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By Thomas Wheeler

One of the more peculiar figures to emerge from the original Masters of the Universe line -- and brother, that's saying something given some of the stuff that came out of that line -- that somehow achieved a certain legend all of his own, was certainly FAKER.

Faker was a repaint. He was OBVIOUSLY a repaint. He was a repaint before repaints became blatantly obvious and commonplace. Yet somehow, he was a COOL repaint.

Faker was He-Man. The explanation was that he was a robot double of He-Man built by Skeletor to serve the forces of evil. And yet, either Skeletor was ridiculously color-blind, assumed that everyone else on Eternia was color-blind, or was so egotistical that he decided to give this robotic double of He-Man his own skin color. Faker was a light blue He-Man, with brown hair, purple trunks and boots, and instead of the heroic harness that He-Man wore, he had an orange version of Skeletor's own shoulder harness. And if you looked, you could see this little panel of robotic circuitry, a sticker placed on the chest of Faker under the harness.

Somehow, this silly repaint garnered such a legend within the Masters of the Universe world, that during the original run of figures, Mattel actually had to re-release the figure at one point to meet fan demand. Thus when Faker returned, he came on a slightly revised card that said "He's Back!" on it, no doubt with some of Mattel's creative personnel at the time shaking their heads and wondering why so many people wanted a blue He-Man wannabee.

So now we are into the new MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE series. The figures are slightly bigger, they're more detailed, better proportioned for the most part, and are one of the few if not the only toy lines from the 80's that have actually improved with their reappearance. There's about a dozen figures available, with the promise of many more classic characters overhauled into new forms as shown at Toy Fair 2003.

So with all of this sculpting and detail innovation, what's been one of the questions on the minds of a lot of longtime fans? Hey, Mattel -- you gonna do Faker this time around?!

If there's any personnel left at Mattel who worked on the original Masters of the Universe line, you know they probably started shaking their heads and thinking, "Aw, come ON, already...!"

Fortunately, TOYFARE magazine got together with Mattel, and agreed to do an official FAKER figure as an exclusive to their magazine. And they must've assumed that anyone who ordered it would've been pretty desperate to get it, because mine showed up via Federal Express, and I don't offhand remember checking that particular box on the order form!

Faker is a very cool figure. And they made him just like they did before. They took the basic new He-Man figure, cast him in the same blue plastic as Skeletor, gave him brown hair, purple trunks and boots, Skeletor's harness in orange, and yep -- there's a nice little sticker of robotic circuitry underneath the harness.

There's a few bonuses, though. The figure comes with an orange and purple replica of He-Man's sword, complete with moving parts. Faker might be able to give He-Man a decent fight. There's a slight metallic sheen to the trunks and boots, possibly to accentuate the fact that this is supposed to be a robot. And his eyes are red. He-Man's are blue. In the original Masters of the Universe line, eye color wasn't even a factor. It was just a black outline. So -- nice touch.

The detail level put into these new Masters of the Universe figures is truly excellent, and Faker, being taken directly from the He-Man molds, is obviously no exception, and overall, he is certainly a worthwhile addition.

I suspect the figure is still available through ToyFare, and comes packaged in a nice window box much the same as the recent G.I.Joe Snake-Eyes/Scarlett two-pack. I definitely recommend Faker. If you're maintaining any sort of collection of the new MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE figures, then that collection is simply not complete without the new FAKER!