Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Action Figure Review: Teela & Zoar from Masters of the Universe Origins by Mattel


   The Masters of the Universe Origins mini marathon continues today with a look at the Teela and Zoar two-pack. Teela and Zoar were paired together in a gift set in the vintage line, too, so this set pays tribute to that 1983 release. While Teela was originally released in the line in 2020, Zoar is new to MOTU Origins. Teela has a lot of new elements that make her more than just a repaint, however; she comes with new portrait, a new sword, and the updated knees that most of the newer female figures have had. Zoar is surprisingly very vintage to the vintage toy, based on the eagle from the 1970s Big Jim line. I was never a huge fan of the oversized Screeech and Zoar in the vintage line so I wasn't thrilled with Mattel replicating the vintage toy so faithfully here. We'll have to see if having this one in hand and messing around with it a bit changes my mind any. While this set is apparently a shared exclusive between Big Bad Toy Store and Entertainment Earth and thus won't be on a traditional retail shelf, the packaging is incredible and really shows off the toys well. It's very impressive and nostalgic. Ready to check out Teela and Zoar? Then join me after the break...

The Facts:

Height: 5 1/2th inches

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

Accessories: Staff, shield, armor, and sword.

The Facts:

Wingspan: 9 1/4ths inches

Articulation: Lever on back of leg depresses, causing rubbery wings to flap. 

Accessories: 2 piece armor and perch. 

Non-Scalper Price: $30 dollars


* This Teela is on the left while the original Origins Teela is on the right. What's the difference? Well, besides the paintjobs, the two figures have different headsculpts, different skin tones, and the Teela in this 2-pack has the newly designed knees. While the armor and shield are similar, this new Teela has her snake staff molded in gold plastic instead of red.


* The Origins Zoar is on the left while the vintage Zoar is on the right. These two look very similar and could easily be mistaken at a glance. Rather than modernize Zoar at all, Mattel pretty much just copies the vintage toy pretty closely. There's no true articulation here; the Origins Zoar has the same action feature as the vintage toy. I was kind of hoping for something a bit more exciting since many of the vehicles and the cats have had improvements, but that's not the hand we've been dealt. 
The Positives:

* Teela uses the same torso and limbs (other than the thighs) as the previous figure but now she has a lighter skin tone and brighter colors. It's more yellow than gold. I personally like the look of the gold better on the previous figure but this one isn't bad. The paintwork is clean and neat and she definitely stands out.

* I really like this portrait. The face is quite lovely with excellent paintwork on the eyes. Teela is sporting a simpler headband than the previous figure had and she now has a pretty cool ponytail.

* I like the articulation used on the female MOTU Origins body. It's quite good, maybe even with smoother articulation than the male body. Teela moves just fine and the improved knees look much better than the previous design.

* All of the MOTU Origins figures are modular, allowing you to separate the limbs, torso, and head to make your own simple customs. Pretty fun stuff!

* This version of Teela also includes her classic snake armor, molded from a more pliable material. It's easy to put on and take off and there's a modified loop for working around her new ponytail. 

* Does this sword look familiar? It's actually Teela's sword from the 200x figure. It's a cool sculpt, though I wish the color it was molded in was a bit darker. I'm kind of wondering if there was an attempt here with the ponytail and the sword to make this more of a 200x Teela?

* Teela has the Staff of Ka as well, though this time around it's molded in goldish/ yellow plastic. 

* Nothing new with her shield, either. It's very similar to the vintage accessory but, rather than a clip on the back to fit on her wrist, this shield has a simple handle for her to hold

* Let's talk about Zoar now. While Zoar later became the falcon form of Teela Na, the Sorceress of Castle Grayskull, in the early toyline Zoar was just an oversized male falcon. The vintage Zoar and Screeech used the mold for the 1972 Big Jim bald eagle toy, thus being oversized birds for the 5.5 inch MOTU figures. While this isn't the same mold, it really is close to the look and feel of the vintage Zoar figure, complete with the colorful, rubbery wings.

* The headsculpt is clearly different from the vintage toy, perhaps a bit improved. The detail is crisp and the colors look really sharp here. 

* Mattel included the action feature of the vintage toy: Push the lever behind Zoar's right leg and the wings flap up and down. It's pretty simple, really: Since the wings are loose and rubbery pushing the lever just causes them to wobble around, looking like they're flapping. It's still a clever little mechanism and definitely a neat little throwback to play features of yesteryear. 

* Zoar also includes the snap on armor of the vintage toy. Here it's two separate pieces that are connected (it comes attached in the package) and it feels much sturdier than the armor of the vintage Zoar and Screeech. I'm pretty sure that not one set of the vintage armor survived past the year 1989. That stuff was brittle. 
* Zoar's perch is a recreation of the other accessory that came with the vintage toy. It was also a very fragile piece in the vintage line and, fortunately, it feels very sturdy here. There are notches all over the bar on the top and Zoar can perch on their just fine. Make sure he's tilted with his beak up a bit for the best fit and stability.

The Negatives:

* Still, this thing is still pretty easy to knock over. The base is just too small. Considering the cool improvements that some other creatures and vehicles have had in this line, why didn't Mattel design a better stand?

* I'm really a bit puzzled that Mattel didn't do anything to "modernize" Zoar like they've done with the other figures and creatures in the line. Why not give Zoar a balljointed head or truly articulated wings? It's still novel that this figure is so much like the original, but most of the other figures have improved on the vintage toys. I'm curious as to why Zoar had to adhere to the vintage toy so closely. It's a bit disappointing. 

* I really like the brighter colors on Teela and her accessories, but Mattel made things a bit too yellow. Either a darker yellow or more of a gold would have been much more appealing. 

   This is a pretty cool set and the price feels right. A figure and a large bird for $30 bucks seems pretty reasonable these days. I really like the Teela figure, maybe even a little more than the first release. Zoar is OK. Not bad, just not what I had hoped for in Origins. I never had the vintage Zoar as a kid and while I had Screeech, the fragile accessories usually just frustrated me. Considering that Battle Cat, Panthor, and Stridor all had added articulation in MOTU Origins, it's disappointing that Zoar wasn't given similar treatment. This is still a Good and a 1/2 set with a lot to offerand I'm sure some folks will enjoy having a sturdier version of Zoar for their collections that's still quite faithful to the vintage toy, but I really wanted something with some modern articulation that would take and improve on the original toy. You know, like most of the other Masters of the Universe Origins figures have done. So... how long do you think it will be until we hear about a 2-pack of Screeech with... I guess Evil-Lyn, though she's already had two Origins figures. I'm sure we'll see it next year, though. 

Do you really like Teela? If so then check out her review archive: Teela: Warrior Goddess. 

 If you're into birds check out my other reviews of Zoar: The crystal Zoar that came with the MOTUC Nepthu, Zoar from the NECA Staction Sorceress (Classic Deco), and Zoar from the Mega Construx Castle Grayskull and Panthor at Point Dread set. 

For more Masters of the Universe Origins reviews check out the following:

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