We had heard the rumors of their arrival for some time. They have been a mysterious part of the Masters of the Universe legend since their name was discovered in some old files amongst the likes of Vikor, Demo-Man, and the Red Beast. But just where did they come from? What is their purpose? Who are these Fighting Foe Men? Well, the mystery finally came to light last year at the San Diego Comic Con, and The Foe Men were revealed to have so much more importance to the MOTU universe than any of us could have originally imagined. In fact, Dawg-o-Tor, Ditztroyer, and Shield Maiden Sherrilyn have been absolutely crucial to the Classics line, pretty much since its inception. These are the last of the SDCC 2012 figures to be released, but I can promise you – these guys have had a vital part in ensuring that all of the rest of the figures were able to come before.
Perhaps you think I might have slipped into hyperbole with my opening remarks around this trio’s importance? Sure, on the surface these three characters (based on box art from the 1980s model kits of the Roton, Talon Fighter, and Attack Trak vehicles) were certainly not pivotal to any Eternian action you were able to act out in the past, but without them, MOTU Classics as you know it would not even exist today. Indeed, they have taken on a life beyond lost documents or esoteric artwork, and these Fighting Foe Men come to you as the plastic tribute to three people who are foundational to our Classics line: Shane Dittsworth, Owen “O-Dawg” Oertling, and Sherri Lynn Cook. Are you not familiar with those names? Allow me to elaborate.
If you have collected anything Masters of the Universe-related for over the past 12-14 years, you know who the Four Horsemen are and you realize that you have been the beneficiary of their talents with each and every new MOTU figure you have added to your shelf. However, Cornboy, Eric Treadaway, and Jim Preziosi need no introduction. With every new figure they create, they ensure that we fans are going to be able to get the very best they have to offer. We have been lucky to be able to have known them for a long time now, and, more so, we know they are always looking out for us because they are fans too. However, with all of stuff that comes our way each year, there is just no way those guys can do it all on their own. Enter: Sherri, Owen, and Shane. They are responsible for the molding, casting, prototyping, and painting everything that is created at the Four Horsemen studios, so without them, your awesome Ram Man, Fang Man, and all the rest would not get much further past the wax sculpt and fabrication stage. Yeah, these guys are kind of a big deal.
When I started thinking about what I wanted to do for this First Look, I thought it would be fun to give the Fighting Foe Men their own little special faction logo, so I went to my pal Nate Baertsch (you might know him as Baena) for some help because I know he really appreciates the real-life Foe Men and because he is an insanely talented artist. So, in honor of them, Nate came up with this wicked FFM faction logo:
Pretty cool, eh? You can print it out and keep it with the rest of your MOTUC logo stickers! Thanks so much to Nate for taking time out of his very busy schedule to help us celebrate this set!
Anyhow, back to the real FFM!
The cool part about the timing of this release is that, just last week, I was fortunate enough to take a trek out to New Jersey to visit the studio (more on that coming soon), and I was able to meet these three talented individuals, so please allow me some bandwidth to elaborate. I can assure you that they are every bit as dedicated and passionate about delivering the best possible product as CB, Jim, and Eric are, and all three of them are extremely talented at what they do. The thing is, though, even though they are all madly talented, they work with such an air of modesty. It is a common thread that runs through the entire studio at the Four Horsemen’s home base. What was once a group of guys that wanted to make cool toys has kept the spirit, but they have evolved into a family. So while I absolutely implore you to keep giving the guys their due credit for making MOTUC as cool as it is, I hope you now know (if you did not already) that Shane, Owen, and Sherri are just as essential and every bit as committed.
Owen and Shane run a mad scientist-like prototyping room with pressure pots, resin, tools and action figure pieces strewn throughout the entire workspace. Just a walk into their little corner of the studio can be overwhelming as there is so much going on.
