Saturday, November 22, 2014

Action Figure Review: Strong-or from Masters of the Universe Classics from Mattel

     December 2013 has definitely been a month for Filmation one hit wonders in Masters of the Universe Classics. In Club Eternia (the main sub line) we got Plundor and in Club Filmation we got Strongarm, called Strong-or in MOTUC for legal reasons. Only appearing in one episode of the Filmation series ("She-Demon of Phantos"), Strongarm has somehow become a fan favorite and has been requested by many MOTUC collectors for quite some time. Since we're nearing the end of the vintage Evil Warriors from the toyline, Strongarm/ Strong-or is a welcome inclusion to a popular faction. He really does look like he was intended for the vintage toyline with a clear "action feature" and a simple color scheme. Ready for a look at Strongarm/ Strong-or? Should I pick one name and stick with it? I'll just call him Strongarm, then, and you can learn more about him after the break....

  From the bottom of his feet to the highest point on his head, Strongarm stands around 7 1/4 inches tall. Like most MOTUC figures Strongarm reuses a few parts from other characters, although he has a surprising amount of new parts too. He reuses the basic thighs, torso, right bicep, left arm and the Zodak left glove. While he is obviously based on a Filmation design, I'm not sure that he was translated into the MOTUC style as well as other figures like Plundor, Icer, or Shadow Weaver. He's got some nice detailed new design elements like his chest armor and boots, but his head seems a bit too simple. I don't think he'll stand out like a sore-thumb or anything, though, but it's worth noting.

     The articulation is pretty standard and very satisfactory, although his swappable right arm changes things up again. Strongarm features: hinged ankles with limited lateral rocking, boot swivels, hinged knees, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips, a swivel waist, hinged abdomen, swivel/ hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, a swivel/hinge right elbow, a hinged left elbow, swivel wrists, and a ball jointed head. Great quality control, something I can say has been the case for every MOTUC figure I've bought this year (which is all of them except Standor).


     You'll notice that Strongarm's right elbow articulation varies a bit from most other MOTUC figures; that's because his lower right arm is interchangeable. In his lone Filmation appearance, Strongarm had the ability to stretch out his over sized mechanical arm. To replicate this feature, Strongarm includes a second lower arm piece that is about an inch longer. While the first swap or two will be difficult (use some hot water to avoid breaking the peg) after a few swaps I had no problems and the figure's joints still seemed nice and tight. I imagine that if he has appeared in the vintage line, he might have had an extending arm that used those extendable plastic tubes like the Ghostbusters' Ecto-500 vehicle.

     I'm surprised by how many newly sculpted parts he has. Strongarm has a metallic, industrial look that's conveyed through his banded boots, spiked waist piece, and banded metal arm that's covered with rivets. His collar is an extra piece that simply fits over the regular body and looks to be made from a few pieces of metal that have been riveted together. The body looks great; even though many MOTUC figures share the same body, there's an aesthetic appeal in seeing how little changes and extra pieces augment the existing sculpt. The head is probably my biggest complaint with this figure. I like the design but not the execution. The metal face and spikes on top of the head just come off as looking far too soft. The pointy teeth look great, but everything else, particularly the odd ears, just don't do it for me. I don't hate the figure or anything, but something about him just feels a bit generic. He reminds me of random minion from an 80's Nintendo game.

     Orange with blue, silver, and a touch of yellow is an interesting color scheme, but I like it. Strongarm's strong arm looks great, as do his blue metallic boots, belt, and collar. A nice mix of metallic paint and shading really helps these elements to pop out and bring some life to the duller orange of the figure. The head is pretty average, particularly due to the sloppy paintwork on the ears and the bottoms of the spikes.


      I've already covered Strongarm's interchangeable arms above so I won't say much more about them. His collar is removable, so you can count that as an extra accessory too. The very cool extra included with him, though, is the teleportation beam from the Filmation episode "Teela's Trumph". In the episode, Skeletor uses the device to trap the Sorceress, He-Man, and Battle Cat in another dimension, leaving Teela to serve as the Guardian of Grayskull. The device looks great; it's a two handled laser gun like weapon with a very retro futuristic design. While it certainly fits as an excellent laser pistol for Strongarm, it seems like it could also be a great accessory to go along with Captain Glenn. She's got the whole retro futuristic vibe and this seems to fit her perfectly, although the weapon's handles might be a bit too large for her smaller hands.

     Strongarm/ Strong-or is in no ways a bad figure, but just a pretty average entry in the MOTUC line. I know lots of fans have desired him for years, so I definitely think he was a wise inclusion in the line, but he just doesn't do much for me. I love the swappable limbs and the teleportation gun, but the execution of Strongarm himself leaves a lot to be desired. I'm giving him a Good rating as he's an average figure with nothing really wrong with him. I think a better headsculpt really could have changed my mind on this guy, but alas, it is what it is.

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