All right, I realize that Spikor just came out back in July, but man, it seems like FOREVER since we have gotten a proper Masters release. That is not a slight in the, eh, slightest(?) to Sir Laser-Lot, and I have actually come to really appreciate that figure, but there is something about getting one of the “main” cast characters that makes this line oh so satisfying. August is my birthday month, so I was a bit sad when I saw that it had mostly dried up in terms of releases and my favorite MOTU female (Frosta) is now not arriving until October, but September is now truly the start of the wallet-pounding sprint to the end of the year.
To get this month started we are happy to bring you this First Look at a long time (and long overdue) stalwart of the Heroic Warriors, Mekaneck. Can you believe that we are deep into the fourth full year of Classics and we are just now getting such a high-profile character? Well, that just speaks to the longevity planning of the original “roadmap,” and even though a new approach is going to be taken starting in 2014, waiting out guys like Mekaneck ensures that our Horde Primes, Dekkers and Procrusti (I am guessing that is the plural) are possible. So how does Mekky fare? Did he come through the production process unscathed? Read on and see for yourself.
I would say that I feel bad for Mekaneck since he has somewhat of less than appreciated history. I know a lot of MOTU fans have always pegged him as one of the–if not the–lamest of the Heroic Warriors and I have always hated the MYP characterization of him since it pretty much played right into that. However, I have never thought that he has ever been a “lesser” Masters character, and I certainly did not feel that way as a kid. In fact, he has always been a valuable asset to the good guys as far as I know, and he is amongst the Heroic elite in the annals of Eternian lore. So, I don’t feel bad for ol’ Orius. He is a Master that stands tall (hyuk, hyuk) with the best of them. In fact, in my vintage adventures, Mekaneck and Ram Man were best pals and unless they were assigned to separate missions, they were always battling together. I never really thought of Mekky as a reconnaissance or spy guy, that is what Buzz-Off and Stratos are for, he was mostly the lookout and the head of the watchmen at Eternos Palace. Ever vigilant in his watch, Mekaneck has always been a major reason why Eternos could not be breeched by sneak attack.
But enough of my own canonical ramblings. What is Mekaneck’s background in the Classics continuity? Well, his story affirms what we all kind of suspected: he was injured in battle (specifically the Battle of Avion during the Great Unrest, that aside makes him a contemporary of Randor and Duncan, not Adam) and was healed with this mechanical neck that has afforded him his newfound abilities. I guess I always just assumed that Duncan was the one that installed the super neck, but the bio explains that the Sorceress is responsible with the help of some nanites. I think I will stick to having Duncan as the guy that handles the tech parts. I am a little sad that nothing about Mek’s history with Count Marzo or anything about his son is mentioned in bio; I always thought that was a great piece of background offered in the FilMation show and continued in MYP.
Okay, that is plenty of background, don’t you think? What about the figure itself? Well, for a fairly basic figure back in the 1980s, there is actually a lot going on with this incarnation of Mekaneck and I am willing to bet that there will be lots of new converts to the side of Mekaneck appreciation once he starts hitting doorsteps around the globe in a couple of weeks. Like July’s Spikor, at its base, this figure is just a great translation of the vintage into the modern day sensibilities of the Classics. Everything that the 1980s offered us is represented here, and his famous neck is literally expanded upon for this new figure. The red, blue and silver with a touch of black and green have always made for a neat color scheme to me, and the detail in the Stinkor armor (yup, it is a Classics reversal of fortune) is really brought out by the strong contrasts. I do want to note that while his arms and legs are cast in blue plastic, his hands are in fact painted. I know this has been an area of discussion, so there you go.
Mekaneck is, as you can imagine, the basic He-Man figure in construction with the aforementioned Stinkor armor for most of his make-up. I know that there was some debate as to whether he would have his old-timey silver boots (since MYP changed them to brown for some reason), but I was relieved when the snazzier version was revealed in the Matty preview email from a few months back. They might not be quite as bright as the originals, but they match the silver in his armor just fine. It takes a Master of confidence and strong conviction to traipse around in silver boots, and even on a planet populated by colorful freaks, you know that Mekaneck is as cocksure about his extending neck as you can get.
