Saturday, July 30, 2022

Action Figure Review: Wun-Dar from Masters of the Universe Origins by Mattel

 

  Wonder Bread He-Man. Wun-Dar. Savage He-Man. No matter what you call him, the brown haired He-Man has long been one of the most mysterious figures in the history of toy and action figure collecting. Long believed to be a mail-away promotional item from Wonder Bread (he wasn't), an early prototype for a Conan based toyline (nope), an early version of Prince Adam, a recolored figure for Asian markets, or just a flat out hoax, back in 2020 the mystery was seemingly solved when former brand manager Scott "Toy Guru" Neitlich found a series of correspondences that seem to definitively identify this figure as "Special Edition He-Man." According to the letter addressed to from an upset mother, Barb Hackenburg, the figure was received by her son and nephew as part of a "buy 3, get 1 free" Mattel promotion but disappointed then because it was a figure they didn't recognize who came with no weapons or armor. From follow up letters from Mattel President Ray Wagner and Mark Ellis, Vice President of Marketing, it does seem the idea was to create a unique figure that kids wouldn't already have when they ordered for this promotion. It may have just been a cheaper was to make a new character that kids presumably could outfit with extra accessories they had. I mean, the 1982 G.I. Joe toyline shared headsculpts between multiple characters (Short-Fuze, Flash, Hawk, and Steeler; etc.) so maybe Mattel just thought this was an easy way of making a new, more generic figure and offering up something new?
   While the mystery has seemingly been solved, fans still have a passion for the incredibly rare figure. Named Wun-Dar in Masters of the Universe Classics (due to early speculation about his connection with a Wonder Bread promotion), Wun-Dar, the Savage He-Man, has become a character with his own story who even appears in Masters of the Universe: Revelation. This Masters of the Universe Origins version was sold as a Mattel Creations exclusive. It was kind of a disaster, though, as many of the figures seemed to leak out well before the figure was even announced (presumably they "fell off" the truck) and then on the day of sale he sold out in less than 2 minutes. Maybe even less than 1. According to the Origins team, they claim they didn't realize how popular he'd be. I'm not sure whether or not I believe that but it's possible those figures that seemed to show up early maybe have really depleted the supply for sale. I got an order in on a second batch but it was cancelled shortly afterwards. I finally managed to get one, though, so let's take a look at Wun-Dar, the Savage He-Man, after the break...






The Facts:

Height: 5 3/4ths inches

Articulation: Swivel/ hinge ankles, boot swivels, swivel/hinge knees, balljointed hips, swivel waist, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, and a double balljointed head.

Accessories: Armor, pistol, axe, sword, and minicomic.

Non-Scalper Price: $17 dollars








The Packaging:

* Like most of the other Mattel Creations Origins, Wun-Dar comes on the standard card with some great art on the front and back. He also comes in a cardbard mailer with some nice line art on both sides. If you're planning to keep him in the package there are a few nice options for displaying him.




The Positives:


* While he's a mysterious and expensive vintage figure, Wun-Dar is really quite plain. It seems that the true mail-away Special Edition He-Man didn't even come with armor; folks probably had the black Zodac armor sitting around from the Weapons Pak and popped it on him. After awhile people just assumed that's what the figure originally came with. So he's just He-Man with black Zodac armor, black wrist cuffs, a black belt, and brown trunks. You know what? I still love it. He looks fantastic and just really appeals to me. Mattel did a good job with this guy, even though he's a simple repaint.








* Mattel gave Wun-Dar the "retro" styled head, which was a good call. Odds are that most of us will never own a true vintage Savage He-Man, so this is a nice consolation prize. I like the brown hair on He-Man. Hey, General Hawk went from having blonde to brown hair so why not He-Man?







* The MOTU Origins figures are built like the vintage toys but with more modern articulation. While their bulky frames make the articulation a bit clumsy, they do feel like an evolution of the vintage line. Imagine what you would get if you mixed a vintage figure with a MOTUC figure. They're quite fun to play with.

