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First Look – Masters of the Universe Classics Catra

Transformation!

The Evil HORDE!

Herrre is a bit of non-news forrr you: I LOVE the Evil Horrrde. They are the baddest of the bad and everyone from King Grrrayskull to Skeletorrr quakes in their boots when they show up to an Eternian/Etherian rrrumble. So as you can imagine, this is already turning out to be a great yearrr for me in terms of little plastic rrrenditions of the evil faction I love so well. Leech and Hurricane Horrrdak are coming to us in September for a nice double dip, and that leaves only Mantenna as the final Classics hold out for the “original” Horde. However, there is a certain ferrrocious feline-inspired Forrrce Captain coming this month. THE enemy to be reckoned with in the vintage Princess of Powerrr line – CATRA! Could you not tell already by the annoyingly over-abundance of letter R? Yep, it goes on like this.

Catra's Bio

Masters of the Universe Classics has officially taken over as my A number 1 most favorite line going right now. It is strange, but this monthly schedule that we have been adhering to has me programmed to a tee. It is kind of embarrassing that I starrrt to get that new toy “itch” so regularly now, and ever since Sy-Klone joined his heroic brethren on the shelf, the urgency for my new Masterrrs figure has been turned up higher than it has been in months. Not that I was not excited for several of the figures that have come out in recent months (we just got Panthor for The Elderrr’s sake) but as I said, I LOVE the Horrrde. I also love getting new female figures in this line. And I really love the [in my opinion, underappreciated] PoP corner of the MOTU-verse. It is a purrrfect plastic storm. Okay, I can’t keep this “rrr” thing up for much longer.

So far, the MOTUC line has been DOMINATED by male characters. Yes, there are more male characters in the mythos than female, but let’s not forget, the last new female figure we got in this was She-Ra and that was all the way back in June of last year. To say that Catra has been a long time coming is the MOTUC understatement of the year. Plus, she is opening up a nice strrream of female figures coming over the next couple of months, which at this point, is more of a relief than anything (did you see that SDCC Queen Marlena reveal?). Since the drought is behind us and it is getting ready to pour, I am not huffing and puffing about it anymore.

The bad guys have always been the coolest characters in the MOTU world, and the only thing better than a bad guy is bad girl. In the ranks of the intergalactic force of the Evil Horrrde, Catra is the ranking bad chick. Like I mentioned, I love the PoP world quite a lot. I think it has a lot of very interesting characters (Frosta is one of my favorite MOTU characters, period) and having only come to the FilMation cartoon a few years ago, I can safely say it is overall superior in quality to its older brother as the show’s writers had really hit their stride in Etheria. I know there are still a lot of hold outs, but I am hoping that the Fourrr Horsemen and Matty can continue to work their magic (see: Bow) and take an arm of the MOTU-verse and incorporate it as an equal fixture to He-Man and his pals. That said, I think Catra still falls outside of the normal PoP considerrration, so some of you can relax.

In toy form, the Evil Horrrde was always primarily marketed in the Boy’s Aisle. I remember those first Horde TV commercials and Sears Catalog pages from back in the 80s; even at five years old, I knew they were targeting me in particular for these toys. Hell, big baddie Skeletor rrrecoiled in fear from them and that made the Horde bad ass in my book. But while they were all together in the cartoon, Catra was the lone villain in the PoP toy line for the longest time, and, in essence, had to be everything all of the He-Man bad guys were rolled into one. That is a lot of rrresponsibility, even when you are not hopelessly out-numbered. However, her Horde connection has afforded her certain upsides over the years as well; like She-Ra, I think most male collectors give her a kind of “pass”, as in – it is okay to like and collect this figure. She-Ra is He-Man’s sister and transcends the “girl toy” label, heck, She-Ra was the one PoP figure I actually owned as child. So, being that she is a stalwart and important member of the Horde, Catra has gone beyond her humble “Jealous Beauty” beginnings to the baddest b!#<% in the Five Dimensions. And I love it. So don’t be afrrraid, fellas, this figure is pretty wicked.

Style Guide PoP FTW!

