Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Quick Crappy Review: Masters of the Universe Classics Perfuma & Ceratus

It’s another Quick Crappy Review! I am writing other stuff I promise you but until then, let’s talk about some more He-Man toys.

I’m feeling pretty good about Masters of the Universe Classics for the first time since SDCC, the Classics 2.0. Subscription went through even when morale and trust was at an all-time low in the fanbase, it’s been confirmed that those of us on the losing side of the War of Independence will be getting our Laser two-pack, Point Dread Teela is still awful though.  This makes it a good time to get these two, because if I was still feeling crappier about the line, this review would be a lot harsher than it’s going to be.

Both of today’s subjects are October’s regular figures for their respective subscriptions, Perfuma for Club Eternia and Ceratus for Club 200X - which deals exclusively with characters from the early 2000s He-Man cartoon you probably hated1. Neither are exceptionally big deals in their respective universes but both are quite important when it comes to Classics’ character selection – Perfuma is the last original character from the vintage Princess of Power toyline to be remade in Classics and Ceratus is the last member of Randor’s core Council as shown in the Classics mini-comics, so they’re both achieving something simply by exiting, if you’ve never heard of them though, I’ll forgive you.

Ceratus might look a little familiar, he’s based on his younger brother Whiplash, but given how redesigned Whiplash was for 200X he may well not. The Evil Warriors got bigger backstories in the 2000s cartoon, including Whiplash (the lizard man with the rubber tail), where it came to light he was the brother of the chief of one of the tribes in Subternia, the Caligars, and that chief’s name was Ceratus. Cerry (as his bitches call him) debuted in the episode ‘Underworld’ and his main thing was trying to overcome an old rivalry with another Subternia tribe, the Sepleans – lead by Lord Dactys (who we already have a figure of), both eventually put their differences aside and hooked up with Randor’s council to fight the Snake Men. I liked him ok but generally preferred Dactys and his ‘cool dad’ personality more than Ceratus ‘what if Whiplash wasn’t an idiot’ concept. Ceratus was one of the figures used to sell the 200X subscription last year, and he did his job admirably, many predicated Ceratus would be one of the figures in the sub once rumours began to circle about it, but few predicted he would look so bloody awesome when his prototype was shown. His final figure mostly retains this, with one irritatingly obvious exception.

For lack of better term, Ceratus looks exceedingly badass; I think you’d have to be a bit of a weirdo to deny that Cerry is a well sculpted fellow, fantasy monsters and clever part reuse are sculptors the Four Horsemen’s trademarks and as this figure can be easily summed up as ‘lizard ogre’ and just as easily as ‘lizard ogre built from bits’2 it couldn’t be more suited to the team and they do themselves proud. My favourite piece (yes I have a favourite part of a figure of an obscure He-Man character) is his tail, instead of just sculpting a new one (as they had to make a new tool regardless, due to the spikey end) they instead took Whiplash’s and sculpted the new end on top of it3, it adds a coherence that I enjoy so much in a line, especially in members of the same race, and gives something noticeably similarity to his more famous brother despite looking quite different elsewhere. Honestly I think a lot of people would have preferred Whiplash to have looked more like Ceratus, I’m not in the group – Whiplash was one of my childhood MOTU figures and so I was quite happy to have him look exactly like I remembered him, furry eyebrows and all, and on a less personal note having Whiplash use the vintage ‘Caligars’ design and Ceratus use the 2000s Caligar style was a handy shortcut to making them look different while still similar, and also making them fit their roles, you can tell why the slimmer, snider, creepier  looking Whiplash is an Evil Warrior and why the spikier, bulkier, more physically imposing Certaus is the ruler of his tribe. Virtually no articulation is blocked and his head has a fantastic range, he has no boot cuts because he has no boots but I’m the sort of person who appreciates that logic over an articulation point (I hate it when The Turtles have ab crunch or waist swivels, shells don’t work like that, not even mutant ones!). Now let’s moan about fat armour syndrome, which has been coined to describe MOTUC figures having thick amour overlays around their lats, Ceratus is a peculiar sufferer but a noticeable one; while he may not look like it he does in fact have an amour overlay to replicate his armoured chest and back and it really sticks out at the sides, several figures last year were terrible for this problem, the result of inappropriately placed tabs and the personal preference (or laziness, depending on who you ask) head of design named Rueben, but I was more OK with many of those victims – including NA Skeletor, Seahawk and Hydron – because their fat armour went all the way down to their waists, it did make them look bulky but they looked bulky all over, more like they’d been drawn by Ed McGuiness or something, and Hydron y’know wears a deep sea diver’s suit and they’re rarely form fitting. Ceratus’ fat lats only go half way and stick out like a Calrigar in Seplean territory4.  The segmented, ankylosaur like design helps hide it a little but it is noticeable and a real shame that such a cool figure has a big blight, there doesn’t seem to be any reason for it either, we had this problem pretty much licked and it doesn’t seem to be a result of the tabs being under the armpits (though it could be) it just seems to be really thick, look at it:

