Vault Review: MOTU Classics
Dragon Blaster Skeletor

Masters of the Universe Classics usually does a fantastic job of updating vintage figures with a more modernized look.  I was particularly excited to see what Dragon Blaster Skeletor’s would look like.  Unfortunately I think my expectations were too high.

I never had Dragon Blaster Skeletor as a kid, but I did have an awesome poster with him on it.  You know the one.  Thunder Punch He-Man and the Masters were on the left, facing off against Dragon Blaster Skeletor and his evil minions on the right.  And spoiling the battle for everyone was the Horde coming down the middle.  So even though I didn’t have the figure, I always thought he had an awesome look.

It wasn’t until years later that I realized just how crazy that figure truly was.  The inspiration behind making new armor is simple enough.  He-Man is getting new powers and Skeletor can’t afford to fall behind in this Eternian arms race.  So what’s the best way to counter your enemy’s new thunder punching powers?  Chain a dragon to your back and carry him around piggyback style!

I realize every character in the MOTU world is a bodybuilder, but even so it still can’t be easy lugging a dragon over your shoulders that’s at least half your size.  Talk about an exhausting battle.  There’s also the small issue of how do you control the dragon?  I may be able to strap on a komodo dragon like a satchel, but I don’t think I’d be able to focus his attention from biting my face to fighting my enemies as I huffed and puffed my way around an Ultimate Battleground.

DB Skelly’s body sculpt is all reused pieces, but thanks to the recent addition of Kobra Khan we now have boot tops and forearms that are reminiscent of the vintage Skeletor’s design.  This is a great touch to the figure and I really love that fans can cobble together their ultimate vision of Skeletor from the various different styles that have been released.

This Skelly does come with an all new pieces of armor, designed like the vintage figure’s and made of soft plastic so that it can easily be removed.  Of course the best part about this new armor is the dragon hanging off his back.  The Dragon Butternut is made of two pieces, his body and head.  The sculpting on his body is top notch and makes me a bit sad that he can’t really move because he’d be a great creature figure to pose on the shelf.

Unfortunately I’m not as thrilled with the dragon head.  He really has way too many teeth, which gives his entire head odd proportions.  Also, Thunder Punch He-Man had a great surprise with the inclusion of an effects piece.  I was really expecting DB Skelly to get the same treatment and include a spraying effects piece.  So I was a bit disappointed to learn that not only was he not getting an effects piece, but that his mouth was molded closed.   Continue to page 2…

62 thoughts on “Vault Review: MOTU Classics
Dragon Blaster Skeletor

  1. Great Review Vault! The DraegoMan, Curse you Butternut, and Final shot are Masterpieces.

  2. Great review, excellent pictures and comics!

    Looking forward to getting this guy, but in order to preserve limb continuity, I think I’ll swap the DB armour onto a spare “Original” Skeletor. Which should also solve the painted limbs problem. Might have to sculpt a new dragon head, though. Those teeth just look wrong.

    Where’d the name “Butternut” come from, by the way? (I mean, I’ve eaten the squash, but I suppose I mean why Butternut? Other than that it’s a damned funny word?) I always called Skeletor’s dragon “Spitt.” Not very inspired, but I think I was 11 when I got the original DB Skeletor.

    1. I’m guessing Noisy was hungry and making himself a sammich while writing the review, and they had butternut Bread in the house?

      1. Great. Now I’ve got it in my head that lesser Eternian rock dragons all have funny food names like Butternut, Fiddlefaddle, Couscous, and Fluffernutter.

        Thanks, guys.

    2. Thanks Beedo!

      I thought it would be fun if he had a cute/silly name. Originally I thought about calling him Butterscotch, but I think Butternut is funnier.

      1. STRIDOR: Heroic Mechanical Warhorse

        Real Name: Butterscotch

        Queen Marlena’s favourite Eternian palomino from the stables of Eternos Palace was named Butterscotch because of his rich, glossy fawn coat. During an attack by Skeletor’s forces, the stables were set ablaze, and despite Snout Spout’s best efforts, were burnt to the ground. Most of the horses were able to bolt to freedom, but Butterscotch was trapped under a falling beam. Man-At-Arms, sick puppy that he is, decided to put Butterscotch’s brain into a strong new robot body. Renamed Stridor, this clattering cyborg now carries the Heroic warriors into battle . . . and always feels so cold.