Sherri has her own space, free of dust and resin and clay scraps, and I have to tell you – it is the cleanest painting space you could imagine. Everything is meticulously laid out with paint colors mixed with exacting accuracy for matching. The current figure under the brush has to be created three times so the colors of her workspace are definitely dictated by the figure du jour. Oh, the colors of the day…
The most amazing part, though, is that each and every one of them is as kind and good-natured as you could imagine. Our arrival to the studio coincided right with their traditional Taco Bell Friday lunch, so even though we were crashing a well-deserved break, all three of them were very generous with their time. When I say that the Foe Men of Owen, Sherri, and Shane are crucial to the existence of Masters of the Universe Classics, you know I am serious and I cannot think of any three people more deserving of a thank you tribute in the line. CB, Eric, and Jim were absolutely correct in suggesting that they get a plastic tribute, so you should be able to see how important they are to them, so kudos to Mattel for letting them go through with their own little piece of the MOTUC bios. So thanks, Sherri, Shane, and Owen. Without the Foe Men, Classics just would not be possible.
Okay, on to the figures themselves. I know that the fan continuum has been a bit split over this release in terms of excitement. For the hardcore MOTU fans, getting the vehicle drivers is a crazy dream come true. However, that obscurity does not hold with all fans and the hefty three-pack price tag has been met with some trepidation. Then again, it is not often that ANY release in the MOTU Classics can come without some kind of dispute or division, so the Fighting Foe Men arrive to the line like so many that have come before them. Honestly, though, these guys are all executed very well and I think that all of them are very “MOTU.”
If you are going to keep the bio continuity for them, they are all ancient warriors who, during the Second Ultimate Battleground, join forces with the Evil Horde to fight against the alliance of Eternos and Snake Mountain. Thus, all three figures feature interchangeable chest emblems and you can pick between them wearing the sigil of their designated vehicle, or the standard issue Horde logo. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVES me some Evil Horde, but for these guys, I think just keeping Ditztroyer as one of Skeletor’s guys, and Sherrilyn and Dawg-o-Tor the heroic drivers of the Trak and Talon Fighter is good for me. Having the option is always nice, though, but you will want to have one emblem displayed at all times as each of them feature a rather large hole in the chest.
Let’s take a peek at each one:
Normally, I am all about the bad guys in MOTU. However, think this Roton pilot is probably my least favorite figure of the three. That is partially due to his odd color combination, but I think it is also because the character design does not keep with the theme of his vehicle as well as the others. Sure, he has the giant Roton “face” that kind of resembles a cat, but past that, you have light blues, oranges, and greens that do not recall the reds and blacks of the Roton at all. He is, of course, modeled after the package art from the model to a tee, but I can just imagine if he were red and black instead, he would even fit in with the Horde look all the better. I do really like his hood and how it has been sculpted to sit on his head and his face is certainly creepy. He has lifeless eyes, black eyes — like a doll’s eyes. Mr. Quint would love him.
He does feature two weapons: one that looks like the exact gun from the front of the Roton and a staff that recalls the “blades” of the Roton ring at the top. Personally, I really like the recreation of the gun, especially since we do not have a Classics version of the vehicle, but it is rather large and it is kind of hard for him to hold it and look natural. However, the staff is a very nice melee weapon and I instantly see it as being able to rip into his enemies with the fury of the Roton, so yeah, he is getting posed with that. Again, since he does not have his assigned vehicle, I think I am going to put him on my Griffin for display purposes, he looks good there and I finally have someone to ride that mighty beast since Beastman’s place is at his master’s side.
Now, just because the original design is not my favorite, I do think that, overall, Ditztroyer does have the best overall quality of construction of all three figures. His joints are solid but allow for great posing and even though he is a rather garish mishmash of colors, all of them clean. I also appreciate the fact that his cape is made of a flexible PVC plastic; he can sit on the aforementioned griffin with no issues and maybe, just maybe, he would be able to sit in the driver’s seat of a possible Classics Roton vehicle, if it ever came to light. Oh, and the little slot for his staff is a nice touch.
Shield Maiden Sherrilyn
Of all of the Foe Men, this figure has taken the biggest transformation from box art to figure. If you recall, the original Attack Trak driver was pretty clearly male, and this figure is most certainly female. Personally, I have zero issue with them making the change for this figure, and since I really love the aesthetic of the Battle Ground Teela body, I am very pleased to see it being used again. I hope we might get to see it again at some point, but I might have to stock up on some BG Teela’s for good custom fodder. She did get Bubble Power She-Ra’s bracers, though, and those look a little more techy, so they certainly fit.
