Saturday, November 22, 2014

Action Figure Review: Ram-Man from Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel

Want to learn more about this confirmed epic Masters of the Universe Classics action figure?  Then read this review and all shall be revealed (after the break, of course)!

Pictured: Epicness
     I've had Ram-Man for almost a month now but I've really been putting off writing this review.  I couldn't even begin to say how much I was looking forward to this figure: not only is Ram-Man one of my favorite characters, but to me he was the last Masters of the Universe character I truly needed for my Masters of the Universe Classics collection to feel complete (That doesn't include She-Ra Princess of Power or The New Adventures of He-Man characters, nor does it mean I plan to stop buying MOTUC figures).  Ram-Man was released in 1983 as part of the second series of figures and is the last character from the first three waves of the original line to be introduced into the MOTUC  toy line.  In many ways, Ram-Man has been the metaphorical carrot that Mattel dangled in front of fans to them to continue subscribing and purchasing lesser know characters for their collections.  It worked, and I'm glad we finally have the "heroic human battering ram" in our collections.
"I enjoy fishing, long walks by the Sea of Rakash, and ramming things with my head."

     Although Ram-Man appeared fairly early in the original line, an  unusual aspect of the original action figure is that Ram Man was the first charater to receive a completely unique body sculpt (Teela was unique when she first appeared, but her entire body was later used for Evil-Lyn).  While most MOTU figures shared torsos, limbs, and sometimes even heads (I'm looking at you Stinkor and Moss Man), Ram-Man was completely unique.  Truly a figure built around the action feature, Ram-Man was a solid, one piece torso and head with separately sculpted arms and spring-loaded legs that allowed him to "ram" forward towards his foes.  The Ram-Man figure in the 200x line, while having a more detailed sculpt and a bit more articulation, wasn't much different than the original action figure from 1983: he still was very much built around his action feature.  Since the design aesthetic of the MOTUC line is intended to focus on articulation and sculpt over action features, this is the first fully articulated Ram-Man action figure.
"I've never been to St. Louis. Why do you ask?"

     As with the majority of the figures they work on, the Four Horsemen have done an excellent job at translating Ram-Man into the MOTUC line.  While he really isn't any taller than the average MOTUC figure, he is most certainly wider and bulkier.  His chest is massive with extremely broad shoulders and his fists are as large as any other character's head.  He's a massive, solid figure.  While the sharing of parts is a significant part of the MOTUC line, Ram-Man's unique appearance is captured giving him a completely unique sculpt.
     While most of MOTUC figures tend to be influenced by the vintage action figures, the Four Horsemen do pick and choose elements from various representations of the character to add some variety.   While the majority of the MOTUC Ram-Man is an update of the vintage figure there are some cool nods to other incarnations.  Throwbacks to the 200x figure include the clip to store an axe on the figure's back and the second un-helmeted portrait of Ram-Man in his circular metal hat.  Ram-Man has a very unique head sculpt.  He's got a lot of character in his face: it's the craggy visage of a rough man who's lived a hard life.  He also has that great tough guy squint that's reminiscent of the original character art from the back of the 1983 package.  While Ram-Man's shoulder armor isn't as detailed as the 200x version, his boots are far more detailed.  Besides all of the little seams and grips on the boots, there's also a great skull pattern tread on the soles that brilliantly matches the excellent skull patterned belt buckle. Overall, Ram-Man is a beautiful figure and I'm not sure he could have turned out any better appearance wise. 

      While larger than the average MOTUC figure, Ram-Man's articulation is similar to most others.  He has: Hinged ankles, swivel boots, ball jointed knees, ball jointed hips, swivel waist, ab hinge, ball jointed shoulders, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, and a true ball jointed head.  All of Ram-Man's joints are quite tight and give him a good range of motion.  While his bulkiness doesn't make him as limber as some other MOTUC figures, the poses you can get from him work for a guy of his stature.

     Ram-Man isn't loaded with accessories but what he comes with works for him.  First, we get his axe.  It is very much based off of the axe which was included with the vintage figure and is fairly solid with a slightly rubbery blade. Some MOTUC fans have complained about either not being able to get the axe into Ram-Man's right hand or of finding the axe to be too loose.  I have haven't had any trouble at all. The design of the axe is very simple and spartan; a nice accessory that complements Ram-Man's personality.  The second accessory is the additional portrait for Ram-Man that I mentioned earlier.  Ram-Man is depicted as being blonde, as in the MYP cartoon, and is wearing the round "pie pan" hat he was often seen wearing in that show.  While some fans have expressed little interest in the additional portrait, I think it both gives Ram-Man a bit more versatility and allows the excellent face sculpt to be shown off uninhibited.

     I have very few complaints with Ram-Man:  my only issue is that my Ram-Man had an odd mass of plastic or something on his right shoulder.  It was removed pretty easily with a sharp blade from my sculpting kit, but it still was a bit annoying.  I haven't seen anyone else with this issue, so I assume it's just one of those weird little things that happen during mass manufacturing.  Everything else about the figure is perfect and exceeded my expectations.   I'm glad to finally have Ram-Man and can't begin to describe how awesome he looks on my shelf standing alongside my other Heroic Warriors: He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Moss Man, Mekaneck, Roboto, Dekker, Fisto, Chief Carnivus, Buzz-Off, Man-E-Faces, Snout Spout, King Randor, the Sorceress, Sy-Klone, and Fearless Photog.  He really makes that group feel complete although I still anxiously await both Clamp Champ (coming this year!) and Rio-Blast (still unannounced).  He sold out in about 6 minutes on and is not anticipated to be offered again. At this point, you may need to either suck it up and buy him second hand or find a kindly person to trade you for one.  He's big, he's bad, and he rams things.  I'm going to say that Ram-Man is Confirmed: Epic.

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