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First Look – Preternia Disguise He-Man

Courtney Cox, here I come!

One of the great things about the Masters of the Universe Classics line is that, even though we are barely into year three, we have already gotten a good cross section of a lot of MOTU source material. Of course we have figures of characters based off of the four main previous MOTU action figure lines (the original vintage, Princess of Power, New Adventures and even 200x originals) but we also have cartoon origin figures, concept figures, and even a few from the original mini-comics that came packaged with the figures in the vintage line. All of this just helps enrich a figure line that has already (in my opinion) taken the torch as the best representation of Masters of the Universe in plastic thus far. So, when we are given a chance to get a figure that many never thought possible that can expand the breadth of the mythos, it is pretty cool. Thus is the case with the 2011 subscription exclusive figure Preternia Disguise He-Man. That’s right, if you are a subber, he (along with the map of Etheria) will be shipping out to you automatically next month; if you opted out of the sub, well, to eBay with you!


One of the major points of the MOTUC line has been fleshing out character background and Eternian/Etherian history. So far, the biggest beneficiary of this really has to be what has been dubbed the “Preternia” period. Essentially, this is a time in Eternia’s history when Price Adam’s ancestor, King Grayskull, was fighting the good fight with his friends against the Evil Horde and the Snakemen. We are getting pieces of this history through the release of new characters (like the aforementioned Grayskull), old characters with new backgrounds, concept figures and yes, mini-comic figures too. So far we are being lead on a journey that started 5,000 years ahead of Adam and we know that his bloodline changed the shape of the entire planet, there have been many caretaker He-Men in that time span and they have all been aided in their fight against the baddies by the Trollans, the Cosmic Enforcers and the Goddess. Whew! That is a lot, right? Like I said, we are only in year three.

The whole idea of the history of Eternia was kicked off (only to be cut tragically short) in some of the very last mini-comics of the 1980s vintage line. We were only made privy to the first issue in a three part story that took OUR He-Man (Prince Adam) back in time to ancient Eternia to keep Skeletor from siding up with King HSSSS and Snakemen. If only the vintage line would have lasted a few more years, what they had planned in scope, figures and story for the “Powers of Grayskull” concept had the beginnings of something very impressive. It took equal parts of MOTU success, new characters and even Masters of the Universe movie concepts, smushed them together and sprinkled in robotic dinosaurs. Ah, the height of He-Man decadence.

The good part is that even though as kids we did not really know what we were missing, we can now live that out in the new line 25 years later! Thus comes the Preternia Disguise He-Man (for the rest of this review referred to as PDHM) and the present He-Man is now ready to figure (incognito, of course) along Grayskull, He-Ro, Tytus and the rest. When PDHM was debuted at SDCC 2010, I was kind of surprised about the choice, though thinking back, it makes sense. This was a VERY brief look for the character but now that we have him, we can explore the exploits Adam shared in this monk-ish ensemble. There is a lot to like here and even though we know it is, in fact, Adam hiding under there, the figure has a very unique look to him and if you want, you can easily pretend that he is a completely different character.

Cosmic Key, Bionotops Blaster and Power Sword

Starting with the head, well, it is He-Man with a mask and hood. But, the hood is actually really cool; it is more filled out traditional than say, Skeletor’s and I actually really like the face sculpt on this He-Man. I am not exactly sure what it is about it that I like, but it looks different from the all the rest and it captures the mini-comic source material quite well. The rest of Adam’s outfit is comprised of some repurposed old elements and some significant new ones. He has the “Tri-Klops” style wrist bands (the two short ones) and while he does have the traditional fuzzy boots of most of the human males, the new paint scheme really pops. I love the slightly reddish base color and the black straps with the great accent of the white fur at the top. I have always been a fan of this coloration and it harkens back to the scheme from the vintage Flying Fists He-Man figure. As Toy Guru recently stated, while Mattel will be using the new Vikor-style boot going forward, it did not make it in time for PDHM.


