“I’ve waited a long time for this!”
Yeah, you knew that was coming. Just be glad I got it out of my system now, instead of bringing it up countless times throughout this article. Yes, fellow Masters of the Universe fans, Blade has finally come to the Classics line, and while it has taken several years to get us our first movie figure, he has opened the gates to a colorful and cool section of the Masters of the Universe world. That is right, I am an unabashed fan of the He-Man movie, and I will Internet fight anyone who dares oppose me! Okay, not really, but I think it is really enjoyable and terribly underrated.
Sure, Blade was standing in for Tri-Klops, Saurod was standing in for Mer-Man, Karg was in for Trap Jaw (damn, I want a Karg figure), we had Gwildor instead of Orko, and a lot of the movie took place on Earth, but damn it, it is a lot of fun, and while the characters and scapes were not familiar, it held to the MOTU “feel” pretty well. Plus there was Frank Langella. And Meg Foster. I would never have cast anyone else in the roles of Skeletor and Evil-Lyn after seeing their performances. The new characters certainly made an impression too, and I, of course, have always been partial to the bad guys, so as far as I am concerned, the new guys like Blade just made for a richer tapestry, and now Classics is tying them, as well as the plot of the movie, in with the overall mythos.
If you are keeping score, you know that Mattel currently has the rights to make any character from the film that also had an action figure in the 1980s. So that means we get Blade and we will be seeing Saurod and Gwildor before the end of 2015. I would LOVE for them to be able to make the rest of the crew as well, but apparently the studio rights owner wants a ridiculous amount of money for them. But stranger things have happened, and that would be the last big “get” for the Classics line if Toy Guru and crew and see it through. That even rhymed.
As I said, though, Blade, Saurod, and Karg all take turns being my favorite character from the movie, so I am lucky in that I KNOW I will get eventually get 2/3 of those guys, and since Blade has arrived for this preview, I am halfway there. So yay! Blade made quite a splash when he debuted this past fall (was it at NYCC or Power Con? It is all running together), and, overall, I think he turned out to be a really fantastic figure. Not as perfect as the prototype, of course, but he is still really, really cool.
Since this figure had pieces sneak out of China already, I think most people are acutely aware of executions of this figure that did not quite live up to prototype. Notably, the armor is a lot bulkier and sits high on the figure, and swords came in light and missing paint applications. To me, the armor is not as big of a deal in person as what some pictures make it out to be. Blade’s chain mail held pretty close to his body in the movie, but on the buff MOTU Classics body, it sticks out in the usual places (mainly around the lats), so I will reiterate my asking for moving the armor clips around to the back of the body instead of having them along the sides to fatten it up. The armor also rides a little high. Since the bottom of the armor sits right on top of the pant line, it cannot be moved any further down, and Blade has some really big and spiky shoulder pads. It is not a ton of space, but it is enough to be able to see a gap when looking at him from the side. Again, wait to see if the armor bugs you as much once you have him in person.
The weaponry is another spot of soreness currently going around the boards too. The swords (especially the movie sword) have lost some paint applications. It stinks that we lost the paint, especially on the movie handle grip and the metallic paint on the blades, but I have heard that the cost of metallic paint has gone through the roof, so that probably explains part of it. The toy sword blade is also rounded off quite a bit (which is typical for this line) and the movie sword handle is too wide for the grip, too. Those aren’t deal-breakers, just kind of odd.
What I am really bummed about, though, is not getting two of each sword, even though that seems like asking for a lot. In the movie he had two swords and they are very, very different. Sure, we are still getting two swords, but call me greedy for wanting two of each — because I do! Yeah, I have another Blade figure coming, so I will be able to supplement in the long run, but his name IS Blade after all, so you can never have too many swords.
However, we DO get a brand new accessory that has never been included with Blade: his laser whip from the movie (the one he uses to flog He-Man), and it is most certainly my favorite weapon in the set. I LOVE that they decided to include it, and while I mourn the loss of other swords in the paragraph above, I am glad that, if something had to give, it was them instead of the whip. I think it is really well done, and the clear red plastic it is cast in helps to add to the effect. I cannot wait until Matt K shines an LED through it in his photo shoot to really complete the effect. I threw down the gauntlet for you, Matt!
Everything else with figure stacks up in terms of quality and execution that we have come to expect with the MOTU Classics line of late. From a quality and engineering perspective, he is solid as a rock, and after some horror stories that have been going around lately surrounding a certain new action figure line, you can appreciate getting a figure you don’t have to worry about. We are paying for collector grade, after all. None of the joints are loose, floppy, or weak, and the paint applications are solid with no bleed or slop. The sculpt on his armor and wrist dart cannon is some of the best we have seen in this line, even when they are made from soft plastic. I particularly like the dart launcher and the movie Skeletor logo on his chest.
Blade has unique legs to compensate for the throwing daggers, and his boots are all new as well. I want to point out that the paint on the zigzag pattern on the boot cuffs is simply fantastic, and while it seems like a relatively trite thing to call out, the effect would have gone to pot without care and would have ruined the entire paint scheme. I though for sure that Blade would eventually borrow boots from Sea Hawk in a compromise of pieces, but since Sea Hawk was designed in a different costume, Blade gets to enjoy unique boots that are certainly source accurate.
Finally, there is the head sculpt. I think that it is right up there with Mer-Man and Mantenna as my favorite of the entire line. The Four Horsemen really knocked this out of the park and the likeness to Anthony De Longis is really fantastic while keeping in the MOTU Classics aesthetic. I love his expression; it is cocky and evil, which is perfect for Blade as he fancies himself as the best swordsman around that can stand toe-to-toe with He-Man himself. The “head blades” look clean and sharp (but are actually pretty rubbery), and with that eye patch and scar, he just looks like a badass. I know that, according to the bio, the eye patch makes Blade a pirate, but I see him more as a mercenary (as described in the movie) that “collects” the swords of his fallen adversaries. The Power Sword would be the greatest prize, but even though he thinks a lot of himself, he is no match for He-Man.
Despite some flaws with the armor and swords, I still really dig this figure, and I am thrilled to FINALLY be getting a character from the movie. If you have never seen it, or if it has been a while since your last viewing, I suggesting giving it a look. With the events of the movie being written into the overall Classics canon, I love that we are able to tie these great characters into MOTU proper. Now, Toy Guru has already told us to expect another movie figure this year, so if I were a betting man, I would guess that it would be Gwildor. He better come with his bucket of Robby’s Ribs. So that would leave Saurod for 2015, and we can certainly hold out hope that we might be able to eventually get Karg and the others too. Blade certainly shows that movie figures can be great additions to Classics. He goes on-sale on April 15th, 2014 only on Matty Collector.
*Thanks for reading and thanks to Toy Guru and crew for sending Blade along for a First Look, we have A LOT more coming, so stay tuned.