There’s little that challenges my fondness for nostalgia as much as a quarterly Masters of the Universe Classics He-Man armor variant. They’re not just like we remember with newly sculpted torsos and a swank action feature that provided not only added value, but something much more important at the time, novelty.
In the Classics line so far, the need for a unique torso has been replaced by smarter part reuse, requiring only a new harness or new armor. Toss in a new accessory and the vintage look is achieved pretty easily on Mattel’s end. But while doesn’t take as much investment as other characters, the shadow of the $20-22 price tag draws longer over a figure with so few new parts. Particularly one that is essentially just a change of clothes.
I never had Thunder Punch He-Man as a kid. I had the seldom-used Original and infinitely-more-awesome Battle Armor He-Man. I seemingly had no use for the other He-Men beyond that (or Skeletors either for that matter). I guess I was just that odd kid that didn’t need to pile up the different versions of the same character. Though somewhat ironically, I’ve apparently gained that compulsion as an adult. Mattel has gotten me to buy near a dozen DC Classics Hal Jordans (a character I’m not even all that fond of), and they’ve sold me He-Man six times over the last few years.
With those things in mind, I wasn’t that excited about spending $20 on another He-Man variant, particularly one that seemingly never appealed to my young self some nearly thirty years ago. I respect the need for these variants and the other collectors who really want them. I’d like to see some Snake, Ice, or Horde Armor myself, so I know the feeling. And yet, I felt like I was going to be taking a Thunder Punch for the team on this one. Draego-Man was the real prize for April, or so I thought. Then fate (a.k.a. Digital River) intervened. My 30th subscriptions would ship separately. Thunder Punch He-Man would arrive days before Draego (Draego still isn’t here, in fact); making sure that I had time to properly examine and appreciate TP He-Man.
And a funny thing happened. Thunder Punch He-Man actually turned out to be pretty cool. Yes, he’s still a modern version of a design I had little interest in as a kid. But I see some fun aspects to him now, so much so that I wonder if a cap-poppin’ He-Man would’ve been fun as a kid. I did love that feature on so many other figures after all.
SO, yes, he’s still just He-Man with new armor and a few new accessories, but the MOTUC team didn’t use him as an opportunity to simply cash in. I don’t know what the magic number of new pieces should be in terms of value, and quarterly variants still seem to be budgeted on the lower end in that regard, but the extras are what really sell Thunder Punch He-Man.
At his base, you’ve got the standard He-Man that we’ve surely all bought more than once. The shared parts that we’ve bought in an even wider variety of colors. TP He-Man adds to that variety too, as he’s considerably less tan than previous He-offerings. It makes sense too, as his place in the Toy Guru’s timeline suggests he largely lives underground in Tundaria on the run with other Renegade Masters. It’s hard to keep a tan when you’re on the run.
The coolness comes from the details. There is the exceptionally important fist, required for any good Thunder Punch. There’s the new armor which features vac metal on the front and a working “backpack” on the reverse that can hold another accessory, the imitation cap. The imitation cap is unintentionally hilarious, by the way. What a silly thing to have. The figure also includes the classic Thunder Punch shield that can be used to stow the imitation cap and the included sword, a new clear yellow version. Continue to Page 2