Okay, so some unforeseen circumstances slowed us down last week, but don’t look at this Vykron review as late – just think of it as Reviewapalooza going an extra day! I’ll be finishing off our theme week with a look at Vykron, Mattel’s Masters of the Universe SDCC offering this year.
Vykron is one of those middle of the road figures. Though his origins extend back to the earliest days of MOTU as three mock-ups put together by Roger Sweet, he’s basically a new figure. Or, more aptly, a “concept” figure. Concept figures, to me, add some needed flavor to the line and give Classics an identity unto itself. Unfortunately, not all agree and these concept figures have taken some flak for “causing the downfall” of MOTU in regards to the slower subscription sales this year. Ironically, there haven’t been many in the line itself, just Vikor & Demo-Man (sorry, folks, the Star Sisters appeared in the cartoon!), so I find that an easy reason to discount. Still, the drama over subscription-sales saw Toy Guru give his assurance that any potential concept figures would be removed from the 2014 line in favor of getting nostalgic figures sooner. That promise appears to have gone over well, but I find it maddening nonetheless. I shed a tear for Red Beast.
But, this is Vykron’s review, not a Truetorial. Vykron debuted to mixed reaction back in April/May. I’m not sure what my fellow collectors were expecting. We, as a group, seem to have invested a little more heavily in SDCC exclusives knocking our socks off. Hasbro has been killing me with much needed updates to classics Joes, Transformers as GI Joe vehicles, and some sweet Marvel choices including an Avengers 4’ long (that’s feet, people!) Helicarrier just this last year. With MOTU, Mattel hasn’t been as flashy, but the last two years have seen fan favorites Prince Adam, Orko, Marlena, & Cringer, so perhaps we had our expectations a little too high for this year. I wasn’t disappointed at all though and I was looking forward to Vykron.
The only hiccup along the way was his bio. When Vykron debuted as one man with three looks, my first instinct was to jump to his being three characters. I don’t know why, but he seems cooler that way. When his bio was shown, Vykron was revealed to be a gladiator with a taste for the theatrical; routinely participating in the games in a variety of costumes (including two apparently based on a US army tank and another on Boba Fett, but I digress…). The bio also revealed he met his end after being ripped in half by Gygor. Interestingly, Mattel created a cool looking illustration of this final battle for SDCC, but has never posted it online (marketing… why bother?).
Anyway, Vykron was always going to be three people to me. Mattel was even selling him packaged three different ways, each one featuring Vykron in a different set of armor. The traditional barbarian look was available only at SDCC while collectors could choose to order either the Tank or Space versions online after the show. I opted for the Tank Version, as that was my favorite of the three and I wanted those pieces to be in the best condition. A smarter man would’ve taken a picture of the box before ripping it up to open, but I wanted to play with the toys, okay?
With my intention of having “Team Vykron” instead of a single figure, I had originally planned to buy three. Between the reveal and the show though, I started getting more creative. An extra MAA body would be a great base for the tank version (though you do lose some of the campy appeal by going all green), so I would only need two… but, wait! Why not give the Space guy some clothes? Space is cold, after all. An extra Spikor would add mix some purples in with the orange (hey, I think it looks cool). The only problem I had was modded an existing extra head to fit in the helmet. I opted for one of the extra guard heads, but still had to lop off a good chunk of his head to fit it all together. Honestly, I kinda wish the Four Horsemen, Terry, Ruben, or whomever just designed all the ports for the hair and helmets the same. How cool would it be if we could easily break up the glue and put the blonde He-Hair on Vykron here? I think that’d be a pretty classic look. And that’s not to mention giving anybody guard helmets, or alternate hair, or all sorts of fun things. Things this figure is kinda trying to bring to the line?
Okay, so I’ve been talking about everything but Vykron’s figure so far it seems. At his base, we’ve got the basic He-Man body we’ve come to love as it comes with nearly every figure. The only new tooling here is on the forearms and hands to get the basic Vykron gauntlets right. There’s some excellent detailing on the gloves, but that’s all the base body really adds to the table. Continue to Page 2
19 thoughts on “MOTU Classics.Com:
SDCC Vykron Review (18 Pics!)”
