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First Look – Masters of the Universe Classics Draego-Man

Do you follow the Chinese zodiac? If so, I am sure you are aware that 2012 is the Year of the Dragon. It is also the 30th anniversary of Masters of the Universe. If you are familiar with the latter (and since you are reading this, you probably are) I don’t think I need to take any time explaining the kind of potential amazing synergy those two 2012 facts can create. However, even if you might think that those things don’t have anything in common, the Four Horsemen would gladly disagree with you. Dragons be invading Eternia! Sure, we have the yet-to-be-seen Granamyr coming this fall, and if we are lucky we might also see Dragon Blaster Skeletor at SDCC, but first up is the second figure in the MOTU 30th Anniversary subscription, the Four Horsemen-created Draego-Man. This new character seems to have moved even the most stalwart nostalgia collectors to welcoming new blood into Masters (something I feel it most certainly needs in order to thrive many years into the future) and with good cause – this guy is a doozy, and doozy is not a made-up word I throw around lightly. I have been waiting with bated fire breath for this guy since last summer and even though he goes up on Matty Collector next Monday, I can assure you, the following information is not going to make the short wait any easier. This dragon man is the real deal.

Draego-Man Bio

One of my favorite things about going to the San Diego Comic Con each year is that I get the chance to sit down and catch-up with the Four Horsemen. Last year, only half the crew was able to make it out to the show and while Jim was very busy manning the booth, chatting with fans and selling exclusive OSM and Gothitropolis figures, I was able to steal sculptor-extraordinaire Eric Treadaway from his duties to talk about all things plastic-y as related to the Fab Four. Obviously, one of the big topics of conversation was Draego-Man. If you have read the interviews here on the site, I think it is easy to tell that Eric’s enthusiasm is hard to contain. Just talking about the character and the process of creating Draego-Man was a fun experience because the conversation caught the perfect mix Eric’s artist, designer, professional and fan boy qualities all wrapped up into one. I am sure there is not a soul left on Earth that doubts the Four Horsemen’s devotion and respect for the MOTU property, but Draego-Man is the defining achievement in making that love and reverence a piece of plastic reality. It is funny looking back on it now – after the recorder was turned off we talked Game of Thrones for quite awhile, make you wonder what permeates those creative brains while they are designing new characters. All I know is that if Daenerys Targaryen were to show up in Westeros with Draego-Man, everybody and their dead father would be running for the North Wall. Anyways.

Can you believe that the 4H have been synonymous with MOTU for well over a decade now? Where does the time go? In that time they have been integral in the decision to revamp the property after a 20-year drought; they have spearheaded the design and direction of two toy lines; they carried on with the property in “station” form even after the 200x toy line died at retail and have really been the co-caretakers for the entire mythos and characters for all of our “adult collector” lives. Not once, not ONCE have they flinched or even gone tongue-in-cheek with any of these responsibilities. That last point is the mark of not only being consummate professionals, but respecting fans. Up until last year, they had done it all, with the exception of being given the task to create an all-new character from the ground up. Now, it is a completely different ballgame and Draego-Man embodies all of the details that make MOTU great. For the first time since the 1980s, Classics (as a toy line) is expanding beyond the characters that have been here before and Draego-Man is quite the introduction to making MOTU bigger. In more ways than one.

So how do you make your mark with an original character when you have already done so much for the MOTU brand? I can assure you, talking with Eric Treadaway last summer, it was no easy task. As said above, his respect and love for the brand is absolute. When you can share stories about backyard adventures in Eternia as kids with one of the primary sculptors of the Classics line, you know that the affection is undeniable. But that same love and respect rightfully makes the responsibility of creating an all-new character pretty daunting. When your character has to go toe to toe with the likes of Trap Jaw, Mer-Man and Beastman (not to mention Skeletor himself), choosing a concept that will stand out amongst such a diverse pantheon can be difficult to say the least. Eric spoke of his thought process and how it turned from trying to create a character based off of a gimmick name (like Clawful or Two Bad) or an “action feature” to filling a space that has not yet been occupied by a MOTU character before. I can certainly see how, when tasked with creating a new persona, one could easily get swept away in trying to leave an impression that blow back even the most fickle fan. Talking with Eric though, his approach became one that was to serve the MOTU property as whole and I can tell you that the humble nature of his motivations when it came to creating Draego-Man gave me an even deeper respect for the guy, and I did not think that was possible.

Draego-Man Accessories

Filling a need for MOTU can be a hard look, but if you think back to when you were young, the fact that Skeletor did not have a “flying guy” on his team seems so rudimentary now, but no less important. I mean, how could that happen? How could he be so out-matched from an aerial perspective? Now, I am not going sit here and speculate that was Eric’s ultimate motivation in creating Draego-Man, but man, having a character in hand now that will send Buzz-Off and Stratos flying for the hills is a realization decades in the making. And come on, was there ever any doubt that he would want to bolster the ranks of the Evil Warriors? When it comes down to the foundations of what I like about MOTU, sharing that same love for the bad guys makes me smile when I can add to their forces. So as far as I am concerned, Draego-Man fit a need for MOTU and he can now happily (or angrily if wants) fly above Snake Mountain making sure that everyone knows the Dark Hemisphere is shored up now – by land, by sea and finally, air.

