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First Look – Masters of the Universe Classics Panthor

There is a Ram Horn theme going on

I will admit it, I am not a cat person. I am terribly allergic to them, I have always favored a faithful dog and kittens start with so much potential, only to grow up (usually) to snooty little furniture manglers. I don’t hold that against cats, that is just the way they are. I have, however, now gleefully welcomed two feline additions into my house in the past year and when you go in for multiple Eternian breed s, you can bet that there will be the proverbial “cat fights” perpetually in your future. Such is the case with the most famous of all Eternian cats, Battle Cat and the brand new, debuting on Matty Collector in April PANTHOR! Yes! The battle for Palace of Eternos just got more fierce and while He-Man just isn’t the same without his big cat, now too Skeletor will no longer be feeling his own brand of kitten loss as his most trusted pet and ally has clawed his way into the scene.

Not to be stating the obvious here but He-Man and Skeletor are two very different people. Newsflash, right? Well, it has been said that pets often take on personality traits of their of their human companions and it seems pretty obvious that is the case with Battle Cat and Panthor. While the former is loyal, brave protective, Panthor has always been cold, calculating and his own master – much like Skeletor. The MOTU world has never been at a loss for variety and imagination so even while BC and Panthor quite literally sprang from the same mold, they are as different as night and day.

Panthor Bio
Boxed Panthor

Card Back

For me, Panthor and Skeletor have an understanding that is based on a healthy portion of mutual respect and dash of fear. While He-Man has always jumped in the saddle of Battle Cat to ride to battle, in my Eternian skirmishes, Panthor always served more as Skeletor’s dog of war. Or cat of war for a more accurate description. Even though Panthor has always come with a saddle for Skeletor and some of my favorite Masters art has had Panthor bearing a rider, I have always had very little use for the saddle. Panthor is his own cat and in battle he attacks with his own strategy, scratching, clawing and mauling at will. Of course he is extremely loyal to Skeletor (and vice-a-versa) but for me it very rare for Panthor to suffer any rider. That is just in-line with the relation I felt Panthor has shared with Skeletor, he is a loyal partner and Skeletor’s oldest and most trusted (if real trust can exist in Snake Mountain) equal ally. Panthor will fight ALONG with (not for) and in defense of Skeletor, but let one sharp strike or ill-conceived word from old Bone Brain be targeted toward the big purple cat, and Panthor lash out. It is an understanding, a ferocious and vicious reciprocation.

For the MOTUC figure of Panthor itself, for the most part you are getting a purple version of Battle Cat. I mean, duh. I don’t think anyone was expecting anything different here as it has been that way in every plastic incarnation of Panthor since the 1980s. This is a good thing though as I think the Horsemen’s big cat body is the best that has ever been done, especially in the sculpt and articulation departments. All of the joints (on this sample at least) are tight and fully functional. In fact, I would say that they are better engineered on Panthor than BC, as my Cat’s neck is slightly loose; Panthor does not suffer from that some affliction. Panthor is also, of course, cast in purple plastic. The plastic used does have a bit of a shine to it that makes him look somewhat plastic-y, but when he is not being lit in a photo cube it is not as apparent. He also has quite a bit of paint detail for being 95% monochromatic; there is a very nice, dark wash as well as some subtle highlighting on his fur to add depth and detail. His eyes are a very evil greenish-yellow that is very striking (almost to the point of being day-glow) and the detailing in his mouth are painted nicely too. It might have been cool to get some blood stains on his choppers, but that is more preference than short fall.

Panthor Armored

Where the figure itself departs from previous incarnations (aside from the “accessories which we will get to in a moment) is in the head sculpt and the obvious lack of flocking. Yep, first time ever for both of those and the lack of flock is instantly apparent in the figure. I know I have been talking about the paint detail, most of which would not be present if there was flocking, but it is a strong difference. I know most collectors are pretty decisive in their opinion of flocking on a figure, but I am not sure what my preference is in this situation. I mean, with Moss Man, it was a no-brainer – flock all the way, but Panthor I am split on. Sure, I love the vintage cues as much as any collector, but the base body is so detailed, much of that would have been lost by the furry covering. However, it does seem like Panthor is kind of missing a definitive part of his character without it. I don’t know, maybe if there was paint used for the base color instead of just the plastic, or it might have been neat to see the same kind of paint used in the Super Friends version of Black Manta in the DCUC line, but it still works. I was present at the SDCC vote for flock vs. non-flocked and could have sworn the former was the winner, but maybe we will see a fuzzy version down the line. Gotta get the most bang for your base body tooling buck!

