Mattel Masters of the Universe Classics - 1st Qtr 2012
I'll be the first to admit I had never heard of these characters when they were first revealed at SDCC this past summer. It was kind of surprising to learn that they only appeared in a single episode of the She-Ra cartoon, yet were slated for MOTUC treatment well before popular characters like Glimmer, Frosta, Scorpia, etc. Then I learned that the real motivating force behind the inclusion of these ladies in the line was that they were a major tease to all those MOTU/POP collectors in the 80's when pictures of prototypes were shown but the figures were never released. I was never really into the She-Ra toys because the original toys seemed more like dolls than real action figures, but I'm glad Mattel is showing this kind of commitment to collectors by putting out obscure characters so early in the POP lineup.
These figures come packaged as a massive three-pack with all three sisters ( Jewelstar the Hidden Beauty, Starla the Bright & Beautiful Leader, and Tallstar the Lovely Lookout) as well as their pet Glorybird.
Here is a scan of a cool little instructional pamphlet that came inside the packaging as well as some pictures of those original protoypes and a screenshot of their single cartoon appearance (She-Ra Season Two: Bow's Magical Gift). The latter two pictures are from he-man.org where you can find a lot more information on the characters.
Jewelstar is a very unique character. I don't know much about her besides her obvious crystaline body and that her original 80's prototype was supposed to transform into a crystal. I expected to like her least of the three from the early SDCC pics, but she is actually one of my favorites. (Despite the bulky new crotch piece which looks a bit awkward if you focus on it).
Some of her crystal body parts are hard rigid plastic and some are a softer flexible rubber, but they look very consistent. Her hair is very cool and unique, but it is almost completely obscured when viewing her from a face-front angle. Her cape is great and is made from a semi-transparent iridescent rubber. You can seen her legs through the cape from the rear view.
Starla is the sister that looks most like a mainstream She-Ra character. She has bright color and looks strong and formidable, not getting lost in gimmicks like the other two sisters tend to do. My Starla has multiple small paint defects on her face. The white spot on her cheek popped off easily, but i'll have to touch up the black spots around her eyes and her sloppy lipstick later.
She poses really well (as do all of them) with really tight joints and flexible rubber clothing.
Tallstar had the potential to be the most awkward of the trio (given her cartoon and 80's prototype looks), but she turned out pretty awesome. Great job by the Four Horsemen in reinterpreting her look while retaining a classic style that looks great.
This previous photo shows the leg problem a lot of fans are having a problem with. The legs look as if they should be connected to the body higher (as they were shown in the SDCC prototypes this past summer). I understand the issue and it does stand out as a major miscalculation in the implementation of articulation, but it's not the worst thing in the world. Her outfit it really colorful and busy and her "action feature" makes her limbs a little awkward already.
Okay, here's where we discuss the action feature. Tallstar has an ability to grow to incredibly tall heights. This wasn't represented as an overall mass change like Giant Man or Giganta, but rather as a stretching of the body a'la Mister Fantastic. To acheive this effect, Mattel has included different "extensions" to increase the length of each limb. The pieces are labeled with hidden L and R marks to designate which legs or arm it is intended for.
Here she is with just her legs extensions in:
Here she is with just her arm extensions in:
Here she is with both her arm and legs extensions in. This is my favorite look for her. It makes her stand out as a uniquely tall character, but without the awkwardness of the stretched neck.
Here she is with all her extensions. I really dislike the neck piece. It makes her hair look awkwardly gravity-defying and just makes the figure a lot less attractive overall in my opinion.
And finally, here is their pet, Glorybird! I like my collection of these birds I've already assembled. I have a green one from DCUC Beast Boy, a Bald Eagle from the DCUC Wonder Twins set, Screech from MOTUC Evil Lyn, and Zoar from MOTUC Teela. Glorybird's feathery mohawk is a riot. Total 80's glam nonsense and I love it. (It removes easily to make her a plain pink falcon).
Group picture time!
I was afraid these figures would look too bold and colorful next to the existing MOTUC/POP figures, but they actually fit in nicely and they made me very excited for more Etherian ladies in the coming years.