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Exclusive Hordak Review

I’ve talked many times before about Joe Posnanski’s “Plus-Minus” System; how expectations play a role in how much you enjoy something. Something simple can be greatly enhanced by low expectations while something much desired can be sunk by great expectations. Filmation Hordak is the former.

I did not care when he was announced. Hordak isn’t very high on my favorites despite being an important character in the mythos. I want all his fans to get their due – regular, Hurricane, & Buzzsaw (though I don’t know what they’ll do to make that last one different). We got an extra in Spirit, but there were still those clamoring for Filmation. Again, I’m all for fans getting their due. I just wasn’t all that thrilled.

Then he got here. Maybe it’s just that he’s cool in blue. Maybe it’s the great head sculpt in stark white. Maybe it’s that most of the figure hails from early on in the line when the figures were nicer (I miss that smooth ab piece, the exposed belly figures drive me crazy). Honestly, I’m not really sure what it is. But I do know the figure pops. I went from not caring about him to possibly making him my main Hordak in under an hour.

It’s silly, I enjoy the figure. I can’t explain it.

It’s particularly silly considering how much of the figure is a repaint. He’s mostly the standard Hordak. To get details right, he swipes parts from He-Man, Trap Jaw, Hurricane Hordak, & Flipshot. His dual armbands? Even that is only the one specifically molded for the left arm added sloppily to the right. In his standard configuration with two normal arms, this guy ain’t got a piece of new tooling on him. Even his one held accessory is reused, simply the basic Hordak staff in Filmation grey.

Once you swap out his normal left arm for his techno-arm, you still have the mish mashed upper arm from various donors, leaving the only new piece the forearm, a cannon that serves as counter to the right forearm that came with Hurricane Hordak, and a claw hand that lets the cannon serve as part of a functioning arm. That’s it. To make matters worse, the left cannon arm that comes with Filmation Hordak isn’t made to be compatible with the right cannon arm that came with Hurricane Hordak. No shared attachments. No swapping pieces. That’s a big lost chance for fun.

And yet, I still enjoy the figure. I can’t explain it. Continue to Page 2…

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30 comments to MOTUClassics.Com SDCC
Exclusive Hordak Review

  • Brainlock

    I’m fine with the standard grey Hordak. that sucks that his parts aren’t compatible to switch around, but it’s Matty.

    I did see two missed chances for jokes.
    – the Hordak line-up: “I was in the pool!”
    – Hordaks vs Batmen & Rainbow Hals (something to keep in mind for the SP DCUC?)
    😉

  • Great review and photos, as always.

    I’m with you on the treasure chest Imp. Fortunately, it’s one thing I don’t care too much about. If it was Imp himself that was the con-only item, I’d be frothing with fury, but a little box with a face on, I can live without. Just about.

    Also, not making the cyborg wrist compatible with all the other attachments in the line is just ridiculous. They could’ve saved money by leaving it as it was and made it more fun. The mind boggles.

  • kantboy2

    This was another figure from the “former” designer at Mattel. No type of thought into what came before. And people wonder why subs have gone down drastically these last few years.

    On a conscious or subconscious level improper design plays a freakin’ role in turning people off a line.

    Great review as always.

  • dayraven

    as an alleviation to my motucers, freemansmindtoys’ shapeways store has several imp themed accessories if you wanted to flesh out the possibilities in your display… including a cheaper-than-hordak version of the box.
    http://www.shapeways.com/designer/freemansmindtoys

  • Mysterious Stranger

    I’m disappointed but not surprised that the accessories for the cannon arm aren’t compatible with the other interchangeable arm figures.

    And this reminds me… I still haven’t gotten my promised Imp Treasure Chest mailed from Matty yet. Think I’ll go drop a message on their boards and see what’s up with that.

  • Impaler

    Filmation Hordak has already been placed as the main Hordak in my display. My biggest disappointment upon opening him was discovering his claw hand for the techno arm was incapable of gripping anything, and then upon removing it discovering that it was incompatible with any of the hurricane hordak attachments (guess those all black attachments will keep collecting dust…) Unlike most of the rabid posters on mattycollector though I don’t care about the ‘robotic’ head, if we get one further down the line, cool, but I probably won’t swap it out. Also annoying is both armbands are the standard left arm design, so it fits perfectly well on the regular left arm, but doesn’t fit right on the right arm. Really wish they would’ve made the arm compatible with the other attachments and also given him an interchangeable right arm as well. But he looks right at home with all of the other filmation inspired figures.

  • If it can’t turn into a rocket it’s RUBBISH 🙂

    Yeah, I guess this is one of those ‘Matty Logistics’ things. With just a little bit of thinking, planning they could easily have had a unified connector design, so one could swap parts with Roboto and Fisto and so on, but somehow it just could not happen.

    (how awesome would Man-At-Arms be with the Fisto fist? “Hmmm, not really my thing, I’ll save this for grafting onto someone later…” )

    Still and all, I’d buy this over the ‘regular’ Hordak just because my ‘image’ is deeply tied to the Filmation nonsense. That’s all I really want, the ‘key’ Filmation characters, ya know? Does that make any sense? 🙂

  • Cythagen

    In spite of all the complaining and backlash that has commenced since he was first announced, I’ve loved this Hordak from the get-go. The Filmation colour scheme is absolute WIN and really makes him pop on the shelf. While I sympathize with a bit of the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” that has lowered many collectors’ opinion of him, I’m perfectly happy with the final product. I really like the existing head-sculpt (much more than the boxy animated version), and I appreciate that it keeps his aesthetic consistent with his previous MOTUC incarnations, while the solid white highlights certain details and contours of his face that are usually obscured by dark grey paint. The shorter loincloth and lack of a cape also make him appear more action-oriented, and I LOVE that the gloved forearms (which make the arms look stubby and the hands tiny) have been replaced with “Tri-Klops” cuffs. (I would probably have used the robotic arms if he’d come with a matching set, but I don’t care enough to be bothered by it.)
    The only real bummer for me is that I was one of the Comic-Con attendees who did not get the Imp chest. In fact, I picked him up so early on Thursday that they weren’t even collecting customer mailing info yet. Frabkly, I’m irked more by the business fluke than the lack of a goofy MacGuffin that really has no home in my display, anyway. “Standard” Imp works just fine.

