Friday, February 18, 2011

MotUC: She-Ra: Action Figure Review

Since I decided to try to review each of the Masters of the Universe Classics figures when I get them shipped to me each month now I figured I should use some down time to catch up on the previous figures that I have. Since this week Bow and the Shadow Beasts are coming I figured that now might as well be as good of a time as any to bust out the She-Ra figure since she’s the only other ‘Princess of Power’ figure that I haven’t reviewed yet.

The package is the same as any other faction character package. You get the standard blister with the bricks and since it’s a faction figure you get the ‘Princess of Power’ sticker. I like the sticker, but for some characters it will look odd. For some reason my camera decided that it really wanted to use the flash on these sets of pictures so you can’t really see the tagline on the front of the box its: Most Powerful Woman in the Universe. The characters on the back are actually all tied to She-Ra so that’s nice: He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Adora, King Randor, Hordak and She-Ra herself. It does seem a little odd to see both incarnations of Adora on the same package, I doubt that you’ll ever see He-Man, Battle Armor He-Man and Prince Adam all on one package together; but I guess they needed to fill it with some character that’s tied to her. I do like the added bonus of the picture of She-Ra riding Swift Wind but again it’s odd to see him on the package but not included in the bio or anything and there are other issues with this picture that I’ll get into in a little bit.

Now on to the bio:

Real Name: Adora of the House of Randor
Channeling the combined Power of the Universe and the Wisdom of the Elders of Eternia, Adora transforms into She-Ra, the most powerful woman in the Universe. Her strength comes not from brute force but from sheer will and her cunning magical powers and healing abilities. She also has the power to communicate telepathically with animals. As both She-Ra and Adora, she helped lead the Great Rebellion of Etheria against the Horde invaders. Later, when Hordak found an escape to Eternia, she followed him along with several of her friends and allies. Once there, the Princess of Power joined forces with the now renegade Masters of the Universe, who without King Randor had become outcasts in their own land, fighting against Hordak’s new tyranny!

With the bio – again it’s very odd that there is still no mention of Marlena – they’re running out of people that they can mention her in outside of an actual figure of herself – which I hope comes really soon. Anyway, I’m not sure that I like the idea that they up-played her magical abilities and made her strength seem more psychic than anything else. Theoretically I guess it makes sense since basically Adam and Adora pretty much split the power of Grayskull but it does raise an interesting question. If She-Ra’s powers are based off of will and mental abilities or even the magical powers, then why was Hordak able to mentally control Adora for all those years? I love the twist of the Rebellion moving to Eternia but the way the bio is written makes me worry if they intend on killing off Randor, or even possibly doing away with the secret identities. It would be hard to explain how Adora and She-Ra both travel to Eternia and set up shop there and have it not raise a few eyebrows for certain characters.

The articulation is pretty standard with the female buck: ball neck, swivel wrists, swivel/hinge shoulders, hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge hips, swivel things, hinged knees, swivel calves, hinged ankles and rocker ankles. The difference is now on the ankles we have an internal rocker similar to the male figures. I don’t get why they did this because the female ankles were actually one of the best thinks about that particular design. The articulation in the torso, much like with the other females in the line remains completely useless, and actually with She-Ra’s skirt being sculpted the way it is somehow it manages to make that particular articulation point on this figure even more useless.

We do manage to get quite a bit of new sculpting here which is nice. The new boots are good but compared to the other females in the line it does come off as kind of plain, of course we get a new head sculpt, well actually two because of the alternate head. The dress is an all new sculpt and it’s actually done very well however the plastic it’s made out of is too thick and it made of a much too rigid plastic that severely limits the possibility of poses you can do and it makes her look a little too chunky. We get a new sculpt for She-Ra’s removable cape and a brand new shield.

We do get quite a bit of accessories here and almost all of them are new so that’s always a pluss too. Since the figure reused the basic female buck and we received a repainted version of the Sword of Protection that came with Adora they had more of a budget to use for new parts. The shield is nice and it has the same gem put in the top of the shield that is in the sword so there’s a tie in there. I get that they went with the gold versions to match the original toy in the 80s but I much rather would have had a more FILMation accurate silver sword and silver shield. I’ve already spoken about the boots and the dress so I won’t really go into them again, the cape is nice but it really is a pain to deal with when it comes to swapping out of heads. The heads, we have a style guide (A.K.A. FILMation) version of her head which is nice, but to me it looks a little bit off. The alternate head is more styled after the original figure’s head. It’s the same sculpt only instead we have a much larger mask that is removable and you can switch its positions to be either a tiara or a mask. Some people don’t like the sparkly decals but I like it on the mask. I actually prefer the toy head to the ‘modern’ head. We also get a nifty update on the weird comb the PoP figures came with back in the day. It still has the comb feature, which is now useless because of the females having sculpted hair instead of rooted, so instead the Four Horsemen decided to make it more of an axe. I actually really like the axe/comb but between the sword and shield She-Ra’s hands are full so there’s no room for the axe.

Like every MotUC figure She-Ra is not without her problems, and she actually seems to have the most. The ankles on mine are a little too loose and she randomly takes a dive off of the display shelf. The shield fits fine but I can see the potential to have a lot of paint rub so I just pose it in a way that it looks like she’s holding it instead of it being on her (her right fist actually fits perfectly between the two clamps.) The dress is a major issue for the rigidity and limits the possibility which I think is actually helping to make the ankle joints seem weaker than they actually are. The heads are great but the hair sculpt limits the poses you can do, and the neck peg is so flawed it’s almost too hard to talk about. The modern head is what most people will display her with, and that’s the head I have on her now. Mostly because I forgot to take a picture of the modern head or the axe and it took me a good 45 minutes just to get this head on the figure (all these months later) I’m afraid to take it off. The toy based head is much easier to get on and off, so easy in fact that when I opened the package I pulled the figure out and her head stayed in the package! There are a few paint scuffs; the only really bothersome one for me is the gold on her arm, which you can see in the pictures in this review. There are a lot of flaws here, and a lot of problems but I can’t help but really like the figure. But I think this is a case of not liking the figure for what it is but loving it for what it could have and should have been.

Hah, I go to post this and I got so far into it that I actually forgot to mention the giant hole in her head. I love both masks (the toy one actually more than the modern tiara) but I know many fans might want to display her without any sort of headgear and I feel sorry for them. Mattel issued a statement a long time ago about the hole in the head that was (it’s been a while so I don’t remember it word for word) basically ‘we don’t want you to display She-Ra without any headgear.’ There had to have been better ways to word that, plus why even say that at all? It’s one thing to say that the budget couldn’t allow for a third head, or an easier solution than the giant hole but to come out right and say we did it because we want to dictate the way you display her was over the line.

Figure Rating: B

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