Joined: 18 Dec 2005
|Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:33 pm Post subject: Masters Of The Universe Classics: Stratos
|Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-Ravers,
The Masters of the Universe Classics line continues to bring us new characters as well as reissues of previously released ones. Time to take a look at the latest reissue: Stratos.
Stratos comes in the standard MOTUC packaging with the back of the box showing off other figures in the line. Strangely, the picture shows Stratos with a yellow belt but the actual figure's is red. And of course there's a bio for the character:
Stratos®, Winged Warrior™
Real Name: Stratos® of the House of Avion
Lord of Avion, a civilization of winged simians who live high on the peaks of the Mystic Mountains, Stratos® is a brave honorable warrior allied with King Randor™. Although all Avions have the ability to fly using the magical Emerald Staff, many, including Stratos®, have augmented their armor with rocket packs and jets to increase their speed and distance. As a member of the Masters of the Universe®, Stratos® fights bravely against the evil forces of Skeletor®.
So how come Stratos is of the house of Avion, the kingdom, but He-Man/Adam is of the house of Randor, the ruler? Goes to prove my point that Adam should be "of Eternos".
I don't know about this Emerald Staff thing. In the cartoon it was the Egg of Avion and even then it struck me as odd. I always figured they could fly simply because they had wings. They are Bird Men. But then of course this continuity makes them into "winged simians"....
a.k.a. flying monkeys
Other than that the bio is good and describes the character well. so let's move on to the actual figure.
Stratos is based almost entirely on the vintage figure's design. As such he utilizes the same hairy sculpt as Beast Man, giving full articulation except at the calves. Stratos does feature new feet designed in the classic "sock" foot look. (yeah, I know, my vintage Stratos is in crappy condition)
I'm a bit torn on this. While it does pay tribute to the vintage figure, it raises some serious anatomy questions. Is he wearing ankle socks the same color as his skin/hair/feathers? Or are they boots and the hair on his legs part of it? Maybe he just actually has weird feet with no toes, but how does he balance on them then? I think I would have preferred having bare feet like the 200X version. After all, vintage Beast Man had the sock feet too but got updated to beast feet. Since they were tooling new feet anyway it's not like they were saving money. (And the sock feet have yet to be used again in the line.)
One other place where there is a slight question of sculpting is in the face:
Looking at the top of his goggles there are slight gray parts that kind of looks like eyelids. So is this just a strange goggle design or are those his actual eyes? Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I don't like the design of the figure, but I can't help but question what the intent was here.
There are two places where the figure does take hints from the 200X version. First his harness for the rocket pack is designed in the V pattern though the pack itself is modeled after the vintage design. The other is in the wings to some degree. Specifically, they only attach at the wrists, while the vintage clipped on to the biceps as well. This was a good choice as bicep clips would have inhibited arm articulation. I should also mention that the sculpting detail on the feathers is amazingly well done. Unfortunately the wings were then glued in place. You can easily break the glue seal by wiggling the wrist cuff back and forth. This does not harm the figure at all and allows you to reposition the wings more to help get different poses out of him. When a version of Stratos was released in the Toys R Us 2-pack his wings were not glued in place.
Also on that note, the paint job chosen was changed. The vintage Stratos had two variants, one with a red rocket pack and blue wings, and one with a blue pack and red wings. For the Classics they went with the blue pack and red wings for the normal release and the 2-pack version had a red pack with blue wings.
Accessory wise Stratos has his rocket pack which is removable, though a bit of a pain to get back on, and.... that's it. Stratos does not come with any weapons. Furthermore, the figure has the same open right hand as Beast Man and a new left hand that is also open. So not only does he not come with a weapon he can't hold any weapons either! The bio mentions an Emerald Staff, why didn't they throw that in? I suppose, in all fairness, this figure was one of the real early ones, long before the line took off and the tooling budget was even smaller than it is now so they probably couldn't afford to make a new weapon for him. Still, I really think he should have been designed so he could hold one. Because of his wings he can't even use the clip on shields. Stratos is seriously under powered in battle.
Now comes the hard part, do I recommend him? Okay, let's be clear, lack of weapon holding ability aside, this is a very nicely designed figure of a classic character. While not one of my personal favorite characters, Stratos looks great among the other MOTU characters. (If you can get a flight stand for him all the better) But there is also the issue with the TRU 2-pack version, which is very much the same. When you factor in shipping prices you'd be paying almost the same and with the 2-pack you get an extra figure. So my advice is, if you want Stratos first check your local Toys R Us for the 2-pack. If however you are planning on buying other figures available at the same time online, then get him from the site.
Stratos will be available February 15 on Mattycollector.com. Good Luck and until next time, Good Journey.