Mattel Masters of the Universe Classics Fearless Photog Mattel, 2012
Day #386: April 26, 2012
Fearless Photog Heroic Master of Cameras
Masters of the Universe Classics 30th Anniversary Collection Action Figure
Item No.: No. W8901 Manufacturer:Mattel Includes:Camera, flash bulb shield Action Feature:Lever in head moves lens in and out Retail:$22.00 Availability:February 2012 Other: Created by Nathan Bitner in a 1980s design-a-character contest
If there's one thing you can say about Mattel, it's that they understand the concept of destiny. Fearless Photog shouldn't exist, but here he is-- designed in the 1980s by a kid in a contest, the design was largely forgotten until the meat grinder of the internet's pop culture sites got wind of the story and said to everybody "Hey, remember this? Mattel never did anything with it." Much like how Mattel has aimed to eclipse the original 1980s Kenner Super Powers line, today, they're aiming to make some of the weirder concepts from Masters of the Universe and fill the gaps as they go. It's not every day that a lost legend of the 1980s toy scene gets produced and can now hang out on top of your 200X Castle Grayskull playset.
His gear is more or less as expected-- you get a big yellow shield like the original contest ballot drawing had, plus a new camera gun thing. The figure is clearly high-tech as viewed through the prism of 1987, so things like a big head camera and film canisters would register as nifty technology, rather than something that now looks a little bulky in the era of digital everything. It's part of the figure's charm, after all his gun has a couple of film reels on it rather than being a sleek digital number. It's rare to have a refugee from the analog age show up in modern times without being updated, so this strange figure is a real treat. It also might be a little out of place depending on how you like your Masters, but I can't help but like it.
The paint job on this figure is acceptable, but not perfect-- mine had a chip on his shoulder, or just under it actually. The black paint was scraped off near the arm joint in a spot, but it's hard to see and as such does not constitute a problem. The figure is mostly molded in yellow and blue plastic, but has some black and other colors bringing it to life. Not content to be merely yellow, the Four Horsemen made sure to put a little extra in the paint department on him, with slightly darker yellows defining his arms and legs. It's a hallmark of the line, and makes it feel more like the packaging art paintings sprang to life rather than these figures being mere updates of old playthings.
This figure is part of a special 30th anniversary sub-line, which will also include Draego-Man, Sir Laser-Lot, The Mighty Spector, and two other figures to be determined. It's a mix of the weird and the sublime, so if you like 1980s toys you probably wish you subscribed to it last year. (I did-- due to a move, I didn't want to mess with billing and shipping changes, because, you know, Digital River.)
While by no means essential, the lenticular zoetrope-inspired design on his chest and camera head make this sort of a perfect little concept rolled up into a toy. It would be a great gift for a film student, but well, they sold out and it isn't going to be remade if you missed it. It's not too expensive on eBay yet and my guess is over time, it won't be too pricey. It wasn't part of my childhood, but it was just too neat to pass up. Special thanks to Matt "Awesome Toy Blog" Guzy for ordering me one while I was trapped in meetings in New York, I appreciate it!
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