As the race to the end of 2014 begins, we know full well that by this time next year, we will be anticipating the final “vintage” figure to be released in Masters of the Universe Classics and a (seemingly) unattainable milestone will be met to the celebration of many a Masters fan. The realization of that will be pretty powerful and will cement the line as one of the greatest in history in terms of mission and depth. That being said, there is nothing like getting a big ass vehicle that we were told was NOT going to happen to drive that “breadth” point home, and the Battle Ram “brings it” like it was years in the making.
Which, actually, it WAS years in the making. I mean, the Four Horsemen first showed off their initial crack at this baby YEARS ago at the San Diego Comic Con and pretty much ever since then, we were told that it just wasn’t going to happen. However, like many things in the MOTUC line, the once-thought improbable has become a reality, even despite that fact that the first vehicle, the Wind Raider, is still available at Matty Collector, and I could not be more pleased. I realize that vehicles are often more of a “nice to have” rather than a necessity for a lot of collectors, but there is nothing like a giant rig to cart around your favorite figures to make you recognize that an action figure line is giving you its all.
I know we got a little taste of the Battle Ram last year when the Sky Sled front portion was released all by itself (along with Sky High). When that was announced, I was relieved because we were going to get at least part of the vehicle and the Sky Sled is just as iconic (maybe even more so) on its own, and since it would be smaller and cheaper, it made building a fleet of Eternos defenders possible. Somehow, it also made feel, albeit temporarily, that the Sky Sled alone would be enough to satiate me, but as cool as it was to get it, my thoughts always returned to that massive full-blown Battle Ram that, for so long, seemed only like a tease.
However, Preview Night at SDCC this past year made a lot of MOTU fans, me included, breathe a giant sigh of relief because we were finally getting one of the most iconic Masters vehicles in all of its glory. While this baby does carry a hefty price tag, $110 all told including Man-at-Arms, I do not have one bit of remorse for plunking down the money for this because it is so well done. I guess Mattel must have made enough Wind Raiders for every person on the planet because I cannot fathom how a vehicle as nice as that has still not sold out, but having the Battle Ram in hand for a little over a week now, I think this trumps the Raider at every turn.
While it feels like we have been living with this thing for a long time, I am still enthralled with it, and the sheer size of it has a lot to do with that. When you realize that the cheers to give us the “back half of the Battle Ram” have been heard for a long time now, it’s also discovered that they fall utterly short: the Sky Sled portion feels so much smaller than half when compared to the rest of the his behemoth (though, I love that they gave us the “snake” version this time around). The height and girth give a lot to it, and while it is traditionally built for two, you can get a lot more figures to glom onto this thing if the Heroic Warriors need to evacuate a bad situation in a pinch. I am so glad they went whole-hog and did not cut down on the size.
The detailing in the sculpt and paints on this are very impressive as well, and vehicle control panels are quickly becoming some of my favorite details of this line. I love all of the computer bits with the screens and buttons, but also with the tech details all over the larger back portion. Like the Sky Sled, what was once a sticker in the 1980s becomes a full-blown sculpt in the Classics line and the green panels on the side match up well with the front portions. The huge “mask” bit on the back is now in full color and 3D, and while I have read that some people are a bit shocked with how garish it is. I personally think it is fantastic. Oh, and the Battle Ram does retain its vintage firing missile as well; it actually shoots farther than I would have thought, but it still doesn’t make the distance of its impressive vintage counterpart.
Included with this beast is a new figure of Man-at-Arms, which is kind of an amalgam of a couple of different versions of the character. First, we get that un-helmeted head that has been called for for a long time now. It takes its look from the 200x design, and, for the most part, I think it looks great. I still hate the idea of Man-at-Arms with a ponytail, so this figure is not going to win me over for that, but the face and the rest of the hairdo are nice. The body is built with parts mostly taken from the original Man-at-Arms figure, but he does have the Palace Guard shins with brown shoes, and his arm armor is now supplied for both right and left arms. This makes for a great “Filmation” version of character from the neck down.
So, while it makes for a bit of a strange Man-at-Arms out of the package, this figure now gives you a lot of options if you have been a completist of the character in Classics to this point. See, now you can have your original MAA with the clean-shaven head for a vintage card back version, you can slap the mustachioed head on this body for a full Filmation look and take the un-helmeted head and put it on the Snake MAA body for that iconic 200x Duncan. Whew. For a character that has never really had a drastic change in his costume or design, it is really great that Classics now gives us pretty much all of the options, including that blasted Snake Man version. I know a lot of people are crying foul on this figure’s inclusion with the Battle Ram due to the cost, but I am glad he is here because we now have all of our Duncan options.
I am absolutely thrilled with the final version of the Battle Ram, and while it is a long time coming, it is totally worth it. This offering shows why vehicles are so important to this line: they are just amazingly fun toys. I am very sorry I missed the re-offered Sky Sled on Cyber Monday so I could swap out the griffin head for the snake head (and send this one to Snake Mountain), but it is still fantastic as is. I know this baby is not available right now, but if you did not get it, I highly suggest grabbing one when it goes back on sale.