Completely agree with you about being peeved about the ‘promise’ to not do concept figures going forward, especially since most of my favorite figures are the concept and unproduced guys. I’m also one of the sick few who have loved all the 30th characters because it just brings something new to the table.
I also think the ‘concept’ figure hate is misguided. I think people actually do not care for expensive multipacks that offer no discount for being a multipack. But since the two three-packs have been unreleased/concept figures they get the brunt of the blame. The point of a multipack has always been to get a few figures in one sweep but at a slight discount for getting them together but Mattel seems lost on that concept … even at retail with their DCU packs.
On a more Vykron note, I really wish the orange shins would plug into the Palace Guard/Keldor shins because that orange goes really nice with green!
I’ve been waiting for this review..great read as always!
My personal favorite is the tank head version..what I didn’t like is the space diaper armor..it’s a little too much to digest
Also like the barbarian axe that is packed in..very nicely done..
“You can expect to hear from my lawyers..” : vintage Noisy humor 🙂
Is that Creeper’s mane used on the back of barbarian Vykor? I’m still on the fence on this guy. After seeing what some extra bodies can do I may pick this ( or should it be these) guy up. Great review and love the pics. The lawyer shot was great.
It looks like it, but it’s not. Creeper’s mane is longer and thicker.
Talking about marketing! I was checkeing Ghostbusters (franchise) page at Wikipedia yesterday and no single word about the Mattel figures, just the NECA ones… that’s pretty smart 😛
Loved the review! I also display all 3 armors, tho havent cut the head ive been usin properly so the space helmet sits a little funny, used my man at arms fot the tank man, rotated snake man at arms as my duncan, used a palace guards buck as my snake man ar arms body.
One thing to remember, these suits all DID belong to dofferent people at one point, and we dont know what they looked like, so tank top or space man could have been whatever colors we as fans decide their buck should be
Actually Jack it was intended to be one guy, with three different looks. Sweet ripped off the Action Man concept in his prototypes. Take a look at both Roger Sweet’s book and the Power & Honor Foundation’s book.
I think Terry did a great job with this one, especially as his last MOTUC figure he worked on. The paint on black has to stop though.
All the hullabaloo about concept figures, which amount to a whopping FOUR figures since the inception of Classics (Vykron, Demo-Man, Vikor, Gygor). I could understand if people were more po’d about the eight NEW figures (Mo-Larr, Battleground Evil-Lyn, BA Faker, and five of the six Anniversary figures)…
That aside, I enjoyed Vykron. Bought two, as I also am displaying him as three different characters. The clip-ons don’t bother me aesthetically.
You beat me to it. I was gonna point out that Gygor himself is a concept character.
And I have greatly enjoyed all concept characters released so far.
I love Vykron I bought two…was gonna buy three but decided to save a little money, if they do another MMM and he’s up I will buy a third for sure.
I glanced at your review history and saw that it was Vault, not you, who’s been doing a lot of the high-end Japanese toy reviews, but I found it interesting that some of what you’d have wanted for Vykor is very much along the lines of what’s typical for something like Figma or Soul of Chogokin: not just swappable accessories, but swappable sets of hands to give figures more versatility.
I’ve started delving into that stuff, and it’s colored how I look at “adult collectible” lines like DC Signature or MotU Classics. The Mattel figures I’ve valued most are the ones with a lot of versatility in how the figure can be displayed: the Eternian Guards, Kobra Kahn, Tallstar, etc. Those are all relatively modest with swappable parts compared to toy lines that provide multiple faces, sets of hands, etc. Mind, those figures cost more… but I can’t tell how much more, comparatively, since import and currency exchange costs are so steep. I’m fine with smart, appropriate re-use of parts, but Mattel, Hasbro, and Character Options have been doing it so much, it really starts to stink of cheapness. (I mean, we really deserved a better teen and female bodies in the DC line, and new molds could’ve still gotten heavy re-use.)