The figure is pretty solid in terms of construction (though this sample has a bit of a bobble head) and even though I thought the new upper body armor might be a bit clunky, it is not. The metallic reds and blues from the Attack Trak look really, really nice on this figure and the design motif from the vehicle to the chest logo was done very well. She does, of course, were a helmet that obscures her face, but it does allow for her long ponytail to come through the back. Now, I know one of the questions was whether or not she actually had a sculpted face under the visor, and I can confirm that she does not and the head/helmet is one solid piece. In fact, when I look closely, the jaw looks a lot like the She-Ra or Adora jaw, but it might just be the style coming from the same sculptor. It really does not make much difference anyway since the helmet is not removable, but I know you were just dying to know. Oh, and the little beauty mark on the prototype made it to the final figure!
Sherrilyn also features a couple of different weapons, and, like Ditztroyer, one is based on the vehicle gun and the other is an all-new piece, this time a shield. The shield is modeled after the treads on the Attack Trak and it is pretty big, so the fact that she is dubbed the “shield maiden” is not a misnomer. I could not tell from any of the previous online pictures, but the fact that it is cast in a clear plastic really brings home the semblance and gives it a very unique look. The gun is a neat idea since it has dual blasters that fit at the top and bottom of the hand, but it can be a challenge to get her to hold it and it came out of the package a little warped so get your hairdryer ready. Overall, I really dig this figure and I love getting another female in the line, we are up to 19 or 20 now!
The big Dawg is probably my favorite figure of all the Foe Men, but Sherrilyn gave him a run for his money once I had the figures in hand. Frankly, I think he is the best overall representation of art to plastic and I think he just feels like he is the most “MOTU” of all of them. His design and colors lend themselves very well to the Eternian military and I am not sure if the Talon Fighter is a unique vehicle or if there is a fleet of them, but I could see the design of Dawg being the standard issue for the Fighter pilots. However, since we do not currently have a Talon Fighter, his colors actually make it so he matches the Wind Raider pretty well at the moment. His face sculpt is very 1980s vintage Masters and it is round and dour and he looks like he most certainly means business. I thought that maybe his visor might be removable, but it is not, and while the early prototype showed it as being cast in clear plastic, it made it through production as such and quite nicely to boot; I love that you can just barely see his eyes underneath.
Like Sherrilyn, his vehicle sigil is perfectly integrated into his costume and you will know right away which ride he needs to pilot. Also, I really dig his newly-fashioned shield modeled after the Fighter as well, and I think it is my favorite of all of the newly-created armaments in this set. He does have a TF cannon too, but this time instead of it being a giant gun, it has been converted into a club. That is a nice little bit of ingenuity that adds some variety to the pieces in this set. Like I said, he is probably my favorite of the FFM and he most certainly is a MOTUC figure, so if you are only going to hold on to one of these guys, make it the O-Dawg namesake.
Overall, this is a really, really fun Classics set. I know that since it is a three-pack, its cost is pretty hefty, but I know I am getting a set with three figures that I certainly like and two that I really love. Plus, the fact that the unheralded stable of the Four Horsemen studios gets a chance to shine here is really special to me. Again, thanks to Sherri, Shane, and O-Dawg for all of the work you continuously do — MOTU fans have a lot to be grateful for.
The one thing that leaves me a little less than satisfied about this set is that we do not have one of the vehicles that they guys pilot. I hope beyond hope that we might get a chance to get them in the line, so if you want them, be sure to tell Mattel that we want to take a chance on getting the Roton, Attack Trak, and Talon Fighter. Which reminds me, the one vehicle we DO have does not have its pilot yet, so let’s get Sky High or the Wind Raider Pilot or whatever you want to call him in the line too; he can be the long lost fourth Foe Man.
*Thanks for reading and thanks to Scott and the Mattel team for sending this along. Also, again, thanks to Shane, Owen, and Sherri for all they do and thanks to my pal and amazing artist Nate Baertsch for creating the awesome artwork for this piece. He is also a big fan of the real and fictional Foe Men, so check out his site at the link below!