Toy review: Triclops

Toy review

 

Triclops is maybe the least evil looking villain in Eternia. In fact I would sometimes call him three-eyed Heman. The entire body is just a slightly different colored Heman, he’s more tanned, but a bit grayish. Many figures use this full-muscle-with-straight-fingers shape: Man at arms, King Randor, Mekaneck, Prince Adam and Faker. Triclops’ color variation is just darker boots and pants compared to Heman. The straight fingers were always an indication for the side the MOTU character was fighting for. Evil warriors with straight fingers are rare: I can only think of Faker. Things weren’t 100% thought-through in the 80s I guess, so I wouldn’t interpret too much into that hand.

Triclops’ head makes the difference, and a well-done difference it is. A rotating ring instead of eyes is a proper science fiction feature. They managed to make it look kind of natural, without the cheap 80s robot design. The fact that Triclops’ color is a natural looking green avoids any confusion with an Android. 80s MOTU toys had a much higher level of quality than other action figures, and Triclops is a good example. His face is rich in details, even though the eye-ring covers most of it. His three eyes are not only printed on, or even stickers. They are embroidered, and colored. The color lasts until today, and the whole ring rotates without any problems. Well done guys! 

Triclops’ harnish looks very tribal, as if he’s from a group of people from a savanna or rainforest. It is made from elastic, durable plastic that lasts till now.

I can’t remember any original story being told about his background. His box said that one eye is for day, one for night, and one to look around corners. And all three are to spy for Skeletor. Mattel really left us room for fantasy. On the other hand they produced such great material for stories, and just left it blank. Find my version in the titfortat tournament! 

Triclops’ sword is very different from Hemans. It is green, very narrow, and soft. It bent easily, and looked a bit funny when it pointed to the side. There is a holder on his back, which worked well. He hasn’t had any other weapon, but he had a glowing-in-the-dark ring. The ring was big enough to fit his arm, or a child’s finger. It had a secret compartment, and a black scull printed on it. A skull with three horns, that doesn’t resemble any other symbol of MOTU. So almost 40 years later I found a video on YouTube, explaining that so-called warrior ring. We haven’t had Trapjaw, otherwise we would have had two rings. The ring was meant to be for fan club members, but in the end was just for everyone who bought the right figure.

 

Toy review: Horde trooper

Toy review

The horde trooper is a very controversial character to me. I’m a huge fan of the evil horde, and I have many good memories of the 80s cartoons. But, the horde trooper is none of the real MOTU characters. It’s a soldier from mass production, more or less a walking bucket with no strength except for the shear number Hordak produced them. As a toy, it didn’t make sense, if you haven’t had dozens of them.

So all my childhood this figure was a gap filler unfortunately. And it’s quality didn’t help.

My problem was, or his problem was the instable flap. The Hordak-embodied button was cool, but the mechanism was not stable, so that the lid would open uncontrolled. You lift an arm, an the flap drops. Turn the head, drop.

Apart from that issue this figure is a cool looking toy. It has a fierce face, and a nice combination of pale grey, red and black. Other grey figures are few, Hordak and Stratos basically.

In terms of aging the Horde trooper is pretty good. Mine shows some yellowing on the legs, and the button made of soft rubber looks a bit worn off, but otherwise the material is pretty stable.

Toy review: Grizzlor

Toy review

Grizzlor is in my opinion one of the MOTU masterpieces! They managed to draw a fine line between a scary monster, and a furry funny toy. Grizzlor is one member of the Horde, which I found all very well done and unique. He has a lot from a gorilla, except that a gorilla is black, and Grizzlor is brown. I would say he doesn’t share any obvious parts with other MOTU figures. The most prominent feature is of course his fur, which is of excellent quality and never came off or went smelly or anything. The shape of his torso is hidden under that dense fur, and I wasn’t able to find a photo of a stripped Grizzlor. So it remains a secret to me, how his torso looks, and I guess that’s for the better.

His arms and legs are also brownish, but without real fur. Instead the arms have an embossed fur-like structure. His hands are a bit plain, clumsy, shapeless, without any hint of claws or anything.

The legs are more standard shaped, but with the same structure of the surface. He is wearing black boots.

The head is not really distinguished from the body, there is just the mask of a face placed at the top of the torso.

He’s got the same crossbow as most horde members, his is green. I think no other crossbow was green. It goes well with yellow straps of his armor, which in this case is only a huge horde bat.

The combination of colors is well done, the brown fur with lighter brown arms and legs make him look like a creature that lives outdoors, and can take it cold, but also sunny.

The yellow straps are a nice eye catcher, while the bat is not that obvious. The dark green crossbow supports the idea of a gorilla living in the forests.