Incidentally, I passed on the 2013 subscription because I’ve got too many MotU figures already, and only want maybe 2 or 3 more, but it wasn’t figures like Demo-Man and Vykor that did it; in fact, I went out of my way to buy them before the year I subscribed. For me, the problem was figures like Dekker, King Grayskull, and Fang Man, but everybody’s tastes are different, and I know Fang Man made a lot of people (who like the He-Man cartoon a lot more than me) very happy.
i’ve had great fun w/ swapping vykron parts around or surfing through the fodder bins for compatible accessories to further trick out the V men. (i also wrote them a totally new bio, viewable here: http://www.itsalltrue.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=746&p=28165#p28165)
i will openly admit that at first mention, the photos of this set made me mad. why? because they looked cheap. and owning them now, convinced by better high res photos, eh… they are kinda cheap. i bought one set and considered for a while trying to snag two, but am glad now that i didn’t. there’s some shenanigans afoot about this set, and in toys, especially expensive toys, i hate shenanigans. for starters, the vykron buck, the new forearms are… thin. they are smaller than the standard buck forearm, so if you use another buck to slap the bracers on, the arm bands don’t fit snugly over the vykron buck forearms anymore. that’s DUMB. the paint over a buck cast in another color is DUMB, partially because, as noisy points out, we’re supposed to be using this guy, perhaps even more than usual for the line, to swap parts on and off. also, because it means the figure required extra paint aps… so vykron accrued an unnecessary expense… which could be why we got shite for paint aps on the weapons. next moment of cheapitude that was in fact not cheap: those stupid dimestore guns. they look like rejects from a chap mei set. the sculpts are soft, they lack paint aps… they look like weapons from the vintage line, to be honest. and the kicker here is, they wre unnecessary… the space dude would have looked fly as hell w/ the existing PDHM bionatops gun, and tank dude could easily have been packed w/ a webstor gun, or a pair of duncan pistols… all of these options would have required ZERO new tooling, so the budget for the pieces could have been spent on paint. who the fudge is planning this line? seriously, what kind of bonehead doesn’t look at a buck line and plan to REUSE PARTS TO MAXIMIZE THE TOOLING BUDGET?!?!?!?!? this is the kind of stuff that chaps me when i see “oh, scott is doing his best as a fan and brand manager, he’s really trying!” bullcrap, i have fleas on my nuts that try harder than that tool, he’s less competent than dan quayle at a spelling bee. i’m just saying… when his mom sends out the christmas newsletter, she tells people her son in happy in the home, and puts the bow over his face in the photo.
so back to the kvetching, the boots, had they been designed by someone w/ a brain, would have designed a clip to fit on the lower knee section that is above the boot, and thus universal to every motuc buck except the trap jaw leg. then, the giant gaudy boots would fit pretty much your whole collection. apparently, that was too easy. as was planning the frigging line “from the beginning” to have the same internal construction so that hair, helmets, etc… could be swapped. had it been done from the beginning, it would have been cost effective, and one more point of “cool” in this line’s favor. instead, it becomes a sigh of regret when the fanbase get to lamenting the lack of vision for the line. so those don’t fit quite right to enable the articulation to do it’s thing, and they don’t fit on better than half the figs we own… seriously, i want to know who the design dude was for this… if this was terry, good riddance. if this was the new guy, is it too late to have his car “modified” and get terry back? whoever was up on this set was just phoning it in, there’s no other way to call this. they can’t blame this on budgeting, because the decisions made for the figure show budget, but not good thinking.