Armor Detail
Armor Back Detail

So after all of the design and creation of countless MOTU characters, taking on the great responsibility was something that was not taken lightly by the Horsemen and it shows through and through with this figure. He fits a need but was not created with such a grandiose story that he was ever meant to overshadow characters. That is respect, pure and simple and when you have a design that is so strong, it can just speak for itself. Speak softly and carry a big gullet full of fire. Teddy Roosevelt had it right. Almost. Draego-Man does have it right though. Completely.

Gauntlet Detail

I know the most recent topic of conversation vis-à-vis Draego-Man has been that several of his cool accessories had to go by the wayside due to cost. Even though I really miss not getting that shield yet(Scott has said they are looking for other avenues), the presence of this figure will pretty much make you forget anything that “should have been” in relation to the Draego. I know the periodic dance of Matty claiming things are too expensive and collectors thumbing their noses at that assertion has become pretty passé, but if any figure done thus far was going to break the bank in terms of size and design, it is this one. That being said though, the smart reuse that has become a hallmark of all successful MOTU lines is really ratcheted up here and I still cannot believe that he is a Frankenstein of King Hsss, Whiplash, He-Ro and Hordak. With all successful MOTU designs though, the sum is most certainly greater than the parts.

Dragon Knuckles

I am looking and the figure right now and I still cannot believe that they were able to get him into a standard MOTUC card and bubble. What is new on this figure (mainly the head, hands, armor and wings) are not only impressive in terms of design, but also in scale. He will look great just standing amongst the rest of your collection, but he really looks, ahem, hot, in flying poses. It’s the wings, man.

Wing Detail Back

Starting with the head sculpt, Draego-Man certainly has the biggest noggin of any standard figure thus far, and he probably has the most detailed. The fact that there was never a dragon figure in the vintage line still kind of makes me scratch my head, but as a vintage figure, Draego here would have fit in perfectly. He is a very striking red in color but that bright tone helps offset his shiny black horns and stark yellow eyes. I know that there is a piece of vintage MOTU artwork that could certainly recall some inspiration for this look of this figure, but I don’t know if it was actually used as such but I can certainly see the resemblance. For admitting that he never had a character he created “in his back pocket” the personality that Treadaway give to the sculpt makes it seem like he has been living with him for years. He looks evil, but he also has a stately quality to him that has become synonymous dragons. He is a magical half-breed without a true identity to either dragon or man so he has arrogance of latter and the hubris of the former. Oh, and he wants to get at everybody. THAT is what an evil character is all about. While I love the head sculpt, the head does have the one *teeny* *tiny* thing that I wish I could change about this figure. If he would have had an articulated jaw, that would have sent him (and probably me) completely over the edge. He is a fire-breather so it would have been cool to give him so flame accessories that I have lying around. However, as it stands, in looks and personality he is pretty perfect.

Dragon Cronies

Now, he does have all-new hands as well that give him some giant lizard mitts, much more so than any of the standard hands we have gotten so far. They are just as detailed as the head sculpt and I am VERY interested to see where these might be reused in the future. Fang Man perhaps, might make excellent use of them and I am sure there is a plethora of other monstrous characters waiting in the hopper that might help in costing them out. He also has all new armor and gauntlets. The gauntlets have plate lines within them that add more dimension, but nothing about them really screams “dragon only” to me so I think we might see some opportunity for them. Now, when it comes to the chest armor, I think it is just as crucial to making Draego-Man who he is as anything else.

Finally, a flying Evil Warrior. Finally.

He has a dragon crest emblazoned right in the middle of the chest, and that would have matched the shield had it not been dropped. I wonder if this is an old dragon standard or if it is something that DM came up with on his own to spite Granamyr and the rest. It seems like the latter is probably possible as he has matching crossbones behind the dragon head. Perhaps to note death to the dragons? Maybe to show his affiliation to Skeletor? Both? I love the armor plating too because while it does look like armor, it also coalesces PERFECTLY with Draego’s scale patterning on his body. If Bilbo Baggins is to be believed (hey! Smaug! Another dragon we might be seeing this year!) then dragon scales are pretty tough on their own. So, if Draego-Man is going to wear armor, he must have a damned good reason and is covering all of his bases. The collar helps to pull his proportions together nicely as well. He has a pretty long neck (for a MOTUC figure) so giving some girth to the sides rounds him and possibly covers a vulnerable spot. The metallic blue-green paint used on the armor pieces really pops and off sets the very, very strong red well. Plus, when you have purple and red as your primary colors, you are already screaming Snake Mountain.

FLAME SWORD!

