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Vault Review: MOTU Classics
New Adventures He-Man

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I wasn’t very excited about the inclusion of New Adventures when MOTU Classics first started.  Not that I had anything against them, I just had never seen the cartoon and didn’t care about them one way or the other.  But as the line expanded, I really discovered that the concept and lesser known figures in the MOTU-verse turned out to be some of my favorite figures in the line.

So now we’ve made it to New Adventures He-man, and I have to say that he looks pretty good.  The NA cartoon had that 80’s anime feel which made for interesting technological and alien/mutant designs, but tended to give the humans a very soft and non-imposing feel.  Pretty much the exact opposite of Filmation.  But the Classics line tends to give us the best of both worlds, and NA He-Man retains his bulging muscles while sporting the more interesting techno outfit from his space adventures.

We kinda figured this when he came out, but NA He-Man is based almost entirely on Bow.  Body, boots, and bracers have all been reused.  That’s not so bad though, because Adam comes with enough alternate parts to give the figure two looks.  Like the original figure, he has his normal look with longer hair that’s in a ponytail and an armor bandolier strapped across one shoulder.

One thing that does bother me about this new head sculpt is its lack of symmetry.  The right side of He-Man’s face has that strong rounded jaw, but the left jaw line seems to be indented a bit.  This definitely gives the figure an odd look from certain angles.  Issues like this have popped up from time to time in both the MOTU and DC lines.  I’m not really sure if this is something that existed in the original sculpt, or if it happened somewhere along the process of being made.  Either way, it doesn’t look good on the product and should really be fixed before the final stage.

Adam’s second look is based on the armored up version of the same vintage figure.  There’s an entirely new helmeted head with an odd Matrix-like plug in the back, and a large armor piece that covers his upper torso.  This new “battle armor” is extremely detailed with plenty of sculpted wires, panels, piping, and some sort of insulated tubes.  There’s even an odd clock device for whatever reason.  The bulkiness of this armor and helmet really gives off a heavy football player vibe, almost making the figure seem like an entirely new character.  Continue to page 2…

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29 comments to Vault Review: MOTU Classics
New Adventures He-Man

  • The Ghost

    I’m not a huge fan of the hands NA He-Man has. I’ve never had an issue with the regular hands the original He-Man had, and no problem displaying him with sword held up. NA He-Man’s hands are HUGE and awkward looking. Maybe it’s just me. :/

    I’d always planned to display him cartoon style, but the helmet/armour are so well done, I’m gonna display him in toy style.

  • Brainlock

    I didn’t even know this guy came out?
    #toopoortopayattention

    I kinda like the “basic” version, but not so much the space/”football” version. I might track him down later.

    I never did see the cartoon back in the day, so I’m not sure if it didn’t air in St Louis or it was on at an odd/early afternoon time slot before I got home from school? (we had an hour bus ride, and weren’t even close to first pick-ups of the route!)

    I only saw a handful of the figures, which sat…and sat…for at least a year on one of those endcap hanger dealies. No one wanted them around here. this only adds to my theory there was no cartoon airing here to help sell them, unlike TF/Joe/etc.

    • The show did air around me, and the toys still didn’t sell. It just wasn’t a very good show/toyline. I remember at the time thinking that it had to be some kind of a bootleg, because it wasn’t real He-Man.

      • Same here. I remember watching the cartoon’s debut episode where Adam reveals his secret to a not-too-surprised Randor and Marlena, but not much happens after that. Dropping the original Eternia cast was a huge mistake, in particular characters like Teela and Duncan who were essential to the previous series.

        The figures themselves sat on an endcap at my local TRUs for well over a year after the line tanked, not even budging an inch long after they’d gone on clearance. I finally scooped up most of them but was so underwhelmed that they ended up at a friend’s garage sale soon after.

  • Excellent review and great pics, as always.

    This He-Man was one of only three NA figures I owned (the others being Slushhead and Optikk). And that was only because he came in a 2-Pack with Slushhead. I was never really a fan of the NA figures (apart from the aforementioned mutants), but this version is a great update. And, yeah, I went from being less than thrilled with his inclusion when he was announced to ordering a second one for display purposes based on the sculpt alone.

    Having bought the big 30th Anniversary DVD set, I’ve got to say I breezed through Filmation Season 2 in about three days. Filmation Season 1 I already had (it’s the ONLY MOTU DVD love we’ve gotten in Region 2), and got through it in similar fashion. Ditto the MYP version.

    But the mere 20 New Adventures episodes? I am struggling and only got through half of them in nine months. They’re a painful chore for me to watch. One Orko was tolerable when I was 10. Four of them (the scientists) make me want to track down the creators of the series and pimp-slap them silly. While there are a few good moments in the 10 episodes I’ve seen so far (the nifty new transformation sequence, the Cyclops guy — whose name I forget and would like to see as a figure — and the Rashomon tribute episode, mostly), the show mostly just makes me want to cringe. And that’s a shame, considering that it contains some of my favourite voice actors.