I am a Style Guide/FilMation fan when it comes to my PoP looks, so I am very pleased at the approach that the Horsemen have taken so far. Catra is especially an example of my preference toward this, she looks much morrre evil in her red outfit and knee-high boots. Plus, I think the style guide looks incorporate better into the aesthetics of the MOTUC line as well. While it might be the attachment to the character and her close Horrrde cohorts, I think Catra is the best overall female figure we have gotten in the line up to this point. I still love the original lady of the MOTUC line, Teela very much but as far as a one to one comparison goes, Catra has the aesthetic quality that Teela shares, but she is a much more functional figurrre.

Catra's Accessories
Shield Comaprison

It appears that Catra will likely be the last figure in the MOTUC line (at least that we know of) that will wholly utilize the original female base body. We know that next month’s Battle Ground Teela, SDCC’s Queen Marlena and the fourth quarterrr’s She-Ra 2.0 will all have new base pieces in their scheme, so I don’t expect Mattel to go back to full use of this older base anytime soon. Which is fine as it certainly has room for improvement, but as is often the case, the last effort is the best one. Catra is mostly She-RRRa 1.0 in her construction but with some relatively minor improvements, she makes better use of the body at just about every turrrn.

Catra can sit. But she needs to learn how to sit like a lady. Too hot for Etheria.

I know one of the prevailing arguments for a new female base stemmed from this one being too tall, and while I agree with that for some characters, I have no problem with Teela, Evil-Lyn, She-RRRa and Catra being every bit as tall in stature as most of the boys. They just have a commanding presence that works with the height and I like that they can stand eye to eye with the dudes. So, if any woman was going to be the swan song for base body 1.0, Catra is a verrry acceptable character. However, since she is one of my favorite female characters, Mattel would need to afford her all of the engineering requirements that would be needed to knock the figure out of the park, and for the most part, I think they did that.

Catra with DCUC Steppenwolf's Whip
Catra with the red Beast Man Whip

From a technical perspective, Catra (or at least this sample) has none of the common concerns that tend to pop up in middle of each month. Herrr shoulders are assembled correctly (though, I don’t think that has ever been an issue with the girls), all of her joints are nice and tight and she does not have much, if any, bobble to her head. The hairrr (more on that in minute) probably helps with that, but to the touch, her head is not loose and doesn’t drop off into a position of its own. However, the big victory comes in the outfit construction. While Teela has always been a stunning figure to look at, the Eternian dry cleaners starched the hell out of her outfit and rendered several of her articulation points practically useless. She-RRRa, unfortunately, suffered the same fate.

Poor, poor Grizzlor - litter box duty again.

With a near year-long gap in release though, Mattel’s design team have heard the cries and the rrrantings and rrravings and have used a material that is GREAT for the outfit. It is soft and pliable so you can still move the figure, but it is also strong and does not feel as though it might corrode or tear over time. To me, the “sit” test is the best judge of this, and as you can hopefully see in the pictures, Catra is moving around very well. This is good news for things to come as well as Toy Gurrru recently stated that Queen Marlena’s outfits would be made of the same material (I can’t wait to see if I can get her to sit in her dress). So, Matty, bubby, THIS is the plastic that should be used going forward for female outfits and furry shorts. Like all good athletic equipment, it is highly functional, but keeps the wearer looking good. So, I must give my compliments and I am anxious to hear what the wider rrresponse will be once more of fandom gets this figure in hand.

Cat Fight!
Cat Fight, Again!
Cat Fi- oh, you get the idea.

Aside from the good construction, Catra’s costume has always been one of my favorites in terrrms of design. I love the red and black look for the Horrrde and Catra wears it better than any of them, so I am glad this is the outfit we got. It seems like in the past, we have gotten some more muted hues in costume color in the MOTUC (and DCUC) line, but Catra continues a recent trend of vibrant plastic fashion. The base red is very close to style guide colorrr but it is a little more subdued because there is more variance in red tone from one part of the costume to the next. The main part is a softer rrred, while the requisite Horrrdak Bat is much more vibrant. Better still are her gauntlets and boots (She-RRRa holdovers) as they are finished in a very striking metallic red. For little plastic action figure boots, they are pretty hot. Ahem.

Jealous Beauty...

