Joined: 18 Dec 2005
|Posted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 11:20 pm Post subject: Masters of the Universe Classics: Invasion Hordak with Imp
|Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-Ravers,
I'm beginning to suspect Mattel doesn't want to do the 2015 lineup, what with the so close but not actively promoting it. They've really put all the pressure on the fans to spread the word and promote it and are basically trying to make it seem like it's all our fault if it fails. Go show them. Sub up today, I cannot stress this enough.
Today I'm going to review what was this year's SDCC exclusive for the line, and it is one that caused quite some controversy. First of all because it's a variant whereas previous years have given us unique characters. Toyguru said that fans should not have a preset expectation for SDCC exclusives as there are no actual rules as to what is and isn't on the table for one. Fair enough, but let's look at what came in previous years; He-Ro, Orko, Queen Marlena, Vykron, and a 2-pack of Rokkon and Stonedar. There may not be any rules but there is an undeniable precedent. So does a Filmation inspired Hordak fit the bill. Well he does come with the fan demanded Imp figure so let's take a look.
First I want to make a note of the mailer box which features a tribute message to the late founder of Filmation Lou Scheimer. It's a nice touch, though it may have been more appropriate to put it on the box for the upcoming Light Hope figure since Lou actually voiced that character, but this is still a very nice tip of the hat to a great man who we as fans owe so much to.
Etheria Invasion Hordak -or rather Hordak with the description "Ruthless Leader of the Evil Horde Invasion- comes in the standard MOTUC blister card package. There is the standard Evil Horde logo sticker on the bubble, and also a small star blurb stating how he includes Imp. The one sold on Mattycollector.com had just this, but attendees of SDCC got a bonus item of Imp as a treasure chest, which came in a separate pollybag. The back of Hordak's package shows off other Horde figures in the line and presents a new bio for this version of Hordak.
...and just this version of Hordak. Addressing the biggest issue here first; the bio makes no mention at all about Imp! I've already addressed the issues I don't like with the real name and Etheria inside Despondos. The only real new thing here is the explanation for the coloring (though it only accounts for his blue body not the white head -and isn't pale skin a sign of blood loss) the look is inspired by his Filmation appearance, as seen in the bio picture, that differed from his toy version.
The key word there is inspired, because this is not a full Filmation version of Hordak. He is done in the blue skin/white face coloring, but he does not have the different more square jawed look the cartoon version did. In addition the cartoon version's cowl had larger bone like structures lining it. Overall this figure is just a repaint. He differs from the previous versions in that he has the standard buck forearms with the small bracers instead of the gloved hands and arms. Also this Hordak has the normal furry loincloth instead of the longer Preternian style seen before.
Now one new feature is that he has an interchangeable left arm. he comes with an alternate normal buck arm, but is packaged with his cartoon inspired cybernetic arm on the figure. It pops off at the shoulder just like Trap Jaw's. In fact his shoulder on the cybernetic arm is the Trap Jaw mold. The bicep is Flipshot's and the forearm is the Hurricane Hordak blaster, this time on the left instead of right. He comes with a robotic hand designed like one he had in some episodes that plugs into the end, though this does have the effect of making the arm a bit longer than the other one.
Hordak was often shown on the cartoon changing his arm into many forms. He frequently made a cannon blaster, which the Hurricane arm looks like without the hand in it. He also had a slew of other transformations so it would've been nice to get some of them. But hey at least he can use the various weapons from Trap Jaw, Roboto and such right?
WRONG!!!!!!!!!!! The interior of the arm attachment is bigger than those guys' in order to hold the new hand so the other weapons don't fit. Now I took a good close look and I'm convinced this is not a new tooling, it is the same Hurricane blaster arm but does not have the inner lining that held the weapons in. This is a big disappointment as I cannot understand why the new hand wasn't made with a smaller peg. Up till now they've been careful to make sure the weapons were interchangeable on figures like this so why not this time?
The real draw of this whole item is the inclusion of Imp for the first time in figure form. Imp appeared in several episodes of the She-Ra cartoon (voiced my Erica Scheimer -Lou's daughter) often serving as a spy or simply Hordak's "familiar". Hordak was shown to be quite fond of the little demon, but everyone else -both Rebel and Hordesman- hated him. That is to say the characters in universe hated him, for the fans of the show he was popular and long desired in figure form. The first Classics Hordak included a small bat demon creature that was clearly Imp inspired, but now that we have the Filmation rights we can finally get a proper version. Of course, being a very small character it was pretty much a given that he would be released as a pack in.
Indeed you can see that Imp is the smallest character in the Classics line ever. Many expected him to be the same size as Kowl, but he actually was smaller on the cartoon and when viewed in comparison to human characters, he is to accurate scale. Being so small though he has very limited articulation. His head can swivel left and right and he also has swivels at the shoulders. At first it looked like his stubby tail could swivel as well, but mine won't move. He is too small for the flight stands, and his feet have no holes anyway, but with minimal work you can balance him sitting on Hordak's arm or shoulder.
Now one of the major themes with Imp in the cartoon was that he is a shape-shifter and would frequently take on other forms. Over the course of the show he became such things as a ball, a gun, a medal, a rock, a bush, a bird, a bullhorn, a candle, a flamethrower, a pair of scissors, a water pump, a rocket and many others. In one episode he became a small box and it is that alternate form that was chosen for the con exclusive bonus. The chest features a working hinge and latch, though being so small there's not much that can be fit inside. This was only made available to people who bought the figure at SDCC -or at least it was supposed to be. Apparently Mattel had some kind of shipping goof and didn't have enough chests for everyone. It's been said everyone who has a voucher that they made a con attendee purchase will have the chest shipped out to them later but it may take a month or more. Thus getting this item on the secondary market is even more difficult right now. (I got lucky)
Not much else to say other than the figure also includes a repainted version of Hordak's staff even though he never used one on the cartoon. I'm going to be honest here; I'm trying to sound more positive because I don't want to potentially turn anyone away from Mattel and thusly the 2015 sub right now -but truth be told I really feel they totally dropped the ball on this figure. Now Imp is great. He's exactly what I was expecting and wanting so my only complaint is that he had to come packed in with a rather pointless repaint.
Now to be fair, this is a fine Hordak figure -if you don't already own one. Yes a lot of fans were asking for a Filmation version of Hordak, but anyone who wanted that figure wanted one with a proper cartoon accurate head, not just cartoon coloring. The real infuriating part is Scott came out and said that they discussed possibly doing that head and that they did have the budget to include it, but deliberately chose not to! It seems Mattel design thinks it's important to keep all versions of the character looking the same (something the Alacla Skeletor head clearly defies) they want it uniformal. Well it was blatantly obvious from day one that the fans don't care about that and wanted the proper head. Mattel's response was to the effect of "we knew some fans would be upset but we couldn't please everyone" Uh, yes you could have by including both heads. You already admitted you could've afforded to do so.
Instead a repaint feels like a wasted slot when everyone keeps talking about how important it is to utilize every sku in order to complete the line -which is now in danger of not happening! If they had used this slot to put out Buzz Saw Hordak (still with Imp) that would've been better. Still, despite fan backlash, this figure sold out very quickly on Mattycollector.com. (hence why I'm just now getting to my review -I missed out and had to turn to e-bay) If you need a Hordak figure seek him out. If you must have Imp (who is a great addition to the collection) seek him out. Otherwise put this one on the back burner for now and concentrate on pushing the 2015 sub through. Until next time Good Journey.
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