    Brink on Cyclops dude and Lizorr!

  • J. Lee

    For someone with a small collection I was in need of a He-man and now own this one. Some have seen the fun I am having with him (and Frosta) so yeah I like the hindged wrists alot. I should share a few on the forum.

    Review was great as always and never thought of the armored up look as a football player till now.

    I also have not seen NA. Though did watch the first ep late last month. Seen much much worse.

  • Jon

    They NEED NEED NEED to do a He-Man 3.0 or whatever with the new wrist. They should just do something similar to Bubble Power She-Ra where they make a variant that can be stripped down to use the new features and be the original version.

  • 3B

    I wonder if the peg the wrist hinge is on would fit on the original He-Man? This is a nice update. My bro had the vintage figure with a few others when we were kids, so I’m kind of interested in getting this one.

  • He-Mullet

    The Jaw is similar to Dolph Lundgren’s…
    BTW the skin colors on NA He-Man don’t match past He-Man figs. Also the pegs are different to the ones in the normal arms.

  • dayraven

    were your hands at all soft? mine certainly are. not awfully so, but they don’t grip terribly well.

    • He-Mullet

      Mine are soft, like Bow’s, but not horribly soft like Catra’s left hand. I also want to know how soft everyone else’s NA He-Man hands are.

      • in space there is no tanning oportunity and a load of soap dispensers with palmolive in them. the original toy was also paler than the first he-man, but this one here seems not as pale as TP He-Man – who lived 5 years + underground hiding from Skeletor (so the bio says 😛 )

  • Ian

    I haven’t opened mine yet. Was considering selling it. Just not into the space look, but hoping that it grows on me since I love nearly everything is in MOTU. Need more space guys for it to make sense for me in my display.

  • Dark Angel

    Thanks, dude. Now I will always see football pads when I look at the armored up version.

    The jaw doesn’t seem too obviously assymetrical on mine in-hand, but it is there. I just chalk it up to the Horsemen’s established inability to sculpt symmetric patterns/details (Octavia’s Horde emblem is another recent example, but there are many).

    Day Raven: “Soft” as in rubbery? The hands on mine were not “soft”, but they are not closed enough to get a real tight grip on any standard accessories. Warming and reshaping them had only very marginal effect.

  • dean

    I love this figure. As kids we wanted NA He-man to be proportionate to the vintage line. This figure fills that need, and is an excellent update. Best MOTUC figure this year, IMHO.

    Which leads me to another reason I love Masters: it could be argued that original He-man is a Conan/Thundar analog. I believe NA He-man is an analog of Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. Masters does an incredible job of mashing-up some of my favorite fictional characters.

    Great review.

  • I enjoyed the NA series. The writing is a lot better than the Filmation series, IMO. However I will agree that it has none of the charm. There were some interesting plot threads though. At one point Skeletor and the mutants actually succeed in occupying Primus and the Galactic Guardians actually become futitives on their own worlds.

    • I recently rewatched all the episodes and do agree that there were a few gems amid the drek. Imagine what this series could have been with a story editor like Larry DiTillio! You know or at least a cap on “comic relief” characters…

  • Polo23

    He-Man in space– it still sounds weird to me. Glad FH stuck with the old He-Man face with this figure. Cool new outfit & a ponytail hairdo. Cool review & pics.

  • cdh

    THIS HE-MAN IS A STUD, HANDSOME, HE IS SUPER HOT AND HYPER SEXY

  • MOTU takes place on another planet– it is He-Man (or Conan) in Space. The premise for the New Adventures was He-Man in the Future like Buck Rogers meets I Am Legend. The Mutants didn’t want to conquer the last of the Human race– they wanted to ‘Ceylon’ us into extinction! I’ll always defend the cool premise, but man did that cheap cartoon suck Shadow Beast balls! To be fair their were a lot of crappy cartoons in the late ’80s and the later episodes of G.I. Joe were just as an unwatchable.

    This figure is pure awesome and instantly became my default He-Man in my MOTUC display. His larger, rubbery hands and improved wrists allow him to better hold accessories like the golden King Randor spear without losing their shape and he can properly thrust a sword or hold it aloft. Who ever thought we’d get a He-Man with G.I. Joe’s legendary KungFu Grip?

    His armor is great and better detailed, too– creating the perfect Sci Fi/ Fantasy warrior who looks just as good facing off against flying robots or GyGor. We also have terrific options between the helm or tied-back hair or the techno hauberk/cuirass or simple baldric/bandoleer. I tend to mix up the two to create a SciFi/Fantasy Space Spartan. “Eternians, prepare for glory!”

    http://twitpic.com/d4hikd

    • dayraven

      dude, not to get harsh on you, but are you smoking something? his grip is nothing like the kung fu grip, not even a little. his hands are, to KFG, what my hands are to lobster claws.

      and he does not hold motuc accessories well, his grip is larger in diameter… he can barely hold his own accessories, and the few others i’ve tried in his hands fall through pretty easily, or flop around. maybe the hands on yours got nice and melty in transit and they solidified in a much tighter grip position than everyone else’s, but mine seem to be more symptomatic of what others are reporting also, which is looser grip. the hold aloft thing is nice, but if they could could marry that articulation w/ the stiffer material of the standard hands, and bring the grip tolerance back to the normal level, we’d have the best hands ever offered. as is, these are not there yet. bow’s hands were soft, but still firmer than mr NA.

      lastly, NA had nothing to do w/ “i am legend” even less to do than motuc NA grip with KFG. i own that cartoon, and i own that novel. they are not similar, not even a tiny bit, not even if infused with buck rogers. nice try though.

