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He-Man Mattel Toys, 2002

At the 20th Anniversary of Masters of the Universe, Mattel decided it was time to ride the wave of goodwill toward the toys of the 1980s with a brand new toy line, including a brand-new He-Man.

He-Man sports twisting, punch/slash action along with a trio of accessories: a sword, a shield, and an axe. The armor over his torso is removable. The figure has ball joints at the shoulders and hips, swivel joints at the neck and wrists, and a twist & turn spring-loaded waist.

Sculpt/Articulation/Paint

He-Man has a brand spanking new sculpt created for this brand new toy line, courtesy of The Four Horsemen-- some ex-McFarlane guys who jumped ship to start out on their own. The figure's overall look is true to the original character in a way, but is also still very new. For instance, while the old line we somewhat stout, stocky characters, the new lean heroes and villanins come in a few inches taller-- He-Man is roughly The proportions are slightly more realistic, and he's very posable. Ball joints on the shoulders and hips allow for a variety of positions not usually allowed on these figures, and it allows for a surprising amount of poses given the overall lack of joints. Before I go on, it should be noted he has joints at the wrists, neck, and waist as well.

Since this is a new figure, the weapons are also all new. He-Man's sword, axe, and shield look very similar to the 1982 version, but have lots of exposed wiring giving them a very unusual look, both archaic and futuristic all at once. The axe is pretty much just an axe, and the shield is a nice looking shield, but the sword is unusual in that its handle sort of splits to allow for a different, slightly fiercer look. It's neat, and I'd wager the kids will love it.

They're seemingly durable, but under harsh play, will they last? 16bit Labs discovered that they work quite well in a battle with Skeletor, but only time will tell how they hold up in a backyard sandbox.

The figure is actually well jointed. Ball joints (or reasonable facsimillies) at the neck and shoulders are just the tip of the iceberg, as the figure has joints at the waist, knees, hips, and elbows as well. Despite all the joints, it can be difficult to pose him in any real menacing ways when he has a weapon, although the articulation makes this the perfect "dead" addition to any diorama.

The armor He-Man wears on his chest is removable if one is so inclined, and it's made of a very rubbery, seemingly durable plastic. It seems like it could stretch over time, though, so be careful with it. It looks good on the figure and hangs well.

The paint job is unusual, given you've got a high-quality sculpt with very rudimentary toy paint decoration. One would expect more detail, but the fact they keep it basic makes for a much more cartoony look. Frankly, we can dig it.

For the price, it's a nice toy. It feels sturdy, stands on its own with no problems, and has this weird twist-and-attack action. His waist is spring-loaded so he can punch, slash, or whatever other attack a kid could come up with... he can do it. Very impressive.

Play Value

Excellent! Big, hefty, can hit stuff, seems fairly sturdy and should hold up, even if its accessories don't. This is a toy a kid could probably smack against the wall for a very, very long time and still be in one piece.

If this piece is indicative of the toys to come, Mattel may have a real winner on their hands, even if it doesn't click with collectors.

Packaging

He-Man comes in a big red blister card with a clear plastic tray insert (very spiffy) and a Masters of the Universe logo sticker. Mattel did a very nice job, but it seems the back has a lot of wasted space, and the darkness of the overall package might hinder its ability to stand out at retail.

Just one look at this figure, and there's no mistake-- it's a kid's toy. And we're very glad to see toys made for kids in this day and age.

Availability

This figure should be widely available as the brand new Masters of the Universe line spreads over retail. The cost should be near $8.

Fin

This is a toy worth the money, easily. If you remember the old days, or just want a solid toy to throw around, this is a very nice figure. Sure, it looks kinda weird, and apparently The Most Powerful Man in the Universe can't afford pants, but this could be the start of something big. Pick one up if you're so inclined, you won't be sorry.

Our sample was found on Tuesday, July 9, 2002 at a Wal-Mart for $7.77.

Reviewed by Adam Pawlus
Reviewed on Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Masters of the Universe

 2002+
 Battle Fist
 Buzz-Off
 He-Man
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