His head sculpt is very vintage influenced and that comes mostly due to the shape of his very angular helmet. Many versions of Mek have rounded out the edges somewhat or folded in the points at the base of the helmet. This one is boxy and sturdy like you remember from the vintage days and I think it works well to offset the size and shape of his extending neck, which we will get to in just a moment. His goggles are also in vintage silver (as opposed to 200x green) and in a rare instance, the Four Horsemen strayed from the old source and chose to NOT use the plated vac metal here. Personally, I am glad they chose to do this as I have never found that material to really bring much to a figure, and often times it just looks cheap, even though the process is actually more expensive than traditional paints. Plus, I don’t think I need to retread conversations of widespread instances of how the plated paint chips off easily. Better to be safe in this instance, and, with the exception of a few outspoken collectors, I think most people will be glad this choice was made.
However, the head is also the spot on the figure that carries an issue that seems to have popped up during the production process. The placement of the helmet seems to be well, slightly askew and might cause a positioning issue in relation to the eyes. You have to look slightly up at him in order to really see it, but the goggles sit more inline with where his eyebrows would be, rather than his actual eyes. But, on this one, you have to look closely. In fact, I might not have even noticed it save for some extreme close ups. It is not 100% perfect so it will be an issue for some, while others won’t skip a beat. I do wish it lined up better with the eyes, though.
Mekaneck does include the only weapon he has ever had (unless you count some of those outlandish snake claws from one of those 200x line-killing variants) in the form of his giant yellow club. Yep, the Classics version is 100% what you would expect in terms of sculpt, and aside from the larger size and cleaner edges, it looks like it has been recreated point for point from the original. It does have some nice paint applications on it, though, that are reminiscent of Spikor’s mace. There is a metallic yellow used to highlight some of the points and details in the club. These are the types of paint applications that really help set Classics apart from being just a straight update of the vintage figures, and I hope we will continue to see instances of this in future figures. Jitsu’s sword, Rattlor’s staff, and perhaps Ram Man’s axe come to mind as examples of where this can be done.
Finally, he ain’t called MekaNECK for nothing and his most outstanding trait is one of the most successfully rendered action feature recreations in the entire Classics line. Again, I find it a marvel and a tribute to the original figure designs that new characters can continue to join this line so far in and be amongst such unique looks and can STILL stand out from the crowd. As you know, you won’t be able to turn Mekaneck at the waist to make his neck telescope like in the olden days, but the figure does include two extension pieces that will allow you display your figure in any of four unique looks. Yes, I say four because you can have the stand pose with no extended neck, or you can use the shorter extended neck to recreate the vintage telescoped look, or you can use the brand new longer extension to reach all new heights of neck-dom or you can use BOTH extension pieces to go to a height we were once told was not possible. Yep, the neck pieces are indeed stack-able so you could theoretically build a Mekaneck neck with unlimited upwards potential depending on how much cash you are willing to spend. I am dying to see who is going to go for the gusto on this, but I am hoping the Fwoosher (and proprietor of Preternia) Scud will hold to his word and build a neck of an absolutely ridiculous length. Sure, you will have to have little blue connector rings every so often, but I see those as “stabilizers” that help support human telescope in attaining new heights.
I do want to comment that I like the details in the neck pieces quite a lot and the wash helps bring out the tech aspect of them. That is another good reason why Duncan will have always created the cyber neck in my canon (cringe!). I bet that means he is pretty invincible to throat slashing too since I am sure MAA had the forethought to make the neck super strong. Also, since the neck pegs are set to the standard MOTU part system, you could have any Masters figure you want take on the duty of Heroic (or Evil) lookout, so that neat for those that like to mix and match parts. Finally, the ball joint with the forward and backward point only exists in the base of the standard neck that is attached to the body. The extension pieces do have ball pegs, but you don’t get as much movement out of them. So, you are not really going to get any bend to the neck pieces once they are in place. I know that is not a huge deal, but it would have been cool to have had him be able to look up a bit better with the extensions in place. Kind of like, “Mekaneck is going go for a personal best in cervical (yes, that means neck) heightening today!” What an amazing place Eternia is, friends. Simply amazing.
Since I am an Evil guy and Mekaneck is sandwiched in between two of most anticipated figures ever in Spikor and Frosta, he has really taken me by surprise. Aside from the position of the helmet being a possible issue figure to figure, he is a fun toy that should help to give Mekky some cred. If you have never been a fan of his before, don’t be afraid to be won over by this figure. The Heroic Warriors are charging to completion now, and Mekaneck is an integral Master that is really getting his due in Classics. He goes onsale on September 17th on Matty Collector along with a few other MOTUC items, which I will be getting to very soon.
*Thanks for reading and thanks to Toy Guru and the MOTU crew for ahem – sticking their necks out – to make this First Look possible. More MOTUC madness soon!