Buzz-Off Review

I wasn’t excited when Buzz-Off was revealed at SDCC. It was odd, because he was one of my favorite toys growing up. I loved his colors. I loved his wings (though I did lose one along the way). He was great. Classics Buzz-Off really brings back those memories, but, truthfully he elicits them a little too well.

I’ve been really conflicted about Buzz-Off since he arrived on Monday. Heck, I usually have these reviews up the next day and here it is four days later already. I want to like him, and there are certainly many reasons to do so, but I fear he’s becoming a symbol of something about MOTU Classics that I’m starting not to like.

I want to see some innovation. Some imagination. I want to see the Four Horsemen be utilized. I look at Buzz-Off and he looks perfect. Exactly as I imagined he would look – mostly Whiplash, the right new pieces to simulate the old new pieces, and a touch of MO2K throw in. But I find myself wishing for that ephemeral something more. Something that I couldn’t have imagined. Something hat I could get excited about that doesn’t stem from nostalgia.

I blame Bow & Vikor for this whole mess really. I mean – look at those guys. They look fantastic and I find myself more excited for “She-Ra’s Special Friend” and the “He-Man from the North” than I am for my childhood favorites – Buzz-Off, Roboto, Sy-Klone, etc. That’s just wrong.

So I look at Buzz-Off and I just wish there was a little more “Four Horsemen” in him like those other two guys seem to have. The 4H have proven themselves fantastic creators and I can’t even imagine the cool stuff they could do with these figures (even while reasonably ensconced in the buck system) if they were allowed to stretch their own imaginations. With Buzz-Off in-hand and seeing Sy-Klone’s debut, it feels like MOTUC has moved into this area where the 4H touch is lessened on the toys I had as a kid. That kinda stinks. I’d like to be amazed & nostalgic instead of just being amazed by some and nostalgic for others…

In any case, I don’t want to hold any of that against Buzz-Off here. And I’m going to try my very best not to…

(Editor’s Note – I couldn’t track down my MO2K Buzz-Off for this review, so I substituted one that I knew the location of – a custom of the evil Buzz-Off hinted at on one of the MVC covers.)

As I briefly mentioned above, we’ve seen most of Buzz-Off before, back in August, when Whiplash introduced this new scaly buck. I do like it quite a bit. The extra detail on the shoulders is welcome. The extra torso piece simulates the original chest well and adds depth. Heck, I think it looks even better here on Buzz-Off than it did on Whiplash.

And Buzz-Off does have some bits that are new/unique to him. New forearms/pincers, a new head, and a new backpack (with wings!). The pincers and forearms are well done. I’m particular grateful for the forearms as they help Buzzy to get some distinction from his buckmates. The head is… okay. I didn’t really think of Buzz-Off as having a balloon head when I was a kid, but looking back – he kinda does. That’s been fixed for the classics edition and it looks much better this time around. I can’t quite make out the expression on the figure though. He’s somewhere between inquisitive and complacent. Kinda like how I feel about him, so maybe I’m projecting.

One thing that did surprise me is how much I really love the wings. I loved ’em as a kid and I do enjoy having two of them again. In fact, my misgivings with the figure do drop considerably when he’s posed with those wings flared out. Not only do they look great, but they move great too – they’re connected to the “backpack” piece via ball-joints and can be placed in just about any direction. That hint of MO2K also comes into play here as two tendrils have been added to the bottom of the “backpack” to balance out the wings.

