The chest armor and the inserts are nicely done. Like the other pieces of armor, they look great, but have some functional issues. The aforementioned bulk is one, but mainly it’s that the material used feels delicate. Like Battle Armor He-Man, the clips feel weak and I don’t really want to reach in there all that often and swap the plates because of it. I haven’t had any breaks, but it does feel like I need to handle it with care. This concern is somewhat validated by the white stress lines that are already on the backpack clips just from carefully storing the accessories on their backs one time.
The paintwork was decent across the set. Toy Guru did end up with the “looking up” syndrome that’s been affecting DC figures of late, but it’s not as pronounced here. The other heads all had great apps.
The bodies feature minimal paint apps so there’s not much room for error (the belts were the only area where there was any slop worth mentioning). The metallic highlights on the armor are crisp throughout and really sell the sculpt. One area where I did have an issue with the paint was the accessories.
The two shields are easily my least favorite accessories in the set. They’re spot-on models for the Stinkor/Weapons Rack shields of yesteryear, but 1) they don’t really fit on the figures well because of the armor and 2) they’re molded blue and painted silver. This looks great, but all of the right forearm pieces have some silver paint that has rubbed off from the shield.
In addition the the heads, chest plates and shields, each set includes 2 halberds, a mace, an axe, and 2 mouth guards. The pile of gear on my desk from just two sets was rather ridiculous! The halberds are my weapon of choice – you simply can’t block a door unless you’ve got two guys with halberds manning the entrance, but I appreciate the other accessories too. The mace replaces the underwhelming silver Moss Man mace from the first weapon pack, and the axe is a redeco of the one that came with Buzz-Off. We’ll be seeing all these accessories again here in April’s Weapons Rack, though some may (thankfully) be in different decos. The other accessory, the mouth guard, is also a welcome addition for two big reasons.
First, the face guard captures the classic look of the Palace Guards when you snap it into the helmet. It’s cool to have it for just that reason, but it also means that you’re not limited by having a half dozen Toy Guru guards. Simply cover up their faces with the “full” helmet and you can let your palace army get rather ridiculous in numbers without looking ridiculous (though it’d be nice to have extra undamaged chest plates for all those guys, wouldn’t it?)
Overall, this set is pretty well done for Mattel’s first stab at a MOTU armybuilding set. The extra heads easily got me to pick up two sets and the customizable armor is a nice touch*. The four head sculpts are terrific and the figures overall are spot-on for palace guards. They look great surrounding Randor & Adam, being led into battle by Duncan, or just standing in front of a door with their halberds crossed. I hope that Mattel builds on what they’ve started and this year’s upcoming 2pk, whatever it is, will give us the chance to create even more unique characters. I’ve already agreed to buy two of ’em via my sub, but I’d happily pick up some extra sets if the swappable parts will stretch the roster beyond four figures.
* – I’d like Mattel to toss one more unblemished armor into a future weapons pack which would solve the issue of having an extra lieutenant or damaged armor, but is anyone here up for them tossing in a set of the right arm and leg armor in for Man-At-Arms? He looks odd leading his men into battle with only half as much gear on.
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