Joined: 18 Dec 2005
|Posted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 9:37 pm Post subject: Masters of the Universe Classics: Gwildor
|Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-Ravers,
As with last month there was a delay in shipping which is why I am only now getting to this month's releases. From what I understand there was a strike followed by union contract re-negotiations out at the California docks so for a while everything was just sitting on the boat still and even once they got back to work things progressed slowly. I don't want to have a debate on the subject, I'm just stating that's what the delay was about. At any rate they're here now so let's move on with the reviews. (also you may have noticed last month I was in such a hurry to get the reviews done that I completely forgot to have Loo-Kee hiding in any pictures! He's back this month though) First up since it's the end of the year we've got the 2014 "year end item" Gwildor
Gwildor was first introduced to fans in the 1987 live action Masters of the Universe movie, portrayed by the late, very talented and funny, Billy Barty. Now it is true that Gwildor was created largely because in 1987 it would have been very difficult to portray Orko live action, even with a proper high budget that a sci-fi/fantasy epic like Masters of the Universe would call for. But the movie got handed off to Cannon studios which was already bankrupt and just releasing a few more films to turn a quick couple bucks before shutting its doors. Thus the film was given a meager budget of only $17 million (which even in 1987 was preposterously low for ANY film). In spite of this many fans (myself included) still liked the end result and the film actually did turn a small profit (making around $27 million at the box office) so while hardly a huge success it did not in fact bomb. So anyone who tells you the movie bombed and ended the studio has it backwards. It was the already failed studio that prevented the film from being as big and epic as it could have been.
Anyway, since Gwildor was one of three new characters from the movie to get a figure in the vintage line, he is therefore able to get a new one in the Classics line. Gwildor comes in the larger size blister card package we saw with Orko, Queen Marlena and Ram Man. This is due to his multiple larger accessories, although it still feels like a bit of wasted space and that he could have been fit in the standard box. (particularly when you remember how crammed in some figures like Draego-Man were) The front of the box features a star blurb stating how he includes a "prototype" Cosmic Key -more on that in a bit. The back of the box shows off a selection of a selection of other figures in the line (including Mighty Spector again ) and presents a bio for Gwildor.
... a what troll? In the movie Gwildor is a Thenurian. I'm guessing that term is off limits due to the rights issue, but I could have sworn the name was used in other media too. Even granting they couldn't say Thenurian, the replacement comes off as gibberish made to look alien sounding. Same with the never before mentioned academy. If he went there why did no one ever know about him until the Cosmic Key incident? There we see hints of the movie story while staying broad enough. A while back during a Q&A it was said that Gwildor died in the Classics cannon but now we see that he in fact faked his death. Better, but still the end there comes off as a blatant excuse for Scott to shoehorn in his "Mary Sue" character of Mighty Spector. Honestly I think that character wouldn't get half the hate he does if he wasn't shoved in our face so often.
Out of the box it becomes clear why Gwildor had a higher price point despite being a smaller character. Namely he is INCREDIBLY detailed! Despite not having the movie rights (beyond the three) nor the actor likeness rights, they have done an amazing job capturing Gwildor's look right off the screen! Now Gwildor is still a little person, standing roughly the same height as Madame Razz, and as such he is a 100% unique tool. He has most of the same articulation as a full size figure, with some of the differneces we've seen throughout other short guys in the line. His head is on a ball joint, though his thick hair and beard do hinder the movement a bit. He has ball jointed shoulders and, like most short characters in the line, he has ball joints halfway down his arms which combine the bicep swivel and elbow joint. His wrists swivel and he does have a swivel at the waist, but it's under his long robes which largely negates any use for that. His legs have only swivels instead of ball joints, but again the robes negate a need or use for more. There are no knee joints but he does have boot cut articulation and ankle joints.
Gwildor includes three accessories. For the first time we get his staff as seen in the film The paint and sculpt capture the wooden look very well and the technological top is highlighted with detail and metallic paint. Gwildor may have only ever used this as a walking stick, but it fits his character of an inventor and tinkerer. His left hand is sculpted in the gripping pose and holds it nicely. His other two are different versions of the Cosmic Key. The first is just the same mold as the one that came with Preternia Disguise He-Man but painted in the color scheme of the vintage toy version. The other is a brand new sculpt that the package refers to as the prototype version. This is a reference to the film where Skeletor steals the Cosmic Key allowing him to take Grayskull, but Gwildor reveals that he still has a working prototype which is the one the heroes use (and basically becomes the film's Macguffin). However, in the film there is not a visible difference between the two keys. (Skeletor's may be slightly shinier, but no size or design difference) This one is even closer to the film's design, though a bit bigger than it was in the movie. The main difference is the paint job with red prongs instead of silver like in the movie. The large "energizer switch" is sculpted on, though it's the same silver color as the other buttons while in the film it's red. The Key even has the leather carrying strap sculpted on though it's just a visible detail and not usable. Nevertheless this is a very close to film accurate design for a major franchise artifact.
Getting back to the subject of details, let's look closer at Gwildor. At first when I saw the figure's pictures I thought his hair was too big and puffy, but in hand and comparing it to the film it actually is accurately thick. Remember that in the film it's actual hair while the figure has sculpted plastic. The face is amazingly done and despite not having actor likeness rights it feels like it's right out of the film. Granted Billy Barty was under a lot of makeup so actor likeness is a bit of a moot point, but they got all those little details right including his squinted right eye -a trait of Billy Barty himself. Pity he's no longer with us, I think he'd be quite pleased with his figure.
The great detail and paint job doesn't stop at his face though. There is an incredible amount of detail etched into his robes. There is so much to look at with all the intricate designs and metallic gold chains along his body and even small objects sticking out of his outer robe's pockets. I honestly can't find any part of this guy where paint detail was skimped on.
The vintage Gwildor gets a lot of flak for being lacking in detail, articulation and likeness. It honestly looks little like the film version of the character and even less so now in comparison. His Cosmic Key was absolutely nothing like the film version. It's largely these details that made him one of the least popular figures and not as anticipated in the Classics line. Boy was that changed once we actually got Classics Gwildor! Many argue that the vintage figure is so different he doesn't look like he's actually part of the MOTU line, I can't see that with this new one. He fits in perfectly.
I really wish we could get more in figure form from the live action film. I still don't really understand why they can't do a Movie version Skeletor. Since it's Skeletor they have the rights to the character and since the skull visage does not actually look like Frank Langella actor likeness shouldn't be an issue. Of the ones we can and will get Gwildor was my least anticipated at first, but the end result blew me away with how well done and detailed he is. Now I am more excited than ever to see what the Four Horsemen do with my personal favorite Saurod.
Gwildor sold out very quickly on Mattycollector.com so check the secondary market. Good Luck and until next time, Good Journey.
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