  • I’m sorry, I should have taken the time to make myself more clear or just not posted at all. I frequently check the reviews at this site and RT it on Twitter but haven’t really had the time to post before. Mostly I wanted to say something good about what I feel is an awesome but sadly underrated figure.

    His hands get a lot of criticism for being too big, when really I think MOTU fans are just used to hands that are on the small side. I like how his rubbery hands can grip bigger weapons like Whiplash’s spear without losing their shape or ability to hold slightly smaller weapons. Argue if you will about their effectiveness but I do get the sense that Mattel was going for something like the rubbery grip of the classic 12″ Joes.

    As a long time fan of the late 80s/early 90s He-Man line, it irks me to hear it so often dismissed as “He-Man in Space”. To me it always felt like more than that. It helped that I was old enough to read and appreciate the pack-in mini comics.

    Though there were only four of them I feel they did a better job of really raising the stakes for He-Man in this New Adventure. They made it clear that humanity was facing extinction at the hands of the Zombie Horde-like Mutants and their only hope was to use their advanced technology to drag a mythical hero out of their distant past. Sci Fi fans will likely see where Mattel was borrowing to create this very un-MOTU scenario for our hero.

    When I tossed out names like I Am Legend and Buck Rogers I meant more the genres they inspired than the original works, though the early Buck Rogers comic strips do share more than a few things in common with the original plot of NA. Again the TOYLINE not the cartoon– if that animated atrocity had an overarching plot they quickly abandoned it.

    He-Man with Spear:
    http://twitpic.com/d4hikd

    Mixed Armor:
    http://twitpic.com/d4gx1p

    Vintage NA Art:
    http://twitpic.com/cr0f4c

  • I never dug Skeletor’s NA redesign for some reason, but I really liked He-Man’s. It brings the science fiction aspects of Masters more into the forefront, much like the original line did for the brand’s sword and sorcery duality.

    Lack of facial symmetry is pretty apparent on this guy, but then, I’ve noticed the way my nose and mouth looks in photos and ain’t no symmetry there, believe me! Most people’s facial features tend to droop on one side a tad more than the other. Maybe that’s what the 4H are looking to capture here since it’s happened before.

    The “alternate mode” on this guy might as well be a future version of NFL SuperPro. Anyone else remember that vintage nugget? He was a rare dud for Marvel Comics at a time when any given book seemed to sell like gangbusters, crappy or otherwise.

    I only wish Mattel could tool up removable helmets for the NA figures. That’s basically what made the line stand out from its predecessor as I remember it. An alternate head with the helmet sculpted on seems kinda pointless when you really think about it.

    • MORG

      Clutch, if you look at the Skelly fig (which i fucking loved), in many ways it was as close to a Frank Langella MOTU-movie version of the character as we’re ever likely to get.

  • MORG

    As a passionate fan of the NA line, even during my childhood when it came out (although the cartoon never seemed to air in Canada), I cannot get over what a true and detailed update of the original (quite daring) sculpt from the original line back in the day.

    There was a second version of NA He-Man in that short lived line as well, with fewer (and not as cool) accessories – it would seem a second figure would not be req’d to create that illusion (even though the two initial sculpts were like night and day), simply a different head/accessory pack in the future.

    • Impaler

      There were two other versions of He-Man in the NA line… This is based off of the first NA He-Man, next came “Battle Punch” He-Man, who was based more off of the cartoon model with ponytail, a more basic bandolier (which is where the swivel for the ‘battle punch’ was located, and most importantly, had the articulated wrists. Unfortunately the sword & shield he came with kinda sucked IMO, which not knowing about the ponytail or articulated wrists at the time, caused me to pass on him. The next version was “Thunder Punch” which reintroduced the original spring-action waist of the original He-Man, with a sculpted “thunderpunch” eagle/falcon/birdthing on his right wrist that coincided with the child sized role-play accessory being sold at the same time. Thunderpunch He-Man’s accessories were closer to the originals in design, which got the nod in my accessory based finickyness.

      Skeletor also had 3 variations in NA as well, the first was the cyber-Skeletor w/Havok Staff, second was Discs of Doom Skeletor, which became the primary Skeletor in the series after like episode 6, but unfortunately he could not hold the havok staff of the first skeletor at all, and neither could the final varation, Battle Blades Skeletor.

  • Morg

    Awesome summary, thanks