In the vintage Masters of the Universe line Mattel made sure that ever He-Man variant had an accompanying Skeletor variant and, for the most part, Mattel has continued that tradition over the past 40 years. 1984 saw the release of the first vintage He-Man and Skeletor variants, both wearing battle armor with a rotating drum that gave the armor the ability to reflect damage incurred during combat. Battle Armor variants of He-Man and Skeletor have continued to be the most popular MOTU variants and Mattel has included them in the line based on last year's He-Man and the Masters of the Universe CGI animated series. I really like the show (season 2 just dropped last month) but the accompanying toyline has been fairly so-so. Some of the smaller 5 inch figures have been cool but the larger line has left me a bit cold. An 8 1/2 inch Battle Armor He-Man was released last October and back in February Battle Armor Skeletor began showing up in stores to go along with him. Ready to take a look at one of the newest versions of this classic villainous variant? Then join me after the break...
* While the legs are just swivel/hinge joints with swivel ankles, the
arms do have much more articulation than the smaller figure do. This Skeletor has swivel/hinge shoulders, a swivel/hinge right elbow, swivel wrists, and now a Power Attack mid-torso, basically a spring loaded balljoint. This line is clearly aimed at kids and Skeletor seems like he could handle some heavy play. My daughter is 8 and is the assistant curator of my Masters of the Universe museum, so she's a toy expert, but one of my friends has a 3 and 4 year old and this guy would be perfect for them. They're rough on stuff.
* The Battle Armor on this guy is a translucent green piece that looks very serpent like. It's not a design seen in the show but it definitely fits the aesthetic of the show since Skeletor's Havoc magic is often depicted with green energy. The snake theme definitely seems like something ancient Skeletor has found, perhaps related to the Snake Men (who have been mentioned in the show thus far). It snaps on and stays on well with little risk of popping off mid-play.
* Skeletor also has some claws which might be a throwback to the Terror Claws variant of Skeletor. They pop on his forearms (it's a little weird how they attach but they do stay on well) and the translucent green blades and coiled serpent tails look pretty cool.
* In He-Man and the Masters of
the Universe the Havoc staff is one of two
totems once held in Castle Grayskull, though it's cursed as it represents
the force of havoc. The sculpt is really nice on the front of this with
very pronounced horns on the ram skull and a more wicked looking Graykull-like skull at the bottom of the shaft. It's also now molded in green to match the rest of Skeletor's armor.
* Like on the previous 8 1/2 inch Skeletor from this line, I like this Skeletor design but the way this is simply just molded in
neon green plastic washes away all of the detail. This could have been
excellent but Mattel continues to cheap out and it shows here. They just needed to
use a little paint, a drybrush effect or a light paint wash to let those
details stand out.
* Making the Havoc staff hollow on the other side also just shows off how
many shortcuts this line takes. This is another cheap move that's just
not worthy of Skeletor.
* The back of the figure is largely unpainted, too. The green ram skull armor that is supposed to wrap all around his shoulders? Unpainted. Ugh.
* Skeletor's hips are kind of loose, too. If you don't pose him exactly right he does the splits. Yikes! Again, definitely not made with adult collectors in mind.