That’s not ‘minimum thickness’, that’s thicker than the front of the overlay. I’m sure it’s just one of the various things that have happened due to all the behind-the-scenes changes and craziness in the middle of this year which is the New Team’s answer for everything that went wrong post-SDCC5

Just to bring some positivity back into this QCR (so pithy!) my Ceratus is a perfect colour, some reviewers, including The Fwoosh, got a Caligar closer to garden furniture green but mine is the correct shade of paler/lower-contrast green. Meanwhile he comes with only one accessory his…um…er…Cow Tool; I have no idea what that thing is and no-one else seems to either, it’s a new design created for this figure and he’s holding it the right way up in these pictures according to the packaging and promo photos but he can also wield it like a gun or a sword, so it’s a versatile Cow Tool if nothing else, I think I like it, but I’m so confused by it I can’t decide.

Speaking of accessories that make no sense, Perfuma! Perfuma is a little bit more high-profile than Ceratus but then lots of things are, she was one of the second wave of Princess of Power toys and I think one of the more remembered; Mermista is easily the most popular and Entrapta has the most cartoon appearances (I think?) but Perfuma was the one who smelt (rosewater), and kids remember that shit. The Classics figure has this ‘action feature’ too just like Moss Man and Stinkor but I have no sense of smell so I can’t comment on that, from what I can taste it’s quite potent but not as bad as Moss Man’s6. However working against our flower child’s profile is that she only had one noticeable appearance in the She-RA: Princess of Power cartoon from FILMation, her feature episode ‘Flowers for Hordak’ – which I adore (in fact I’m watching it right now), in it Perfuma is a mad person who drives Hordak nearly as mental with her staunch resistance to being terrified by him and the Fright Zone and her staunch insistence on redecorating the place, it’s great, Google it my imaginary subordinates.   

This figure is a big disappointment and not the toy that my beloved Perfuma deserves by a long-shot, it’s not a rotten figure and it’s nice that Rio Blast has someone to keep him company in the ‘crap but not crap enough to sell’ club, but I’m still let down. The design continues the theme of ‘composite designs’ that the POP characters have had, mixing their more recognisable cartoon/style guide costumes with details from their vintage figures, this one however swings way closer to the toy than many (except Entrapta) and personally speaking that’s the first disappointment, when I think of Perfuma I think of her in Flowers for Hordak, infuriating Hordikins, and in that she was a cute mad girl with no shoes, so the choice of her toy bracers and boots was a bit of a let-down, each are new sculpts so I can’t see why they couldn’t have given her bare arms and shins other than just a stylistic choice on the part of the Horsemen that I just don’t happen to agree with, which is at least understandable. The head problems are not: her face is far older than how she’s always been represented as up to this point, theyv’e sculpted under her eyes and it looks like bags, she has weird octopus hair that’s the colour of scrambled eggs but most unforgivingly her head is a different colour to her body. This is, I think, because it’s painted rather than casted in a skin-tone (like her body and arms) and doesn’t sound like it’s a big issue, it isn’t not even as noticeable in hand as it is in some pictures, but it is a problem because of the following observation: it makes her look like she’s got too much make-up on: So they took a young, cutie flower-child and made her into a…well… an Essex Bird (or a Jersey Shore reject if you’re an imaginary American reader), Perfuma should not look slutty, ever, plain and simple, you have failed Matty, failed.

