Vault Review: Masters of the
Universe Classics Griffin

Seems like just a few days ago I was opening a gigantic box packed full of various MOTU and DC figures. But that was actually way back in June, and now that it’s almost August I thought I’d better catch up before that San Diego Comic-con package gets here.

Before I get into this review, I wanted to give my two cents on the whole MOTUC 2013 subscription. I know everyone has been throwing their opinions around on the subject, and I’m not the least offended if you don’t want to hear mine. So feel free to enjoy the pics and skip down a couple paragraphs to the review.

MOTU Classics started out with very meager aspirations, but it has grown into an amazingly extensive toy line. Various incarnations, styles, ideas, prototypes, and original creations were brought together to represent every corner of MOTU mythology in an amalgamated toy form. Although every fan has their own specific preferences, it seemed to me that the majority of the fanbase supported the line in order to keep the MOTU brand going. Even if that meant their favorite characters weren’t going to be immediately available to buy. Little did I realize, that after such a great MOTU showing at SDCC, my idealistic view would soon be shattered.

Obviously, I’m for the sub. This is one of my favorite toy lines, and I find myself playing with, posing, and taking pictures of these figures more than any other. Is it perfect? Not in the least. There is no perfect toy line, and there never will be. But MOTU Classics is special in a way that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. Even though I may not want or care about certain characters that are made, I know that someone else out there does love and want that figure. Why would I want to stand in the way of that? I’m glad to help them get that figure, because I know that person is also helping me get my favorite figures. We are all MOTU fans, and we’re all in this together.

One last thought before I get on with our regularly scheduled review. Toy Guru thinks that Masters of the Universe will be able to continue in some form, even if the Classics line ends. I’m not as optimistic. Mattel just got the Filmation rights, and the Classics line is at the peak of possibilities. This is what the fans wanted and if it ends this year, I don’t see how Mattel can see that as anything but a failure. MO2K was also considered a failure, and look how difficult it’s been trying to include the smallest 200X elements into Classics. So what will Mattel do when such an inclusive line as MOTU Classics fails?

Ok. So… on a more upbeat note, look at this huge ass Griffin! Smart reuse of parts is a foundation of the various MOTU toy lines, but I was still amazed by the griffin’s debut. First off, I never expected to get a MO2K specific beast. What was even more surprising was just how many parts were reused from previous beasts. Battle Cat makes up the majority of the body with his front legs, lower body, and back legs down to the ankles. The wings come from Swift Wind, but they don’t look out of place at all on this creature.

As for the new parts, the griffin has a double tipped tail, two bird-like back feet, an upper chest that the wings can clip into, a neck with more of a mane, and a new head. Although the bird feet and furry body have great textures, the head takes the cake with its impressive sculpt. The four eyes and feathers coming off his jowls definitely give him an alien look, but it’s his massive articulated beak that gives the figure an imposing weight. I love the cracked details and how wide his jaw opens.  Continue to page 2…

29 thoughts on “Vault Review: Masters of the
Universe Classics Griffin

  1. great review! cant wait till i get this guy myself, and i also think that the best thing about motuc is the overall diversity that it gives you, POP fits in with motu, and mo2k fit great with filmation, and everything just sums up to one awesome universe full of the weirdest creatures and people;D i personnaly think if wie get true this year everybody will be happy with 2014 and again stop the bitching and moaning about new characters or lesser known characters. or atleast thats what i hope:D if we dont get the minimum ill be sad because that might mean we wont get fighting foemen, fang man, snakeface(will probably come out because of his shield reveal) and ram man ram man, we finnaly get to him and everybody begins moaning about the line:c
    sorry for the huge comment great review cant wait till the next:D

    best wishes ghundiman;D

    1. Thanks, Ghundi. I also thought it was pretty ironic that the line hits trouble right after the Ram Man announcement. Hopefully we’ll still see those obscure and unique characters in the future.

      1. yeah me too some of those are the most awesome(vikor, fangman, fighting foemen). hopefully well get most characters people desire, for me thats:two-bad(maybe a 3 pack with tuvar and badrha?) extendar, modulok, ninjor, dragstor and captain seahawk. which would you like to see vault??


  2. I dug these guys in the 200x series and glad they were made. Hoping this line continues on myself because I started late into it but been enjoying it. Hope it goes for a good long time.

    1. Glad you’re enjoying the line, J! It’s always great to have new collectors in the mix.

  3. I guess I collect too many toylines, because there is no way I could spend the money to buy every MOTUC figure that comes out. There are also a lot of great Transformers, G.I. Joe figures, what have you out there, all vying for our recreational funds. I didn’t think this was a strange concept, just buying the ones you want, but suddenly it’s being presented as a moral obligation to purchase every MOTUC figure so the line can continue and all your fellow fans can have the figures they want. It’s a nice notion, but I’m sorry, I just don’t need that kind of commitment.

