Joined: 18 Dec 2005
|Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:16 pm Post subject: Masters Of The Universe Classics: Fearless Photog
|Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-Ravers,
2012 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Masters of the Universe franchise and to celebrate Mattel has launched an additional mini-line to their Masters of the Universe Classics figures. The line will consist of 6 brand new characters never seen before. Well almost, the first figure is one that we were supposed to get 25 years ago and is finally seeing a release. That figure is none other than: Fearless Photog!
Back in 1985 Mattel held a Create a Character contest. The winner would receive a $100,000 college scholarship and have their character made into a figure in the MOTU line. The final winner was Nathan Bitner with his creation Fearless Photog. Mattel made good on the money, but for some unknown reason never produced the figure.... until now.
Fearless Photog comes in the standard MOTUC packaging, though you'll notice a small star blurb on the front stating "Created by Nathan Bitner". The back features the 30th Anniversary logo (as do all MOTUC figures this year) a look at other figures in the line, and a new bio for Photog.
I should probably point out first that this bio was NOT written by Nathan Bitner. Only the last line describing his power to drain energy and display enemies pictures was taken from Nathan's original description, and if I heard "Toyguru" correctly in a recent interview, Nathan apparently wasn't thrilled with this final bio Mattel made up. To be fair, they did send it to him for his opinion and he didn't get back to them until it was too late and they had to go with what they had in order to get the figure out.
What do I think? It's not my favorite bio, but I've seen far worse. The fusion idea kind of gives an interesting concept of how this bizarre cyborg works, but I think the bio raises more questiosn than it answers. What exactly was the Photog Emulator and what was it supposed to do? Who were these other five inventors? (Please not the NA scientists!)
Queen Marlena's bio mentioned a Project Photog back on Earth so how is it connected? According to a Mattel Q&A... not at all. The name is just coincidence! Behind the scenes the reason is when Marlena's bio was written the name Photog was thrown in as a tribute and they weren't planning on making Photog at the time. Okay, that's understandable but once they decided to do him why wasn't the connection made in the bios?
I can't really fault the bio too much for raising questions though, as this is supposed to keep collectors interested in reading more info later. On to the figure itself.
Despite his vastly unique look, Photog is actually mostly made up of preexisting parts. He features the standard buck in his shoulders, biceps, and upper legs. He features the gloved forearms like Hordak, and the boot feet from Keldor and others. His lower legs are the relatively newer "bare leg" buck previously seen on Demo Man. As it's a bare leg buck it does not feature the "boot cuff" articulation point, but all the other articulation is present and I must say the joints are nice and tight. He holds a pose well.
Photog sports a new unique torso, which features a lenticular sticker like Sy-Klone's that creates the appearance a moving image when the figure is turned. He also has a new loincloth/pants piece which features a belt composed of film reals fitting in with the character's motif. The belt does not come off.
Then, of course, there's Photog's most prominent feature; his giant camera head.
The detailing on this is amazingly well done. The head itself is made of a slightly harder plastic than the standard heads in the line, but that is fitting for the character I think. Because of the size he can't really look down well, however he is still able to tilt it as though cocking his head to the side. It is interchangeable like most heads in the line, but I found it fits very loose -like bobble-head loose- on other figures but seems to be normal on his own body. Finally, the head features a semi-action feature as there is a lever that can be pushed forward allowing the lens to zoom out and in. Sadly, there have been a number of reports about people receiving figures with the lens cracked. I'm pleased to report my figure is just fine and, from what I can tell, while it's a bigger problem than just the typical isolated indecent, most figures arrive in good shape.
For accessories Photog has his shield designed just like the original artwork from Nathan Bitner. It clips on to his wrist and is modeled to resemble a flash lens continuing the camera motif. He also comes with a brand new weapon designed by the Horsemen (If I recall correctly Bitner did approve of this) At first it appears to be a hand held video camera but look again and you will see it's actually a camera gun.
The detailing is incredible, perfectly fusing all the features of a video camera with the ammo magazine plus the one lens as a automatic rifle barrel.
Photog has been getting mixed reactions from the fan base, but the general consensus seems to be people are happy to finally have this figure made even if they don't care for him themselves simply because it's an achieved promise made so long ago. Many have said the design is just too strange for them, but I say in a franchise that includes barbarians, vikings, wizards, robots, ninjas, cybernetic cowboys, and a man with a mechanical elephant head he fits in just fine and I am very pleased with the figure.
I will acknowledge that perhaps Mattel is trying to push him a bit too much story wise. I don't mind him playing a role in the Ultimate Battleground fight, but taking out "several of Skeletor's warriors including Clawful and Whiplash" two of the toughest, and strongest brute squad members, kinda seems like he's overpowered and slightly diminishes older classic characters.
Make no mistake though, I love this figure. I think the design is very creative and the Horsemen did a great job bringing it to fruition. Some people have complained about Photog's energy draining ability what with the line already having Leech and Mosquitor. To that I say first, remember this character was designed in 1985. Leech had either just come out or came out slightly after it was submitted and Mosquitor came later (plus regardless of being labeled "energy draining" Mosquitor is clearly designed as sucking actual blood) The idea was based on the old superstition that a camera could suck out a person's soul and Nathan's original intent was he sucked out the evil in a person, not just energy in general. So I feel this is still a unique a clever character, and most importantly, he's just plain fun!
Fearless Photog is now sold out on Mattycollector.com and according to Mattel all 30th Anniversary characters are only getting the one time run -never to be re-released so you'll need to check the secondary market to pick up this limited character. Good Luck, good hunting, and until next time, Good Journey.
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Joined: 30 Jan 2005