Mattel's revival of the Master of the Universe line may have produced one of the best action figure offerings ever known to history. With careful attention paid to the detail and action features, these figures are also very durable and intended to be handled. If that weren't enough, they are a fresh update to the classic figures of the 80's, making them both full-blown toys and collectibles simultaneously.
In 2001, Mattel hired the Four Horsemen, formerly of McFarlane fame, to design and sculpt the new figures, and they have been a tremendous success.
Let's take a look at the original Bad Mother, Skeletor. Everyone knows Skeletor was the true star of the Masters of the Universe, uh universe. Compared to the original figure, he has all the familiar details and accessories: the ram head staff, the sword, and the armor. In the new cartoon (and with the toys), He-Man has his own new powersword, and Skeletor comes with both halves of the interlocking sword you remember from the old series.
His sculpt is incredible, and he is articulated in eight places; wrists, ball-joint arms, neck, waist, and double-axis legs. His sword-swinging action feature is activated when you press the button in his back. You must look at this picture:Skeletor and face close-up.
Beastman and Merman are all right, and the new figures look great, but Trapjaw is easily the henchiest henchman ever. The new Trapjaw has the signature moveable robot jaw, this time with a spring-loaded bite. His cybernetic arm is so incredibly sweet that Dr. Romano from E.R. would soil his scrubs with envy. Trapjaw comes with three interchangeable attachments a
poseable claw, alaser blaster (non-working), and a terror hook which all hook onto his belt or back. His action feature is that the elbow on the big arm is also spring-loaded to snap back into a 90° angle (kind of...it's hard to measure).
Mattel is releasing many, many new vehicles to enhance the battles between He-Man and Skeletor. However, the mainstay, the comfortable shoe of futuristic medieval carnage, is Panthor, Skeletor's large carnivorous cat, complete with fuzzy purple coating. This time, Panthor comes with a firing rocket launcher, a spring loaded five-missile launcher and a button on the saddle that raises his front paw and opens his mighty jaws. Skeletor's legs not only move into the traditional sitting position, but they also spread apart so he rides comfortably in the new saddle.
OK fine, we'll cover one of the good guys. Man At Arms, the original Tommy Lee Jones to He-Man's Will Smith, comes with a firing gun and trusty club. He also has a button-activated smashing arm and poseable head, ball-jointed arms, legs, waist, and wrists.
Every figure has a chip in its foot to signal a sound or physical reaction in the Castle Greyskull playset. The post-holiday season has yielded some great prices on this large environment.
The icing on the cake is that all the figures are reasonably priced and pretty easy to find. The hard-to-find figures are available, just a little more scarce in stores, but you can find them on Amazon/ToysRUs.com these days. Here's Skeletor.
If you really want Trapjaw, you can order a case of the Evil Enemies Assortment 3 straight from EntertainmentEarth.com.
Check out our Toy Fair coverage for pics of upcoming figure Roboto.