I can’t help myself, but the fur, and its color, remind me of another toy of the 80s, but luckily Mattel mastered the art of designing a serious horde member despite the similarities. You might remember the Monchichi? That slobby thumb-sucking monkey-hedge hock thing? It’s fur is a bit darker and lesser reddish, but else I see some similarities.

What I find most irritating on Grizzlor, is the fact that the body has no shape. He is from the top of his head to his hips just a hairy egg. No neck, no waist. That egg shape could easily result in a funny looking fur monster, but the long legs, and the really great, powerful face make him look awesome. I wouldn’t even see him look funny if someone would do his hair, but I won’t encourage anyone to do a make over with him! Grizzlor!

I always missed that kind of fur on Beastman. He would have deserved at least a bit of it, in orange of course. For all the other figures, even Battle Cat and Panthor, I’m glad they didn’t get “real fur”.

The UV only showed the dust on this Grizzlor, otherwise he would have looks pretty cool.

Toy review: Roboto

Toy review

Roboto is a very special MOTU toy to me, because I’m pretty sure it was my first! I think the reason why it was him is, that he looks cruelty-free, or maybe well-behaved. As a parent, I might also have preferred a Roboto or Horde Trooper over a Beastman or Snakeface.

Roboto is the only MOTU figure with a transparent torso, only Mosquitor has a transparent window in his torso. It looks fantastic, and the material is surprisingly robust. I can’t remember a photo of a broken, or yellowed Roboto. The only issue is the silver color on the boots, which seems to wear off often. You’ll see red plastic shining through.

Roboto’s colors are not as special as I thought first. His arms are blue, and the left hand is red. It is a bit confusing that is hand is formed like a claw, like the evil figures have it. Without doubt Roboto was always on the good side, so I wonder why the chose this kind of hand. The legs are red, with silverish boots. And for some reason the legs are shorter than usual. I could imagine this is to stabilize him better, perhaps the torso is heavier than usual? His “pants” (what is that on a robot?) are violet and a bit higher than usual, most likely because it carries some of the mechanical parts to get the gears in his torso going. The higher waist could also be the reason for shorter legs, so they could match the standard total-size. He’s got one red gear and two smaller, blue gears in his chest, which turn as you turn the waist. That’s a cool feature and makes him look alive somehow. His “jaw” will also move up and down while you turn the body, and that is maybe not so much supporting the impression of a real robot. It makes him look more like a 80s toy robot who can rather not fight, but only make noise and move.

The head is of the same silver color as the boots, and the jaw is red. Overall the silver color makes sure that we know he’s a robot made from steel. First I thought that this would be a quite unique color, which other robots like Horde Trooper and Blast Attak do not have. Wrong! A bit of silver is found on many figures: King Hiss, Fisto, Ram Man, Mekaneck, Two Bad, Rio Blast, Rokkon, Dragstor, Battle Armor He-Man, King Randor, and Snoutspout. Pew what a list. Even shinier metallic gloss is found on Jitsu’s hand, Blast Attak’s torso, Flying Fist He-Man, and Hurricane Hordak, There might be even more.

Back to Roboto. Solid red and blue are used in almost equal amount, maybe in favor to red. The red parts make him look nice and give the impression that he must be a good one. Thinking about it, he shares very much the colors of Mekaneck, except for the pants and face. Plain or neutral, I want to call it standard blue and red are also found on Mantenna, King Randor, Dragstor, Stratos, Webstor, Spikor, and Stonedar. It is not so common, and I must say I don’t like these colors too much. I helps to have it combined with orange or more violet. Trap Jaw has more a pinkish red and I find that much more appealing.

Roboto’s right hand carries a silver weapon, which can be exchanged: You got a double-barreled laser gun, which I like most, you got and axe, and pincers or grippers. The plug connection is surprisingly stable and takes exchanges very well. Except for the fading color on the boots, Roboto has a fantastic quality.

Last thing: Roboto came out in 1985. In 2013 a cartoon called Rick and Morty started, and in 2014 Gearhead was introduced. This is a humanoid with a transparent torso, showing his gears inside. They always remind me on my first MOTU toy.

Sy-Klone

Toy review: Sy-Klone

Toy review

This was a very confusing character to me when I was a child, and it didn’t get better after writing this.

First of all, he wasn’t very present in the cartoon. There is so much info about MOTU out there, that is was easy to find out from this page (amazing!), that he had only two short roles in the cartoon. Also he was never very famous or popular I would say. There are so many more popular figures, that Sy-Klone is just one of the easy to forget ones.

