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Gwildor Review

I need to start this review with eight simple words: I like the Masters of the Universe movie. I saw it when I was seven years old. I have not retconned my memory into thinking that I was some discerning grade school Roger Ebert. I have watched it since and am aware there are flaws. I am also full of flaws and people love me. It is that simple. Moving on…

My biggest disappointment from that film? The lack of toys. That movie had some fantastic design work. I would happily snap up toys of most everyone in the movie: Man-At-Arms, Teela, Evil-Lyn, and Skeletor – especially Master of the Universe Skeletor. I’d buy ‘em all. But Mattel’s strange 80s practices loom large over what they’re allowed to do today.

See, Mattel if didn’t take a bite on a figure back then, they can’t do it now. And out of all those wonderful movie designs? And out of the two dozen or so figures they could’ve made back in the 80s, Mattel chose to make… three. Skeletor’s new movie henchmen, Blade & Saurod, and then our friendly Orko replacement, Gwildor.

No matter what folks think of the MOTU film, Gwildor seems to draw the most ire since he was both the comic relief and the biggest departure from the other source material. Personally, I liked him well enough. Billy Barty brought a lot of humor to the role and I think the film was lucky to have cast him (it actually did well on that front, most notably with Barty, Frank Langella, James Tolkan, & Christina Pickles)*. It’s said Barty brought a lot of improv to the role, and that’s not to mention that Gwildor was at one point set up to be a puppet on Duncan’s back, so I can’t imagine what the MOTU film would’ve been like without him.

* – Fun Fact, Christina Pickles, who played the Sorceress, would go to play Julie, I mean, Monica’s mom on Friends! That’s way cooler than Robert Duncan McNeill (Kevin) who only got to co-star with Anthony De Longis (Blade) a couple times when the latter guest starred on Star Trek: Voyager!

Being completely different from everything before, Gwildor naturally needed an all-new buck and he got it, which had the unfortunate side effect of giving him an oversized price (& oversized package to make us feel better, I guess?). I didn’t much like the $35, but since he was included in the subscription, I’ll be honest, I didn’t really notice the price. I just paid the bill that month. Continue to Page 2…

The sculpt itself is fantastic. It’s kinda of a movie and classic toy hybrid when it comes to the costume, but the head sculpt is spot-on to the film, right down to the right side squint. Some of had said that he’s “too detailed” for the line, but I like the movie accuracy here. The likeness and ornate costume details really make me happy and leave me in dire need of a Langella Skeletor!

The paint work was similarly well done with just one big nitpick. While the gold ornate costume details are mostly spot on, the slop level is a little higher, particularly on the heavy red paints. Most everything is well within the norm for me, but it’s that right eye that bugs me. Since the face is molded in a squint, that eye would present some problems on the paint, but it looks like instead of just painting the part of the eye that would be open, it looks the eye on that side is shrunk to fit. Smaller iris, smaller pupil, smaller glint. It just looks wrong to me.

Articulation is probably the one sticking point on the figure. His reduced size has limited the useful articulation. The standard ball-jointed neck went unscathed and has decent rage despite the hair and beard. The arms are ball-joints at the shoulders & elbows with swivel wrists and work well. Below that, things are paired down. Despite his robes allowing for better articulation underneath, his lower half has only a t-crotch, swivel boots, and then a hinge ankle. What’s there doesn’t really do much, so it’s kinda humorous that Mattel went to the trouble.

Gwildor included three accessories. For him personally, in his staff from the movie. It’s a nice piece and he holds it well. Check. I’m over staffs for the most part, but again, I appreciate the accuracy. Speaking of accuracy though, I’m a little confused on the cosmic key (meaning I need to watch the movie again!). Preternia Disguise He-Man originally came with a Cosmic Key that was movie-based, but handheld. Now that piece is included again here, but in the old silver/red toy colors. Check.

The other item, a “prototype” cosmic key is the giant one. This should be the more movie accurate one, but it isn’t. It’s still kinda in toy colors and the details on it aren’t quite right. Oh, and it’s huge. It’s a nice piece, but I’m still not sure it’s the best it could be. One small, additional pet peeve is the strap to hold it it’s molded on and useless.