For the rest of the figure, He-Man is pretty much draped in brown “cloth” robes (thankfully, they are actually plastic). The skirt piece is all new and is made from a reasonably soft plastic. It has slits up the side to help with posability, but the figure can’t get into a very natural sitting pose. For the most part, that is not a huge issue, but man, if they are ever able to make some of the Techno-Dinos in this line, it would be a shame if PDHM can’t ride on them. Now, the cool part about the outfit is that even though it looks like he has an all new torso piece – he doesn’t! He is constructed of the same old male chest (and Hordak abs) that most of the males share. The neat part is that the “cloth” portion is actually a removable plastic piece that functions like most previous armors. I think that is exciting as it there have got to be some really valuable reuse opportunities for this piece in the future. It is made of the same soft plastic material as Hordak’s armor (as opposed to the rigid plastic of the Eternian Guard’s armor).

Even under his robes, He-Man is suddenly modest
Perfect Hair bounces back
Everything He-Man has, Skeletor wants.

Even after all of the love and care the PDHM figure has gotten from a design and engineering standpoint, his accessories might actually trump the figure as the big winners in this package. Yes, there is at least one crucial accessory included with this figure and man, did the 4H go all out for it. To start off though, PDHM does have his standard issue Power Sword. It is the normal two-toned version and the darker gray plastic used has more of a matte finish to it than some of the previous versions. That is just the start though. He also comes with a very big and very detailed (Cornboy must have had a ball fabricating this one) laser blaster. Now, on its own merits, it makes for a cool gun; however, for the eagle-eyed die-hards out there you will recognize this as being one of the mounted cannons that came with the old Bionotops large beast figure from the 1980s. It was that very Bionotops that PDHM rode in the old Grayskull mini-comic and it is one of those “wink” details that I love to get in this line. I need to stop thinking about it though; the thought of getting those dinosaurs is just too much to bear. C’mon Mattel!

Flavors of He-Man

I have saved the best for last in an accessory that might just be the very crux of the entire Powers of Grayskull corner of the new MOTUC mythos: the Cosmic Key. Yes, that Cosmic Key; the very same Key used by Gwildor in the Masters of the Universe movie to send He-Man and pals to Earth. However, it was also used in the same Secrets of Grayskull mini-comic to transport Adam back in time! I am wondering if at some point in the character bios we might see He-Ro, Tytus and the rest come to present day Eternia to fend off Hordak and King HSSSS. Hmm… Unlike the vintage toy Cosmic Key that came with the Gwildor figure, this baby is completely based off of the movie design. When I was a kid I was so disappointed in the CK that we got since the movie design was so much more interesting. Not that, by this point, I don’t want to see the vintage toy version at some point too, but it is a real treat to get the movie version now. All of the keys to make “sonic tones” are individually sculpted really I can almost hear the “da doo da-da-da-da-da dum” playing. Lights will start flashing and you will be able to drive your primitive land boat to the corners of time! To me, the Cosmic Key has two kinds of keys – the musical kind as well the kind you use to unlock things. I figured that was what the little fork-shaped metal doo-hickies were. They are sculpted in the “out” position on this Key and have a vac-metal silver finish. They are also built on a ring that is a separate piece from the rest of the Key so they are able to rotate. This might be my new favorite MOTUC accessory (dethroning Scare Glow’s reliquary) and I think that, before we get to the end of 2017, there are going to be a lot of guys, both good and bad that are going to try to get their mitts on the Cosmic Key. Makes me very excited for more PoG figures!

Arrival in ancient times

One of the selling points of the Club Eternia subscription is that you are given a chance to own an exclusive figure that you probably never expected you would get a chance to add to your shelf. Preternia Disguise He-Man is a great example of this and I think that, even though he seems like a bit of a one-off He-Man variant right now, he will be crucial (along with his Cosmic Key) as the line moves along. Like I said, Club members should expect him with their Bow figure next month and he will also come with the official map of Etheria (can’t wait for that). We hope you have enjoyed this little primer for your incentive figure and if you are not in the Club, hope you can work some trades!

*A big thanks to the real Powers of Grayskull at Mattel for sending this sample along, we really appreciate it. More still to come!

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How about you invent some glasses, Duncan.