Second: His face and haircut resemble Heman’s a lot. In fact he looks like a wiser, more relaxed 80s version (remember the Jetsons?!) of a future – Heman. This fact was totally ignored in my opinion, it seems almost like the Superman / Clark Kent thing (ok this was recognized by most of us). The name however suggests that he is a clone of someone. As you can read on the linked fandom page, he was considered a cyborg. But the story line wasn’t very straight in the different comics/ cartoon/ books. That is confusing, but also opens the door for your own version, which is great for kids, isn’t it?

Third: His cool sticker shows some kind of universe. But space travels wasn’t a thing in MOTU (BTW the Jetsons were very popular in the 80s). It seemed a bit like a test run whether the customers would ask for more space stuff or not. But was the sticker meant as a screen, or a window to a universe inside him, or just decoration?

Fourth: While I’m writing this, I notice that the name is also very confusing. You’ll find different versions like Cyclone, Sy-Clone, or Syclone. There is a photo of a box on Google with both versions, Sy-Klone and Cy-Klone on it. So maybe there are also regional differences.

Apart from the confusing and weak background story of this figure, this is a cool, high quality toy. I can’t think of any reused parts (except for the face) on other figures. His arms are a little bit like Mantenna’s though… He came with a clip-on shield, that is also unique. It was necessary because of his tiny fists. Sy-Klone is very colorful, in a bright, maybe royal blue, and sun yellow, combined with some wine-red applications. The colors are of very high contrast and exist in almost equal amounts (maybe a bit more blue). IKEA wasn’t that popular these days, so this combination of colors wasn’t prejudiced, though I would say Sy-Klone isn’t exactly beautiful or pleasant to the eye. He is rather flamboyant. The legs got some mold over the years, same as King Randor did.

And there is one coincidence, or maybe a hint from the makers? Other figures with a high amount of royal blue, like Mekaneck, King Randor (the blue cape!), Man-E-Faces, Faker, Two Bad, Dragstor, Roboto have blue combined with red or orange colors. This is much more pleasant than the bright yellow, and obviously very popular amongst MOTU figures. The only other blue – yellow combinations happen on “drums” … Skeletor, and Evil Lyn!!! The standard Skeletor only has the yellow face, but else he is totally blue, same as Evil Lyn. Does this color scheme tell something about the real attitude of the clone Heman space android?! I guess not. Or?

While blue is a standard color for MOTU figures, real yellow is very rarely seen. Buzz Off had to be yellow, sure. Mantenna’s and Mossman’s belt, and even more Panthor’s and Orko’s eyes are really tiny. Heman’s and strangely also Prince Adam’s hair (so similar!) are yellow, but that is it. Merman’s armor is of a greenish yellow. Oh yes, Mekanek’s bumbum weapon is also yellow, but his armor is red, so the contrast is lesser. Not sure why this is the case, in X-men blue and yellow go so well together…

The chest has this 3D like holographic planet-design – which is of good quality and never came off. His wrist can be rotated by a wheel, which works well. His arms have a different joints from the standard figures (and tiny fists!), so that the arms lift up during fast rotation. This means also that he is a bit wobbly, like a doll. This feature is well-made, but also some how isolates him in the MOTU universe. I guess he wasn’t the cheapest in production.

To me his isn’t a standard Master, so for the Titfortat tournament he is one of the special guests…

Sy-Klone
Sy-Klone in UV light, note how much the blue body glows!

Toy review: Whiplash

Toy review

Writing about Whiplash got me thinking about the color schemes of MOTU toys.

Wiphlash is a fully green figure with a special feature: his huge green crocodile tail. Also is he one of the most famous villains. And green is a commonly used color amongst MOTU figures: Man at arms, Kobra Khan, Mossman, Leech, Triclops, King Hiss. Squeeze and Snake Face also have a lot of green.

Color schemes can be explained using the color wheel. This displays the colors of a rainbow. Starting from yellow, the colors are orange, red, purple, blue, green, and back to yellow. Green, blue, and purple are considered cool colors, whereas the others are warm. Looking at green and orange, we have one cool and one warm color, that means it is balanced out. This happens with most figures, think of Syclone, Roboto, or Faker! Snake Face does only show cool colors: green and purple, with grey and black. All green figures, except for Snake Face, got the orange color. This results in a low contrast, or signaling effect. Maybe that’s why I have my problems with Snake Face, who only has some purple, but no orange. Purple is not the exact opposite of green in the color wheel. Yellow would be, so the green- purple combo is a bit off. That feels unpleasant. Look at Panthor vs. Battlecat. While Panthor is mystical or scary, Battlecat has matching opposites: red and green. Some orange is right between those colors and makes it even more pleasant. I will focus more on the colors in the next reviews!

