As most of you know, Matty’s August high jinks cost us our Club Eternia subscriptions here at IAT, not to mention the August items, Man-E-Faces & Megator. With so many new toys being released since then, Man-E-Faces fell by the wayside until an IAT reader wrote in to save the day.
Before I get into the nitty-gritty of the review, I have got to give a huge shout out and thank you to one of our young readers, Albert! Albert & his dad had an extra Man-E-Faces and got in touch with me after reading about the problems I’d had picking one up. So, a quick shout out to Albert & his family. This review wouldn’t be possible without you! Thank you!
In addition to my slightly longer wait, Man-E-Faces has been one of my most anticipated figures in the line. The novelty of his having three faces has never quite worn off for me. I loved the original figure (& was overjoyed that it survived The Great Flood™), I loved his MO2K update (another huge shout out on that one, it was my future wife that managed to snag me that figure when I absolutely couldn’t find it), and I was more than ready for his MOTU Classics version to finish off the trio. The only reservation I had was that not all the folks behind the scenes were as interested in replicating the original toy as I was…
Back in the early 80s, Man-E-Faces’ toy ended up being a bit different from his original cross-sell art on the back of the package. Almost thirty years later, that change to the final product would take the form of a fan poll to decide how the modern iteration of the figure should look: like the old toy, like the old art, or a compromise between the two. Only 1200 or so votes were cast (having to be a member of the Matty forums prolly didn’t help all that much) and nearly half the folks chose the compromise option.
Initially, I thought the compromise might be a good idea, but really, anything that downplayed the orange on the classic toy was just going to turn the figure into cross-sell art anyway. And that’s what I feel like happened here. We may have felt like we were voting on flesh, mix, or orange, but we were really voting on flesh tone, or orange. Now, maybe that’s what the voters quicker than me realized when they cast their vote, but I will always wonder how the vote might’ve gone if the “great compromise” hadn’t been listed as an option. Would we have all voted for the new figure to not look like the old one? I don’t know.
I won’t lie. It does bug me a little bit that Man-E-Faces isn’t “just like we remember”, but I think it’s more about me feeling damned either way at this point. Figures that I was really excited to see some MO2K influence on like Snout Spout ended up being little more than upgraded vintage figures while a figure I would’ve been more than happy to see receive a vintage upgrade ended up being booted all the way back to the conception art. It doesn’t ruin the figure, but I can’t help but feel I’m waiting for a repaint at times – and with the TRU 2pks dead in the water, that’s not likely to happen.
Man-E-Faces features a healthy amount of part re-use to get the job done, everything from the bicep swivels and ab crunch down hails from another figure, mostly Trap Jaw with some Optikk undies. Man-E-Faces received some new shoulders, a new upper torso, hoses/harness, head, and helmet. I would’ve liked to see the details on the original figure’s helmet/suit “seam” and the design on the shoulders carry over to this figure, but those aren’t missed opportunities since the sculpt was seeking to replicate the cardback.
As a quick aside, is anyone else feeling like the limbs are softer these last few releases? I don’t know if it’s me and I’m going crazy, but the figure seems a little less sturdy than past releases. Are any of you experiencing that?
The centerpiece of the Man-E-Faces is the new head though. It’s one of the coolest action features a figure can have and I loved changing the vintage figures face (& personality) as a kid. The funny thing is that I could never pick a favorite. The regular face was to be respected as Man-E-Faces’ original, of course, but the beast & robot faces were equally exciting and really made the figure memorable. The same can be said for the Classics figure as those original three faces are all represented, but the Classics figure also gave us a little more in the guise of a “secret accessory”. Continue to Page 2