This review was originally published on December 19th, 2011.
A large part of the delay in getting my MOTU Classics Swift Wind review up is because Mattycollector didn’t bother to ship my November order until December, but I’ve been a little hesitant at taking a look at this brightly-colored unicorn since he arrived. This will be my first horse review.
I think some of my hesitance about reviewing Swifty is that I’m not sure if he’s a figure or a vehicle. It may sound silly, but Battle Cat, and subsequently Panthor, made the leap to being individual figures in the line. They’re just as much fun on their own as they are rides for our favorite characters.
Swift Wind doesn’t quite feel that way. It’s not a knock against the figure, a horse simply shouldn’t be as articulated as a giant cat, but his status as a horse does leave me feeling a bit more like he’s window dressing, a ride for She-Ra, a vehicle. And I haven’t reviewed many vehicles here at IAT (I can only think of one off the top of my head in the last three years). It left me unsure of what metrics to use in this review. Do I look at Swift Wind and measure him to Battle Cat? Do I simply look at how well he works as a steed? I don’t know. I still don’t right now. This review might be more blathering than usual. Just a heads up.
Last year, Mattel spent a fair amount of time promoting a fan vote between “Royal White” and “Classic Pink”, the two decos of the original Swift Wind toy. In retrospect, it was a little odd when you think about it because, unlike the vintage MOTU guys, the She-Ra branch of MOTU Classics really tends to draws inspiration from the cartoon designs and forego replicating the original toys. White (thankfully) won the Swift Wind vote, but collectors didn’t get an upgrade of the Royal White Swift Wind, but rather Swifty as he appeared in the cartoon itself.
For my money, I’m glad Mattel/Scott/Four Horsemen made that call. While I understand that some collectors have attachment to those original toys and would like to see those designs updated, that’s not what I’m looking for with MOTU Classics. The last thing I want out of any MOTU figure is just to see the vintage toy get an unimaginative upgrade. With Swift Wind though, there was another component – this is his iconic look. The original toys, which would surely make cool Classics, simply can’t replace his cartoon design in my eyes. In fact, if I’d been collecting Princess of Power toys as a kid, I can only imagine annoyance at why Mattel didn’t make Swift Wind match the show in the first place. In a way, this feels like righting a decade’s old wrong, but I’ll understand if fans of the original toys disagree. I’d moved off to Ghostbusters & G.I. Joe by the time She-Ra was hitting store shelves.
The sculpt here is… a horse. The most impressive thing about it though is the size. He’s much bigger than I expected – about 8” tall and a foot-and-a-half wingspan. This guy is going to take up space, so be prepared.
The horsemen have sculpted horses before, and this latest iteration is just as well done as the horse that served as steed to the Headless Horsemen many years ago. Clearly the Four Horsemen know their stuff when it comes to animal sculpts and that’s showcased yet again here (and while more horses are surely in our MOTUC future, I long to finally see their talents applied to a Winged Victory in the DC line).
The detail work on the wings is superb, as are the small anatomical details of the horse, and the gear he sports. I did have to laugh at the… uh, windswept main there. Swift Wind & Marzo are gonna have to hang out…
The saddle & mask are removable, which moves Swift Wind closer to a version of his non-powered self, Spirit, but the bridle piece is glued in place (and covers some unsightly articulation). Also, any Spirit-form is also prevented by the slots where the removable wings snap in. I imagine there will be non-unicorn horses in our future, but I can’t say that I’m really down to pay another $30 ($35?) for a regular Spirit version should that come up. The saddle clips-on similar to Battle Cat’s armor while the mask if held on through simple friction similar to Panthor’s helmet. The mask is surprisingly snug, owing to the great engineering put into this figure. Continue to Page 2