Joined: 18 Dec 2005
|Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:10 pm Post subject: Masters of the Universe Classics: Vykron
|Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-Ravers,
Time is running out to subscribe for 2013. The numbers have gone up but we don't seem to be there just yet. I'd like to think we're going to be okay, that even if the whole year's sub falls through we'll still get some figures in a reduced way, but I just don't know. I really don't want to see this line die and I suspect since you're reading this you don't either. How can we celebrate the 30th anniversary if the line ends the same year?
Hard to believe it's been 30 years since Mattel first launched a toy line starring a hero named He-Man. At first they didn't have any idea what He-Man was going to be. Roger Sweet took a few toys from the Big Jim line, threw some makeshift costumes on them, and presented the ideas of how He-Man could be like those other lines with him able to be anything via changing costumes.
Now of course Mattel went a different route but they still decided to honor this concept for the 30th anniversary. We've already gotten Vikor and Demo-Man which were based on concept artwork by Mark Taylor, and now we get Roger Sweet's concept as an SDCC exclusive figure in the line. In keeping with Roger Sweet's original idea they were released as one guy with alternate costumes. Of course he can't be called He-Man now so he was given a name based more off his barbarian outfit; Vykron.
Vykron comes in a new window box similar to the one the Palace Guards came in but longer so as to fully display all three outfits. I'd imagine this is the style box the Fighting Foe Men will come in and wasn't ready for the Star Sisters. Now what outfit Vykron is wearing in the box depends on which one you get. The one sold at the con was packed out in his viking outfit. The ones later sold on the site came in either his military outfit -dubbed Tank Top- or his spaceman outfit -dubbed Space Ace. As you can see I ended up getting the Tank Top version, but you could pick whichever you wanted. (There was no real reason I selected Tank Top it was just the one I clicked on when the sale page came up) The back of the box shows off other figures in the line, presents all three outfits displayed on the figure, and includes a bio for the character in the new continuity.
I honestly was expecting Vykron to be one of the former "He-Mans" like Wun-Dar, Oo-Larr or Vikor. Particularly Vikor due the similarity. Ultimately however he seems to not factor in to the main storyline at all. This is actually not a bad idea though as it adds to the exclusive status of a character who casual fans won't miss if they can't get him. I suppose his death at Gygor's hands may somehow play into the importance of Gygor's story and his attempt to take Castle Grayskull, though I'm not sure where they could reveal more about that. I must say that was a very unexpected violent twist. It didn't just say Gygor defeated, or even killed, him -he ripped him in half!
Bottom line don't try to take on Gygor in physical combat! Now let's look at the figure. Before diving into each of his costumes, there are a couple things I want to point out about the basic figure's body.
For the most part Vykron uses the standard male mold. He does feature the covered ankle joint boots of course. His head is a new mold with a squarer chin than He-Man's and then there's the top of the head. Vykron is designed with removable hair. Actually his viking helmet and hair are one piece which comes off so his Space Ace helmet can fit on his head. You'll notice the head features a raised sculpt while the He-Man head is the opposite with the slit. This is something to keep in mind if, like me, you were planning to use a spare He-Man body to display his other outfit. The helmet can fit on the hairless He-Man but it's not designed for that body so the fit isn't exactly the best.
The other difference are his forearms which have new bracers sculpted on them. The design of the bracers is very similar to that of 200X Prince Adam. Looking closely you will see they are also a bit thinner than the previous bucks. Could it be a 200X style Adam is in the planned cards for MOTUC? Since the other two costumes have clip on arm bracers why would they bother making new forearms -which had to have been more expensive to tool- unless they had plans to use them again? Young Adam is one of the few variants I really want I'd hate to see him dropped. Please let it come!