Ah, the helmet. The bane of every kid that had vintage Buzz-Off. It didn’t look that great and it didn’t really stay on. Mattel has definitely rectified the latter – this one stays on great. The former? Eh. It certainly doesn’t look as bad as previous versions and it does have some nice little extra details that match the wing “backpack”, but the “eyes” are still enlarged enough to let that familiar silliness creep in. It’s okay, really. I mean, he is a giant bee guy. Maybe silliness is called for? Continue to Page 2…

35 thoughts on “MOTUClassics.Com:
Buzz-Off Review

  1. First off, great review as always! Love that custom Buzz-Off, too!

    Secondly, that “something extra” or wow factor that you couldn’t predict…it’s certainly doable and you gave some great examples of upcoming figures that have it in Bow and Vikor. Man-At-Arms and Trap Jaw are further examples. Being able to not only switch heads out on MAA, but also store ALL of his weapons on his back was outstanding. With Trap Jaw, you get an absolutely amazing figure (and let’s face it, nobody could’ve predicted that mess behind the iron jaw…YUCK!) that can actually double as Kronis, thanks to the second arm/head combo. I mean, there’s your WOW factor! Some figures are costed in to have it, some aren’t (as Matty would say).

    I’m thankful for the modern touches we did get with Buzz-Off, and while I lament the lack of a second head, I can’t really think what I would’ve done differently with the figure.

    1. Thanks! I was a big fan of some of those “faker” designs on that MVC cover, but Evil Buzz-Off stood out among them.

      There’s maybe not too much more that could’ve been done with him, but there are a few little things like new arms to make them more visually compatible. A modern head like you mentioned. And the boots – I surely never thought about this as a kid, but as an adult the dinosaur boots are just weird in general (and weirder on a bee man!). We need an explanation for them in the bios. 😀

  2. I am in total agreement with the review.

    Cool enough replica of the vintage figure (which was absolutely one of my childhood favorites, too!) but NOT what this line should be about.

    Like Vikor, the 4H must be allowed to break free from their shackles!!! LOL

    Seriously though, with the bucks now in place, Mattel could hire basically ANYONE (or do it in-house) if all they want are copies of the old figures. It’s serious under-using of the best in the biz, and it’s a shame.

    Anyway, great review as usual, and great last shot in particular! 🙂

  3. Great review as always. Question… i didnt see a review for the Great Wars pak. I wanted to see the review with the store again LOL

    1. There will be a Great Wars Pak review! The store is just time consuming and I’ve been busy with the holidays and the onslaught of DC Classics. I’m planning to have it up in January. 😀

  4. you know though, we were so friggin excited back in the day that we overlooked some of the early warning signs, like mr stratos there. he was a great relief to get back into the motu groove, but holy crap is a he a straight re-up. even moreso than buzz-off. maybe that’s the problem, the longer sellout times, even then, of the straight up re-articulation of the 80’s smooth and featureless designs, figs like zodac, stratos, and now buzz-off, maybe somehow that didn’t get the point across. what more do we have to do? the fastest sellout times are generally the figs w/ the most “new” details… maybe we need a line graph or bar graph we can show the mat-tards so we can back our claim that the re-ups take longer to sell through… then maybe we’d start getting more “new”

    1. The only problems with doing the graphs would be that we have a lot of missing information. We don’t know inventory levels – even relatively – has everything since She-Ra been produced at her level? Plus, the WSOD has different effects in different months too (which also involves what else is for sale). If we could control for those, it’d be easier.

      But anecdotally? Six hours for Buzz-Off isn’t that impressive and hopefully that meant something and TG noticed.

    2. I’m not so sure this particular issue is a factor on the sell-thru times. It seems many of the things Noisy speaks of aren’t really seen at the proto stage, it’s not until you actually have them in hand these things are really noticed.

      I’d like to suggest a starting point for this kind of discussion, to wit: EVERY original MOTU figure is SOMEBODY’S most favorite figure and has that key nostalgia pull. Witness Noisy and Scareglow. 🙂

      But just because every figure is someone’s favorite, that doesn’t automatically that every figure is going to sell huge numbers. There is a sorting process that goes on, some figures obviously have more love than others, that’s just normal. Ram-Man will probably sell much faster than Snout Spout.

