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ItsAllTrueReview: MOTU Classics Battle Armor He-Man

The first He-Man toy I remember getting was the Road Ripper. And packaged with that Road Ripper was my very first He-Man figure. Now, I knew that, in the cartoon, He-Man wore a harness. I didn’t care. Once I opened him and got some play out of his action feature, I was sold. No, as a kid, I didn’t have a standard He-Man figure. I had Battle Armor He-Man and he was much, much cooler. Even now, so many years later, when I think of those old figures, when I think of He-Man, I remember Battle Armor He-Man first.

I think there’s a couple reasons as to why my adult brain can still justify Battle Armor He-Man being the primary. One, it’s cool. From the original figure, to the staction, to this Classics release, it just looks good on him. Two, it was heavily pushed on the packaging & vintage oils. During the period that I was most into MOTU, it as Battle Armor everything. Skeletor had his own version and those two were used on a lot of packaging. They both had single releases, they both came with their cats, they both came packaged with vehicles, heck, and they were both featured on stuff they didn’t come with. Even the box for Snake Mountain had the Battle Armor versions fighting for the future of Eternia. Nearly everything I remember having as a kid, had BA He-Man on the package.

Three, it still has, to this day, one of the coolest action features ever. The original was a figure that took damage and could right itself. Manglors could do that too, but, let’s face it, they were freaky. Battle Armor He-Man was all that and a normal action figure. He became the quintessential He-Man in my child eyes and I haven’t given up that belief to this day. Now, I know if you’re a little older than me or if you’re really into original concepts, then you’ll disagree. I’m cool with that, but as far as I’m concerned, I finally get to review He-Man.

Battle Armor He-Man is built from He-Man. Big surprise, I know. I’d like to link you to a review of the original He-Man, but… um…, we haven’t done one yet. Probably something to do with the fact he came with two left legs (see below). We do have the reissue though, so we should get on that.

If you have He-Man, either regular or reissue, this is the same figure except for the ab-piece. It’s been replaced by the smooth lower torso that some of the armored figures wear to give the illusion that the armor goes down to the belt. Both this smooth ab piece and the upper torso are molded silver to keep the look consistent.

Gone is the traditional harness, replaced with a great update of the classic Battle Armor. All the expected details of the original are present with the added touch of the squares at the shoulders (reminiscent of the regular harness). This armor is different than what we’ve seen before. Instead of hooking under the arms and snapping shut, it splits down the sides into two separate pieces. It’s also made of a regular sturdy plastic instead of the softer armor on Randor and He-Ro. This gives me some pause when popping the tabs, as I might break it with too much use, but I haven’t had any problems yet. And before I forget, this figure also includes the standard battle axe.

Articulation is the standard for the line except for where the armor interferes. The ab-crunch is slightly blocked and the arms are unable to come down to the sides. One interesting thing is the head on this figure is very easily removable even though it doesn’t need to be. The barbell for the head has been tweaked with two small canals on the ends to prevent a vacuum from forming in the head cavity. The ball-joint has great range and the head can sit high on the neck, allowing for space between the chin and armor. I’m probably pulling the head a little off that top ball to create that space, but I don’t care. I’m happy about seeing the neck because the lack of a neck was the one thing I didn’t like when I saw the early photos.

Okay, I said that the head and armor touching was the one thing I didn’t like. Well, that’s not quite true. There was something else that I didn’t like, but had to accept. The figure is an update of another figure with one of the greatest action features of all-time. Yet, it has no action feature. This is something fans of many characters are going to have to swallow as the line goes on. Mekaneck won’t extend, Roboto’s not going to get his working gears,* Sy-Klone will only spin if his waist is loose.

The classics figure overcomes the lack of action feature by having three removable chest pieces. These are just like you remember: unscarred, one slash, and two slashes. These are sculpted and detailed with the symbol, rivets, and battle damaged all raised. For what it is, it’s nicely done.

Though you’ll find me lamenting the lack of action feature on a few message boards, I have to face the reality that I’ll likely choose one plate over the others and that will be how he’s displayed. Yesterday, I would have said one slash, but today I’m betting on unscarred. I think this will be true for most collectors; they’ll pick one and stick with it. Partially because it’s what we do for most figures and partially because you have to remove the armor to change the plates. I’m not a big fan of that, but I don’t know if there would be a better way (action feature aside).