I wanted to get a shot of Ceratus using the Flowerzooka to
show it off but it's too heavy even for him so just
enjoy another portrait shot
 While I won’t be displaying her with a weapon because it seems contrary to her personality she comes with two accessories (three if you count her flower bonnet, which is removable and took me forever to figure out): a standard Princess of Power issue shield that most of the girls got and her main accessory: a huge flower bazooka. The Flowerzooka is great in concept, turning her vintage toy’s backpack (you made a flower pop out of it) into a bazooka to give her an offensive weapon, but its execution is flat out fucking dumb. I can’t even think of a way to phrase that so I don’t sound like a 10 year old arguing over Sega and Nintendo, it’s dumb, but more dumb than usual dumb and thus requires a swear word, thus it’s fucking dumb. Firstly she can’t wear it as a backpack; despite having what looks like two pegs to plug it into her (ewww) she has no holes in which to plug things (ewww) so that’s one fail, but the big dumbness is that it’s so heavy she can’t hold it up with one hand, it just drops to the floor, so she should hold it with two hands right? WRONG. She has a really open left hand which can’t hold shit, why does he have that? I have no idea, I guess it’s kind of meant to be a spell casting (flower casting) hand but the end result is that she can’t hold her unique accessory, one meant only for her, in any way that simulates firing it. maybe it’s just an unfortunate result of the weapon’s design but I can’t believe there was no way to make it lighter, it’s like a lump of Play-Doh, actually that’s a point, she really does look like she’s made out of Play-Doh doesn’t she? I think that’s a negative but I really kind of like it.

"flower hugs! flower hugs!"
"just. stop."
"flower hugs! flower hugs!"
In conclusion these are perhaps the weakest figures in their respective subscriptions (so far), and it shows you how damn good the 200X sub has been that a figure as awesome as Ceratus is the worst figure just for one flaw, and how disappointed I am with Perfuma that I rank her below three boring variants (that I sold), a mostly naked man and a figure based around splitting up that didn’t split up. I am keeping her because she’s not THAT bad and really we’re never going to get another Perfuma, I hate myself for doing that because it really annoys me when people do that with awful superhero figures like that god-awful Captain Britain or the crack-whore looking Fire and Jim Lee Rogue7, although Perfuma is still a million times better than those wank.    

1 Another item, the Terror Claws Skeletor & Flying Fists He-Man two pack, was released in the Club Eternia subscription for October as the fourth and final extra ‘quarterly’ item. I am completely without fucks to give for those two variants so they’ve gone off to eBay.
2 parts have been culled from He-Man, Whiplash/Buzz-Off, Fang-Man and I’m pretty sure the feet aren’t new either (Demo Man maybe?).
3 The Horsemen call this ‘fabricating’ but I don’t like to use the term because in many industries, including the custom car and bike world, fabricating means the complete opposite – making something from scratch – rather than altering an existing part for a new piece like the Horsemen use it.
4 I am deeply ashamed of that metaphor.
5 I am not really being that facetious, their response to everything has really been “it’s been crazy back here, loads of changes, we love the line as much as you do, it’s not our fault, it was an oversight by someone else” 
6 that isn’t a joke, I really don’t have a sense of smell, I can taste some smells though.
7 that new Jim Lee Rogue shown off at NYCC 2015 though looks the sex, even the annoying Hasbro Superhero Thighs don’t look so bad on her (that’s true of Mockingbird too actually). 

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