Whiplash got it on his spear and belt in orange. The quality is amazing. In opposite to Man at Arms, the squeezable head keeps his color for ever. Even the rubber tail is stable and flexible over decades. He stands perfectly solid, with the tail as 3rd stand. His chest is crocodile like, it is not the standard body. The arms are not as muscular as others. Believe it or not, just as I am writing this, I realize that Whiplash and Clawful have the exact same legs. The color is so different, that I never saw the same shape! Did you? Ok, yes Buzz Off has it too. Reusing body parts was a thing, I did not really notice that when I played with them.

The UV light I used for the photography highlighted the arms and legs, plus his pants. The tail is invisible in the picture.

Whiplash

Toy review: King Randor

Toy review

Motu fans, which character is the closest to Santa? For sure the bearded King! Merry Christmas to all!

When you look at my picture, which again I took under UV light, you might get an idea why it is not my favorite figure. The golden crown and belt don’t reflect any UV light, so they are black. So does the face, which really looks like a Zombie. Arms and torso are made of different materials and do also not glow nicely. In fact there are many other things:

1. The blue robe didn’t survive the very first weeks when I got him. It is kind of nice, but very annoying in fight situations.

2. The spear, though it is golden, is still the same as Whiplashes. So the dumb crocodile monster guy has the same model as the king? That downgrades one of them.

3. The armor is very similar to Jitsu’s. Because my second hand Jitsu came without, he got it from Randor. Not sure why I didn’t put it on for the picture, but that is long ago. In fact, Jitsu’s armor has much more ornament on it.

4. This is about quality, the King’s weirdly tanned legs got moldy over the years. That happened only to very few figures.

Toy review: Clawful

Toy review

The first two reviews haven’t been too positive, sorry! Clawful is one example for a high quality character. Even after 30 years, the mechanism of the claw is working well, the shell is perfectly intact. The massive right claw is one highlight for me, able to open and close and so hold swords, wrists and other objects. The shell is indeed hard and round like a crab shell. That only appeared to me recently, I wonder if that was the intention?

His feet are duck like, with a matte, dark blue finish that wears off a little bit. They allow a very stable stand. His legs and arms have a fringe, that perfectly supports the impression of a crab. Not as worse as with King Randor, but visible, is some mold on the legs. Maybe it has to do with the shade, which is also brownish. The torso is this extreme muscular human, making him look like a human crab mutant.

The weak point of this figure is the head- by no means the quality, the material totally holds. It is more the design, and the choice of material that makes it look a bit funny. Too shallow for me, too soft, so that it invites you to squeeze it. It also has some slack when you bend it, though it does not easily come off. His face is a bit like a pitbull`s, making him look really mean, except for the double nose maybe. Much better though than many cartoon variation of him. Good for him they didn’t try to add antennas!

His weapon is kind of a club, which never sits tight on his tiny left claw.

The UV light didn’t really change his colors, but it looks great! Sorry for the low quality picture!

Toy review: Extendar

Toy review

Extendar is a very special figure. To be honest I think he does not really fit into the old toyline. A white knight, half size taller than the rest, with thin extensions and large golden hands. The rubber bands of mine were a bit loose, so he never stood well and his arms used to drop. The foldable red shield didn’t close properly after a while. The golden paint wears off, and the legs are a bit moldy now, so in terms of quality my Extendar is clearly behind others. Oh and I just remember the squeaky sound it makes when you pull the arms.

I guess parents were happy about the design, which is very innocent. I can understand, that a Snakeface or Mantenna is not considered a valuable toy for kids. Extendar does not even carry a sword!

Extendar, released in 1986, picture from 2010

Toy review: Man-at-Arms

Toy review

One of the most famous characters has in my opinion one of the lowest quality. But the positive first: From all figures he is the one looking the most alike a soldier, with serious face, and lots of armour (but only on one arm and leg!?). The combination of bright green and orange is a looker, though the belly is free what leaves room for some questions.

He has the full-muscle human body, and I never understood why those would not be as strong as He-Man. I also wondered about so many figures what exactly they are wearing, or whether the skin is supposed to be green? The hands are green as well.

The head is soft and invites you to squeeze it. The printed-on grey helmet wears off from all the squeezing and that leaves you then with a bold looking, naked green hero. Not sure why hardly any vintage figure had a removable helmet.

All the orange parts are made of a too hard plastic, so that after taking it off and putting it back the closing mechanisms wears off. Happened to all 3 parts, plus I lost the bat (OK that is not a quality issue) and if I remember correctly it broke too. He’s also got some mold on his legs. Other figures were of much better quality.

The green shows a nice luminescence in UV light, the orange parts unfortunately not. On the other hand the lack of orange makes him look more serious. The head looks extremely cool, thus this is one of my favourite pictures!