Sunday 15 January 2017

Post-Christmas Quick Crappy Reviewapalooza 2017: Mattel He-Man & The Masters of the Universe Filmation Evil-Lyn and Filmation Clawful*

Though this blog may have very little evidence of it, I have actually been receiving my Club Filmation subscription – they didn’t come exactly monthly but I’ve received all 7 figures – unlike my Club Third Earth subscription of which I received none. I only subscribed to the He-Man & The Masters of the Universe line with the intention of keeping Evilseed (who was the subscription exclusive) and the Clawful included herein, I figured I’d decide on a case by case basis with the other four figures when they arrived; He-Man and Skeletor were alright but didn’t wow me enough to make keeping them preferable to selling them for a sizeable profit and using the money to buy characters I don’t already own between six and eight of already; I liked Trap Jaw but I already had my preferred version in Classics (well almost, I really want a green mini-comics version, get on that Super 7 and I’ll even pay your ridiculous postage prices) and I also have his vintage figure AND both 200X figures and as much as I like Trap Jaw the £50 he brought me was much better spent on reacquiring a boxed Super Soaker SS 100 - and I never liked Filmation Beast Man, he was a bleedin’ idiot and I prefer his shaggier action figure look (which I already owned). So I only ended up keeping Evil-Lyn – I have no regrets, I got both figures I wanted plus one and the money the others brought in paid for some awesome stuff, plus Collector’s Choice was so great this year it made up for it.

Evil-Lyn and Clawful are the last two figures from He-Man & The Masters of the Universe, one of two lines that acted as a continuation from Masters of the Universe Classics, in this case the line focused solely on versions of characters accurate to their appearance in Filmation’s He-Man & The Masters of the Universe: the 1980s cartoon that everyone says is really gay. Like MOTUC the figures were only available one-per-month online from Mattycollector, the former collector’s wing of Mattel, either during the month of their (planned) release or via a subscription named Club Filmation. Clawful was the December 2016 figure and actually shipped on time, arriving just after the New Year, Evil-Lynn was supposed to be the October 2016 figure but arrived early December, meaning she was probably shipped in early November. I did plan to review her alongside General Sunder and Nightstalker, who only arrived a day or two before her despite supposedly being the September 2016 releases for Masters of the Universe: Collector’s Choice, but October to December was a very chaotic time for me and it never happened, never mind eh?

Clawful comes from the third wave of Masters of the Universe figures, was designed by Colin Bailey and his figure as released ended up looking a little odd: he has flesh arms and legs, a red torso shell that was actually an armour piece and a head that mixed dinosaur, Jim Henson and lucha libre, but was supposed to be a man-crab (being half animal was the rage for wave 3, Webstor, Buzz-Off, Dragon Walker, Whiplash, Snake Mountain and Kobra Khan all came in that series). The prototype for his figure shows him with a unique torso and a head that came down to meet it. Clawful then debuted in the Filmation episode Dree Elle’s Return and looked completely different, a bright red dragon man with claws sums it up nicely. This look was probably based on an earlier design for the character – Filmation and the people drawing the mini-comics need the designs for new characters early in new wave’s design process because of the longer leader time they require, which is why many characters looked so different in them and why characters like Dial-A-Mug, Acrobad and Octavia ended up in the cartoon despite never making it past the concept drawing stage. 

Clawful and Evil-Lyn are very ‘buck heavy’ characters  in that they’re based around standard Masters of the Universe Classics parts that were designed for reuse and lived up to their intended purpose, I find it’s a little less obvious with Clawful here because, well, he’s bright red but his shoulders, biceps, lower torso, thighs, calves are from the standard ‘He-Man buck’1, his hands are from Buzz-Off, his feet are from Skeletor and I think his trunks are also reused, from Filmation Skeletor I think. His forearms are new to allow for the bracelets, I think his shins are new and most surprisingly, he has a new upper torso that includes his spines. Being big and thick the upper torso piece is considered a very expensive part for the figure to tool (make a metal mould for) so it’s one of the most reused and a piece that’s rarely made anew to allow for little things like t-shirt collars or a few spines, I had never considered that Mattel would do this for a variant figure who was coming out in their last month of operation and just assumed they’d either attach it to his armour overlay or just not bother with them. I was wrong and it makes Mattel look better – it does cause a huge gap in the spines whenever the head is tilted forward – I think it’s one of those ‘unavoidable’ things that comes when translating a design into an articulated toy but maybe they could have had an additional spine below the head (like they do with long hair)? I dunno, I’m back seat toy making here, that could have looked awful or been a pain to tool or something. His hew head is fantastic, though I do wish it had an articulated jaw it’s all fully painted inside and you can get a good few expressions out of the open mouth depending on angle and tilt, he could have quite easily have ended up looking pretty silly with those huge yellow eyes and cartoony face so much praise to whichever Horseman managed to keep him looking menacing, as he was the only male member of Skeletor’s Evil Warriors who had any intelligence on the show, it’s also appropriate. Nearly everything’s cast in the colour it should be so paint apps are few and basic, I don’t have any glaring issues with mine though all of them are shipping with pink teeth rather than white, I didn't notice it at first but yeah, they're pink, like, milkshake pink *sigh*. Anyway let’s do accessories.

