We’ve taken a look at Super7’s first wave of Collector’s choice figures, and now it’s time to look at the Club Grayskull figures, which is a continuation of Mattel’s efforts to deliver Filmation-accurate designs.
Masters of the Universe fans are a disparate and segmented group that are united under a singular umbrella, yet, due to the nature of the property, cleave heavily to their specific vision of that property. And there are so many different forms and variations of that property that trying to appease all fans everywhere seems an impossible task. For every mini-comic fan, there’s a toy fan. For every “classic” fan, there’s a 200X fan. For every fan of the Horseman’s extra detailing, there are the purists. Then there’s the anti-New Adventures fans, the anti-Princess of Power, the pro-bio-canon, the anti-this, pro-that … whew.
For the longest time, the “purist” Filmation fans — those for whom the cartoon is held above all other forms of media and representation of the property — did not quite get what they wanted. Occasionally they would get Filmation characters, but those characters would be run through a “Classics filter,” which means the added detail to make them fit into MOTUC as a whole.
But now the Filmation fans are getting their wish, with toys that look like they stepped right off a painted cel.
For my part, I had never been one who wanted “Filmation figures” in the strictest sense of the word. I wanted the characters that debuted in the cartoon, sure, because my world is a little more sane with a character like Plundor being made, but I never wanted characters that were replicated in that simpler style, with the more symmetrical designs that facilitated flipping the cels for flexibility of reuse.
I said I didn’t … until I had them in hand. Because in addition to being a toy fan and a comic fan, I am also a cartoon fan, and it was impossible to deny the sleek beauty of a cartoon accurate figure, especially connected to a property that I love. The lesser detailing of the figures — which some think is a negative, is, to me, an innate part of their charm.
With that said, let’s take a look at the four figures that make up the first wave. Like I did with the Collector’s Choice selections, I will take these from least favorite (or least-successful) to most favorite.
Unfortunately, the female of the group is my least favorite this go around, much as it was with the Collector’s choice. And again, there’s nothing toy-shatteringly wrong with Teela, it’s just a few minor blips in execution that bring her down.
Let’s start with what has been much-discussed: her height. Like Hawke, she is shorter than many of the women in the line. Now, for me, I was never 100 percent happy with how tall the women were. The original Teela was taller than He-Man, which, even taking into account the heels, seemed a bit too tall. To me, this Teela is the height I would have preferred the original Teela (and many of the other women) to be. It fits more in line with how she seemed to stack up in the cartoon itself,
The face is the second component in nailing a “Filmation accurate” Teela, and I don’t think this is quite there. I think possibly the sculpt itself might be there, but as is typical with such things I think the paint job is dragging down what might be a fairly good cartoon-accurate sculpt. My eyebrows don’t have that necessary downward arch at the ends, and the eyelashes are a bit to heavy. I think if the brows were done better and the lashes were a thinner line she’d be more in line with how she should look. She’s definitely way way better than the Point Dread Teela, whose chin was magically stolen by Evil Lyn.
There was some debate over which pegs I got for Hawke. I stand by my assertion that I received the corrected pegs on Hawke, because this Teela clearly has the wide pegs. I say this because there is no way the censors would have allowed quite this much cheek on a cartoon, even in the ’80s. Baby got back, all right. I had to do some freezing to free up the stuck pegs.
Teela comes with both a sword and shield. MotUC shields can sometimes make me a little nervous, but this one fits on fine without stressing the plastic.
Teela is my least favorite only because the remaining three figures are just so pleasing in every aspect. It’s tough to say, but I’m going to go with Hordak as my third favorite. Which is not a condemnation, because this go around with the blue Hordak is pretty awesome.
My deep and shameful secret is that, while I loved my Hordak action figure as a kid (and the entire concept of the Horde) … I always wanted a blue one. I never knew exactly why my toy was gray while the cartoon Hordak was blue, but I always found that blue so striking and bold. I’ve always been drawn towards bolder colors anyway, and unfortunately, no matter how much playtime gray Hordak got, he could never quite compare to blue. Add in the fact that I always wanted a blue Hordak whose arm could change into a cannon, and that means MOTUC has been very good to me.
The previous attempt at a Filmation-colored Hordak only recolored the Classics head to be more cartoon accurate, but this time around we get a brand new head sculpt that is much more faithful to his appearance on the She-Ra cartoon. But the best part is the dedicated cartoon-accurate cannon that can be swapped out for his regular arm. My inner kid is ecstatic. I think the arm is supposed to swap on both sides, but I could not get his left arm out to save my life, so it will have to be right arm for now.