Rarrrrrrr!
Different Head Sculpts
Red and Green vs Green and Purple

The other place where Panthor strays from his previous classics versions is that, he has a different head sculpt than Battle Cat. Makes sense, right? In the vintage line it would have been hard to tell due to the flocking, but now the sculpt can come out. Battle Cat is more of a green tiger and Panthor is well, more of a panther and those two animals have very different-looking head shapes. Before, when the Panthor figure was flocked, it wasn’t as big of a deal – the flock drastically changed the look of the head. Here though, he would have been identical to BC and that just wouldn’t do! So, the 4H gave him a new head sculpt. The thing is, it is not as similar to Battle Cat’s head as first thought. There are some apparent differences in the face and ears especially and they are more apparent in person than in internet pictures. I am actually quite pleased with the differences and Panthor looks much more fierce than his green tiger counterpart.

Ready to Rumble!
Rearing to go!
The cat caught the canary...

Finally, Panthor comes with two accessories. Or armor pieces, or clothes if you like to dress up your kitties. Like always, he has Battle Cat’s saddle redecoed in green so Skeletor has a comfy place to rest his bony butt. Like Id said, 90% of the time my Panthor does not suffer such things, and I will be displaying my figure au natural, but for those big time battles (cannot wait for Battle Armor Skeletor!) it is essential to have the saddle. Also, and for the first time, Panthor gets his very own helmet. Yes! Feline inequality shall reign no more and in your literal head to head cat confrontations, Panthor will now be subjected to a lot less concussions. You can tell the Four Horsemen really know their Masters mythology and they are not afraid to go deep at times or give us themes that are so painfully obvious it is hard to imagine we have ever lived without them. Thus is the case with Panthor’s helmet. In essence, it is a face guard with big ass ram horns attached to further flesh out Panthy’s inner butthead. Kind of a weird concept on the surface, a cat wearing horns, you know? However, if you know anything at all about Skeletor, you know is primary weapon of choice is his Havoc Staff and what is the defining quality of said staff? The horned skull atop it! That, coupled with the theme of Zalasia, makes this helmet make perfect sense. Personally, I think it is a very cool concept. I am not completely sure how I feel about the way it looks while on (again, it’s a cat wearing horns!) but it fits snugly and I have all the time in the world to adapt to a new element to an old friend. That last part might have quite a lot to do with my uncertainty about the appearance.

Kitties like to have their ears scratched
Bwahahaha!
Loyalty. Panthor haz it
That is until a certain sultress comes along...

Man! That Battle Cat has been strutting around the MOTUC shelves like he owns the place for far too long and April is just not going to get here soon enough. The Eternian Cat Power is falling back into balance and the Evil Warriors shall no longer be handicapped. You know he is going to sell super-fast, so be ready to roll on April 15th if you are not already locked into your subscription. Personally, I cannot wait for Battle Armor Skeletor to hit in March to go along with this figure. On the rare occasions Panthor lets anyone ride him, the Battle Armor boys always look best atop the cats. Plus, the “Grayskull” poster will be updated properly.

First Meeting

*Thanks for checking out our Look the Purple Masters Eater, and thanks to Toy Guru and crew for letting him loose from Snake Mountain. Come back soon, more goodies!

Additional Links

Horde Poster
Eternia Poster

11 thoughts on “First Look – Masters of the Universe Classics Panthor

  1. what else can i say but HERE,KITTY!KITTY!KITTY!love the new helmet and flocking never was an issue.i’m not THAT sentimental about it.in this case since he’s not a complete repainted BATTLE CAT and has a new head sculpt it is better to show it off then to flock.just my opinion.

  2. I think Panthor looks AMAZING despite all the complaints about his head sculpt not representing that of a true panther (boohoo). For starters, this is an Eternian cat, of which is by no means confined to what is the “norm” here on Earth. If thats the route people are taking, then there’s no reason why Panthor should be the same size as BattleCat. Realistically he should literally be 1/3 the size if we’re to be technical. I also don’t recall any complaints about his 200x counter part, of which had furry cheeks and whose look deviated quite a bit from anything “panther-like”. And lastly, there seems to be a bit of confusion amongst some fans. Being named Panthor doesn’t make him a “panther” per say. His bio after all clearly states that he’s a Dylinx…not a panter. No different than the tool down the street who names his dog “tiger”…doesn’t make him one in the least now does it?

  3. Ugh…not liking how Skeletor is sitting on Panthor. But what can you do with an ultra hard loincloth.

  4. Tigers and panthers do have different looking head shapes, but Panthor’s head is not shaped like a real panther. Take a look here to see what: I mean http://www.citydirt.net/Black_Panther_on_mud_hill.jpg

    It’s ok though, since they were obviously going for a look that captures the vintage painting.

    On a side note, may I suggest the torch that came with the first Toybiz LOTR Strider for Mossman in the 3 faction poster?

  5. i LOVE the p-shopped paintings!! great work man! though it does make me a tad sad to see how far behind the evil warriors are in terms of getting rosters finished.

  6. Nice preview! I do miss the flocking, but he’s still a sweet figure.

    BTW, this isn’t the first time that Panthor has had a unique head; the 200x one was a different sculpt from Battle Cat’s as well.

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