Mattel Masters of the Universe Classics Thunder Punch He-Man Mattel, 2012
Day #401: May 17, 2012
Thunder Punch He-Man Heroic Leader with a Power Punch
Masters of the Universe Classics Action Figure
Item No.: No. W8922 Manufacturer:Mattel Includes:Yellow clear power sword, punch effect, shield, comic book #1 of 3 Action Feature:n/a Retail:$20.00 Availability:April 2012 Other: Pale, sure, but check out the accessories!
I didn't get a Thunder Punch He-Man as a kid, but I do remember picking one out to take to someone's birthday party, only to have another kid also get him the same figure, which he opened before mine, and then I got irritated that he got stuck with two of them. That's how I work, but today? I've got one of my own! I actually wasn't expecting this figure to get made in MOTUC, and when it was announced I honestly just kind of shrugged. But it's cool! The figure as shown at Toy Fair seems like he was a little pale, and had slightly yellower accessories than the final figure. But I'm really having fun with the final figure, I think he's going to make this column better.
This line has had a lot of He-Man figures: the original, Prince Adam, Battle Armor, the Toys R Us one, Preternia Disguise He-Man, and (spiritually at least) Wun-Dar are cut from the same mold. As Mattel trickles them out, I know I'm certainly not yet sick of the variants like I was in the 2002 line. Figures like Thunder Punch He-Man will make you miss Mattel's good ol' fashioned gimmicks, but the Four Horsemen did sculpt in some fun updates to the original design. A faux ring of caps, the little smoke pellets used for cap guns and the original figure, was included. It fits into his backpack or his shield, and is just a smidgen bigger than actual caps. Oh, and they don't do anything. They just look cool. It's a clever idea, a nice little extra which wouldn't be missed if left out, but it's a welcome nod to the classic feature. The backpack of the figure hinges open nicely, and doesn't have one of those crappy "hinges" which really is just stressing the plastic and bending it. You have no idea how much I appreciate this.
Since the action feature was removed, the designers simulated the Thunder Punch with an energy effect not unlike the ones you've come to expect from your Street Fighter collectibles. Seeing He-Man with a glowing fist makes me want to see him inserted as a mystery character in an upcoming Capcom fighting game, as it fits perfectly over his newly-tooled fist and you can just imagine him shouting out "By the power of Grayskull!" as you rotate a joystick and beat the snot out of Balrog or Blanka. Rounding out the accessories is a newly sculpted shield, covered in vac metal silver which, knock on wood, isn't flaking at all. It snaps on to his wrist, and has a place to store the "caps" in it and also has a spot for He-Man's sword, were you so inclined. As figure gear goes, particularly with He-Man variants, this is one of the better concepts.
His final accessory is a new mini-comic, "The Legend Begins." It's only 8 pages, and they pack a lot into those tiny 8 pages. I'm assuming this comic is a foreshadowing of the line's toys to come, and if that's the case we're gonna get a bunch of Snake Men and dinosaurs. This is totally cool. It's pretty expensive to run a small comic book for promotional purposes (art + publishing + etc.) and it definitely helps make the figure a little more desirable, and helps smooth over any issues I had with the pale skin.
Thunder Punch He-Man's face seems more than a little pale. My pictures from Toy Fair look pretty pale, but at first glance it's almost shockingly pale. Perhaps it's intentional, and perhaps not-- when placed next to a regular He-Man figure he doesn't look all that strange, but the first impression I had of this figure was actually one of delight. "At last!" I said, "He-Man is as pale as I am!" Seriously though, it's still pretty neat, but "pale" is the order of the day-- his sword and punch effect are pretty pale, too. The sculpt is basic He-Man fare, with the newly-tooled vest that has a nice big shiny H on it and the new "Vikor" boots which were also used on Fisto and seem to be significantly sturdier than most of this line's ankle joints. It really stands out as something different, and I'm actually quite amazed how the 1980s He-Man variants seem to look really cool and aged well, while the bulk of the 200X ones, I really never want to see again. (Maybe that ice armor one, that was pretty awesome.)
I like the overall look and feel of this figure, with the veiny new fist and 3 new accessories plus a new vest giving this figure a really nice chunk of fantastic newness. (All Battle Armor He-Man had new was clamp-on armor and a couple of face plates. And yeah, I liked that one too.) As toy fan and Shortpacked! scribe David Willis has so wonderfully demonstrated, a punching fist on an action figure is quite possibly one of the best possible design choices you can make. He-Man is known for punching, and now he's got a mighty fist! If and when Mattel ever does a "Filmation"-inspired version of the figure, I really hope they give him the fist. I figure I'm going to spend the next six months having him punch every figure in the house. Heck, I should adopt him as a mascot for FOTD, punching any figure that doesn't turn out to my liking. What say you, Prince Adam? Are you up for it?
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