Tuesday, February 22, 2011

MotUC: Shadow Beast: Action Figure Review

Today I’m going to look at the first ‘over-sized’ beast/figure that I own for the Masters of the Universe Classics line. I’ll be honest here; I wasn’t looking forward to this figure at all. There are some beasts I really want (Battle Cat, Panthor, Cringer, Spirit, Swiftwind, Clawdeen and Storm – so basically all the main steeds of the group leaders) but I don’t have any use for at least half of the animals. There’s just no attachment to this particular character for me and the 30 dollar price tag doesn’t help win it any points. The tagline ‘evil creature of darkness’ is really good.

The package is HUGE and that’s actually a bit of an understatement. Now I don’t have Gygor, Tytus, Battle Cat, Skeletor and Mo-Larr or the palace Guards two pack so I have no idea how much of a difference there is between the sizes of those packages. I can say that the white mailer box is big enough to actually fit two of the regular figures’ white mailer boxes in them comfortably. The actual package is big, a lot bigger than the regular figures but also there’s more free space in the package. I’m not entirely sure why they did that.

Now on to the bio:

Real Name: Varies
Great ape-like beasts who live in tribes throughout the dark hemisphere, Shadow Beasts can only come out in the absence of light. Originally created by Count Marzo as a weapon to use against his enemies, the beasts were driven back by Princes Keldor and Randor and forced to reside in the shadows of Mount Barathrum. There they developed a long standing hatred of both the Human and Gar race. Easily manipulated, the ever growing colony of Beasts was later controlled by Beast Man in the service of Skeletor to take down Eternos Palace. With their great strength and stealth-like appearance, Shadow Beasts are more than a match for heroic warriors!

The back of the package is a bit off. I’m not sure where they got the image of the Shadow Beasts from for the image in the bio but it’s nice nonetheless. I hate that after all this time that Mattel still cannot figure out how to place the correct figures on the back of packages. We have Skeletor, Trap Jaw, Tri-Klops, Evil-Lyn, Webstor, Beast Man, Whiplash and Scareglow. Beat Man makes sense because he can control animals, Skeletor makes sense too, I guess you can justify Evil-Lyn because she freed Marzo. But the entire bio speaks about how Marzo created these beasts and how Randor and Keldor defeated them; it would make much more sense if the figures on the back were: Beast Man, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, Count Marzo, King Randor, Keldor, Teela, He-Man and Man-at-Arms. If they didn’t want to have two versions of the same character on the package that’s fine but Marzo really needed to be on there especially over Scareglow.

The articulation is different than the standard figure. You have rotation on the feet, hands, head and thighs. The shoulders, elbows and bicep joints are the same as the regular figures. There is no articulation on the abs, waist or knees. The head is also not removable. Mattel has said that they needed to cast the larger figures differently in order to make them more affordable and that’s fine but at the same time it’s odd to see a figure like Battle Cat who is so articulated, Tytus who is really lacking in articulation and then the Shadow Beasts who should fall somewhere in between have the same articulation as the largest figure of the line. I guess the different casting is also why the plastic (on mine at least) in the torso area is rather squishy – if you listen carefully you can even hear the air move out of the joint holes if you squeeze the stomach.

There isn’t much new sculpting – Shadow Beasts basically share the same buck as Gygor only with new hands, feet and a new head. The feet came out really well and the hands are nice too but they seem a bit weird with just the three fingers. The head is much better than I thought it was going to be the horn isn’t too weird looking, but it is odd that the image they used in the bio has two horns yet the head only has one (the same can be said for the color differences between the bio image and then the images of the figure and the figure itself) my only wish for the head sculpt would have been that they made a hinged jaw.

There isn’t much in the way of accessories here. You’d think that would work against the figure because of all the armor pieces that came with Gygor but there really isn’t much else they could give the Shadow Bests aside from the club and the club is pretty amazing. It’s actually my favorite part of the entire figure. The detail on it is simply amazing it really does look like a ripped out part of a tree with metal spikes shoved into it.

Figure Rating: B
It would have been a C just because I’m so ‘meh’ about the figure in general but the club really saved it.

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