* They're also modular. and can be easily separated to make your own lazy boy customs!






* Mattel gave Wun-Dar brown weapons instead of maroon. I like the difference as it makes this version a bit more unqiue. The MOTUC Wun-Dar was sporting a black version of Zodac's pistol (which originally came from the 1984 Weapons Pak) but this Wun-Dar has a brown laser pistol.

*







* At least one sample of Savage He-Man in a bag has the maroon Grayskull weapons rack sword and axe with it, so Mattel included those here. They're molded in brown plastic, though, matching Wundar's trunks.



* Here's the axe. It's a cool piece and works nicely with Wun-Dar while also separating him from He-Man.




* Wun-Dar's minicomic is longer than the others in the line (it's a 10 page story as opposed to 6 pages) and it's pretty cool. It has the Goddess/ Sharella in it, the glowing skeleton warriors, and Moss Man. It kind of blends together the Wun-Dar and Oolar characters but it works quite well and it a solid minicomic.

   Wun-Dar turned out really well, especially for a rather simple repaint. His accessories are nice, the packaging definitely adds something to the figure, and the minicomic is really well done. I'm loving it! Wun-Dar is a character/ design that I really like and I'm thrilled he's finally been released in Origins. I'd love a Masterverse version from MOTU: Revelation as well. This is a Great and a 1/2 figure and while he was a pain to get, he's nice to finally have in the collection. He'll look great alongside the upcoming Eternia, won't he?


This is the first figure of Wun-Dar that I've reviewed on the site. For more Masters of the Universe Origins reviews check out the following:
Zodac

8 comments:

  1. Cool. I heard about the origin story awhile ago. Crazy!

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    1. Yeah, he's so fun and mysterious. I remember first seeing him in an old issue of Lee's Action Figure News and Toy review in a guide they ran in one of their issues. Probably from around 1996, 1997, or 1998. He's always fascinated me though I didn't get into the whole history and mythology of him until around 2008 or so.

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  2. I'm hoping we can get a Masterverse version as well, especially after the mess that was the Creations ordering system process. I was lucky enough to get one (my first wun-dar as I never had the MOTUC or vintage version), but I hope more people get the opportunity to get a version of this cool variant figure.

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    1. Yeah, I'm really surprised he wasn't released in a regular series, especially since he appeared in Revelation last year. And a Masterverse version would be great. I'd be fine with it even being sourced from Revelation with his unique appearance differentiating him more from He-Man.

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  3. Yeah, I never got the appeal of this figure. Just a boring version of He-Man to me, but I hope everyone who wanted this Origins version managed to get one. If not... well... um... there's a whole ton of series 5 vintage head He-Man (and Skeletor) figures still shelfwarming even in bargain stores, could repaint one to get close enough?

    By the way I'd be wary of anything the 'ToyGuru' says. He's been proven to be less than reliable on a number of things and gets kinda weird when you provide evidence proving him wrong. I haven't checked lately but for a looong time he was insisting Mattel don't even own MotU anymore and will 'lose the license' in 2023.

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    1. I definitely am leery of some of ToyGuru's claims but this time the actual letters from the mother, Ray Wagner, and Mark Ellis were produced. He-Man.org staff also tracked down Barb Hackenburg and BattleramBlog did a lot of work on collecting the info, too. The primary sources definitely tell the tale and confirm a lot of suspicions. Why brown haired He-Man was chosen (a factory error turned promo, truly a choice by marketing to offer up a generic figure, early rejected Faker concept) is a question that still lingers but the authenticity of Special Edition He-Man and the origin are pretty much solved.

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    2. Oh yeah, I'm just saying with ToyGuru, always best to not take his claims at face value. And to double check. Which you did. :)

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    3. Oh, believe me, I lived through the MattyCollector days. I know! ;)

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