Overall, I’m pretty satisfied to have finally gotten the little guy! I remember when the 4H would post in jest about never making a Gwildor. Here we are, over a decade later and the 4H have finally given Gwildor his due. I would like a little better articulation in the legs and that right eye bugs, me but I love the figure overall. He’s going to be a fun addition. His accessories are also cool. His staff suits him and I do like the giant “prototype” cosmic key even if I have to find a room in Castle Grayskull for it!

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20 comments to MOTUClassics.Com
Gwildor Review

  • Brainlock

    Gwildor, son of Gimli, son of Gloin, son of Gwildor….?
    that’s right, after Gandalf heads Into The West, Middle Earth gets some tech and renames itself Eternia!
    #headcanon!

  • I also like this figure, especially for its attempted accuracy in sculpt. People who complain that things are “too detailed” need a pimp-slap, in my book.

    The only complaint I have about this figure — AS a figure — is that he’s one of the shortest figures in the line but he can’t really look up. He’s resigned to looking at crotches and thighs the whole time.

    As for the “Prototype” cosmic key, it’s meant to be the prototype that the good guys use during the film, but it’s ALSO meant to be a nod to the original electronic Cosmic Key TOY prototype that was supposed to come with the original Gwildor figure:

    http://www.he-man.org/collecting/prototypeitem.php?id=2023

    • Clay

      Seconded on the bitch-slap. I think I might have muttered it before, but there’s a kind of ‘spectrum of detail’ in real life, so having some detailed figures and some less-detailed ones doesn’t seem that odd to me (especially since there’s now enough on each side of the fence for the collection to blend together – I suppose if all you owned were Gwildor and the POP ladies, it might look quite strange. Actually, I think that would look quite strange regardless of the level of detail. Especially with the aforementioned crotch-gazing).

      Plus, Gwildor used to terrify me. Like real, shivery, pant-wetting terror (the movie came out when I was four; I use this as justification, even though I didn’t actually see it for a few more years). So I’m glad he keeps that creepy level of squint-eyed detail, grinning at me from the shelf like he’s just worked out where to hide the bodies.

  • Retcon

    Compare the figure to Madame Razz, Orko, Clawful, Shokoti and others.

    It looks like it’s from a different line entirely. It IS too detailed. Or maybe the others are under-detailed.

    Either way, the fallacy of the “clasicizer machine” strikes again.

  • ero

    I’m really starting to questions Mattel’s policy on the movie variants. If Blade and Gwildor can look so much like their movie selves, then it seems to me they should be able to deliver on the main guys in their movie costumes, likeness rights aside. I think — I hope — that we will get some of the movie designs before its all said and done.

    • And it doesn’t make sense. “If we made a figure then we can make that figure now but ONLY those figures”. But..but..YOU, Mattel, OWN the license! YOU, Mattel, leased the right TO the studio! Having made several ‘movie specific’ figures (one assumes to play with the EXISTING figures, on which the movie is based) it could be assumed that Movie He-Man was both implied and inferred in any licensing issue. Mind, LIKENESS might be a problem but, really M02X He-Man head just about covers that.

      Skeletor is no different from a Power Rangers villain. He’s not a ‘face’ so much as a costume (with lots of personality!). Cosmic Ultimate Gold Saint Cloth Skeletor should be easy to do.

      And Movie Teela is stupid hot. I’d buy that for a Dollar. 🙂 (Darn it! I’m mixing movie quotes again!)

      What, no bucket of ribs? But…but… it’s a key accessory! Oh, wait, that’s what would be packed in with the Movie Man-At-Arms, right?

  • Nice review! I’ve always liked Gwildor so this figure was a real treat for me. I thought he turned out great. My biggest complaints are probably the limited head motion and the fact that the cosmic key has a fake strap. For this being a deluxe, pricier figure, a functional strap of some kind would have been welcome.

  • Alex

    I’ll say it too, I love the MOTU movie. Yes it has problems, but it’s frankly kind of incredible it turned out as good as it did. And Skeletor friggin’ OWNED it. Heck, I’d gladly watch the movie over anything from Filmation any day of the week, no question.