      The early slow sell-through on some figures are likely due to the poor advertising and at that point Mattel may have been still thinking of production runs in ‘firing days’ and not pre-selecting a target number. (honestly, I much prefer that idea, of having no set number but a set time period to order-thus preventing the insane mad scramble. If people keep ordering right up to the close of the window that’s a bonus). Once Mattel decided to create ‘targets’ in order to streamline their logistics things started to go nuts.

      Add to that scalper fever. I am convinced that many of the ‘giants’ got bought up by scalpers with visions of making huge bux because the vintage figs are rare and/or nonexistent.

      So, I’m just not convinced that bitching and moaning (valid tho that may be) about sculpts is impactiful on the sell-thru times.

  5. I agree…’s definitely the figures with new little innovations here and there that really make a Classics figure what is. When it’s a straight up copy of the classic, that kinda does kill it.

    1. Sy-Klone was one that really bummed me out. I mean, he was an excellent candidate for just a simple hybridization between the two styles and even that didn’t happen. I’m sure he’ll be a nice figure when he gets here, but it seems like such a shame.

  6. I couldn’t agree more with your review. I wasn’t too excited for this figure when he was announce, but once I had him in hand I loved him for what he was. However, Roboto, Sy-Klone, and Buzz-Off didn’t wow me as much as Marzo, Adora, or say Grizzlor.

    Buzz is definitely lacking that intangible wow factor. He comes close, but it’s not there. I really do think he needed a 200x head and swappable hands. I think that’s all it would have taken.

    1. He really does come close. I literally struggled with how to present this review because he was right on the precipice. He’s well done and slightly underdone.

  7. Glad to see that we’re on the same page.

    Nowadays, I’m more excited about characters who aren’t from the 80’s MOTU, like POP (they’ll be based upon the style guide, something we’ve never seen in toy form before), NA (fans love improved figures–see Bow, King Hsss’ human form and Optikk), MYP characters and concept characters (totally new characters). In comparison, the general MOTU characters are the vintage figures with modern articulation and better paint–no new elements or innovations to them.

    1. God I hope so. I don’t see why we can’t have Classic versions of both vintage and 200X looks.

    2. Mattel management fail.

      Unless they release a 2nd Buzz-Off down the road.

      But unless it’s got more than just a new head, that’s milking the fans too much for my taste. :/

    3. Hey, CB! Thanks for stopping by!

      I imagined that you had done the second head (that extra parts bin at your studio would no doubt make a grown man cry) and it just didn’t make it to the collectors.

      If Mattel does get around to putting that head with the figure someday, hopefully Mattel will let you guys do more with the rest of the figure too.

      Like Lay Ze says, just the new head might make me feel like crap for buying it! LOL

    4. y’know, thinking of Mattel’s “licensing” answer in terms of why a second head wasn’t included, it does make me wonder:

      they’d really honestly market Buzz Off with this ridiculous-looking vintage styled head over the MO2K head? Really? They honestly think kids are gonna bite on the happy looking bumblebee? R..really?

    5. Thanks for dropping this HUGE bomb on us CB…
      URRRRRGH!!! This is what pisses me off to no end… The ONE character who Truly needed his 200X head IS Buzz-Off. The 4H MAKE IT and Mattel says “No…” I want to kick the happy sack of the one(s) who denied me of my 200X bee head.
      I did buy Buzz-Off, more out of habit than by wanting him. No offense to the 4H’s work, but Vintage Buzz-Off’s head sucks! The 4H recreated the suckitude of the source material flawlessly. Hopefully I’ll like it better once I have it in my hands.

  8. I totally agree with the points made in another great review.

    For some reason, the actual figure greatly surpasses my underwhelmed initial impressions. The huge and very poseable wings, legs, and weapons give him more substance than many of the other figures of his kind that lean more towards “upgrade” than drastic improvement. I’m impressed by how subtle the work is to make the head pretty cool when it logically should be rather dumb looking.

    I really like the figure alot, but I can probably blame some of that on low expectations and having no love for the vintage figure. Add to that no QC problems construction wise and the fact that he’s very pose-friendly with no fur or cape, and he’s a pleasant surprise for me.

