Mattel SDCC 2019 He-Man/Prince Adam Masters of the Universe Origins Figure Set Review
I said I wasn’t going to do it. I swore I wasn’t going to do it. Then I did it. I bought the San Diego Comic Con Masters of the Universe He-Man/Prince Adam set from Mattel on Ebay. Why? I have a number of reasons that beat the temptation to keep the money in my bank account.
First off, as you’ll soon see, the art and the packaging for this set is simply astonishing. This set is a celebration of Mattel returning to the Masters of the Universe license and, as a fan boy, I needed to be a part of it. I wasn’t going to collect a new line. It’s bad enough my man-cave is filled with MOTU Classics! I haven’t done Super7’s reaction line (although the packaging art is fantastic), or their 5.5″ figures. I just thought that after the next waves were delivered by them, I’d try and go after the vintage line finally. After getting this set in, though, I may have to think about making more room in 2020.
The first little bit will be about the packaging because, man, this stuff in unreal. Lots of thought went into this and I saw a post on Twitter recently talking about how many collectors and reviews don’t give much hype to packaging. I’m a big “in package/in box” collector because I love so much of it and couldn’t imagine tossing any of it. This set is one of those ones that has so much to take in.
The outer box features He-Man’s harness wrapped around a Castle Grayskull background with plaques that have He-Man’s taglines engraved into them.
Lifting the box out of the outer packaging, you can admire the slipcase that’s on the box that recreates the original mini-comic packaging on the front. This is absolutely beautiful. On the side, you can see Prince Adam glowing before transforming into He-Man, while on the other side, you have the split persona. I love how the back also gives a throwback to the vintage scroll aesthetic.
In the video that’s embedded at the end of this feature, I showcase the people involved with creating all of this. Many props to those people in the MOTU community that put their passion and creativity into something like this.
The goodness doesn’t stop there. When you lift the slipcase off of this, you’re treated to even more art. The Castle Grayskull is embossed, giving the package some texture. While it’s cool to see the Adam to He-Man transformation on the side of the box, the art on the back with He-Man riding Battle Cat with the hint that Skeletor isn’t too far behind is something to behold. I really can’t say enough about the work done on this.
Want more? Done! Opening the packaging that’s a throwback to the first mini-comic features, get this, a mini-comic! YEAH! Talk about a relaunch and a statement! Mattel has already stated that the figures in this new line would hit retail in packaging similar to the vintage line and feature a mini-comic, so more MOTU lore is coming. I’m sure this story will find it’s way into people’s hands when He-Man hits retail in 2020. If it’s exclusive only to this release, please let me know. I’m just assuming.
For those wondering, the figures are packed securely. There is a plastic piece featuring Skeletor egging on Prince Adam and then running away from He-Man. You can lift these out to get at the figures. As you can see, both figures come with extra hands and a head that replicates the vintage figure’s look. If that’s not enough, you get more fantastic art behind the figures.
I’m going to start off with Prince Adam first. Yes, the 5.5″ vintage body and look is back, but there is so much more articulation. It was so wild to play around with these the first time because it’s just so odd to see a figure form like this from my childhood but with modern articulation. I go through it in the video at the end of this feature on my YouTube channel, but there’s articulation in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist (no ab crunch, though), legs, knees and ankles. You can even swivel the boots!!!
One thing I’ll mention is that Mattel really has to tighten up the articulation in the knees and the ankles before they hit retail. That would make posing these figures easier.
I know there’s a strong divide in the action figure community about soft goods/cloth clothing. I’m fine with it and it’s such a cool thing to see on a MOTU figure again. I’ll mention the figures can easily pop apart at the waist, so you can reposition the belt and the amount of outfit that hangs below the belt. The gold material around the shoulders really help the outfit pop. I really do like the look of it.
OK, I know this head isn’t what I featured with the figure up to this point, but I’m going to feature both, so stay with me. The heads are so easy to interchange and I really love how this one scratches that nostalgia itch. This head, though, looks a bit like he has some toothpaste running down the right side of his face. The other set I have (yeah, I bought two) doesn’t have that issue.
I’ll also mention, because I didn’t notice it right away. There are two heads for each figure because the He-Man figure is actually darker than the Prince Adam figure, so the skin tone matches each one, and that includes the hands that come packed with the figures. I had taken some pics while cranking some metal and used the wrong heads at first. Looking back through the pics, I totally noticed it and had to reshoot. Those are my color blind eyes for you.
Let’s transform Prince Adam into He-Man, shall we?
Here’s He-Man in all his glory. Same size and build as Adam, of course, but with that iconic harness. Thankfully, Mattel made sure there was an area to hold his sword or axe. Of course all the articulation I noted with Adam is found here, too. It’s also neat to see the little red squares on the armor go all the way back to the harness.
I really like the new sculpt for He-Man’s face. The hair is done really well and I think sometimes that’s where you can really lose the “look” of the character. Mind you, he’s got to have that chiseled face, too. It’s just too bad for this figure, there’s noticeable line for the right cheekbone area. I totally welcome this new portrait sculpt.
I mentioned it in my video review: this figure has the dagger that is placed in the boot. It is removable if you want to have He-Man wield it. I’m not going to go into a big diatribe why this is so cool to have included with this figure but, instead, direct you over to Adam’s amazing Battle Ram Blog where guest poster, Jukka Issakainen runs through it all for you! They are amazing people in the MOTU community and you should be following and reading all their material.
Besides the alternate heads, the figures also come with four additional hands to swap in and out. They lock in well and aren’t a pain to swap at all.
In addition, what would a He-Man figure be without the Power Sword or the iconic shield or battle axe? I love how the shield is designed to be place over the figure’s hand and also has a clasp to ensure a tight fit. You can also see what the dagger looks like when removed from the boot.
With weapons in hand, or without, He-Man and Prince Adam are a ball to pose. As mentioned, it’s so great to play around with the articulation with a figure in this scale when you’re so used to the vintage ones to have barely any.
One huge concern I have is how the weapons fall out of the right hand. They do not fit tightly at all and constantly fell out during my shoot. I hope Mattel tightens them up before they hit retail because many kids (and collectors) will be frustrated if they can’t hold their weapons.
For comparison fun, not to steal any tagline from another guy online (right, Dan?), here are the figures next to a vintage MOTU figure (my buddy Clawful) and the MOTUC He-Man. Yeah, you could swap the heads with the Classics ones, but they aren’t in scale, so why would you?
I said it before, but I’ll restate: I was not planning on getting these. I have too much MOTU as it is and I have stayed away from collecting more recent figures unless they were Classics line or Club Grayskull. After a lot of pondering, I could not stay away from something so beautifully done.
I am glad to see He-Man get the royal treatment like this and I am pumped to see what the other figures will turn out like. Not only that, but I’ll be that guy flipping his lid when shopping with my daughter when I finally see MOTU return the the store shelves come 2020. Mattel, just fix the issue with figures holding their weapons, and tighten those joints, and you’ve got a good thing on your hands.
Enjoy the video review!