Toy Review: SDCC 2022 Masters of the Universe Exclusive Figures, Mega
It’s He-Man’s 40th birthday this year, and Mattel pushes the line harder than they have since the 80s to celebrate. This year’s Comic-Con exclusives were particularly elaborate, with a Deluxe Set of 40th Anniversary He-Man and Skeletor Action Figures, and a Mega Set – Mega being the new abbreviated name for Mega Construx, presumably to look more like LEGO – featuring a Castle Grayskull faceplate with a Prince Adam transforming action feature. Mattel generously provided samples of SDCC 2022 masters of the universe Exclusive figures and the Mega set, and after taking many, many pictures, we sat down to take a good look.
The packaging of the 40th anniversary figures is so beautiful that even dedicated “openers” may think twice. Even the outer brown box has cool artwork on the back of both characters. Cut the tape and open it to reveal another box, this time with the Castle Grayskull crest on the front.
Open this one to reveal a two-pack of faux blister cards of He-Man and Skeletor under plastic bubble wrap, along with plastic strips that help balance the “doors” of the outer box.
Then pull the tape at the bottom to remove the top layer and open access to the numbers.
It’s amazing, reusable, and collector-friendly packaging, with one big exception: He-Man and Skeletor are strapped to their plastic trays with plastic shirt ties around the wrists and ankles. To play with them you need to cut these ties and make the package more perfectly new. Presumably a security law required it, but it’s still a bummer. The rest of the packaging is nice and worth keeping.
The set includes a ring based on the vintage glow-in-the-dark ring that comes with Tri-Klops. This time, he’s made entirely of metal, with red eyes in the shape of a light pipe. It still opens, but doesn’t really have a compartment that can hold anything. (To be fair, the vintage could at most hold a few pills.) For kids, this can work well on a ring finger; adults better think of it as an ear ring.
Special reprints of the two original mini-comics are included. These are basic text and image stories rather than proper comics, and the rather hilariously read stories calculated to describe all of Castle Grayskull’s gameplay features. Cool art, though.
He-Man and Skeletor’s weapons here are made mostly of die-cast metal. He-Man’s shield still requires a plastic clasp, and on Skeletor’s staff, only the skull itself is metal, not the horns or hilt. However, both swords are solidly die-cast, as is He-Man’s axe. (They tend to slip out of the rear sheaths easily.) In another high-end twist, He-Man’s loincloth and boots get an added feel of reality with blurry, Panthor-style flocking.
Both minifigures have alternate hands – He-Man’s are punch and karate, while Skeletor’s are punch and claw. Their defaults both feature weapon sockets.
Skeletor also has a movable jaw, although it does not stay closed. Lay it either hanging slightly open or completely wide for a devilish laugh.
He-Man’s right hand correctly features an up-down hinge rather than the usual sideways, so he can do the signature pose justice.
As for the figure bodies, they basically use the Masterverse figure style, with one exception: the chest and abs pieces get wider, for more classic muscular proportions associated with classic toys. This makes the legs less like thunder thighs. Skeletor also uses the full monster boot, rather than the barefoot and shinbone armor look seen in classic control art and more recent figures like New Eternia (bottom left).
Heads can swap between these numbers and older numbers. Since the classic He-Man face looks a bit large and too simple for this body, some may even prefer to do it.
Both figures also feature a wash to highlight the details of the sculpt, although it’s not as drastic as some early images of the retail version made it seem.
The changed torso, while arguably less “realistic”, helps bring the Masterverse body closer to the look we all know and love as more typically He-Man. It looks like a nice hybrid of Masterverse and Classics. The metal weapons also have a great feel and look, and while they require a bit more balance compensation, they land surprisingly well in the arms of these figures.
A non-exclusive version of this He-Man, minus the flocking and metal, should hit stores soon. Skeletor has yet to be announced.
The Mega set, which comes in a box that opens and closes with magnetic clasps, builds a Castle Grayskull faceplate. The box itself opens to show the rest of the castle.
Although it seems like a relatively simple build, it takes a deceptively long time. Perhaps because of the transformation mechanism, which knocks over Prince Adam to reveal He-Man.
In our case, one of the parts must also be slightly melted out of the factory mold. No matter; as President Business in The Lego Moviewe used the Kragle.
The minifigs feature cel-shaded deco, and the He-Man is clearly the Revelation version, although Adam is more of the enhanced classic version. The sword does not glow in the dark.
The whole thing fits in the closed box as long as the transformation dial is removed and first placed on a small stand next to the skull.
For more steps in the build process, check out the gallery below, which also includes many more in-depth looks at the 40th anniversary figures.
What do you think of the two Comic-Con sets? Let us know in the comments.
Recommended reading: Musclor’s Toys and the Masters of the Universe
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