MOTUClassics.Com Review:
Preternia Disguise He-Man

While I had a ton on fun with Bane Week, it caused some MOTU reviews to be delayed. Maybe we could do a MOTU theme week – I’m sure Mattel would love to sell 5 new MOTU Classics toys in one month, wouldn’t they? Today, we’ll look at one of the three MOTU items for February, Preternia Disguise He-Man.

To subscribe, or not to subscribe, that is the question. I have no idea what percentage of the MOTU fanbase has joined Club Eternia. It sounds like it’s a sizable chunk, but the demand present on sale day still seems pretty high and Mattel wisely chooses to keep the subscription exclusives relegated to figures that hardcore collectors would want while still being items that casual fans could pass on without too much regret. In its first year, Club Eternia featured Wun-Dar. A simple He-Man repaint to be sure (though given a new, unique characterization), but I loved that figure. He’s still one of my favorites out of the fifty or so figures in the line. For 2011, Mattel chose another version of He-Man, this time his Preternia Disguise.

The origins of this look are relatively simple. In the vintage mini-comic The Powers of Grayskull – The Legend Begins, He-Man & the Sorceress travel back in time because they’re bored. It’s this mini-comic that introduces the concept of Preternia, He-Ro, as well as some techno-organic dinosaurs. Unfortunately, He-Man & the Sorceress left the door to the past open and are soon followed by Skeletor. While they’re walking around exploring the wonderful world of Preternia, Skeletor teams up with King Hiss and mayhem ensues. He-Man is allowed to help, but only if he wears a disguise. It’s never quite clear why that is, but you can imagine that if He-Man hadn’t shown up in Preternian history books before the Sorceress left, then she smartly chose to keep it that way. Anyway, He-Man changed clothes. Boom! New figure!

I don’t want to keep typing Preternia Disguise He-Man over and over and “PD He-Man” just doesn’t have the right ring to it, so, for the review, I’m going to call He-Man what I call the figure: Strangor. I just did a quick Google search for that name to see where it originated and… the only links I see calling him that come back here. I swear I heard it somewhere…

Anyway, Strangor here is mostly built from the He-Man buck though his arms feature the matching bracers from Tri-Klops. The new parts are the two pieces that make up his tunic and a new head. The first thing you surely noticed about Strangor is that his belt seems awful tight. I promise you that it looks better in person than it does in the head-on pics, but not a whole lot. The problem really isn’t the belt/waist, but rather the bulk of having the upper tunic be a separate piece from the torso (underneath is a brown He-Man chest with smooth abs). Since this figure is paid and guaranteed to sell the same number of units as every other subscription figure, I’d like to see a little more tooling.

I don’t always like the way that the fuller armor pieces sit on the figures. It pushes their arms out and increases the width of the torso more than it should, but it’s armor so I get it. This is supposed to be cloth. This figure would be light years better if Mattel could’ve sprung for a new torso (think Alan Scott). Despite my wishing they were torso pieces, the tunic is nicely sculpted and do look like simple togs on a bodybuilder.

Okay, other than the bulky tunic, I really liked the figure and one of the reasons is the head sculpt. Yes, it’s your standard He-Man expression, but instead of trying to fit a huge hood over the head like the huge tunic over the chest, everything has been sculpted anew. The mask is sculpted on instead of simply being paint and the hood is a separately sculpted piece. It’s pretty cool and, dare I say, 200x Skeletorish. The nice thing about the hood is that it sits far enough forward on the face to cast shadows. That’s usually a problem for hooded characters.

There’s not a lot of paint on the figure and what is there is a mix of good and bad. The light airbrushing on the tunic for texturing is nicely done and the paint on the face is really sharp. But the paint on the belt and boot trim didn’t come out as nicely. The boots had a lot of variation on the ones I saw: some had little to no dark areas while others were well covered like the one in the photos for this review. All the belts lacked a certain crispness though and I think the look of the figure unnaturally draws your attention to it, making the slightly sloppy paint seem a little worse than it might be on another figure.

Articulation is standard though the tunic does block things here and there. The skirt has slits in the sides to give the legs a little more freedom, but don’t expect any deep poses. The arms are prevented from coming down to his sides and the ab crunch loses some mobility inside the tunic piece. Other than these conflicts everything works as expected.