The Horrrsemen also handled her cape, a potential tough spot in design, quite well. Since the cape has a collar that essentially comes down the front and attaches to bust line of the costume, the design could have really rrrestricted movement if handled incorrectly. Fortunately, the simplest approach created the best solution and it is a separate piece entirely that can easily be lined up with the outfit to create the illusion of one piece. The high collarrr also does not inhibit her head movement as much as you would probably think. It is still a little (but not much) restricting by nature of its design, but her head is able to move a lot more that I had fearrred. But this actually has more to do with the hair sculpt than anything…

Storm Stand In

Speaking of which, I think Catra has a pretty complex hair sculpt. This was something I was worried about from the initial picture posted in Toy Fare magazine some months ago. In that picture, the hairrr looked lopsided or unnaturally sculpted, and just not visually appealing. Well, thankfully, it was just an awkward pose, or the hair was misassembled or something, because I think Catra has the best hair sculpt of any female thus farrr. It flows well and I really like the attention to detail in that the way it is tied at the top is pretty much spot on to the style guide, especially with the rrred mask in place. Catra does have pretty long hair too and that was not sacrificed here, it was just built around the rest of the figure’s design. Since the collar has such an impractical design to it, the hair has to actually fall over the top in order for everything to work together. As long as the she is wearing her cape, everything is great, but due to the “clearance” requirement for the collar, if it is rrremoved, the hair looks like it has an unnatural “bump” in the back. I don’t image many people will be displaying the figure without the cape though, so hopefully it won’t be a huge issue. The quibble I have do have with the hair though is that is made of pretty hard plastic. Because of the shape of the hair, it does not impede head movement like She-Ra, but I am glad the hair is the harder plastic over say, the cape.

The Girls Can Handle the Crossbow too

Catra also has a cool head sculpt that looks like she walked rrright off of the TV scrrreen. Her look is distinct, she has very recognizable eyes, a high forehead and pronounced cheek bones – everything it takes to be a sultry bad girl. Care was obviously taken to recreate these features and while female Fourrr Horsemen figures share a definite look and style, Catra stands somewhat apart. I was afraid that she might lose some of the definition in production, but they took care in making sure the paint on the face is not thick and the sculpt retains its shape. Her eyes have very nice definition and I rrreally dig the green eye make-up used here – it is very striking while still holding true to the original design. Oh and she, appropriately, has gone heavy on the bright red lipstick.

Force Captain Catra

Finally, Catra comes with five unique accessories, with not a drop of rrreuse among them. She has her two masks, both style guide and vintage toy, so fans can choose their preferred style for the figure. I will, of course, be going with the rrred, but the silver mask has a lot of great detail and looks very nice on the figure. I find myself liking the latter a lot more than I thought I would. Both masks snap into place securely using subtle tabs (no giant forrrehead hole, yay!) and stay in place rather well. The silver is designed to go over her eyes while the red is supposed to sit on her brow. Now, there have been some grrrumblings about how the red mask won’t snap over her eyes so she can transform into her cat form (not literally) but that is not such a huge issue for me personally as it rests on her forehead 99% of the time. I am happy to report that I am able to get the rrred mask to snap on over the eyes and have it stay there. I walked around with the figure for 5 minutes and it did NOT fall off. Now, it does not snap on like it does on the forehead so it will fall off easier, but (at least with this one) you have to put some small effort into taking it off. I take that as a nice surprise.

Welcome to the Frrright Zone!

She also has three weapons, two harkening back to herrr vintage figure and one that is completely original. The shield and sword are very faithful representations of their 1980s counterparts but still look great when being held by the figure, even though it is a complete departure from the old doll. I rrreally like that they continued to use the inset “jewels” on the shield (I think ALL PoP females should come with a shield in this line) and there is also a complementary one set in the sword blade. I think it was said that we have Bill Benecke to thank for that details so – thanks, Bill! As a perrrsonal aside, even though I really like the sword and shield, I am a guy that believes a Force Captain should have a good blaster. I don’t begrudge the figure for not having one since she is already pretty loaded with accessories, but I will probably be giving Catra Adorrra’s blaster for display – it just looks right.

Doomberry Pie!

