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Mattel He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Cartoon Collection Beast Man Action Figure Mattel, 2024
Day #2,717: June 13, 2024
Mattel He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Cartoon Collection Beast Man Action Figure Beast Man
Savage Henchman - '80s Adventures!

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Cartoon Collection Basic Figure
Item No.:
Asst. GNN84 No. HYD18
Manufacturer: Mattel
Includes: Whip, Reverse Gravity Generator, Mask of the Magi mini-comic
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: December 2023
Other: May not be worth the upgrade

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Mattel He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Cartoon Collection Beast Man Action FigureFor lifers, I don't know that this Beast Man is going to be an easy sell. I love the Filmation-inspired lines. Mattel's "Club Grayskull" Beast Man was top-notch, and arguably the best cartoon Beast Man to date as they got his armor and its hunched backpack correct - and the straps match the cartoon. Super7 managed to also capture Beast Man's face nicely, but opted to make the toy's armor more like that of the old toy. This 2023/2024 Beast Man seems like it cribs from Super7's model which, while great as a 1982-style figure, pushes this figure closer to toy than the droopy, loping, hunched-over cartoon character.

I'm not going to make you skim below to tell you that if you're happy with a version of Beast Man that you already own, this isn't an improvement. It's great that it's scaled to the other current figures, but neither the sculpt nor the colors are going to make you say "yes, this is the one for me, it's perfect." It's a decent figure for the price, but the colors are too saturated and the face lacks enough features to be a perfect match for the dumpy henchman who a captured Orko bested by doing exactly what Beast Man asked of the floating magic user.

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On the old He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon, Beast Man - along with Trap Jaw, Mer-Man, and Skeletor - was featured at the top of every episode. He's one of the most frequently appearing bad guys, so it was pretty plain to me that this toy was less "the cartoon in 5.5-inches" and more "the cartoon aesthetics crammed into the template of a 5.5-inch figure, with the overly saturated bright colors of Origins." It's a creative choice - and while in my heart I want to applaud anyone taking a 40 year old character and trying something new, when you're doing something cartoon-specific I'd rather it be cartoon-specific.

I think I would love this figure with some deco tweaks and a new piece of armor. The bicep spikes are fine, the boots and furry shorts seem spot-on. For a hunched-over beast of a man, the armor lacks his pronounced hump and instead goes with the hollow, exposed back of the classic toys. It's very open and hollow, and not closed-off and bulky. A character's pose in animation is one of the most important elements of the design, and this figure didn't quite capture his distinctive posture or his bumbling face.

The figure has white fangs, but the character is something of a mouth-breather. Mattel generally has his mouth open, and the cartoon frequently gives us a look at the inside of his mouth while also exaggerating his lips a bit. His face is usually a pasty fleshy white color, with surrounding very dark orange - and this figure has saturated, bright orange. The eyes on the cartoon tend to be a bit more droopy, while here they're exquisitely printed on but a bit more fierce. Mattel made Beast Man look a bit more formidable, playing up the muscles with the shared buck and letting him stand up like a hero. If Beast Man were an actual person, I bet he would appreciate getting this treatment. It looks like he's really taken better care of himself, but it's not quite what we saw on TV in the early 1980s.

Mattel He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Cartoon Collection Beast Man Action Figure

The landmarks of the character are all here. A clean blue brooch on his chest is present, but this time it's a bit rounder. The furry chest armor is tightened up a bit instead of a longer, droopy thing. He's got a fuzzy sculpted beard, and honestly, it's really great. I like his head ridges too, but all of it looks like it suffered a tiny bit of generation loss from Filmation's designs. Perhaps it was intentional to make something that's close, but not identical. If that was the case, Mattel did a great job keeping it distinctive.

Mattel He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Cartoon Collection Beast Man Action Figure

He has two accessories, one of which is his whip. It's pretty much the same whip we got with other recent Beast Man figures, meaning he has to hold the whip's guard on the handle because the actual hilt is too big to hold. (This was a problem with the recent retro Indiana Jones, too.) I have to assume it's intentional, much like the armor, giving this figure some "toy" elements as a design choice. I would love to see them take another crack at it, but also, it's not like we see him using the whip on the show all that much. You can stick it in a drawer, or just have him use his other accessory.

Mattel He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Cartoon Collection Beast Man Action Figure

He also comes with the Hover Ray from the episode "The Dragon Invasion," which I haven't seen in a few years. The accessory comes unpainted and can be easily held by both hands. I'd love to say "wow, what a great choice!" but it's pretty similar to the stasis ray we got with Man-at-Arms, and isn't quite the exciting gear I would hope to get after Skeletor's masks or He-Man's Sword of the Ancients. I like that we got a bonus accessory, and I hope fans are thrilled with it - I probably won't be doing much with the gray two-handled accessories.

If you have a photo editing software suite like Photoshop, and you take the desaturation sponge over this figure, I think it actually looks pretty good. The colorful aesthetic usually worked well with the new line, but the lack of animation paint lines doesn't quite work with the super-bright orange. Still, it's an animated Beast Man for about twenty bucks, with a cartoon accessory, and that's a pretty great deal for fans who weren't all-in on Classics. If Mattel put out a running change deco and/or head variant, I could be convinced to part with this one - but not until then.

--Adam Pawlus

Additional Images

Mattel He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Cartoon Collection Beast Man Action Figure Mattel He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Cartoon Collection Beast Man Action Figure
Mattel He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Cartoon Collection Beast Man Action Figure Mattel He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Cartoon Collection Beast Man Action Figure
Mattel He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Cartoon Collection Beast Man Action Figure Mattel He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Cartoon Collection Beast Man Action Figure
Mattel He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Cartoon Collection Beast Man Action Figure Mattel He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Cartoon Collection Beast Man Action Figure
Mattel He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Cartoon Collection Beast Man Action Figure

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