Since Strangor didn’t feature a lot of new tooling on the figure itself, he did come loaded with some cool accessories. The most important of which is the Cosmic Key. It’s mostly based on the movie design, but a handle has been added so the figures can hold it (though I did enjoy that the figure is cradling it in the packaging). It probably sounds silly, but I really like the key. I love the metallic blue and bronze keys and I’m always unnaturally entertained by vac-plating. Another handy feature is that the chromed forks are on a separate piece so they can rotate (and possibly so a future Gwildor can include a cosmic key in the off position). Continue to Page 2…

27 thoughts on “MOTUClassics.Com Review:
Preternia Disguise He-Man

  1. Great review! I love He-Man beating Hordak over the head with the cosmic key!!!

    I didn’t get this guy as I refuse to subscribe, but he came out all right.

    1. I think that’s one of my favorite pics on the site!

      His after market price isn’t too bad. I think a lot of folks are simply picking him up that way and paying the “extra” to avoid the subscription drawbacks.

  2. This figure is pretty awful if you ask me. It’s one of the biggest misfires by the 4H yet and he allowed me to happily skip the subscription this year. The only thing I’m regretting is not getting a cosmic key, but Gwildor will hopefully solve that problem.

  3. The only thing that I was disappointed by was the lack of a sheath for the sword on his back. THEY SHOULD ALL HAVE A PLACE TO STOW WEAPONS! Its just stupid that he can’t at least put the sword back there. Just stupid.

    1. I can agree with that completely! I know I made a point of the gun slinging on the back, but even a spot for the power sword would’ve been nice.

  4. I think this figure would have been much better with a smooth torso to go with the abs they used. I would advocate soft goods, but they would probably have turned out poorly due to logistics or whatnot.

    How were the ankles on this figure? I see they’re not using the modified pieces introduced with Vikor.

    1. A new torso was really the way to go with the figure. He looks much better without the bulk – even with the sculpted muscle details.

  5. I used to be torn between selling/trading this figure and chopping him up for custom parts (seriously, I love my two pack Skeletor in every way but one, that damn bababushka they have wrapped around his skull) but your review has left me with a third and unexpected choice; keeping him! Your reviews always enhance or bring out the character in the plastic, and chracter is most of what motivates me to buy a figure. I’m wondering now, however, if the new hood sculpt will be used somewhere down the line for Skeletor, in which case (in all my glorious laziness) I’d prefer to wait things out before cutting up another toy. If they do use that hood on Skelly that would free me up to play with and enjoy “Strangor”

    Thanks for another awesome review!

    1. This hood is definitely great for that purpose. I’m not going to do any customs yet and just cross my fingers that the 4H get their shot at including him.

  6. on the one hand, i’m glad i didn’t subscribe, but MAN i wish i’d gotten this figure…

  7. Fun review, as always! I like the figure, the accessories are cool, and it’s a fun call-back to my youth, but his bulky “armour” and inability to ride any beasts or strike any really dramatic poses just further reinforces my dedication to “soft goods.”

    Perhaps if they keep re-issuing “Original” He-Man frequently enough and in large enough quantities so I can build up some custom fodder, I could one day customise a version of this character who can stand en garde and sit astride a Bionatops frill. But first, I gotta get going on Vikor’s fur cape and figure out how to make Scare Glow’s collar work….

    1. I hear ya, but I just don’t like cloth on my toys even though I know they’d solve most of the drawbacks. That said, if you’ve got pics of some of your cloth customizations, we’d love to see ’em!

      1. Thank ‘e, mate; I’d love to post ’em! Just ain’t had the time to get started on the MOTU Classics collection yet, apart from a Filmation Faker with a “removable computer core” I made a while back out of a badly-made, broken, first-issue He-Man. When I’ve got enough stuff worth posting, I’ll join up on the forums and start showing off. };D Thanks!

  8. Who’s the brunette he’s giving his sword to? Did I miss a female figure somewhere?

  9. Man am I glad I didn’t bother to try subscribing this year – Jedi He-Man is just…….wrong.

    The Key hitting Hordak pic is pretty cool though……

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