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First Look – Masters of the Universe Classics Bow

Welcome to Whispering Woods

I am not a citizen, I am a REBEL! Before we even got a chance to meet Force Captain Adora (you know, She-Ra?) when Prince Adam arrived on Etheria, Bow helped clear up a little skirmish at the Laughing Swan and gave a whole group of jerky Horde Troopers the what for. And so he is also the first Rebel on the scene in the Masters of the Universe Classics line for 2011; our favorite multi-talented bard will be arriving just in time for Valentine’s Day, but don’t worry guys (and girls), he has already stolen your favorite lady-Rebel’s heart.

I made no bones about it, while Mattel carted out a vast array of impressive MOTU figures at last year’s SDCC, Bow walked away as my “Best in Show”. Already, even in the earliest of Debut stages you could tell that Matty and Horsemen went all out to give us a Bow figure like nothing we have ever seen before in plastic. The good news is, everything has held up pretty much exactly as it was shown in prototype form and Bow just might be my new favorite MOTUC figure, favorite good guy at the very least.

Bow's Bio

I have to admit that I am very pleased that my tastes are being catered to quite well in this line. While MOTUC certainly has its very own aesthetic, I am glad for where Mattel is taking its style queues. The overall method of the line, especially for characters that never had figures in the vintage MOTU line from the 1980s is to adapt that style and interpret it into Classics form for this line. So, I have been pretty confident since the start that, at the very least, the vintage characters would be in the style of my liking, the 200x crowd would ditch the over-done anime style and the new characters would be brought in accordingly.

Up close, clean

Up close, Dirty
Up close, Dirty

Princess of Power characters were the curveball, I just did not know what exact direction the Four Horsemen would take in their approach. I will admit it, I had a She-Ra figure when I was a kid, but that was the only PoP toy I ever owned. I felt fine with that, but since I did not watch the cartoon on a regular basis (I did LOVE to see the Horde in action when I had the chance though) and the old She-Ra toys did not (and still don’t) appeal to me, I was a little nervous about the approach to PoP gang. Well, the Adora and She-Ra figures from last year helped allay my fears as they are both pretty much 100% Style Guide figures but with little accents here and there to help bring more detail to the over look and pull them into the aesthetic of Classics.

Bow, heart, bullseye, arrow and harp
A deconstruction of Bow
Hand Sculpt

Still though, Bow would be a wild card simply based on the fact that he is often (unfairly) shoehorned into various one-dimensional characterizations due to his past portrayals. Now, I will be the first to admit that his vintage figure (doll?) was pretty weak, probably the weakest figure of the line, so at SDCC 2010 I was doubly glad about how Bow was approached. I don’t know if the Horsemen went the extra mile to make Bow extremely impressive to help win over the hold-outs or if I have just gotten so used to how good they can be on a normal day that when they do ratchet it up an extra notch or two, I get left dumbfounded. Eh, it is a great problem to have in one of my primary collector lines and I know I was not the only one bowled over at the Con, but does Bow hold up?

Quiver
Fully Functioning Bow

The short answer is, yes and then some. Perfect? Not quite, but Bow is officially slugging it out with Mer-Man, Whiplash and Trap Jaw to be my new favorite MOTUC figure. Seriously. I am a big time PoP fan, I like the characters (take some time to get to know them if you have not, you might be surprised) and I love the urgency and plight of the Rebellion (cheer for the underdogs) but if you would have told me back before last year’s Comic Con that Bow might be my favorite Masters figure, even I would not have believed you. I must say that I completely credit the 4H for that. The character dynamic of Adora, Glimmer and Bow (in the Filmation show) was a fun parallel between Adam, Man-at-Arms and Teela and Bow is a fun, often brave, usually brash and occasionally goofy, he has never had one of the best costumes. Even my preferred style guide/cartoon look isn’t the coolest and for the most part, it is rather plain. Enter the Horsemen. Again. Every time you think that a toy design door is closed they kick it open and then carve their names in it. So true is the case with Bow. Yes, I get the overall look of my preference but when you start to dig a little deeper into his costume, the details start to tell an even better story.