* – For some reason, I find this one most heartbreaking.

I’m not as happy with the paint on this figure as some earlier releases. The paint on the gauntlets and the belt is sloppy at best. The belt bleeds onto the loincloth and the right wrist cuff doesn’t have enough darker paint to fill the space it should.

The armor itself is molded the correct color and free of paint issues, but the symbol on the chest is another matter. These look to have been stamped on the plates. Of the ones I looked through on Friday, most of them aren’t quite in the lines. There is an uneven gap between the orange and brown paints on all the plates and some of the ones we received were missing by more than a little.

Overall, I’m excited to finally have this He-Man. We have the standard MOTU buck pulling most of the work. We have a great piece of armor that can at least mimic what made the original so great. Yes, the action feature is missing and that takes a lot away from what he could be, but what’s left is still a great figure.

We put up an Adora review on Friday. And for more MOTU reviews, check out our MOTU Classics Collector’s Guide.

90 comments to ItsAllTrueReview: MOTU Classics Battle Armor He-Man

  • TomB68

    Good review! I don’t have as much a stake in it, but I always like the more armored version. Though his arms and legs should be armored up too to make sense.

    • I think it was Vault who was telling me that the other day too. LOL. He could use a more full armor – personally, I can not wait for a Classics Snake Armor – but I figure he goes around in a leather harness most of the time, so he must feel pretty safe.

  • Crazylegs

    I passed on him. No action feature, no sale. He’s a good fig cuz they all are, but this one was his action feature.

    • dayraven

      … and noisy wonders why BA he-man outlasted adora… i told ya homes. not as “must have” as you think, even for those who liked ba he-man…

      i would say this to those lamenting the loss of the action feature… 1) be glad this one can’t BREAK on you… i’ve never in all my years seen a played w/ BA he-man who hadn’t either had the catch worn down and was stuck on 2 slash panel forever more, or got sand in the mechanism and coldn’t turn at all anymore. and 2) you didn’t here we real old schoolers complaining about the lack of the spring waist. it was nice, but it wasn’t what made the figure, cuz again, it always eventually broke.

      • Vault, Rant, and I can send you ours if you want to see three well-played with BA He-Mans that still work! 😛

        And, though you have leaped onto the first comment about not being intested in BA He-Man to support your conclusions :D, you should check around the net to see the various places I posted the question of which He-Man is your “primary”. I’m getting the full gamut of responses between the four options. Thunder Punch seems to have been particularly popular too!

        • And you’d better hope you’re the one wrong about Adora. If the facts conform to your opinion, you’re going to have to get your order for Trap Jaw done in the first ten minutes or you’re screwed! 😛

        • dayraven

          not a problem… i’m up early in the AM anyways to get the boys to school. besides, 10 minutes is a falacious estimate… the site can’t support that much traffic… we have at LEAST 30 minutes to get that fig ordered.

          • He can’t last that long under your version of Jan 15th’s events. If they make one amount for the monthlies and then remove the subscriptions, there will be the exact same amount of Trap Jaws available as there were Adoras next month.

            Since Trap Jaw can be two people and is presumably more popular, he shouldn’t be able to last 27 minutes unless something goes seriously wrong with the site.

            • dayraven

              you’re forgetting the traffic gasket… while you could order trap jaw in whatever qty, only so many people can be ordering at one time. i suppose he COULD go faster than adora, but i certainly don’t think substantially so.

              • But the traffic gasket applied to Adora also, so that’s equal.

                By your estimation then, Adora sold out at the maximum speed that a figure can sell out?

        • dayraven

          oh yeah, and i’ll be sure to get that address to you so i can check out these BA he-men, the last three working figs that got played w/

          • Jay Knoblauch

            Why are you hatin’, troll? Why come to a thread where people like BA He-Man and knock it left and right? Go back to the .Org!

            • Jay, it’s okay, buddy….

              He’s not a troll… just a highly opinionated friend of the blog who’s in a mood to bust balls the last couple days. Right, DR? 😉

              • dayraven

                i do love keeping folks grounded! 😉 but yes, no hatin’… i did buy the damned thing, didn’t i? i’m giving it a chance… and in some ways, i think it’s a definite improvement over the vintage BAHM.

              • Jay Knoblauch

                If you say so. Hard for those of us not in the know to tell the difference.

