Saturday, November 22, 2014

Action Figure Review: Fighting Foe Men from Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel

Masters of the Universe Classics has been incredibly diverse in the sources from which Mattel has drawn inspiration. We've seen MOTUC figures based off of vintage toys from Masters of the Universe, She-Ra, and The New Adventures of He-Man, cartoon based characters, comic characters, characters based off of prototypes and concept drawings, and even brand new creations.  For the Fighting Foe Men, Mattel drew inspiration from the artwork from models created by the company Monogram sometime between 1983 and 1984.  Mongram was a model company that was founded in 1945, and at some point was purchased by Mattel. Mattel divested itself of Monogram sometime in 1984, and it was later purchased by Odyssey Partners of New York, who paired the company with Revell in 1986. During it's brief time releasing MOTU models, Monogram released models of the Wind Raider, Attak Trak, Roton, and the Talon Fighter. As with most MOTU product, Monogram featured beautiful artwork from artist Larry Elmore.  Interestingly, rather than utilizing established characters on the box art, the Monogram models instead featured new characters that were never identified or seen in the regular toyline....until now!  Mattel has gone back and turned three of these mysterious individuals into a trio called the Fighting Foe Men (which was an early name for the MOTU toyline).  How do they stand alongside everyone else, though? Find out after the break.....

     Since the MOTUC line reuses so many parts, these figures are all nearly the exact same size.  Ditztroyer, Shield Maiden Sherrilyn, and Dawg-O-Tor each come in just a little under 7 inches.  Both Ditztroyer and Dawg-O-Tor use the standard MOTUC body and limbs, although Ditztroyer is distinguished by his Zodak gloves and the He-Ro boots.  Shield Maiden Sherrilyn uses the Battleground Teela body with the Bubble Power She-Ra bracers and a new loincloth.  The figures will fit in perfectly with any other MOTUC figures you own. 

     Articulation is nothing unusual, and is the typical excellent articulation featured in MOTUC.  Each figure has hinged ankles with rockers, boot swivels, hinged knees, ball jointed hips, a swivel waist, ball jointed shoulders, bicep swivels, swivel wrists, and a true ball jointed head.  Ditztroyer and Dawg-O-Tor both also feature the abdominal hinge, which female MOTUC figures are missing.  Every joint is solid and tight, and all three warriors can hold any number of poses. I've really been happy with Mattel's QC on this line for quite a few months now, so that's a really good sign.

     While I've mentioned that each of these figures features a lot of reuse, that doesn't mean they don't look good. The Four Horsemen have done something really cool by combining the vehicle pilots shown on the Monogram model boxes with elements of the vehicles themselves.  They're all really nice, but I'll start with Ditztroyer, my personal favorite.  When it comes to his body, he's about as basic as it comes with his standard muscled chest, arms, legs, and loincloth.  His boots are really cool, though. They're very high with a cool armored look to them. There are even little hinges sculpted on the side.  While they are removable, I'll count the cape and chest plate as part of his sculpt since they complete his unique look. Ditztroyer features a hooded head and a removable cape that together give the illusion of one solid piece. On the front of the cloak there is a plate that hands down which has an emblem that is very reminiscent of the eye from the front of the Roton, the vehicle that Ditztroyer pays homage too.  The face is very nondescript with no hair (at least that we can see) and kind of reminds me of Faker/He-Man.  Shield Maiden Sherrilyn is my second favorite figure in the set. Her design nicely mixes the look of a barbaric warrior with some technological elements.  The female body used here is quite good. It's feminine and strong without having ridiculous proportions. Her loin cloth is different from the version we saw on Battleground Teela and is much more rugged.  The torso armor is not removable and features some great design elements such as rivets, a metallic leaf design on the shoulders, and the (removable) crest on the front that looks like a stylized version of the decals from the sides of the Attak Trak.  The head sculpt is quite cool, and while I wish the helmet were removable, it looks really cool. It's a very nicely detailed armored helmet with attached visor, and you can even see Sherrilyn's ponytail hanging out the back.  Dawg-O-Tor is a perfectly fine figure, if a bit plain.  His helmeted head is kind of cool as he's wearing a very simple helmet with a clear yellow visor, allowing you to see his face underneath.  I do like his chest armor, as well.  It's got some nice detail work and a cool, removable crest that's reminiscent of the Talon Fighter. Like I said, neat details, but nothing spectacular. 