Finally, she also comes with a whip weapon and it is the one thing that I am not really down with in terms of overall execution. I think it is hilarious and creative to work in a “comb” accessory with the PoP girls (since they had them, along with scary brushable hair in the 80s) and She-RRRa has a great “comb axe” but Catra’s comb whip falls a little short. While the comb axe integrates the comb aspect into the overall design of the axe, Catra’s whip is morrre of a whip on top of a comb; really it is two things smooshed together instead being integrated into an original accessory. I am not a toy designer but I wish Catra’s whip was designed more like Beast Man’s and that the teeth of the “comb” were placed on the hand guard thingee. I am sure there is a myriad of ways for something like this to be designed, but as it stands for me, it is destined for the accessory bin. I am thinking the rrred Beast Man whip from the first weapons pack, or even the DCUC Steppenwolf whip could be viable alternatives.

Catra can't see very well in the silver mask

I am surrre you have had all you can take at this point, especially with the completely inapprrropriate and rrrandom use of Catra’s unique personal Norma Loquendi. Plain and simple – I am big fan of Catra and when a figure lives up to expectations, I iz happy collektuz. She is really a culmination of a variety of improvements to the old female base body and shows that if everything is running where we are at now, it works. As it stands, she is my new favorite female in the line right now (displacing Teela) but a new incarnation of that former number one was a traveling companion with Catra so we will have to see how long it lasts. I think PoP fans and overall MOTU fans in general will find a lot to like with Catra and more females and more Horde members is always a good thing. This prrretty kitty goes on-sale at Matty Collectorrr on May 16th. Oh, and as you can probably tell, we have more MOTUC coming your way soon.

You can have this, I stole it from some clan of mangy anthropomorphic cats
Transformation!

*Thanks for rrreading and thanks to Toy Guru and his dedicated Force Captains for making this review possible, they finally found a way to get me to welcome a cat into my house. More soon!

PoP Poster Project. This is the best one I could find, if you know of a better one, let me know!

Additional Links

Ceiling Catra!

13 thoughts on “First Look – Masters of the Universe Classics Catra

  1. Hi again! Pixel Dan just got his review up and he reported that Catra’s claw hand is so soft that it’s almost squishy, kind of like rubber. Also, his Catra’s sword is made of a very soft plastic. Is this the case with your Catra as well?

  2. Darkspecter – The silver mask does not really want to stay on the forehead, sorry. But Catra can easily turn at the waist.

    Glad you guys enjoyed the pics, I think most people will be pretty happy with her.

  3. “I iz happy collektuz” I bout fell out of my chair over that one and the litterbox pic!! XD

  4. DRAGSTOR,MODULOK,AND MOSQUITOR never had crossbows or armbands either.CATRA never had one in the cartoon.she has the symbol on her dress.that is enough

  5. Grrreat rrreview as always, Veebs. Always floorrred by your photoshop (the transforrrming into cat forrrm is AWESOME)! They rrred Beast-Man whip is full of win. Your imagination makes my collection that much better! As awesome collectibles as they arrre, the way you do your rrreviews rrreminds us that they are such fun TOYS to play with. And the Mattel/Horsemen making so many interchangeable pieces, you could spend hours actually PLAYING with them if you wanted to. Toys are fun again. =)

    This line is becoming ICONIC.

  6. so, she’s a member of the horde, but lacks both the crossbow and the arm band… interesting.

  7. I LOVE this review and pictures. You captured almost completely how I feel about everything. I’ve also been talking about the EXACT same whip design as you desired since her whip-comb was unveiled!

    I lol’d at your rhyming sentence, but I feel the same:

    “Since the drought is behind us and it is getting ready to pour, I am not huffing and puffing about it anymore”

    2 picture requests/questions:

    – Can her silver mask fit on her forehead?
    – Can she waist-twist?

    All around great review though! I agree with Ka (I prefer the toys to the cartoon interpretations), but I have also always wanted a Filmation She-Ra and Catra. Now that they’re both out of the way…give me the toy variants! 😀

  8. Hi fantastic review, though I much prefer the Toy/style guide 2 colors, This is a superb looking figure! (and I can wait for a repaint)

    one request though, can you please include the ‘In Tray’ pics again? those were always my favorites as I love seeing how the figs are packaged in the bubble!

    Cheers KA

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