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First Look – Masters of the Universe Classics Hydron


Let’s see here, in the Masters of the Universe world we have a muscle-bound skeleton head, a guy with a giant fist, a magical bird lady, a crab dude, and cybernetic elephant-headed man scattered among the starring cast, and that is just to name a few. That insane cast of characters and design concepts is one of the big things that makes Masters of the Universe so insanely awesome. So when you get a figure of a character that is pretty much just a regular human, it can seem like a slow dip in the creativity pool. Ah, but not when it is Hydron, field leader of the Galactic Protectors. While he is not a skunk man or a jewel lady, I challenge that this captain of the Starship Eternia is one of the oddest of all of the Masters of the Universe creations.

Now, I might feel this way since I have gotten all of my knowledge of the character as an adult, so the childhood fantasy aspect/acceptance of his place in the Masters of the Universe world is at a disadvantage compared to the vintage He-Man and She-Ra sects, but hear me out. See, The New Adventures of He-Man moved our titular hero off of Eternia and set a lot of the happenings and themes in outer space. That is an acceptable progression as far as I am concerned, and it has paved the way to a lot of expansion of the Masters’ Universe. Plus, most of the characters, especially the bad guys, moved to being more technologically advanced outer-space alien in feel, despite being tagged as mutants.

So why do I single out Hydron as being such a weirdo? Well, he is a spaceship captain — that is not anything out of the ordinary, especially in the realm of sci-fi/fantasy, but when you are a space captain that blasts through the cosmos in a scuba suit, it makes me scratch my head. Yep, Captain Hydron soars through space wearing flippers on his feet. Is it just me? Am I taking this as being more odd than it actually is? Spike-covered guys make sense to me, but a deep sea space captain is really confusing to me, but not at all in a bad way. Like I said, even if it makes me shrug, Hydron and other ridiculous concepts continue to enrich the overall mythos, so I am welcoming him with open arms.

I probably should have just welcomed him with regular arms because now my arms are tired from having them out and open for such a long time. To say Hydron is overdue in the Classics line is a bit of an understatement, but Glimmer fans will be able to identify with that pain. I am all about holding (relatively) popular characters for dispersal throughout the line, but Hydron pretty much assumed Man-at-Arms’ role in the NA-verse, so I have been expecting him for a long time. Poor Flipshot (Icarius) has been awfully lonely without him, and the New Adventures corner of my display has been a veritable ghost town, at least on the heroic side.

But that is nearly water under the bridge because come March he will be a part of our collections for all time, and hopefully he and Flogg (coming in July) will usher in a more regular release pattern of New Adventures characters as we move through 2014-2015 and into the great beyond of 2016. Quite a bit has been done in terms of revisionist history to integrate the NA story into a more cohesive overall tale of He-Man, so while I am certainly not down with many of the characters and story and points of the Classics bios, I actually like the integration of New Adventures more than in its original form.

So while Hydron’s bio features another out there “real” name (Daniel Ripper) and a few editing misses that Toy Guru has already recognized and apologized for, it keeps that integration of the Tri-Solar adventures going. I don’t always like every individual point of a bio, and like all Masters of the Universe media, I use the pieces I do like to smash together my own storyline, so Hydron’s origin in terms of where he is from will be used.

I guess the fact that he is from an island that is, presumably, very in touch with the surroundings tries to explain the space scuba getup, but I still giggle a little with the concept. At any rate, I think the flow of He-Man taking off into space after the conflict with Skeletor is much better in terms of chronology for the overall story line than the story taking place in the distant future. We are already dabbling a little too much with time travel in Masters of the Universe, so moving the New Adventures story closer to the vintage timeline is something I like about the bios.

