures and a few things to say about this baby but if you don’t read even one more letter after this sentence let it be known, the Wind Raider is EXACTLY what you think it is – sheer Eternian Awesome Sauce.
I don’t know what kind of creation myth is native to Eternian lore, but for the Classics line the Horsemen have been the Creators. They have made some impressive warriors, freaks and women in the images that we have known and loved for almost 30 years. But now they are trying their hands at being the inventors on Eternia so Duncan, eat your heart out. Holy smokes, where do I even begin? I guess I will start by saying that I want my own Wind Raider. Not one for my figures – one that I can ride in. I want to push the buttons! The thing about this though, short of actually flying, it has EVERYTHING. Look, I love Masters of the Universe and I have for as far back as I can remember, but I can understand when someone doesn’t care for a particular figure or line – everyone has their specific tastes; that is cool though, that is what makes things diverse. However, if you don’t like the Wind Raider, I am afraid I have nothing for you, this baby works on every single level.
And when I say it works on every level, I mean it works on EVERY level. Even the box. Yeah, I have always like the MOTUC packaging but this is what I have been wanting since the start of line. Let’s face it, those old oil paintings on the vintage box art remain some of the most impressive toy packaging ever. Well, Matty has finally brought that feature back on the Wind Raider packaging with work by one of the vintage artists – Rudy Obrero! Even more, Mr. Obrero painted the art for the original Wind Raider. That is so cool and I absolutely adore the painting on the new box. He always showed up a rugged side of Eternia and the terrain around Castle Grayskull is dark and foreboding and the battle is intense. I love how He-Man is being pursued by a gaggle of Rotons (perhaps a hint at the next vehicle?) piloted by Skeletor, Beastman and Evil-Lyn. I am cutting out the art to save but man, I would KILL if Mattel would release this as a print, along with prints of the vintage art works. I would buy EVERYTHING. Hint, hint. Nudge, nudge.
The back of the packaging is very cool too and instead of featuring a biography (do vehicles have bios?) there is a sort of a schematic drawing of the Wind Raider rendered by Duncan. It lists some of the specs features and notes that the cockpit is designed for humans and gar only. Poor Roboto. Poor Moss Man. Poor Stratos and Buzz Off. Even if you can already fly it is nice to know that you are still allowed in the Wind Raider, but apparently that is not the case. The good news is that all of the standard figures, both male and female can fit right inside with no issues (capes, tails and/or wings will need to be removed though). Duncan has “signed” the drawing as well with some significant numbers under his name, I am sure many of you will be able to make out the significance.
Once you open the box the Wind Raider comes partially disassembled as the wings and tail are not attached, but they will take you about three seconds to attach and while the instructions are included, you probably won’t need them. One thing that is NOT included is a sticker sheet for all of the controls and design. Oh, but that’s the thing! We don’t need no stinkin’ sticker sheet because all of the designs, tech details and buttons are sculpted and beautifully painted. I am very impressed by all of the clean lines and color changes and gradations, especially in the cockpit. Every little button is different color and they are all crispy clean. I know Cornboy must have had a field day doing a lot of the fabrication on this baby. The tactile appeal of all of these things is pretty great too, the circuitry and panel work is fun to explore with both the eye and finger tips.
Like I said, the paint is extremely clean and while this thing might look as though it is mostly just green and yellow plastic, closer inspection reveals a lot of subtle paint details. I love the metallic paint they have used on the body, wings and Eternium Detector. It is not obvious to the point of being gaudy, but the tech panels and wires are all perfectly highlighted to stand out from the large pieces. I particularly love the bird sculpts and paintings on the front and rear body panels. They recall the vintage stickers perfectly but they are so much better. The yellows and greens and oranges are very nicely differentiated but blend into each other creating some organic qualities to a very inorganic design. There are so many things to look at and to notice that I am still seeing new things as I look at it now even after taking a ton of pictures. I think that will be one of the real joys for people as these start being dropped off at doorsteps around the world, discovering all of the little details. Well that and running around your backyard with this yell FWOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH! as Teela executes a perfect barrel roll. Ahem.
The sculpt itself really leaves no stone unturned and that goes from the body, to the engines, to the cockpit to wings to the winch. First and foremost, this thing is BIG. I know it looks big in pictures, but it does take up a large footprint due to the wingspan. The wings are especially nice and when they are snapped into place they rotate and “click” in tandem just like the old ones. You can simulate some turn positions and even air breaking. The tail also rotates from side to side to it can show direction. Even the engine panels open and close so proper maintenance can be performed and everything held within is sculpted and painted beautifully. There are even three working wheels on the bottom so you can safely come in for a landing. I can go on and on and on about all of the features and details of this, but just see for yourself in the pictures, those can give better credit that I ever could with measly words.
But there is still more movement! The big thingee on the hood that is now being called an Eternium location device and swivel from side to side and it works in tandem with the winch. If the locator is in the “down” position it move freely; you can also pull it up though and when you turn it while it is up it will retract the winch string back into the body of the raider. This is completely hidden and it works just great. But why would you need to retract the winch? Well because the Wind Raider has an action feature! A cool action feature! See, if you push the winch into position and then push the green button on the right side of the hood it will fire out with a good amount of gusto until the line reaches the end of its slack. This is great for knocking over denizens of Snake Mountain, as an anchor or to rescue an Heroic Warrior from an unfair fight. Fun!
Also included in the box is a great flight stand. It comes in two pieces that snap together easily and both parts do their job nicely. The bottom of the stand has the MOTUC logo embossed, allows for the neck to rotate at the connection site and has a diameter large enough to be a very sturdy base. Your Raider will not be falling over. The neck has a joint on top that can be rotated and glide forward and backward with a detent ratchet feature so it is strong enough hold the Raider in position. It attached to a hole in the bottom of the Raider that is pretty well hidden in the middle hover port. The stand allows for a lot of dynamic arial posing for take offs, dives or rolls. I am really looking forward to seeing how people will put these babies on their shelves. One thing of note though is that this stand just went and made itself requisite. ALL future flying vehicles MUST come with this stand!
Here’s the thing, I could keep going with this First Look and go on for hours, but in the interest of complimentary brevity, I am going to leave this to you on its own merits. This is probably the most fun MOTUC item released so far and if you are not into it, I am not quite sure what you will like. This is just done so well at every turn and I am going to need a couple more so I can display some Eternian Guards in there, I am just not sure where I am going to put them. I REALLY hope that Mattel will bring us the long-elusive Wind Raider Pilot for this baby, it would just finish a perfect execution. I know that it has been delayed until December and is now $45 instead of $40, but it is still worth every penny. I absolutely love the new dynamic vehicles are going to bring to this line and if the Wind Raider is successful (and I think it will be) I am going to need at least one new vehicles a year. I love a toy that is as fun as anything I played with as a child but upgraded to lead the charge of collector-grade standard. This baby is like a tricked-out Eternian Maserati, it really does have it all.
*Thanks so much to the MOTUC team for making this First Look possible and be sure to pick this baby up on Matty Collector just in time to put under the Festivus Pole!