NEW MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE FIGURES
By Thomas Wheeler
Mattel is really starting to fumble the ball on Masters of the Universe,
and that's a darned shame, seeing as how it's about the only 1980's
toy line to actually be improved upon its re-emergence.
So, how scarce are new character figures within the Masters of the Universe
line? I can find endless versions of He-Man and Skeletor, but as for
the four newest characters -- Man-E-Faces, Buzz-Off, Evil-Lyn, and Roboto
-- I didn't even get any of them in Tucson.
Man-E-Faces was located at a Wal-Mart in Casa Grande, Arizona, at the
July when I was headed up to Scottsdale with some friends on a short
day trip. Casa Grande is a sort of "middle point" between
Tucson and Phoenix. Buzz-Off
was acquired for me by a fellow collector in North Carolina. And I got
Evil-Lyn and Roboto from eBay. I don't like having to buy collectible
toys from eBay, but I was just plain fed up with the search. The final
straw was when the Wal-Mart nearest me followed suit on the Targets
around me and clearanced what Masters figures it had left.
Let's review these four newcomers individually.
- A heroic character, known for his changeable face. In the animated
series he is portrayed as an actor, but he helps out the heroes when
the situation calls for it. The figure's face can switch between a human
face, to a
robotic one, to a reptilian monster one, by means of a small dial in
the top of the figure's large helmet. One thing of note is that the
figure can turn his head at the base of the helmet, and whichever face
he has visible at that point will follow suit. Nice touch, and I don't
think that the original Man-E-Faces could do that. Overall, it's an
excellent figure, and as with most of the Masters figure, a superb upgrade
from his original incarnation.
BUZZ-OFF - Now, you want to talk upgrades. I wouldn't've bet that even
Mattel's team of sculptors could have taken one of the arguably goofiest
looking characters from the original Masters line and made him into
something this cool. Let's face it, the original Buzz-Off was a humanoid
bumblebee with a
stupid grin on his face and what looked like oversized bulbous sunglasses
and a striped T-shirt. The new Buzz-Off has a much more distinctly insectoid
appearance. His arms and legs are covered in what appears to be an insect-like
exo-skeleton, there are distinct ridges in the striped torso, the head
is more angular than bulbous, and there are even two vestigial arms
in his back, which
indicate that at some point, Buzz-Off's people might have been six-limbed.
figure is more slender than most Masters figures, but looks imposing
enough so you get the distinct impression that he's not someone you
want to pick a fight
with. Overall, I am extremely impressed with the new Buzz-Off.
EVIL-LYN - If Cobra Commander and Destro have the Baroness, then Skeletor
is going to have Evil-Lyn. This evil character is the lone female in
Skeletor's cadre of cronies, but she's not one to toady up to old boneface.
She's as formidable an adversary as he is, and probably a bit more underhanded.
The original Evil-Lyn figure was, except for the head, a recoloration
of Teela. And
she was done in pretty obnoxious colors. The original Evil-Lyn had bright
yellow-orange skin and blue armor. The new Evil-Lyn is far more formidable,
and purple armor and pale skin that in a way says, "Hey, ever think
about laying off the 200 SPF sunblock?" But it's a grim pallor
that tends to speak of evil. Then there's the facial expression. I am
distinctly reminded of the Wicked Queen from Disney's Snow White. That
look of beauty corrupted by evil and a
contempt for everything except herself. Evil-Lyn has this look. Rather
on an action figure. There's some nice touches to the figure, as well.
She's wearing a small necklace that is actually a separate piece. There's
no clasp on it, so I have to assume that it was placed on the neck of
the figure before the head was added to the assembly. About the only
negative comment I can make is that her legs are noticeably loose, but
this is a problem I have encountered on Masters figures before, and
there's not a lot to be done for it. It's bothersome, but given the
scarcity of the figure, I'm just glad to have her in my collection.
The new Evil-Lyn is an excellent addition to the current Masters of
the Universe collection, but is also proving to be the most elusive
to date. Good luck finding one, and if you do -- get her.
ROBOTO - According to a response to an inquiry I placed online, the
Roboto is as follows: In the new Masters of the Universe episode "Roboto's
Gambit", Roboto was built as a chess-playing robot for Man-E-Faces'
component to have a decent opponent at the game. When Tri-Klops attacked
with an army of skeleton-beasts, Roboto re-fitted himself to help in
That's a little strange, but no moreso than some of the others, I suppose.
The figure is superb. And, of course, is connected to the original Roboto
from the 1980's toy line. That figure had a transparent torso with turning
gears within. So does this Roboto. Of course, the new Roboto looks a
lot more impressive than the original, even with the transparent torso.
Even the gears look a little sleeker.
The figure comes with a solid silver snap-on chestplate. One might assume
that the transparent torso is more vulnerable in combat, and the end
result is a very dangerous-looking mechanoid that is clearly ready for
battle. Roboto has an overall metallic (not chrome) finish, and is done
in shades of silver, red, and blue. His feet are immense compared to
the rest of the figure, and have complicated jets on the bottoms. I
get the impression the sculptor might've been a Gundam fan and decided
to throw this in as a very nondescript nod to that concept.
The right "hand" has two different options, either a claw
or a spring-loaded
missile launcher. This makes me wonder who has switchable hands first
original Roboto or the Cobra Battle Android Troopers from G.I.Joe?
Overall, I continue to be impressed with Mattel's redesigned Masters
of the Universe collection, even as I am troubled by their packaging
ratios and shipping methods. This is a very cool line that deserves
a lot better treatment by
its producing company. Whether it will get it in time to save it is
anybody's guess, but I hope so.