    So I was planning to pick this figure up, if only to support the movie finally getting some representation. Though I wasn’t particularly excited about the figure itself. I mean, it is Gwildor after all.

    And then they showed a picture of him. And it immediately became one of my most anticipated figs in the line.

    My word does this piece look glorious! The accuracy to the source material is uncanny. It really does look like he walked off the screen and onto my shelf. It’s fantastic. This is the kind of stuff I want to see from the 4H. Work like this is why they are some of the absolute best designers in the business. And if Mattel would do this more often, let the 4H do what they do instead of handcuffing them into just replicating 30-year-old designs, I would have so many more of these figures.

    And I’m sorry, but if anyone can look at this glorious, finally film-accurate piece of beauty and complain that it “has too much detail” (as if that’s even a thing) and/or it should look more like the, let’s be honest, terribly ugly original figure simply because of some imagined notion that the Classics are “supposed to be” 1:1 reproductions of the vintage figures (newsflash: they’re not and never were), then with all due respect they are out of their damn mind.

    The only thing is, though, is that it was absolutely ridiculous that this should have cost almost twice as much as a normal figure. It’s half the bloody size of a regular fig! And yes, the film Cosmic Key is a large accessory – and I LOVE that it came with both the toy and film versions – but not “the price of another figure” large. I mean, Fisto’s sword was huge too and it wasn’t any more expensive. This wasn’t like Orko where it was two figures (and let’s be honest, nobody bought that for Orko) or Marlena which was basically two figures in one, it was a HALF-SIZED figure and a few accessories. And then the fact that they made the package huge for absolutely no other reason than to flaunt the fsct that they were overcharging you, as moat of it was EMPTY SPACE, was just a slap in the face. Another reason I’m kind of glad this is the last year of the line.

    And I’m glad to see it wasn’t just mine whose eye was messed up.

    All in all, this is one of the best figures in the line – and it’s friggin’ Gwildor! I’m even more excited for Saurod now. And I’m still holding out hope that some of the “characters from other multimedia and a few big surprises” might be movie Skelefor and He-Man. Hey, everything else they swore up and down that they would never ever be able to do in this line they ended up doing…

    • They said they’d never do Millennial-style swords for Keldor. They said they’d never do an alternate head pack. I ain’t holding out hope for any more movie figures because of Likeness Rights, but considering Skeletor, Beast Man, Karg, Pig-Boy, and Skeletor’s troopers never, technically, had their faces showing, that issue can be sidestepped with a bit of creative wiggling.

      • Alex

        They could never do Granymyr. Or beasts/vehicles. Or playsets. And could absolutely, positively, never ever EVER do Filmation…

        I don’t even care about the likenesses (as much as I would love an accurate Skelly). Just do the regular He-Man and Skeletor figures in the movie outfits. Just paint Skeletor’s face white. Honestly, it is still insane that they never did that back in the day.

        • Mark

          I still think it’s crazy they haven’t made Filmation accurate Skeletor.

          • But then, he’s HAVE to come with his throne. If they were smart they’d make a throne ‘buck’ that could have add-on detailing and, ya know, be all Ikea for Eternia. There’s a shortage of thrones for all those people…

            Never happen of course. 🙂

            • Alex

              I would totally get a Filmation He-Man and Skeletor. I was always kind of surprised they didn’t do a Filmation He-Man head to go with the sword.

              Would still rather have movie versions. At least Skeletor. Preferably both regular and God Mode versions, but if not then at least with alternate armor & head to be able to switch…

              • Alex

                Actually, you know what would be amazing? If the special holiday item were a big 6-pack of Filmation, Movie, and MYP He-Mans and Skeletors. Something huge and awesome to finish out the last year.

                • Mark

                  Yes something like that would be pretty awesome. I still wish they had put more effort into putting out characters fans wanted instead of certain characters like Mighty Spector etc.

  • Battle Catman

    So…going by where his face is and where his ears are, what would he look like bald?

  • Mark

    It is a bit over detailed compared to the other figures with the exception of Blade and Saraud but the other figures were based on vintage toys and the cartoon not a live action film. I think they could have made it a bit more stylised to blend in with the other figures bur regardless of that I think they made an excellent Gwildor figure.