There is a new Mattel Creations release coming tomorrow, and it is most certainly a standout in a line of some very interesting and artistic takes one some of Mattel’s core icons. Masters of the Universe fans, this is a big one. Literally.
If you are not familiar with the Mattel Creations concept and purpose, you can read all about it right here. Essentially, it is a platform and release channel that allows Mattel designers, along with collaborations with other artists to put new interpretations on some of Mattel’s most iconic toys and brands. This time, Mattel evilest, and perhaps BEST creations, the mighty SKELETOR, returns to the spotlight for this massive Creations release. Old Bone Brain has already seen time in the spotlight here via his Origins “Art of Engineering” figure. This time though, Skeletor has gone big, and he has expanded past the borders of traditional Masters of the Universe.
This new “Shogun Masters” figure takes the personality and iconography of Eternia’s greatest villain and mashes it up with the form of another of Mattel’s iconic brands: Shogun Warriors. The Shogun Warriors were a staple of the 1970s, and Mattel’s importing of the brand was a conduit that introduced a generation of kids to the amazing giant robots of some Japan’s biggest anime shows. Well friends, Skeletor’s evil ways have now combined with power and size of the Shogun Warriors and this a mash-up you probably did not know you needed until now. Oh, and trust me, you WILL be needing it.
Now, Shogun Warriors pre-date me a bit, but I have been an admirer of them for a long time, and having lived in Japan for quite a bit, I have come to appreciate their awesomeness and influence. There have been some brand tributes and collaborations via their model in the past, but this is the first official release under the influence of Masters of the Universe. If you love MOTU, SW, or are just a fan of cool toys and concepts, this one is for you. Like all of the Mattel Creations, this Shogun Master will produced in limited quantities, so when it goes live later this week (more on that below) you will want to be at the ready.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at this behemoth. The sheer size fo this figure (nearly two feet tall) pushed the upper limits of my photography space, but man, this is a very photogenic figure of a very photogenic character. I do not have anything else like this in my collection, so it was fun to go into this pretty much completely uninitiated – something that has not happened in a long time. There is quite a bit going on here, yet at the same time, this is a very straightforward and “clean” release with strong design aesthetics and logical features.
Skeletor himself has been realized in this form pretty flawlessly. The robotic silhouette has been retained, but Skeletor’s iconic “lack of” face, armor, weaponry, and color palette are are very strong here. The purple, blue, pink, green, and yellow make for a very bright swath of color and even in the two colorful worlds of MOTU and SW, this figure is bold. I love the adaptation of Skeletor’s bony portrait into a streamlined mechanical form. Honestly, I think if this was not nailed, the entire project would have likely failed, but clean sculpting lines and paint accents do a great job of conveying a “robotic” Skeletor. The translation of the armor is nice as well, as the bone forms are more geometric here (as they should be) with a bright splash of hot pink in the middle. The body has some rotocast elements to it, so it is lighter than it looks. The katakana lettering across his stomach (su-ke-ru-ta) is a nice touch as well that gives this even more of a “designer” feel with the Japanese influence.
So, while aesthetic is unmistakably Skeletor and MOTU, the form is undeniably Shogun Warriors. The size and shape of this figure a lovely tribute to the originals, and the action features take their cues from that line as well. Skeletor’s right fist is detachable and features a spring-loaded launching feature by depressing the button on the upper arm. I know that most of the original Shogun Warrior figures had full forearms with this effect, but the break makes sense here to me, and probably allows the effect to be stronger due to the limitations on how powerful the spring is allowed to be. The figure also features wheels on the bottom of the boots, and if there is one thing Skeletor has always needed, it was wheels and the ability to make about Eternia even faster.
The Havoc Staff gets the full Shogun Warriors treatment, too, and a cool piece all on its own. Like Skeletor, it has been made to be more “robotic” by way of geometric adaptation, and it has a missile-firing mechanism in the head. Eight green missiles have been included (and can be stored in the armor and boots when not in use) that shoot from the mouth of the staff via a button on top. These can, predictably, travel further than the fist feature, and remind me more of the firing features from the 1980s.
All of this comes together to make for a fun release that is very satisfying in its execution as an homage to Masters of the Universe and Shogun Warriors. Now, like all Mattel Creations releases, this going to be very limited, and it goes on-sale TOMORROW, April 23, 2021. The landing page is located here, and I would strongly advise you being at the MC shop promptly on time (1pm EDT/12pm CDT/10am PDT) to get your order in.
*Thanks very much to the Mattel Creations team for sending along this sample for an early look, we really appreciate it.