it may be my personal fig too, but he holds his axe for crap. i have rubber banded the thing into his grip, and that works fine, i did the same thing for gygor and i’m cool w/ that, for fixinf design mistakes or QC flaws… but how often should i have to do this to fix figures that cost the same as a ribeye dinner? to put this another way, if i got the ribeye, and it was this janky, i’d be getting a new ribeye IMMEDIATELY. also, while in pixel dan’s review, his space ace suit was very hard to get on, but his barbarian uniform clipped right in, i have the opposite problem, my space ace suit fit together and stayed together, my barbarian harness won’t stay pegged in for love or money.
i’m happy in the larger sense because i like most of the pieces, and i’m fair w/ paints and quick w/ clear rubbers. i can patch most of issues i have w/ this set of pieces. most. but the set on the whole does indicate a piss poor execution from top to bottom in most areas. i shouldn’t have to do this much “clean up” on a $30 dollar toy. it is only because i truly enjoy motu as a property that i continnue to overlook this crap, any other line, even marvel, and i’d have kicked them by now. i have huge holes in my collection because i got so pissed about these stupid mistakes, and i will continue to cherry pick the line because flatly, there are toys in the line who don’t do enough right to warrant the purchase.
as it regards the new characters and ideas in this execution of the brand, man, it makes me seriously sad every time i read some one bitch about “the new.” talk about having lost the entire point of life… if the vintage is really the end-all, be-all for you, BUY THE VINTAGE!! they’re still out there, and generally affordable to boot! this is a NEW line, w/ NEW paint, NEW accessories, NEW articulation, NEW packaging, NEW bios, and NEW characters, and that’s the entire sell feature for the motuc line! this is seriously like people complaining because their kippers are briny. WTF is wrong w/ you people? let me guess, sex feels too good too? and death by chocolate is too decadent… stupid assholes. people like that are ruining life for themselves and everyone else. i guess that’s what the internet is for, complaining about crap that, if you said that in front of someone, would get you punched in the mouth. but it gets real old real fast. i love the new content for motuc, the millenium characters, the concept characters, and the actual new guys, even the ones i didn’t or won’t buy. i may not like the execution of a given fig, but i refuse to defame a whole subset of figures because i don’t like one guy… that’s profilin’, and profilin’s wrong. it’s a little narcissistic to assume that everyone will fall in line w/ how i do things… but i’m right. so snap to folks! 😉
That’s… that’s quite a lot of negativity, there.
That whole first paragraph, about the weapons? Yes, I do agree that they suck (axe aside). But they are designed to resemble the prototype ones, which a] makes sense as that’s what the figure is trying to capture – moreso than your average straight-up vintage fig even, given that this is their first crack at plastic – and b] would almost certainly be something some fans somewhere would complain about if they were replaced. We’ve all got ideas for accessories that we’d prefer to see with various figures, but turning that into a rather personal attack on TG seems a bit much.
Designing the boots to fit the lower knee section makes no sense to me, sorry. Pretty much all figures have some sort of boot beneath that, and they’re all different shapes and sizes – there’s not enough knee to anchor it to a skeletor-type boot, the fins on whiplash legs would get in the way, and he-ro boots pretty much cover that bit too. Same with Trap-Jaw boots, as you say. Granted, they might fit very loosely over Horde boots and bare legs, but that’s about it. Basically, if it were made to fit the lower knee, it’d be less secure (from being attached to the fig at the top rather than the middle) and still only really fit the furry boots.
I can’t really agree with the bit about internal connections of hair and stuff either. All the heads seem to be sculpted individually (I guess they kind of have to be, very few of them are the sort of head where you can just easily swap out a face) so ensuring that each newly-sculped head has exactly the same dimensions each and every time seems like it would be pretty fiddly. It’s not like this is lego where they can just paint a new face on a standard head or anything. And really, would that effort be worth it? I mean yes, it would be great for customisers if they could boil their he-man heads for a few minutes and give him Man-at-Arms’s helmet, but that’s not actually the point of these toys; they’re designed to represent specific characters. It’s cool when they include easy, swappable bits between characters but on the whole, it’s not meant to be a fully mix-and-match line like Gylos or OSM.