        • THUNDER PUNCH!!! I think he was my first He-Man. I had a bunch of the other characters before He-Man, cos he was always gone, but I somehow managed to get a Thunder Punch.

    • I tell you what, you don’t mind nearly as much as you think you will. At least none of us did. The look is there and the plates let you pick a favorite at least.

  • Rodney T.

    The original was and still is the best. Good review though.

    • Somewhere out there, there’s a dude that loves Flying Fists. That’s the beauty of He-Man.

    • dayraven

      yup, there’s another old schooler… who loved he-man when he was the post powerful man in thee universe, not the wimp who needed armor… you didn’t see conan running around in heavy armor… that inexplicably left his limbs exposed.

      • Yeah, I’m a first He-Man fan too. When I was a kid it all came down to is it either BA He-Man or another evil warrior / master of the Universe, but not both. It was never an option I’m afraid, I already had a He-Man, and BA He-Man was cool enough but really really really wanted that Webstor or Kobra Kahn…

        I think there’s a lot of olve out there of every He-Man Variation, event Samurai Stilts He-Man will have his fans if he ever gets made…

  • MegaGearMax

    Nice Batman Begins reference…

  • Rouleau

    LOL@ Man-At-Arms! I never thought about the armor being one of his “operations”. 😀

    • MAA is up there with Hordak in terms of sheer evil. If BA had been a new character, I’m sure MAA would have “saved” some dude after a freak accident to make him.

  • Hank Henshaw

    Your pictures look different today, not bad, but odd. Did you get a new camera?

    I like the review, but why is Heman laying down in the third picture?

  • Nicholai

    BA He-Man doesn’t interest me much, but the idea of a Mekaneck or Roboto without their action features severely hurts my interest in those figures.

    • dayraven

      TG has said many times that at least mekanek will come w/ neck extensions, so he’ll have a pretty good approximation of the feature… roboto’s gears, i fear, just can’t be done in this line… that’s WAY more work than i think they’re willing to do, cuz that would require a whole new torso construction. i think he’ll be cool, but if you’re one of the guys whom the gears “made” roboto for… yup, get used to disappointment.

      • As long as Roboto gets a clear chest and at least sculpted gears in there, I’ll live. I do want a more updated head though. It may be vintage blasphemy but the old one didn’t have enough shape for me (though I loved him a lot).

    • Me too. But like DR, said I can accept the neck extension piece on Meks. I do hope they find a creative solution to keep the look of Roboto the same.

      And I still want Rio Blast’s stuff to fold out rather than clip on – at least some of them. I don’t find that to be very action feature.

      • dayraven

        i’d like that too… best you get to work conning them on this, cuz that would require a lot of new parts… and you do have the “ask mattys” to plant the bug in their ear, like you did w/ BA faker.

  • I actually like this BA He-Man, I think an action feature will only sacrifice his looks and articulation. I prefer looks and articulation when I buy toys. By the way good review and loves the comics too 🙂

  • orionpax636

    I’ll take Roboto with whatever limitations he comes with…he was one of the later additions, but he still became my favorite of He-Man’s Homeboys.

    I’d lament the loss of gearing too, but there are some compromises I’d suggest. Mattel could give him a lenticular sticker, like the GI Joe BATs had.

    Or, work within the the constraints. The articulation you’re preserving is mainly the ab hinge, right? They could add in gearing around the ab hinge that turns using it, rather than around the waist and jaw mechanism. It probably wouldn’t be cost-effective, but it’s an idea. And yeah, they’d have to make a whole new torso that probably wouldn’t work elsewhere, but Roboto would probably have to be a 100% new mold anyway.

    • Roboto is in my top five of Good Masters!! The lenticular sticker could work, but I did like the modern Bats with the sculpted details and clear “glass” piece over it. I never did get that battle damaged one though… hmm…

      Roboto can use other pieces from the waist down and the right arm, so hopefully that will get him done sooner than later!

    • dayraven

      that’s the tough thing, between the ab hinge and the extra space needed in the torso for the neck and shoulders, there’s not a lot of room interior to squeeze in tiny gears.

      i agree w/ noisy here, he could reuse the trap-jaw shoulder and bicep, and the thighs… though i admit i’d like to see the 200X style calves/feet brought in… but if you went vintage feet, trap jaw again could provide legs. and in a pinch, the crotch plates as well… the only new parts he’d require are torso, head, & forearms.

