Added a Mer-Man Review to the MOTU Classics Collector’s Guide.
If you were there to buy He-Man and Beast Man on December 1st, you know that those two figures, however rare now, sat on Matty’s site for six weeks before they sold out. But as knowledge of the line spread, the sell-outs came quicker. Skeletor lasted 11 days. Stratos only 3 days. And Faker? A matter of hours. With each successive offering selling out faster and faster, Mattel set out to increase production on future releases, the first being Mer-Man. Mattel has never released actual numbers, but it’s widely believed that Mer-Man was produced in the 12k-15k range, double the run of most of the figures before him. The result of Mattel doubling his production? Mer-Man sold out in record time. He was released in two batches, on 4/15 and 4/29, and both sold out in an hour. Mer-Man became the new record holder, at least for a few weeks.
One of the reasons for the quicker sell-thru was possibly Mer-Man’s alternate heads. If you’re not familiar with the Mer-Man’s in the original 80’s line, he was pictured on the back of the card with one head design and then produced with another. The legend goes that Eric Treadaway of Four Horsemen fame had been waiting on a Mer-Man that looked like it did on the cardback for twenty years. When the Four Horsemen were signed by Mattel to pull sculpting duties on the 200x He-Man, Eric fulfilled part of his dream by making the updated Mer-Man an homage to the old cardback. But the true realization of that dream? Well, that Mer-Man on the right up there? He looks like he walked off the cardback and into three-dimensions. And that’s indicative of the entire line and the Four Horsemen’s work. They are the best at what they do.
In terms of articulation, Mer-Man utilizes the multi-use body that Classics is based around giving him the standard movement. His parts generally derive from Skeletor except for his loin cloth which he borrowed from He-Man. For new parts, Mer-Man sports the new heads, a new left hand, and a new neck piece. The neck piece and outstretched hand are also an homage to that classic cardback. I love the neck piece, it may look a little awkward in that showcase image below, but it’s meant to be displayed with the armor on. The neck piece fits perfectly within the top of the armor, and it and it helps keep the armor centered on his frame.
For accessories, Mer-Man is packaged with his classic sword and for a touch of 200x, his trident. His right gripping hand can easily hold either and his sword can store on the back of his armor. I don’t know if I would need him to hold both items, but I do wish that he could. I understand the reason for the outstretched hand and it does have an interesting look to it, but I might have preferred the sculpt differ with the source material when it came to the hand. As it is, Mer-Man will always be reaching for something, something he’ll never be able to grasp. Alternately, he can look like he’s waving at you from the shelf.
The paint apps on the figures I received was okay. I think that since Mer-Man the paint work hasn’t been as solid as it was on the first few figures. I’ve seen a little more slop on him, Zodac, and Hordak than I did for the first four months of the line. Or at least, it seems that way. For Mer-Man, the paint issues center around the blue spots on his armor and weapons – the full shape was never really achieved on any of the spots. Luckily, the detail on his faces and the various washes on his body and armor all look sharp.
Overall, Mer-Man wasn’t a favorite as a kid. I had a thing for good guys, so I wasn’t looking foward to Mer-Man as much as some of the others. But when he arrived in his green and yellowness, something got me. He turned out to be a front of the shelf figure for me and I wasn’t expecting that. It’s his sculpt. It’s his colors. The whole package just really goes together to make this a great . Eric Treadaway should be forever content… at least when it comes to Mer-Man.
For more MOTU reviews, check out our MOTU Classics Collector’s Guide.