What makes him so different from anything else on your shelf though is the wings. Great googly-moogly this guy has an impressive wingspan. I am thinking that these probably took up an entire steel tool by themselves so I bet that Granamyr might share his wings (since his are very small in relation to his body) and even Lord Dactys might need to swoop in to offset some of the cost. You know what though? They are WORTH it. Even if there was not one character in all of MOTU-dom that could share these wings, the fact that they are impressive in look and size is what Draego-Man needed to be a complete figure. I know that the Four Horsemen are compensated for the work they do for Mattel, but darn it, they have earned the cost of those wings. They plug into the back and can easily be removed if you like, but as you can see in the pictures they are actually quite posable. I love the airbrushing effects used on the inside of the wings and they have just enough tint of orange to them that they offset from the rest of the figure. Trust me, I want that shield that was dropped badly. However, if dropping it meant we go to keep these wings in their unaltered form, it was worth it.

Skeletor will help you get back at EVERYBODY!

He is made up Hordak feet and shorts, He-Ro boots and Whiplash tail for most of the rest of him. The tail is really something be marveled at too because it does not even seem like same piece as Whiplash, but here we are. It is amazing what smart reuse and a little color change can do for a mold piece that has set dormant for almost two years now. The rest of his body is composed of King Hsss and while those arms and legs are completely appropriate for the leader of the Snakemen, I think they actually work better on Draego-Man. In short, they now scream dragon scales to me and the red that I love so well looks so nice broken into segments, it almost feels like Hsss borrows from Draego instead of the other way around. Oh, and can confirm Toy Guru’s pervious confirmation about the shoulders – they have been correct on this figure. No backwards dragon deltoids.

A Tale of Tails

Aside from really being a walking weapon in and of himself, Draego-Man also has a flame sword (Ron! Flame Sword!) much in the vein of Surter. Since the handle was originally meant to be interchangeable with a blade (that got dropped) I see him lighting up the sword with his breath prior to going into battle. The coloring on the translucent plastic is sharp and while I dig it, I think I still like the shield better. This accessory really rounds him out though and if you were foolish enough to think that you could step to him before, I know you are second-guessing that now.

Fire Breather!

I might have been a mark from this figure from the very start but as it stands right now, he is my figure of the year. Hands down. No competition. That is certainly something considering that Fisto, Kobra Khan, Metron, Arnim Zola and quite a few others have hit my shelves since January. Draego-Man is a complete bad ass and he is such a bad ass that he renounced his real name (or maybe that was the 4H’s way of getting around the real name thing). So just to be clear: Draego-Man is a bad ass. To also be clear: the Four Horsemen need to be creating a new MOTU character every year for as long as this Classics train is running, which we all hope is forever.

Draego-Man ATTACKS!

Draego-Man is 1000% MOTU in his design and characterization, but more importantly, in the respect for the property in which he was created. I tip my hat to Eric and the boys yet again for ALWAYS doing right by MOTU and its fans. I know that Eric is over the moon about getting his creation immortalized in the MOTU-verse, but let’s face it, we are the real winners here. Draego-Man is leading the charge in this Year of the Dragon, and Granamyr will be along soon. If Dragon Blaster Skeletor comes out too, my year will be complete. Can you imagine how much of jerk Skeletor really is? He has a dragon man working for him and he goes and shows him no respect by keeping one of his brethren chained to his back? He’s a bad man. In the end though, I will be interesting to see where his true motivations lie, this Draego-Man. I would certainly not bet against him. Thanks, Horsemen!

Dragon's Brood

*Thanks also to Toy Guru and the MOTU crew for sending this sample along, you can get your on Monday at www.mattycollector.com.

Draego Is Coming

Additional Links

Snake Mountain now has Air Patrol!

17 thoughts on “First Look – Masters of the Universe Classics Draego-Man

  1. Awesome looking figure! What Movie is that with the Girl in the 2nd to last picture titled “Draego is coming?”

  2. The shoulders are correct on Draego. The gap you are seeing is due to the biceps turn, not because of the assembly. Hsss’ shoulder lines move in the opposite direction from Draego’s.

  3. It definitely looks like the shoulders are correct. I fixed my King Hsss, and his shoulders now look like the ones on Draego-Man.

  4. The shoulders are reversed. He’s got the same wide arc at the front of the shoulder that King Hiss had. The wide arc should be at the back of the shoulder to give more movement to the tricep.

  5. @ september_death…
    Trap-Jaw?!

    An articulated Jaw would’ve been the BOMB!
    Draego-Man is solid even without that feature.

    So… How stinky is the Stink of Or?

  6. I wouldn’t have thought of the articulated jaw (since no previous MOTUC heads would have required such an option), but it really would have made him perfect. 4H could have kept the sword as two separate pieces, so the hilt could come off and you could use the blade as a fire breath effect.

    Still can’t wait to get him though.

  7. I may be wrong… but those certainly look like the shoulders are still backwards… at least based on how they look in comparison to King Hiss. There is still a gab between the bicep and the shoulder scale, while the back of the arm is nice and flush with it. I’m not saying it bothers me, but it doesn’t appear any different than before. Anyone else see it too?

  8. I read every single MOTUC review and marvel at these figures and the property behind them. I was never into MOTU as a kid but every time I see these I wish I had the funds to collect the whole line. Amazing work.

  9. I really want to get at least two or three, but the white screen of death is going to kick my ass this month. This is by far the DAMN BEST humanoid figure ever. BAD AZZ!!!

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