  • orionpax636

    Oh yeah, before I forget, good review once again! That third pic made me lose a piece of granola.

    • Thanks! I wasn’t sure about that one. Vault saw it captionless and asked me if He-Man was trying to “come on” to his axe. 😳

      But I was taking pictures and I wanted each plate to have it’s own and I thought it’d have to really hurt to get hit so bad that your armor buckles.

  • Would have liked to see a photo of the BA harness on regular HM. I don’t think the silver ‘shirt’ was needed but have not seen a photo to be sure. Didn’t buy BA HM so I can’t solve my own question.

  • Ebonhorn

    I hated the action feature even has a child. cause it would never stay where I wanted it.

    • J. D. Cook

      My cousin had a defective one too, but mine worked great. It still does too.

      I have no regrets about buying the classics version. He looks spectacular!

    • dayraven

      the ones my friends owned when i was young were the same way. and for some reason, the spring waist on most of them seemed looser as well. oh well. after 4 or 5 uses, TP he-man smelled permanantly… wonder what would happen if i tried to get a loose and used thunder punch he-man through airport security…

      • See that explains it. Your friends sucked and broke their toys. So you never got to experience the BA goodness and now, here you are, a quarter of a century later thinking they’re all sucky and broken. 🙁

        • dayraven

          that was an awful lot of friends who ALL sucked and broke their toys… and more than just friends, as several lots of figs i bought again back when ebay was still new had BA skellies and he-men and none of those worked properly either. and since you can drop a boxed one and get the plates to pop, you guys must have been awful careful w/ your he-men… maybe you weren’t playing w/ them enough. were you posers when you were kids?

          LOL. You’re triggering the spam filter.

    • Sad day that you got a bum one. 🙁

  • Lay Ze-Man

    BA He-Man was more “my He-Man” as a kid, too.

    Not that I disliked the standard version in any way, but both BA HM and Skelly were ace.

  • dayraven

    i also love how he-ro was apparently so ripped that his abs punched out his armor plating, but poor he-man needs to do more crunches. to be honest, after seeing the various armor abs vs painted over regular abs, i’d have no problem at all just using paint over the standard really ripped abs… i do’t think the armored ab section is worth the effort. he-ro & randor look fine to me. if they want to keep painting undershirts on the guys, that’s fine, but i think even the flesh toned abs under the armor is fine, whether under this new hard armor, or under the flexy armor of randor, hordak or he-ro.

    speaking of which, i wonder why the armor was changed? i don’t the flexxy armor is so soft that it wouldn’t have held the plate in place. i certainly like the flexxy armor closures better, they don’t feel as prone to breakage as the hard armor points. this new armor doesn’t feel any stronger than the vintage armor, whic hheld up up well, but was far from indestructible… a stray knee or elbow or a decent drop and those closure points snapped right off.

    • I don’t like the abs on He-Ro, but the classic figure had them.

      I’m not sure what the decision on Randor was, but I don’t mind on him because I like him without the armor too.

      On this He-Man, they got it right. I wouldn’t have liked the heavy ridges and the abs visually.

  • Jay Knoblauch

    Great review! This version has always been my favorite. I’ve got the original (it still works!), the awesome staction of it, and now this one. I would have liked the action feature, but it looks great and that’s much better to me!

  • 3B

    Yep, this is my He-Man. I agree, it’s more important to keep articulation and the overall look instead of the action feature. These comics were fantastic, I think you’ve raised the bar for yourself. Totally dug the Batman reference!

  • oakley

    I don’t know if I entirely agree…

  • Not to change the subject… BUT… after watching a video about one of the SDCC exclusive figs, my guess for the Masters of the Universe “Celebrity” figure is…
    SUPERMAN.

  • Brainlock

    I never had these variants, only ‘basic’ figures of the two leads and a couple extra characters. I guess I didn’t get the need for having a variant back then? I did know someone with this, but I have no clue who it was. I know it had to be someone at school, as we lived out in BFE.

    I will say if I was still into them, the fact the “action feature” has been changed so drastically would have put me off buying this guy. I guess the production team forgot how fun it would be to tap that shield to flip it around? As long as you guys are enjoying them, I guess?