  3. Good review, Vault. I’d stopped collecting before this version of Skelly came out in the 80’s so I hadn’t really noticed what a wacky concept Mattel went with. But it is MOTU and anything goes with this brand. That’s always been its main appeal.

    Still, between Dragon Blaster Skeletor and Black Mask, September might as well have been Dental Hygiene Month over at Mattel.

    1. Thanks, Clutch!

      I definitely love how crazy MOTU gets.

      I didn’t realize it until you mentioned it, but there really were a lot of toothy figs this month.

  4. Vault this has to be the funniest review i’ve seen of any figure that you have done. I wish “Butternut” had his old action feature. Excellent review by the way!!

  5. Wow juts wow. The pic with Draego Man saying “That’s Racist” is brilliant. I literally spit out the coffee I was drinking. I have seen some people put the Draego head on the toy instead and it looks better…

  6. Love this review, laughed way too much. Dreago, the butternut name is priceless. Is that a monsterarts flame your using for lil butternut or another line effect.

    The paint chipping is the only thing bugging me but can live with it.

  7. This review is what I love about this site. I don’t care for DB Skeletor, but your review is at least making me consider that it wouldn’t be a bad figure to own based on the pure silliness of such an idea. Also, because I didn’t know about this variant until this year I always associate the DB with Daniel Bryan, so in my head I always think Daniel Bryan Skeletor before I get to Dragon Blaster.

    1. Thanks, Bigbot!

      The radio station I listen to in the morning uses the abbreviation DB for when they call someone a douche bag. So I think of something entirely different when I see Skelly’s name shortened. 😛

  8. Being younger, this was the Skeletor that I had growing up. It brought back some fun memories of my childhood. Liked the review. I totally enjoy the figure myself but that is 100% nostalgia.

  9. As I was reading the captions, I couldn’t help but here skeletor speaking in the Monarch’s voice from Venture Bros.

      1. Yeah, it’s similar enough to the Filmation and MYP Skeletor voices to work very nicely! Now I’ve got the image of Evil-Lyn sounding like an adenoidal Brooklyn cabbie and Beast Man going on about comic books in a creaky voice. With Tri-Klops played by Ray Romano. Thanks, guys.

    1. Wow, I never realized it until you said it, but the Monarch and Skeletor do sound a lot alike. I didn’t think it was possible, but Venture Bros just got cooler.

      1. You know as a huuuge Venture brothers fan (All I could think any time bane talked in DKR was Killinger) I never put this together either..someone is gonna have to get mcCulloch on the line for the next MOTU cartoon

    2. Great call, man! Helper’s “voice” and mannerisms for Roboto. Hank and Dean as Adam and Orko. You really hit on something with this.

      1. Orko might be even funnier sounding like Doctor Orpheus or The Alchemist, though. };D Patrick Warburton as Man-At-Arms. Hordak Killinger. Grizzlor with Sgt. Hatred’s voice. Scaramantula as Count Marzo. And Extendar striding around the place, booming “IGNORE ME!!!”

        Dear Lord, what have we wrought?!

        1. Nah Patrick Warburton is he-man…hatred is man-at-arms…I like Killinger for Hordak, Trapjaw could be Underbeit (obviously), King Hiss is Phantom Limb…..this is too fun

          1. Action Johnny as Mosquitor. Jonas Venture Sr. as King Randor. Billy Quizboy as Snout-Spout. Otto Aquarius as Mer-Man. For the Days of Yore crowd, The Action Man as Space Ace, The Pirate Cap’n as Vykron, and Hunter Gathers or General Treister as Tank-Top (or they could also make good Men-At-Arms). Yeah, this IS too much fun.

            Oh, and Colonel Gentleman as Stratos . . . wait . . . .

  10. Where did the dragon blast effect -piece come from? It goes so perfectly with him that it looks like it belongs with him!

  11. So, other pics wanted as bonus content:

    Dragonblast armor on Faker

    Butternut separate from the armor

    You know, Skeletor really gets the short end of the stick here. Thunder Punch Skeletor would have been a much cooler thing, vintage-wise. As it is, the only foe on an equal footing would have been Snout Spout. You know, as in ‘squirt guns build into/onto a figure’ style.