    1. I don’t really see it as a moral obligation. To me it feels more like a collective support. Everyone joins in so we all get what we want.

      I’m with you on the money issue. I’m a cherry picker in every other toyline I collect. I’d love to be able to buy everything I wanted, but that’s just not going to happen. So I pick and choose, and I don’t see anything wrong with that.

      But MOTU is a bit different, and its overall quality and sales structure is directly tied to what the fans purchase. There aren’t any moms or kids to help carry this burden. Like Ghostbusters and DCUC, MOTU will live or die by our decisions. So every year I purchase a sub, and then work the rest of my toy budget around it. But that decision is ultimately a personal one that each fan has to make for themselves.

      I know 200X wasn’t for everyone, but a lot of fans, including myself, were disappointed to see it die prematurely. I don’t want to see that happen again with MOTU Classics, especially since that decision is entirely in our hands.

  4. Great review and very nice pics indeed, especially the penultimate one!

    I was thrilled when this guy was revealed, and I’m smugly satisfied that he’s now in my collection. If I ever manage to find the space, I may have to track down and buy a couple more of these. It’s nice to have a piece of the Millennial revamp in the MOTUC line, especially one as cool as this. (Okay, I still think his head is a little oversized, but on principle, I’m still happy with him.) Time for me to cross my fingers for Prahvus with flying saucer and Odiphus! Or at the very least, an all-black, MYP-style “alpha” Shadow Beast repaint with extra horns.

    If you folks ever need to add names to a list of people who will stick up for the subscriptions, you can count on me. Apart from a glitch on the website one month that resulted in my ordering twelve Weapons Racks, of which I had to send ten back (the result of non-subscription item sales, I must point out), it’s been a MOTU toy-fulfillment joy for me from the get-go.

    1. Thanks Beedo! That pic was a pain to set up, lol. One thing that I forgot to mention in the review was how this guy really needs a flight stand. It could have been as simple as adding a curved piece on top for the griffin to rest on, and it would have freed up so much room on our shelves! 😛

      But yeah, other than that he’s great. I’m hoping we see more MO2K influences, if the line continues and doesn’t become a Vintage fest.

      1. Flight stands! Yes! I’ll back you on that, too. My Swift Wind, which I suspect has misassembled legs, is starting to warp dangerously at the fetlock. A good flight stand to take the weight off the spindly legs would be excellent. At the moment, it’s resting on a Unicron stand, but that’s hardly ideal.

        Flight stands. We have spoken. Now let it be Law. };D

  5. This guy is huge and awesome. I’m a MOTU cherry picker and only got into the line with the clearance last year, so have spent a nice chunk catching up. In fact, Yellow Evil-Lyn was finally ordered with this guy and she’s been the only one to ride him so far! LOL

    My only complaint is when closing the beak, you have to be careful to line both parts up correctly or you risk curving the jaw. :/ Other than that, it’s a great re-use kitbash with only a few new parts.

    As for the sub, I’m not getting one for a few reasons:
    a: cherry picker – I bought what I wanted and didn’t feel ripped off with very few exceptions (re: Star Sisters = UGH. not even fodder worthy!)

    b: rising costs. If MOTU were at retail, these would still be in the $15-20 range, not hitting $25+ overcharged on s/h.

    c: There are *very* few ANNOUNCED figures I do want, and Rammy was one of them until I saw he still has those goofy legs, not a more standard look, and he’ll be an “oversize” quarterly figure = PASS. Bad enough their giving DCUIE Lead the Darkseid BAF base over something smaller and more in scale with the rest of the team, but with all the other “tweaking”, those legs ruin it for me. Never have liked them.

    d: Scott seems to think of any line other than MOTU as an afterthought. That said, I swear, in that video he just released begging for subs and showing how much what they charge increases the lower the production run, that when the MOTU figure fell over, he called it “Batman”!

    1. Ah, I didn’t even notice that thing about the beak. Thanks for the tip, Brain!

      If this line were at retail, I’d probably be a cherry picker with it as well. But the sub has allowed us amazing figures like Vikor, and Dreago Man. I have the feeling that these obscure and original figures wouldn’t have made it into a retail line.

      As for the money, MOTU was honestly long overdue for a price hike. I would have gladly paid $25 per figure this year to get those extra accessories and paint apps that were cut.

      My view on the cost may be a bit skewed though. It’s a rare day when I import a figure for less than $20. But that’s the world we live in now. Collector specific toys are going to be expensive, no matter what country they come from.

