Joined: 18 Dec 2005
|Posted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 10:39 pm Post subject: Masters of the Universe Classics: Point Dread/Talon Fighter
|Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-Ravers,
despite Mattel saying we would likely not see any more vehicles in the line after the Wind Raider, we then got the Sky Sled, then the Battle Ram, and now we have yet another vehicle this time with a mini play set. It was kinda hinted they were thinking of it when Castle Grayskull came out but now it has arrived; Point Dread and the Talon Fighter.
Point Dread actually didn't get much exposure in the vintage line. The name was originally going to be used for Skeletor's base of operations before Snake Mountain was developed. The actual Point Dread as we know it only appeared in a few stories during the Pre-Filmation era. In those stories Zodac revealed it to He-Man as a way of restoring the balance between good and evil at a time when Skeletor had the advantage. Strangely one story claimed only He-Man had the power to control the Talon Fighter yet another one had Skeletor successfully steal and use it.
In Filmation and beyond Point Dread itself did not appear. The Talon Fighter did appear in a few episodes, but it was basically depicted as just another flying vehicle. To the best of my recollection only He-Man himself was ever seen flying it, but nothing was mentioned about it and he more often just used a Wind Raider.
Fans still like the set though and wanted it so now we have it in Classics form. It comes in a large and long box that, much like the Wind Raider and Castle Grayskull, features some original artwork that really harkens back to the vintage line box art. You get a mural of Skeletor and his minions advancing on Point Dread while He-Man and Teela fly the Talon Fighter and Man-At-Arms provides ground support. The sides feature some pictures of the various features and the back depicts the red line artwork of other items in the line like the vintage line had and as we saw on Castle Grayskull's box.
Upon opening the box you will find that some assembly is required. Strangely there is not an included instruction sheet for putting it together, just a small one about the sticker display for the Talon Fighter which I'll get to in a moment. Most of the assembly is pretty straight forward though. It's fairly obvious where each part goes and they pretty much will only attach where they're supposed to. Before we get to that though I want to talk about the included figure, because that should have been a high point of this set but instead turned into the low point.
It was a big deal when we found out this set would be including a brand new Teela figure. Teela was one of the earliest releases and never got reissued so several fans missed out on what, let's face it, is one of the most important characters in the mythos. All Mattel gave us since was Battleground Teela, which as we've discussed before looks nothing like Teela. So this was a very welcome figure particularly since she was based more on her Filmation appearance. When we saw pics of the prototype she was gorgeous and we couldn't wait.
Something went wrong. Something went very wrong. The Four Horsemen themselves posted on Twitter asking "What did they do to our beautiful Teela sculpt?!?"
First off the torso overlay suffers from the bloated armor problem. And with a slender bodied character like Teela this is a major issue. It also makes the waist twist articulation point -which is more mid torso than waist though that is in line with the vintage figure- more noticeable. I mean you can see it on the prototype, but it doesn't stand out as much as on the finished product. I think this is due to the puffiness of the overlay which pulls it away from the body. Even that though is not as bad as the face sculpt.
It's pretty obvious the mold got messed up because the face is flatter, it's stretched out a bit, and it's off center as well. Her lips look misshapen and oversized. There's no two ways about it, Mattel dropped the ball on this one and they admit it. Mattel has acknowledged that this figure did not turn out right and probably should not have been approved for release.
One thing I will give this figure is that it has an improved leotard look. They definitely tried to get it more the way fans have been asking. And yes that means with an actual sculpted butt. However, whereas the prototype seemed to have the right look, the final product appears to have once again tried to go with a bigger skirt look to hide the hip articulation. As a result, though from an angle it looks right, something looks a bit off when viewed straight on. This is a minor bit though, it's still a vast improvement and again as you can see from a slight turn it looks spot on, but dead on the seems to be a bit of excess tunic under the buttocks. Compare it to Mara's leotard and you'll see what I mean.