    I have a kind of hard time with that dragon head. It’s funny, it’s very Filmation, it has a charm but it just doesn’t fit. And I just don’t understand the design, use of the chain. OK, so it binds the dragon to the armor, I dig that, it’s needful. But the segment that goes from the armor to the shackle around Skeletor’s wrist? It almost seems as if he’s unwilling bonded to the armor and the dragon.

    Man I bet Butternut just gnaws the HECK out of all the furniture at Snake Mountain. 🙂

    1. nah… pretty hard to wreck the furniture when they don’t give you limbs. this little dragon is more like the torso guy in “freaks” when they turn on the robbers, and he’s got a knife between his teeth, but neither arms nor legs to actually constitute a threat.

        1. well, yes, they’re sculpted there, but they’re not articulated… so he’s essentially an unmovable blob w/ a rotating head.

          the sad thing is, over on the doomkick review of this fig, i was chatting w/ those guys about potential other things that could have been done, on the cheap, to make this fig more desirable than just as a kitbash for a true vintage skeletor. simple things like packing in an additional alcala head, or doing two dragon heads one snickering and evil, one open chomper, or doing a translucent purple power sword, or a havoc staff w/ translucent purple head, could have made this made this fig more memorable. and of course, were they willing to dump more developmental cash on this fig, an articulated posable dragon would have been win all day long.

          1. call me crazy, I would have liked to see him be able to squirt water. I mean, it’s not a dealbreaker of needing a new tool torso, it’s just the simple mechanics of a hollow body and putting in one of those 10 cent mini spray bottle heads that are probably made in the factory down the street.

            but if this had an actual action feature that would have REALLY tipped the applecart over, wouldn’t it have? 🙂

            I do like that Skeletor’s head has a bit of tilt so he can lean forward. I suspect someone snuck that past the gatekeepers.

            1. steve, you’re forgetting logistics. that 10 cent mini sprayer next door would have to undergo mattel’s rigorous safety and standards inspection, the same grueling tedious grandiloquence that gave us such smash hits as the brittle marshmallow man, the spring loaded voltron, and the hover board w/ furniture gliders. and it would cost $500,000 to install those in every DBS. and also, it was a design choice by the horsemen, an expensive design choice that would have cost you an A list character later in the line: which would you rather have had, a water squirting dragon, or castle grayskull?

              see… logistics. 🙂

              1. I admit the error of my thinking. How could I forget how delicate and on the bubble every single figure is? Why, one failure and TEH LEIN IS OVAH!

                yeesh, is this any way to run a toy company? 🙂

  12. i never had battle dammage skeletor or terror claws skeletor as a kid, my only variant was dragon blaster skelly and he was one of my favorites! i was really looking forward to this one! pure nostalgia!

  13. Initially this looked like a fun figure, but as is usually the case the production figures just didn’t quite look as cool as the prototype.

    Also, not to sound too picky, but I have not purchased any MOTUC figures since mattel started just making all of them out of black plastic and painting them. I know these are collector oriented, but I want them to have some sort of durability.
    Because of the black plastic issue I ended up passing on Sir Laser Lot (who I actually wanted), Mekaneck and the Snake Men.

    I hope they go back to casting figures in appropriate colors and then adding shading by next year, because I do want Jitsu and the Fighting Foe Men; but am willing to pass on them if they’re still doing the black plastic.

      1. Jitsu is karate-chopping Japanese Fisto. Ninjor is Black Pajama Party Ninja.

        (and anyone else hoping we get swappable hands for Jitsu? Eye keep I’ing which character is going to be sacrificed and called “Lefty”)

  14. Great review! very funny. The black plastic issue unfortunetly will be what kills this line along with the DR issues. Hopefully Mattel gets it sorted and starts casting the figures in the correct coloured plastic again.

    Totally ridiculous!

    1. Word has it that the line will return to limbs moulded in the correct colour plastic in January. We’ll have to wait and see, though. Design choice, logistics, blah-de-blah-de-blah: who knows what excuses may crop up.

      Man, I’m cynical for a middle-aged guy who still buys toys.

  15. Just got this guy today, along with Mekaneck and the Snake Men. Man, am I disappointed! Apart from the weird dragon head and too-short chain, which other people have covered, I’ve gotta reiterate how horrible these painted black limbs are.

    Not only did he come out of the bubble with smudges and chips on his arms, legs, and joints, some of the light blue smudged off onto the armour. Will be calling MattyCollector later today and really letting them have it.

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