    • Yeah, I like the way the Classics head looks in Filmation white, too.

      One thing I don’t get is how the Filmation head keeps getting referred to as a “robot” head. Okay, it was boxy, but I’ve seen reptiles with similar angular facial features and large scales on the jaws. Also on Matt Frewer, but without the scales. };D

  • Adam Hardy

    Wait; did you deliberately throw a reference to “The Hudsucker Proxy” in that last photo?

    Because if so, bravo.

  • Mark

    This figure does look great, even with Mattel’s odd choices, but it would look better with a Filmation head.
    I don’t know if I could resist buying a Filmation He-Man and Skeletor.

  • dean

    This is where opinions definately come into play. I HATE the smooth ab piece, and that was a big factor in me not picking this up. That and Mattel phoning him in instead of shelling out some dough and doing him right. Like I said, my opinion, and you know what they say about opinions. 🙂

    I do wish the line had more interchangability, though, like figmas and nendos and such.

    I will wrap-up with a positive note, I do love the color scheme.

    • I have to ask! What would you like to see as a solution for the armored guys instead of the smooth piece? Are you ok with the belly shirt look?

      • Mark

        I would have liked a thinner chest area for the armoured figures so they didn’t look so bulky.

        • dayraven

          but then they look like marfan syndromers if you take the armor off. the example i would cite is the horde trooper chest. it looks cool, and is well sculpted, but if you remove the armor, the arms begin to look ponderously huge, and the torso looks sunken in.

          i don’t know what the right answer for the ab section is, but i at least must observe that when the armor hit in that halter top style, like we see on mr kur or mr ro, the armor fit nice and snugly, and it seems like, when we extended the armor down and started doing the t-shirt length armor is when we started getting fat body armor, because they needed extra material mass to allow for the articulation to work.

          NECA has done really thin overlayering sections for several of their lines to keep bucks from looking identical, and maybe that would have been the right answer for the lower ab section, a thin overlay that could slip beneath the chest armor and preserve articulation that way, but as we’ve seen again and again, mattel is not NECA.

          • Mark

            Well I was just meaning for characters that have armour that no one would be taking off like NA Skeletor, Flogg and Sea Hawk etc.

      • dean

        Here is my crazy-@$$ late night reply:

        Mattel has shown they can do this right. I think Clawful, Clamp Champ, NA He-man and Jitsu are great examples. I don’t know why they have jumped the shark on the armor lately (Ruben, maybe?). Hordak’s armor would have to come down lower like Jitsu’s.

        I know it seems silly to some, but I love it when they have removable armor and man abs just like the 80s. Truthfully, the belly shirt doesn’t bother me much (Hordak’s would be a bit extreme in its current form). They are crazy jacked bodybuilder barbarians for goodness sake. No need to permanently cover the mid section up with smooth abs; they worked hard for those physiques. Why hide them. 🙂

        Of course, you are talking to a guy who picked up some scale wifebeater-esque tank-tops to put some of these figures in just for the funny aspect. Now if I could just find some scale bro tanks. Bro needs a bro tank sometimes. 🙂

  • Yeah, I love this guy. I agree that he could have had the Filmation head, but I have no attachment to it, so I’m not missing anything. Tell ya the truth, I didn’t think I would like him. There’s just….something about that color scheme. It looks great!

  • James Meadows

    The ONLY way I was ever going to be even MODERATELY interested in a FILMation Hordak was if he were to come with Imp.

    Well played, Mattel. :^)

  • The figure himself is great! Really love nearly everything about him. Imp look silk she was sculpted by a mentally deficient monkey however, and how can you have a con exclusive item that there isn’t even enough of for Con attendees? I had a guy at SDCC (like I do every year) and they ran out of Chest imps so early that even a lot of attendees didn’t get one…which really got my goat. Luckily the figure himself is cool, but still Mattel is constantly jerking us around on stuff like this.

    • clark

      I remember the same thing happened with Gleek back with the Wonder twins pack. People didn’t know that Gleek wasn’t in the box, and got to find that out later when they got to their hotel and opened it.
      Later Matty (Scott) said that they had always stated that there were going to be fewer Gleeks than Wonder Twin sets at the con, of course that was complete BS. They had never said anything of the sort and it was assumed that if you buy the wonder twins at the con, you got the Gleek.
      It’s sad that they didn’t learn from that experience and repeated it with Imp.

      Now that that’s off my chest, I really love this version of Hordak. Not having a filmation head doesn’t bother me one bit, I never would have expected them to sculpt one in the first place. I just find him more interesting with this color palette. I maybe would have preferred a bit more silver in lieu of gray, but that’s not a complaint.

      • dean

        The Gleek fiasco is near the origin of my displeasure with Scott and Mattel. How out of touch is it to make an integrel part of a team a limited, difficult to aquire without a scalper, exclusive? Then you rub fan’s noses in it with the packaging (who is prominent on the box?), giving a case to the Fwoosh (the magically misplaced case), and fostering an if you cannot go to the convention you aren’t a true fan mentality.

        I do not like essential con exclusives one bit (especially Mattel’s). Rant over.

        Oh well, c’est la vie, I suppose.