Added a Stratos Review to the MOTU Classics Collector’s Guide.
If Zodac was the guy that could never get any respect, Stratos was the guy that had it and seemed to lose it. If you look in the background, Stratos always seemed to be there. He was featured a little in the beginning, but after while he just seemed consigned to filling out a scene. In 200x, we found that he was really, really good at catching people that were falling to their death (and being prejudiced against bee people).
Stratos was released in Feb ’09. He was really the first concrete evidence that the on-sale time would continue to shrink unless production was increased. With the first figures lasting six weeks, everyone was taken aback when Skeletor blew out in less than two. But Stratos turned everything on it’s ear again when he sold out in three days. For me, it made me understand that I had to be online at 12:01 just to be safe. And that was good advice for everyone, since all but one of the other regular MOTU releases haven’t even lasted an hour. If you’ve missed out on Stratos because of the sellout, I expect him to get a rerelease in 2010. We know He-Man and Skeletor are coming at the end of this year and I can’t imagine Beast Man and Stratos will be too far behind.
The thing about MOTU Classics body construction is that Mattel doesn’t have to sit around and think about which pieces to put together to make new characters. They did it decades ago, and to keep the highest amount of collector’s happy, all they have to do is follow their original blueprint. Stratos is no exception. He is a new head, new left hand, jetpack & wings, and boot feet wrapped up around the Beast Man body. This works for the most part, Beast Man’s long arms give Stratos a heftier wing span than normal and the furry body is spot-on classic.
The figure’s only drawback is the wings. They attach to his arms at the wrist and then they basically do what they want. A lot of brave MOTUfans have pulled the wrist bracelet loose from the figure and repositioned the wings to the front of his arms. I will to do it at some point because it really does improve the look of the figure. His new left hand just replaces the tattoed grasping hand of Beast Man. The only problem with this piece is that it ensures, even if he did come with an accessory, he couldn’t hold it. The other main new piece, the head sculpt, is faithful to the original right down to his weird goggles with eyelids. I never knew how that worked.
When I said Faker had a curious lack of accessories, I forgot about Stratos. I don’t really count the armor pieces as accessories, so that leaves Stratos with zip, zilch, & nada. I know that Mattel has a cost factor they have to stay under, but I imagine Stratos was well below it and Mattel probably should have given him something. My main want would have been a flight stand. Not many Masters can fly, but it would have been a reusable stand that any of the flyers could have been packaged with.
There’s really not too much to talk about in the paint department. On the one hand, he doesn’t need much. But on the other, he could have used a little more. His wings and harness are basically the same color throughout, and again the money saved on parts might have been freed up for some extra paint apps. Maybe some weathering or just some texturing to add a little dimension to his look. The paint apps that he does have are all crisp. These early figures seemed to do a much better job with the paint than the ones we’re getting now.
Overall, I like the Stratos figure. Sure, I’m not happy about the “Flyaway wings”, but the 4H can do feathers so they look good even if they need a little adjusting to look great. For $20 a little more paint could have been good and an accessory not being included just really puckers up my wallet. But the figure itself is solid. It’s trying to recapture the original and the lack of paint and accessories do contribute to that goal. I’m going to go middle of the shelf for him. He doesn’t stand out enough to get a front spot, but there’s nothing so terribly wrong that he should be consigned to the back either. Still a flight stand would have put him above some of the other figures. …
For more MOTU reviews, check out our MOTU Classics Collector’s Guide.