While I have made a bit of to do about Hydron’s outfit, it does make for a cool design and something that is pretty unique to the Masters of the Universe gallery. Yeah, a diver space pilot is kind of weird, but an undersea adventurer design is definitely cool. Underwater guys have always enjoyed a soft spot in my heart (see: Mer-Man), so if Hydron would have been released in the vintage line, I think I would have taken a shine to him right away. So, I personally think that he makes for a cool Classics figure, and, once again, the Four Horsemen have proven that, with a little bit of love, the oft-maligned New Adventures designs can be be among the coolest in the entire line.

Hydron is outfitted in, you guessed it — a scuba suit! He has a lot of new parts in order to pull this off and for the most part, they are very successful. I have mentioned the flippers, and I think they look great, especially since the are supported by new shins that keep the swimmer “fin” thing going up the side of the leg. He has a new hip overlay that sits well around the articulation without inhibiting it any more than most standard figures. He has a sculpted dagger on his right thigh and while it would have been neat if it would have been removable, it still helps in selling the “diver” aspect of the figure. New forearms have been employed as well and I see some potential for reuse in characters that need more tech than barbarian in their design.

Now, Hydron’s armor has been a point of contention with the figure since the first factor shot was shown (NYCC, maybe?), and the main issue most fans have taken is that it is too bulky. While I think that is still somewhat true, I think an overall improvement to this has been made between then and now. Like most Masters of the Universe Classics figures that wear full “shirts,” this is most apparent around the lats and that is furthered by the fact that the standard Masters of the Universe bases have, well, big lats. However, there is still some room for improvement here, and, as pointed out on the web, that can start by moving the clips from the side to the back of the shirt. They add extra bulk that should be avoided around that area so I think that would help. Also, though, the part around the waist is a little big too and could fit tighter around the stomach. You can tuck it behind the belt to pretty good effect though, so I would suggest doing that if Hydron’s bulk bothers you. So, while he doesn’t seem as bulky to me as he did before, there is still some opportunity for the design team to do some streamlining.

Hydron’s most distinctive feature, though, is his diving helmet. He wears a big clear plastic dome around his head that would make Slush Head even more green with envy. It looks great and it attaches to the armor perfectly with a clip in the front and back so I think it is very very successful. He has a futuristic scuba tank that attaches to the back (in a series of peg holes that look like a cute little smiley face, just try to unsee it) and the tube pops onto the front of the helmet. The backpack, tubes, and harpoon weapon are a VERY bright yellow, but there is still some nice airbrushing and gold accents on the tank and harpoon. A small nit of mine is that the harpoon and tube were obviously cast in the same tool, so they both are made of the softer plastic. This is good for the tube, but that leaves the harpoon a little on the rubbery side. It is  not “Catra hand” soft, but it still softer than most of the standard Masters of the Universe Classics weapons.

Past that, I think Hydron has a great head sculpt, and his little fin cowl and breathing apparatus (that kind of makes him look like Droopy Dog from a straight-on angle) are certainly the highlights. The mask adds a touch of red to a color scheme that I absolutely love (something about greens, blues, and teals just look slick to me), but since Hydron did not get an alternate head a la Icarius, I wish the mask would have been removable, a la Stinkor. I know that borderlines on being overly-demanding, but there were certainly enough times on the old NA show that he was without it to support the need.

MOTUC-Masters-of-the-Universe-Classics-Review-Hydron-eterniaYay! Flipshot finally gets his bestest pal so he won’t be so lonely anymore. These two and He-Man are all that the Galactic Protectors can offer to this point, and while Mara will be along in 2015, I hope we will still get more of these guys as more vintage Masters of the Universe characters fall off the radar. Overall, I am happy with this figure and I am a big fan of his color scheme. He has found a way to make the diver/space pilot thing work, and the 4H have found a way to pull another New Adventures character from relative obscurity and make him a star. It is a relief to have the arguably two most important New Adventures characters on the shelf, but like I said, there is still work to do. Hydron goes up for sale on Matty Collector this coming March, so only a few months remain before you can double your Galactic Protectors line-up!

*Thanks for reading and thanks to Toy Guru and his team from the Tri-Solar system for sending Hydron along for a preview.

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