    Regardless of that, you hit the nail on the head soooo effing hard it hurts. That is a great point made about the creativity of the 4H. For me, a
    fan of the artistry and clever design that goes into figures, the old “vintage vs. 200X” debate really takes a back seat to my feelings as a longtime fan of the 4H. As a fan, I’m not married to the ideas they brought to this stuff years ago, I just want them to have the freedom to be brilliant at what they do. I get that there is a buck system, vintage comes first, and I wouldn’t want to deny anyone a faithful upgrade once their favorite childhood figure rolls around. Still, my reason for getting on board here are the fantastic touches resulting from creative freedoms. Even the little things, like Trap-Jaw’s nasty mouth and Tri-Klops’s hidden eyes are so very impressive.

    Maybe it’s greedy, but I want to see more and hope to be blown away with each release! To be fair, I’ve got a Buzz-Off here that I really enjoy despite being based on a design that I don’t, and it took some skill and care to make that happen.

    1. The little things really make the line – that’s completely true. And you’re absolutely right about the skill and care it took to make this figure what it is – an excellent vintage recreation with a dash of MO2K.

      The slight negativity I felt towards it seemed out of place in light of what the Four Horsemen did do with him! I had to really think and rewrite this review a couple times to hit the right note.

  9. One thing that really bugs me about Buzz Off (aside from not getting that second head. That would have been sweet), is the tiny little pincer hands. Those things just look so ridiculous to me. I realize these figures are supposed to be updates of the originals, but I thought having a touch of “modern flair” was also supposed to be part of the deal. Having larger claws would make him look much more bad ass, rather than just looking like someone who has difficulty eating soup. Bigger pincers and a 2002 head probably would have gotten me to buy this figure, but without those, I had no problems giving this guy a pass on the 15th.

    1. A couple people have mentioned alternate/different hands to me and I could see that. I was wondering if they’d be nicer articulated, but the weapons snapped into place so snugly that I figured articulating them would have been worse overall.

      The MO2K hands were a bit too disfunctional for me, but if they could have been hybridized it could’ve turned into something cool.

  10. Good review. You hit upon my initial reluctance to buy Classics succinctly in this review.

    For me, the 200X figures were what I imagined the MOTU designs could be – awesome and individualized. The individual personality of Buzz-Off having insect hands, or an extra-large Beast Man – that is the MOTU I want.
    Classics does not give the ULTIMATE version of a character. It strikes some strange balance between every interpretation of the character, updating while remaining frozen on that (essentially) one-body template circa 1982.
    I didn’t jump into Classics fully until I saw the offerings at SDCC 2009, because it clarified what the line would be. When I saw Trap Jaw and the Goddess, I was in, because I knew I had to have those. And in looking at the other figures, I could see that Classics was something I had to collect. They wouldn’t be the 200X continuation that I wanted, but they would be an update of the original styled figures in a modern context.

    Now, I’m not surprised by the Classics interpretations of Buzz-Off, Sy-Klone, and many of the figures, so there isn’t room for disappointment. Knowing what we are going to get keeps my expectations realistic…I enjoy this Buzz-Off, even though I wasn’t looking forward to him, because he fulfills the basic minimum of what I would want from a Buzz-Off update. I’ll continue to collect Classics as long as I enjoy them. I wish they were more individualized, but I enjoy the designs enough to compromise on the body types.

  11. This review is spot on, this is how I exactly feel about MOTUC now.

    ROBOT was my favorite MOTU as a kid, I didn’t mind the reversed shoulders but they could’ve been a little more creative, then just a normal right hand, seriously the guys a robot, they could’ve done anything to update him.

    MOTUC is just adding joints to the MOTU figs I had as a kid. I don’t want them to go 200x or MYP, but I do want them to be creative. Let your imagination fly. Cause MOTUC is getting predictable.

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