Teela does come with an alternate head that is a bit better. It's not misshapen, though the face does carry a sterner angrier look than the prototype of this head did. The helmet is very similar to Dog-O-Tar's in design as it is meant for piloting the Talon Fighter. The visor is removable, in fact it came unattached in the package. She also includes a sword and shield inspired by Filmation and they are good accessories. Really though this figure is better as pilot Teela, not Filmation Teela. Now thankfully even before showing us the messed up final product, Mattel did say this figure was Filmation inspired and not a full on Filmation Teela. Once the new full on Filmation line for next year was shown they stated that we still COULD get a full Filmation Teela. Then once fans saw the final product and raised hell Mattel admitted the mess up, reassured that this was never meant to be a full on Filmation Teela, and this time said we WOULD get a full Filmation Teela later. (though take that with a grain of salt until we actually see the figure)
All right, let's move on to the main focus of this set starting with Point Dread itself. It's more of a diorama than a playset and really when you come right down to it, it's more of stand for the Talon Fighter than anything else. The base comes in two pieces like the original. You may notice it looks smaller than the one we saw in the aforementioned video. While it was shrunk an inch or two, the main difference is that the interior of the top half was filled in leaving less headroom for figures. This was necessary though in order to reinforce the structure to support the weight of the vehicle. The interior has a floor with a wood grain sculpt and paint job, otherwise the only real feature is the computer. In the vintage this was just a (easily lost/destroyed) cardboard insert but, like those in Castle Grayskull, for Classics it is sculpted plastic though with a hollowed out back. It doesn't clip in place, you just set it inside for a small display.
The reason the base comes in two parts is for an alternate display option where you can attach the top portion to the left tower of Castle Grayskull. Just like the vintage it clips on to the tower, though it's pretty tight. It needs to be of course in order to support the weight, but keep in mind it can be hard to get off and you may risk scratching the castle or worse breaking the clips that hold it on. I've looked and there doesn't seem to be any release switch for the clips so you would need to pry it off. Personally though, I was never a fan of displaying it this way. Even in the vintage line I felt the size of the Talon Fighter in comparison to the castle was too big and looked way out of scale. I find that even more true with the Classics version as that Talon Fighter came out very big.
So instead I prefer to attach the top to the bottom part and simply have Point Dread as a separate display. On top of the point is the perch for the Talon Fighter. On the vintage version the vehicle simply sat on the pegs for balance, but since the new version is much bigger and heavier it actually clips into place on them. Unlike the clips for the Point Dread top though there is a release switch located on the underside of the perch so you can easily detach it with no worries.
And that's going to bring us to the Talon Fighter itself. Whereas the vintage was lightweight and had a hollow plastic feel, this new Classics version feels solid and has some weight to it. The sculpt is beautifully dne and really captures the eagle design in a more majestic way than the vintage one did in my opinion. The paint job flows well. Some fans felt it needed to bleed the colors more, but I think it looks right. The canopy is highlighted with metallic blue features and like the other vehicles much of what was originally stickers is now fully sculpted adding depth and detail to the overall sculpt. One thing missing though is that the vintage version had a handle on the underside for holding in flight mode play. That is not present, but personally I think it looks better this way as the handle kind of disrupts the look of the vehicle.
The canopy -which unlike the vintage features clear plastic windows- opens up allowing for fitting figures inside. The vehicle is actually designed with a front and back seat to fit two figures inside. This is a great place to display Dog-O-Tar since he is supposed to be the Talon Fighter's pilot, and you can slip the new included pilot Teela in behind him. (or visa-versa your choice) There are actual control handles for the front pilot to grip this time. Yet again what was stickers on the vintage is now fully sculpted. Mostly at least. You will notice that the side displays on the back seat are still just stickers already on. The front parts on the canopy are sculpted though as are the tools, fire extinguisher and first aid kit in the back. (they are part of the sculpt and don't come out) There is one sticker to be attached and that is the view screen on the front control panel. There is an included sheet of stickers, however you only attach one and they are not designed to be removable so pick which one you want carefully. You have three choices; a picture of Orko and Cringer that looks more like a shot from the cartoon than a control screen, a targeting scope view of Beast Man, or a radar screen map of Eternia. I chose this last one for mine as I think it's the best fit overall for the vehicle.
I must admit, I've never considered Point Dread itself all that exciting as there's not much to the set itself. As I mentioned it's pretty much just a display base for the Talon Fighter vehicle. I do feel though that the Classics version of the Talon Fighter turned out amazing. It is much bigger and more detailed than I was expecting, and I do like being able to display Dog-O-Tar in it. Much like how I display my Sky High in the Wind Raider, I feel this pilot needs to be in his vehicle. I am however very let down about the Teela not turning out right. The vehicle is a very good piece for the line, but for people who were on the fence due to the price, I feel the messed up Teela will dissuade them from getting it.
Point Dread is currently available on Mattycollector.com, though it may end up getting taken down for a while during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale period. Until next time, Good Journey.
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