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MOTU Origins: He-Man & Skeletor

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By sheer luck, I HAVE THE POWER! It has taken a lot of patience and a lot of stops in random Wal*Marts, but I finally got my hands on a Masters of the Universe Origins He-Man and Skeletor. After watching seemingly hundreds of fellow collectors defy the odds and the scalpers and post pics of their own hauls, I finally had my day. I took a ton of photos, click below for more!

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These figures are beautiful. Fitting snuggly within the $15 price point, I feel they’re completely worth it. It helps to have a built-in love for MOTU, but I feel both collectors, and kids new to Eternia, would have fun playing with these figures. But let’s be honest, it’s aimed at collectors, or former He-Heads that are now parents. I’d love for the new cartoon and movies to bring in a whole new generation, but it’ll be hard to match the power of the original fans from the 80s.
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I am a huge Skeletor fan. I could be easily swayed to pick up almost anything Skeletor related, so when I first saw these Origins figures popping up in my Toy Fair coverage, my curiosity was peaked. I love the original 1984 Skeletor, he’s iconic, he’s evil but not too scary for kids, just looking at him, you have a good guess at his alignment and motivation. I’ve even put together a design using Skeletor Purple. You know he’s a bad guy, you know he’s nothing but bad news, but even before seeing the cartoon, you know he’s a loveable villain. Once I had the sweet sounds of Alan Oppenheimer’s cackle fill my ears, it cemented my love of the Evil Lord of Destruction.
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Then came the 200X Skeletor by the Four Horsemen. This is, in my opinion, categorically the best action figure ever made. Hear me out. When considering source material, construction, durability, affordability, availability, articulation, detail, play features, accessories, and how long it stands the test of time, there is no better action figure. He looks great with tons of detail, but he would survive a fall off your deck. At the beginning they were available everywhere (we’ll save our feelings about distribution of the end of the 200X line for another article) True, there are amazingly detailed, light-up Hot Toys figures that are super expensive and hard to get ahold of, and are not for playing with at all. Then there are cheap, almost disposable toys of favorite characters that lack articulation or any “heart” and you can’t throw a stone without hitting one at a convention. This 200X Skeletor lands perfectly in the center. It even photographs beautifully.
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Even spiders can’t resist

So that being said, it’s been almost 20 years, how does the new He-Man and Skeletor hold up? First up I do love the laser-focused, direct hit to the nostalgia zone. The sculpts are updated, but the color scheme, general pose, and packaging tickle the part of the brain that the Classics line did not. There are many fine things about the MOTU Classics, but it reminded you of what it felt like to be a little kid. Seeing the Origins figures on the pegs totally put me right back in the headspace of being five years old again and seeing the figure I desire just hanging out, ready to snatch up.

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Now I’ve busted them out of the packaging and had a chance to play with them and pose them, and put em on a shelf, and then play with them again, I have to say the construction and articulation is a win. The knees are a new feature. The sculpt attempts to hide the joint, and I do feel that this aspect looked great in my photographs. I was initially afraid I was going to break the knee off, but it’s tough, and tight (so it holds dynamic poses). The wrist articulation is great for holding weapons and fighting. The calf/ankle joints work great together for allowing for all types of poses. The figures are free-standing with zero support in every single one of these photos. They look like they’re supporting their weight like a real person would in real life. The head is on a ball joint so they can “look” in any direction. The plastic feels solid in your hands, you’re not worried what would happen if your kid handled them.

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Let’s talk about the sculpting. A lot of fans online were critical of Skeletor’s new face sculpt, with his open mouth. That doesn’t bother me at all. It’s something new without being a big departure from the face I’m familiar with. But even more fans were even more critical of He-Man’s face. His haircut has been updated slightly, but he has a more squinty expression, more defined cheekbones. Honestly, he does look like a different dude to me. He’s not He-Man, he’s “He-Man.” Here’s the rub, I’m way more of a Skeletor type guy than a He-Man guy, so it’s not really a deal breaker for me personally, but if I were involved with the design process, I may have gone with a face sculpt that was a little closer to the original. Even though it’s not my favorite He-Man face, he is He-Man. He looks great, and I needed to have him. Now I need to get my hands on Battle Cat.

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Stay tuned as I do hope to get my hands on a few more characters and vehicles. I’m super happy I was able to find He-Man and Skeletor at a Wal*Mart while on vacation. I understand why Mattel and Wal*Mart partnered for an exclusive roll-out on this line, but I do wish Wal*Mart had a better, or more reliable shelf placement system, um, in place. There will always be scalpers, there will always be on-line issues, but it sounds like everyone is having a tough time getting these. If you haven’t yet gotten your Origins fix, please, please be a little bit more patient before paying inflated prices from a scalper. This is totally worth the $15. And pretty soon they should be more readily available. Hang in there. You have the power.

In the meantime, see my photos below and then check out my vintage Castle Grayskull restoration and my quarantine MOTU Photo Shoot.

MOTU Origins

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