      Also, you’ve got to love the Star Sisters. They come with the awesome David Bowie bird. “Let’s DANCE!”

      1. When you start comparing MOTUC to import figures, you can somewhat understand the price increase. However, it’d be great if some MOTUC figures had alternate hands like most import figures.

        1. I definitely agree with you there. There’s definitely a lot to be learned from how Japanese companies do their collector centric lines. Alternate hands and faces is like the bare minimum. It’d be really awesome if they could start matching the amazing articulation too.

      2. Speaking as someone who was paying £35 per figure (excluding shipping, VAT, and customs charges) from an online e-tailer up to the end of 2010 because he wasn’t aware Matty Collector would allow direct overseas sales or subscriptions, I still consider any MOTUC basic figure under $30 a bargain. But don’t tell Mattel I said so. };D

  6. Griffin is awesome, he’s so MotU it’s not even funny.

    Also, it’s pretty rare for Treadaway to be showing his Harryhausen, which makes this that much cooler.

    1. The Shadow Beast feet are three toes all in front, whereas the Griffin is two in front, one in back.

      1. ah, thankee sai. one of these days, i think i should track down one of those shadow beasties.

        1. I don’t have one myself. I really wanted to want one, but it’s just a bit too bland, like pretty much everything they try to base on Filmation models.

          Not to say it’s terrible or anything, and I’d probably snag one for cheap.

  7. Great review as usual, Vault. I love how Alcala the griffin manages to look without having the master illustrator design it at all. Beast Man riding it in your review shot looks like it stepped out of a vintage minicomic page!

    Regarding the entire sub situation:

    As an international customer, 2013 is a terrible year. First off the $7 price hike per normal figure ($2 figure cost $5 more shipping). Second the loss of the right to get a refund or file a complaint for lost merchandise. When you add the customs and taxes you’ll have to pay, the price per figure is just way too high for such a gamble. For an oversized item I’d be looking at paying $75-100 after customs and taxes, which is just insane for something I’d only marginally want (like the griffin). Let’s not even talk about Granamyr. Maybe if you have enough entertainment money to know that you will be taking a $35-100+ hit every month for a single toyline you can make that investment, but I definitely can’t.

    Don’t get me wrong. I like MOTUC. Hell, I’ve been a MOTU collector since the late 90’s and active in all sorts of MOTU fansites. But at the end of the day, the figures are just very basic toys. They have adequate but not spectacular articulation, good but usually not amazing sculpts (figures like Draego-Man being exceptions) and low amounts of accessories.

    Furthermore, it has become very evident that the vintage MOTU toy fans vastly outnumber every other fan denomination who collect Classics. The reason we are pulling teeth to get the 2013 sub to happen is that people want the vintage toy characters. As much as you’d like it to be, there’s just a LOT fewer PoP fans, NA fans, 200X fans and people who wish to fork out this much money for a never-before-seen or one-shot appearance character from an obscure source. Some of these “dark horses” turned out great (once again, Draego-Man, and Vikor), but a lot of them are very unpopular and even sell for less than their original retail price on the secondary market. That’s not a situation you EVER want to have in your expensive collector toyline, and that’s why the sub is a hard sell now. Mattel are quickly running out of “Must-have” figures to bait the larger fanbase with, and it shows. Ram Man is one of the reasons the sub movement is succeeding, but what will they rally around after he’s done? Mantenna is the only big name left I can think of.

    Where will MOTU go after Classics ends? Well, despite it probably not lasting much longer, it has been the ONLY successful Mattycollector toyline, and we are at least getting some media now (in the form of comics), so possibly something may happen there. The Dreamworks/Filmation deal is a potential hopeful light, as an animated feature film would be a great way to attract attention to the brand (and start a new toyline). Pretty much any publicity now is good.

    Anyway. Good review, I hope that 2013 happens (even at a reduced size) and best of luck for the future.

  8. “I don’t want to see that happen again with MOTU Classics, especially since that decision is entirely in our hands.” this may be true but if the line does end i wouldn’t put the blame solely on the collectors. if it interest has wanned due to various problems fans have with the toyline then mattel is also a equal partner in this mess.

  9. “I didn’t even know I wanted one until they unveiled him.”

    My feelings exactly. Great figure.
    Fun note: this is one that makes people who don’t collect toys double-take. “What is that thing?”

  10. just started collecting motuc few months ago. Addicted to it now, I was born in 82 in Nov. So it’s a flashback to being a kid for me. When you’ve made all the classics figures. Will you start 200X Classics??? I would buy every character all over again, plus there’s people making a lot of 200x customs so the desire for them is there…

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