Hordak comes with Imp and the Imp-as-chest like the one that was an SDCC only exclusive with the previous Blue Hordak. I never had that, so I’m assuming this is exactly the same. It’s a nice inclusion. I kind of want an Imp-as-rocket. I want a Hordak-as-rocket also (I’d like an entire box of transformations), so someone get on that.
So Hordak — great figure, and it seems cruel for him to be in third place, but that’s only because I loved the next two more.
Man-At-Arms is in second place. I’ve always loved Man-At-Arms. He-Man was my first MOTU figure, but Man-At-Arms was my second, and I still remember how eagerly I wanted to get my hands on him. I’ve been spoiled by several versions of Man-At-Arms over the years–including the option for ‘stache and no ‘stache — but this one does a couple things I liked quite a bit.
First off, his armor is stripped down in keeping with the Filmation aesthetic, and the armor on his arms has actually been sculpted on, instead of being separate pieces like the original MOTUC figure. This gives him an overall slimmer silhouette that I really like, removing some of the excess bulk that previous Classics-styled figures had, at least on one side. Despite not having the extra armor detailing, I really like how this affects his overall ability to move around and pose.
For accessories, Man-At-Arms comes with a simpler version of his iconic mace, a blaster weapon (I can’t remember which episode this was from or what it did. I’d do research, but they don’t pay me enough) and a blast effect that can be slotted into a hole on either of his arms. He can hold the blaster with both hands. I like the blast effect a lot. It’s not really necessary but it works well, looks good and gives him an added bit of flair. I can hear the sound effect in my head.
While I had issues with Teela’s cartoon translation, Duncan’s head is Filmation all the way, mustache and all. Overall, this figure is as faithful as it gets, and is only edged out of being my favorite of the four by the final figure, who I’d assume is no secret at this point.
Finally, Tri-Klops takes the top spot. Tri-Klops has always been my second favorite of Skeletor’s Evil Warriors, coming in a very close second to Trap Jaw. Something about that spinning headpiece with the three eyes that can do different things captured my wee little brain a long long time ago and has never let go. His design has always been great, and the whole warrior vibe he gives off — like he’s the only one who could really go toe to toe with He-Man — pushes all the right buttons.
The largest controversy with Tri-Klops seems to be the green of his chest/headpiece. In the few pictures I had seen before I had him in hand it looked as if it would be a vibrant and inaccurate lime green. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that, as I remembered his green being a more muted, darker green. Once I had him in hand I was relieved that it wasn’t as neon as I was expecting. I looked at images from the cartoon online to refresh my memory, and his green seemed to be different depending on the image, but it was more often a darker green like on the back of the box. I did find a color-model cel that seems nearly dead-on to the green on this figure, so I’m wondering if that’s what Super7 pulled from, and if that was the intended green on the cartoon. Either way, it’s not the bright, neon green I was expecting, and it works for me.
The second largest controversy was the fact that people were unable to move his veyesor. Now, I am lenient and forgiving with a lot of things in toyland, but a Tri-Klops that can’t spin his eyes around is heresy. Luckily, this was just a glue booboo. A glueboo, if you will. It took quite a bit of heat, but I finally managed to pry his veyesor completely off and then reattach it, and now I can spin his eyes to whichever one I choose. So if yours is stuck and you’re cursing Super7 for making an immobile headpiece, it will come off with heat and effort, just go slowly.
Once freed up, a few twists give us those familiar cartoon circle, square and triangle eyes.
Other than that hiccup, I love this figure. Again, he’s simplified and stripped down, but no less the badass for it. Now, as he is a sword wielder, I do wish he had been given hands that pivoted up and down, not side to side, so he could hold his sword menacingly at He-Man’s throat. That should be standard — or provided as an extra hand — for any and all sword-wielding characters. I’d also like the ability to two-hand his sword, but otherwise he looks great in every pose you can put him in. I never felt like Tri-Klops got enough to do in the cartoon. And his voice sounded like he was gargling a Widget.
His sword and blaster are his only accessories, if you don’t count attitude. He holds the sword well, the blaster reasonably well. The lack of a trigger finger impedes his ability to hold it slightly, but not terribly.
So that’s the entire wave. With three great figures, one a bit iffy-yet-serviceable-with-issues, I’m satisfied with what we’ve got going on, and am looking forward to the second waves.