     Shield Maiden Sherrilyn has a really nice paint job. Everything's very clean, and the mixture of red and blue with greenish gold highlights looks quite nice. The metallic paints used on both her armor (the bracers have three different colors used to bring out the details) and on her helmet all look very good. I particularly like how she has green wraps on her boots. That's a cool little detail there that helps her stand out. Check out here hair: she's a true brunette, as well, which I believe is a first for a female in this line.  Her skin tone is a bit darker, almost as if she has a really deep tan. She looks quite nice. Ditztroyer's paint job is also good, although I find the orange-ish torso a bit strange. I assume he's supposed to be wearing a sleeveless shirt or something? (It at least matches his shoes.)  The green used for the boots, gloves, and belt is nice because it used a flatter green for the base and a darker, metallic green to highlight details and edges. Very effective.  Dawg-O-Tor is a mix of a dark green body with highlights in the boots and loincloth and very rich, almost metallic green, body armor.  It looks really nice and is a great example of making something look metallic. The same can be said for Dawg-O-Tor's helmet. I especially like the white streak in his hair. That's a cool detail that's easy to overlook.

     While these guys reused a lot of body parts, they excel in bringing a full arsenal of new weapons and accessories to the table.  Ditztroyer has the removable cape and crest I mentioned earlier, but I will note that the cape does have a molded slot for his included staff, which is a great accessory. The staff is nearly as long as Ditztroyer himself and pays homage to the spinning blade of the vintage Roton vehicle. The black staff features a blade on the end that looks like the Roton's blade; I imagine it'd be a very effective weapon in combat.  He also comes with a large laser cannon based on one of the Roton's cannons. Both weapons feature different paint application--even the laser cannon, which has metallic red highlights.  In addition to her Attak Trak inspired chest plate, Shield Maiden Sherrilyn also comes with an Attak Trak inspired shield and double barreled laser cannon. The shield looks like one of the Attak Trak's treads, is translucent, and snaps onto her arm. The laser cannon is difficult to get in her hand, but looks really cool. It's based on the cannons on the rear of the toy Attak Trak.  Dawg-O-Tor, based on the Talon Fighter, comes with his removable armor and Talon Fighter chest plate, a Talon Fighter shaped shield, and a club that kind of looks like one of the cannon's on the ships side.  Not only does this set come with all of these weapons, but they also come with three removable Horde chest plates. The bio on the back of the package ties these characters in as Horde members in the future, so you can swap their vehicle inspired chest plates for Horde emblems. Not a feature I plan on using, but a cool feature nonetheless.

     The Fighting Foe Men really came out of left field.  While Mattel began introducing the name Fighting Foe Men into the bios and some fans have asked for the Monogram vehicle pilots, I doubt anyone ever put the two together. While these aren't really fan demanded characters, they are quite neat. Dawg-O-Tor and Shield Maiden Sherrilyn certainly feel like they could have been vintage Heroic Warriors, and Ditztroyer could easily have appeared as an Evil Warrior, so they have a very vintage feel to them. Truly, since they appeared on the Monogram boxes, they do have vintage DNA as well.  You might wonder why the names sound so strange (although, let's be honest, most MOTU names are strange. Each of these figure's pays homage to three of the hardworking individuals who create great toys alongside the Four Horsemen: Shane Dittsworth, Owen “O-Dawg” Oertling, and Sherri Lynn Cook. Easy to make the connections to whose figure is whose now, huh? While I do think the names are silly, the figures fit right in with the line, and that's always a plus.  Assigning a rating to the set, I'll go with a Good and a 1/2 overall.  This is really a nice set, and a nice addition that adds to the eclectic feel of the MOTUC line.

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