Returning to Whispering Woods

Everything has been fleshed out beyond what has come before. There are many heightened details from the style guide, but there really are a ton of details from the old toy that help bring the figure to the next level. Well, I have been given what I really want, without even know what it was to begin with. See, we get both the style guide as well as the original toy head (the former is preferred for me but I have to admit that the latter is really growing on me and I am glad they took the approach that they did with the headband) but then most other parts of the costume are a very nice hybrid of SG and toy.

A man of all seasons

It all starts with the chest piece for me. Looking at it, yes! It does look Filmation, but it also has the nice sunburst pattern of the vintage armor and has a very distinct two-tone paint pattern. Now, MY Bow wears his heart on his chest. Always has and always will. But, there are some that would prefer our Etherian bard to not be sporting Valentine’s Day 24/7. That is fine, there is a circular inset piece that you can use instead – it even looks more like a bullseye to stay in the archery theme (and to make him an easier target to Horde freeze rays). His belt is embellished with what I originally thought was a confident mustache theme, but common sense kicked in and I realized I was an idiot and that it was a BOW theme over the buckle. His name is Bow. Yah. Well, I might still think of it as a ‘stache.

Bow and Arrow

Speaking of the mustache, I want to circle back around to the aforementioned included heads and say that I love the mustache head. It just screams Bow to me but a tougher, more serious, more CLASSICS Bow. Got something to say about questionable facial hair? You will get an arrow right between the eyes. In fact, I think Bow has one of the best representations in a head sculpt in the entire line. The mustache head is the head of the rapscallion, a man of all seasons, a heartbreaker that will kick some Horde can, go to the pub, gamble and feast, play a song, pass out at three in the morning and do it all again the next day. I like that Bow. I want to know more about that Bow.

Ambush!

But the “toy” head offers a lot too and as I said, I like it more than I thought I would. To me, this is the head of the Bow being described in his card back bio. He is a nobler Bow who fights for valiance instead of the derring-do of a reckless man with a mustache. Again, I kind of have my own MOTU mythology and while I don’t mind Bow’s bio (save for the “real name”), the more classically handsome appearance of the toy head fits in well with the bio. No matter what your preference on facial hair might be, you won’t be disappointed in the head you choose.

He killed him a bear!

Bow’s main body construction shares quite a bit with the existing MOTUC male body so he is certainly buff like the other boys, but he actually has a lot of new pieces too. The two most apparent are his hands and new hip piece. Bow’s right hand is newly-sculpted to help draw back his bow and arrows (more on that in a minute) and he has new wrist articulation to help accomplish this. His wrist is a partial ball so if you have the DCUC Green Arrow figure, you will know what to expect. For his hips, Bow is one of the few guys in the MOTUC Universe that does not wear the furry shorts. He is a practical pants man and he has a newly-fashioned hip piece that helps achieve the look as well as the functionality of this. Mattel and Horsemen have come a long way in this department and while Adora was somewhat successful in this with her skirt, she could have been better and I hope that they adapt this style for future pants males and females. His boots are also very “Bow-like” but with added detail and paint apps that also lend themselves to being very New Adventures He-Man-like too.

Patrolling the Woods

Finally there are the weapons. His name is Bow so even if you have no prior knowledge of the character, you can probably guess what his weapon of choice is. The bow itself is very faithful to old designs right down to the horse head theme. Bow can hold the bow well and can be posed naturally with it with very little effort. Now, we all know the safety protocols that required the aforementioned Green Arrow to have his arrow permanently attached to the bow, but Matty got smart with Bow. See, if there is no bow string, it cannot be used as a weapon to launch projectiles, so they just left off the string, thus, no attached arrow. The Horsemen DID, however, leave little loops so a tenacious toy collector can add his or her own string for an attractive (and somewhat functional, shhh!) bow for Bow. I used one of the little clear rubber bands that help hold most Mattel figures in their packaging tray – a little cutting and two small knots and you got it.