Now the stuff about painting the limbs on a figure, we can all agree that’s just plain stupid from so many angles (especially, as you point out, a financial one). And QC issues with loose grips, dodgy joints, all the rest – total fails, every one. But to complain that a toy company hasn’t made it easy for people to dismember toys that were not designed to come apart in the first place and glue them together in new configurations just seems odd to me.
clay, couple notes here:
a) the sweet protos weren’t followed exactly anyways, or space ace would have a black face mask, tank top wouldn’t have a face, and barbarian wouldn’t have hands. fudging the guns, which aren’t on model w/ the concepts either, would have been completely acceptable, especially in light of being able to afford to paint the pieces.
b) many of the masters fig do have similar heads under their hair, if you do a heat and pop. but not all. there are only a couple one piece heads in the set (so far as human characters go), most have the hair or helmet as a separate piece glued on the top. since this means there is already an under structure below the hair, using a universal understructure could have enabled more, simple parts swapping. it was not planned for that, clearly, but it could have been, hence my statement that they missed a chance to do something cool.
c) the boots are the figure we got are, aside from the barbarian greaves, large, much larger than they need to be to house the reptile boot, the hero boot, or the rebellion boot. had the internal structure been designed to clip onto the lower knee section, above the boots, it would have accommodated more boot types in the exchange feature. you can say this makes no sense, but SMAA greave wraps around that very knee segment, and fits quite securely. so it could have worked. SMAA’ greave is form fitting to the hero boot, true, but given the size of the overboots for vykron, there was room in there for many kind of boots if the clip on point were altered, especially when you consider that the ankle cuff on both boots already eliminated the use of the boot swivel and the ankle joint… so they were willing to ransack the articulation for the sake of aesthetics. why not do it in a way to give us more swap options?
d) like i said, despite my many criticisms, i’m generally happy w/ the purchase, i just can’t help, in the course of the play that the toy was designed for, to see LOTS of chances for minor tweaks to make a major difference to the toy i spent my money on. my critique of toy guru is merely on him recieving undue credit for work he didn’t do… he didn’t design this figure, so he gets no credit for it, nor criticism… what he did was the cost out the figure, and he costed out wrong. he chose new (and not very good) sculpts, over great sculpts and paint. that’s a no brainer from my living room. i was VERY critical of whichever design lead was in charge for this bad boy, because they missed a lot of chances to think critically and make a really special piece out of this character. it’s pisswater thinking like this that is leading to the customer-hemorrhage we’ve seen in the last 2 years. it’s not hard to deduce that asking top shelf prices for middle shelf product is not going to yield gangbuster sales.
Glad they never went this direction on making him the official He-Man. Excellent way to finally bring the old concept of the different versions of He-Man to Classics. The Space & Military suits seem very strange but after i brought both versions there outfits doesn’t look that bad. Cool review & pics by the way.
Outstanding review, even better than your usual excellent fare, and the comics are great! But, man, we have to make our displeasure about painting over black plastic body parts known. Could that be addressed in a not-too-distant-future Ask Matty? As in, “Why have you taken to painting over black plastic body parts instead of casting in the proper colour plastic? This cheap-o method not only irritates your paying customers, it results in products that do not wear well and bring shame and disgrace to the Mattel brand for their shoddiness and ease of deterioration.” Or something. };D
This guy’s still winging (or sailing, or plodding) his way to me, but I look forward to getting him in the next couple of weeks. (It takes anywhere up to 6 weeks for these things to get to England, depending in the random routes they take.) Actually, I got three Vykrons, so I could make three separate characters and cherry-pick the best accessories / outfits for them.
Out of cusriosity, have you thought about what the Tank Top armour would look like over a Snake Man-At-Arms buck?
i hate Vykron, they are horrible like trash
are those two guardsmen at the end actually repainted (dyed?) or digitally repainted? the armors almost look like something Skeletor would make his own flunkies wear.
Hey guys, still no LaserLot, DB Skele, Mek or Snakemen Reviews?
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