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 It’s been replaced by the smooth lower torso that some of the armored figures wear to give the illusion that the armor goes down to the belt.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.