Wumble in the Woods

While one might argue that a bow without a string is fairly useless on its own terms, not including some arrows to go with that bow would be criminal. Mattel did not forget about the arrows but I am of two minds about what they did include. First, there are sculpted (non-removable) arrows in Bow’s on-the-back quiver. I remember seeing these at SDCC and being so impressed by the fact that each of them were tipped with a point in the shape of one of the four classic playing card suits (which is PERFECT for his magic-dabbling ways). What I did not know at the time was that this was actually a carryover from the original figure. Neat! The arrow piece that I am not impressed with is the single loose arrow that is also included. It looks fine, BUT there is design flaw that creates a, ahem, logistical challenge for Bow to hold his bow and arrow cocked at the ready. See, Bow carries a long bow (you Freud fans can mull that over to your heart’s content) and since long bows require a much further pull to mount the arrow, you also need long arrows. I think this element snuck by the Four Horsemen and it renders the arrow completely null to proper posing. Bummer. Fortunately for me, I am a collector of the old Toy Biz Lord of the Rings figures and there were PLENTY of long arrows in that line so Legolas is going to spare a couple for a brother of the bow. As you can see in the pictures, once you have a string and an arrow long enough to fit the bow, Bow here (sorry, I just can’t do the Kyle thing) looks great. I hope Mattel has made note of the little flub and will correct it in future arrows that we might be offered.

On Alert

Whew! I have gone on far too long, but I really dig this figure. A lot. Bow is a winner for me and even though it is still January, I am quite sure he will be on my short list for figure of the year for 2011. Aside from the arrow issue, he is pretty much perfect. Like I said, you have your choice of two great heads and his outfit is what I consider to be a perfect blend of style guide and toy. Bow is the third PoP figure in the line so far and Catra is following right along in May (yay!) so I hope we can get a couple more before the year is out. Vikor sold out mega fast on his sale day so you subbers, be thankful that Bow will be right on his way to you next month. For you gamblers, good luck, you are not going to want to miss out this Etherian bard.

*Thanks for reading and thanks so much to Toy Guru for making this First Look possible, we have quite a bit more on the way shortly.

The Small Rebellion. Hopefully, it will be GREAT soon. More PoP, please!

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15 thoughts on “First Look – Masters of the Universe Classics Bow

  1. NICE review!

    That DIO makes the guy stand out a lot more. For some reason the stached head reminds me of Tom Selleck.
    Now I can’t wait to get this guy, I might have to get 2 and use one for a custom!

  2. The 4Horsemen make everything better! I hadn’t seen the original of this figure until I spied a pic this afternoon and good lord, YUCK! As others have mentioned, the 4HMen really took this otherwise superfluous character and hackneyed original scuplt and built upon that foundation to make him something much more special.

  3. Damn, that’s a kicking backdrop! I love the shot with Bow waiting in ambush. I’m a little disappointed with the final figure compared to the prototype, though. The armor seems a little thicker on the final figure and sits a little higher on his body than it did on the proto. It makes his neck look a little shorter. Other than that, he looks pretty cool and it seems like less of an issue in some poses over others.

  4. Damn I excited for this figure, but now my head is going to explode!!!!!! Amazing pics

  5. They way you feel about how well the 4H upgraded Bow in Classics? That’s how 200X fans felt when the 4H upgraded the original characters during 200X–taking a good old design and making it even better. Looking forward to Bow. Great review!

  6. Great review!

    If you dispose Bow from his accessories and put He-Man’s head (one that matches de skin tone) and Skeletor’s yellow power sword (MOTUC vs. DCUC)you will get a sort of NA He-Man. Could you post this picture?

    Thanks!

  7. Is his quivver removeable or is it a part of his cape? I hope it can be removed. It could on the vintage toy and I wanted to display him holding his arrows.

    I like his production toy head best. His cartoon head looked good at SDCC. I think his mustache looks…bad on the production version.

    Also, why wasn’t he packaged with his heart? Mattel said vintage toy in package always takes precedence.

    While I do think Bow looks pretty cool, I’m sad he lost a lot of his awesome details he had on the toy: unique boots and glove (not NA He-Man’s gear), under-armour and full chest armour.

  8. it is an impressive figure.i am going to purchase one when he goes for sale.it’s amazing how they took what was essentially a ken doll with weapons and made him somebody we can proudly have side by side with he-man to fight evil.

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