Clawful has two, his mace cast in its usual green which he can’t really hold that well, it fits in but tends to swing out and fall on the floor, or table, or record player in my case. It’s his signature weapon and I appreciate it but meh it’s not that
functional. His second accessory is the Horn of Gondor Evil from Dree Elle’s Return (Clawful’s debut remember?), and it’s Metal as fuck and I love it, it is the colour of Cornish ice-cream rather than the brilliant white it was in the show but I think it’s supposed to represent bone and anyway we know that Mattel has been scared of white before... Clawful can’t hold this either but it’s not really for him specifically so I guess that’s ok? It is very heavy (it’s solid) so I doubt the female figures or any figure with weak ankles will be able to look like they’re blowing it – stop that giggling right now – but Skeletor or I dunno, Titus or Megator should be ok. 

Ooh speaking of female figures: Evil-Lyn. That was almost a segue, a clunky, shitty segue but I take what I can get, I could just go back and rewrite the previous paragraph so it had a better segue yes, but these are quick and crappy reviews and I’m fucking lazy. Evil-Lyn is Skeletor’s sorcerer, usually his second-in-command, certainly the Evil Warrior who’s closest to him power-wise and is usually scheming to against the skull-faced bastard. Plus depending on what iteration of He-Man you’re looking at she’s also he love of his life and the mother of his child, though I don’t think anyone didn’t think the two were ‘totally doing it’. Evil-Lyn was also designed by Colin Bailey and debuted in the second wave of Masters of the Universe figures, where she had bright yellow skin and blue armour, it seems that Bailey intended for her to have a colours scheme closer to what she would use everywhere else, and the original cartoon bible uses those colours, which is why the cartoon does I suppose (though The Sorceress ended up looking very different).    

Evil-Lyn’s one of my favourite villains, she’s great in every He-man incarnation she turns up in but I actually kept this figure because I honestly cannot decide if I like her pale skinned in black and purple or yellow skinned in blue more, I think I genuinely like them both the same. All of Evil-Lyn’s problems are paint based and they’re pretty distracting. Most noticeable is that her skin tone varies wildly form piece to piece, ranging from ‘milky white skin’ (torso) to ‘too much make-up’ (head) to ‘Ambrosia rice pudding’ (legs) it honestly doesn’t look at bad in-hand as it does in a photo, I promise – more annoyingly is that my one’s head and biceps are painted atrociously – not a single thing on her helmet or bands lines up and the edges are so soft you’d think they were airbrushed, her lipstick’s wonky also – this is not an isolated incident. What I honestly find the most distracting is that half her cape is folded over, I thought mine just got warped in the package but no, looking at the prototype (the one the hand fell off of, lol) and final product shot on Mattycollector I think it’s supposed to look like that – it’s just so asymmetrical, aaagh! Otherwise sculpt-wise there’s nothing to moan about though, she’s another buck heavy figure with her thighs, torso, shoulders, calves, feet and hands all reusing the standard female body pieces. Her biceps, forearms and boot tops are all new, as is her ‘armour’ overlay and crotch which again manages to do the impossible and not look like a loincloth, do you ever think that we were being bullshitted about that? I doubt Mattel minded as the arm and leg pieces should have been reused for Filmaton Teela but then they shut down the Mattycollector wing and gave the licence to an art toy maker, oh well, maybe Super7 will use ‘em and make the Teela I’ve always wanted (with the arse I’ve always wanted), I’d pay their ridiculous shipping costs for that too. Oh Evil-Lyn has reversed forearms – I didn’t even notice until I read it on, this really bugs some people and it’s been going on in the line for a long time, at least this time we weren’t told it was intentional I guess.    

Evil-Lyn’s accessorised up and I salute that. She has her wand as accurate to its appearance in the show, I so want this want in me size and I think I have since I was about…three years old, it love it, it’s a bit warped and the black paints not quite in the lines, though much better than the head or bands. Her alternate head is her unhelmeted head; it showed up in the cartoon a time or two again it’s nice but it has the too much make-up colour scheme even worse than the standard head (apparently because the heads were cast in purple, which makes no sense at all really) unless it was on the same mould as the new boot pieces (possible I guess). Finaly she comes with the massive wad of Corodite Crystal she tried to con the Widgets out of in the episode Evil-Lyn’s Plot – yes, yes yes yes yes, yes this is a fantastic accessory, it looks absolutely lovely, the paint is, well a lot better than the figure, it’s big and chunky but not too heavy for the lady to hold aloft and pretty damn accurate to the cartoon too plus it’s base is moulded to fit Evil-Lyn’s spell-casting hand and it slides on lovely and stays there. Top notch accessory, more like this from every company please.

And there you are, I’ve waffled on about another pair of He-man figures, I thank you for reading my imaginary buddies. In conclusion Clawful is great but could do with shutting his mouth and cleaning his teeth; Evil-Lyn was painted by a blind child using a pedal powered airbrush in the dark and can't put her arms on properly.   

"you look ridiculous*

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