All right taking a look at each of the costumes one by one, we'll start with the barbarian/viking outfit. The chest harness fits over the torso and attaches to the fur cape, which is made of harder plastic and actually the back piece of the armor. There are pegs that fit into slots on the cape, but it can be very tricky getting them to go in when the armor is on the figure. As mentioned, his hair and helmet are one piece that fits on to the head and does stay in place well, but is easily removed to replace it. His shin guards have slits in the back that fit over the furry tops of his boots and click in place. There are actually an L and R on the inside to help you keep track of which leg to put them on. (the other costumes have this as well) They have no backing to the them but for this costume it's not so bad as they come off as shin guards and not full boots. For a weapon the barbarian costume has a long handled axe that can easily be held in one or two hands.
Removing that armor, we'll look at the Space Ace outfit next. This one has the most pieces. The helmet fits over his head and it should be noted, unlike the concept, there is no black visor inside. The concept figure's helmet was modified from an actual Boba Fett helmet, and some of the features are still present in this new version, however Mattel stated it would have cost too much to insert a translucent visor into the helmet. Why they didn't just have a full helmet with a solid black piece I don't know. I suppose they didn't want him looking exactly like a Mandalorian.
He has shin guards that clip on the same as the barbarian, and also wrist bracers that clip onto his arms the same way. Then there's the assembly of his chest armor. First he has the vest which slips on over the figure's shoulders. The belt is actually a separate piece that has pegs that fit into holes on the vest. The belt then is supposed to attach in the back with a peg and hole, but DAMN that is REALLY REALLY HARD to get on. Even when you think you got it, it tends to pop off again. Now thankfully it's not so bad that it sticks out like crazy, so from the front you may be able to tell it's loose but if it's plugged into the vest right it looks okay.
Finally his jet-pack fits onto a peg on the back of the vest similar to how Icarius' does. This jet-pack is a much softer and flexible plastic. In case you are wondering, the missile does not come out. For a weapon he has a black laser(?) gun. It's not long enough for two hands though. Also note that the lack of backing on these shin guards stands out more from the back.
Finally there's the Tank Top armor. And yes that is a bit of a silly name but it's apparently been officially adopted by Mattel as the nickname. For the record there was concept art revealed several years ago for an unproduced figure named Tank Top. (at least that was his working name) He had a different style tank head but the basic concept was the same so many fans were already calling this version Tank Top even before Mattel started using it in their promotions.
The armor fits over the neck then connects with a peg on the back. Thankfully this one goes together with no problems. His arm bracers and leg pieces snap on the same as the others. The leg pieces do limit ankle articulation, however the wider stance of these pieces help ensure good balance. Again open in the back, but they do go around the sides much more. The armor has some nice battle worn damage with some dents as well as scorch marks. The whole military green with white stars is very US army in design, as is his machine gun weapon, but remember he is based off a concept that was before the story of He-Man had been decided on. There wasn't even a concept of Eternia at this point.
Unlike the other two versions, Tank Top has a full alternate head rather than slipping a helmet piece over the existing head. The design actually seems to have more of a face quality to it than the concept figure. Actually he bears a resemblance to Artilla from the NA line. Another planned future figure part reuse? We need to keep the line alive to find out!
Vykron makes for an interesting display piece, though I would have preferred his snap on armor fully enclose his limbs. Many have argued that it would have been better to release him as a three-pack of separate characters, though that would've made him cost more. Since most collectors plan to display all three outfits though the savings become negated. (unless, like me, you already had spare figure bodies lying around for customs anyway) What I think many fail to realize (and I had to stop and think about it myself) is Roger Sweet had intended his three figures to be the same guy in alternate outfits, so Mattel was paying proper tribute to the concept this way. Nevertheless, I display and consider them to be three different guys in my canon.
It's guys like this that make perfect exclusive figures as they are ones not everyone will want and casual collectors won't feel too upset if they miss out on, but makes a nice bonus for the most hardcore fans. Vykron will be one of the last "concept characters" released in the line no matter what happens (Fighting Foe Men apparently will be the last) All three versions are sold out so you'll need to check the secondary market. If you want to display all three armors though I so suggest buying one Vykron and using other bodies to display them rather than having to buy three then having extra armors. Good hunting, and until next time, when I'll hopefully be able to deliver good news on the future, Good Journey.
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