If you want the main characters in the format of M.O.T.U.S.C.L.E., Set A is a good place to start.
The only character drawn on the packaging is, of course, He-Man. It's clearly He-Man, but he's a little awkward - his arms are in tight so it looks like he's shrugging with his sword and shield out. This is kind of funny, so I'm going to be just fine with it. If you can't be awesome, be weird - and this is plenty weird. He-Man's shaggier toy hair is present, as are his fuzzy briefs. The sword seems closer to the cartoon look, and it bends. I know you're saying "sure it does, they're rubbery little plastic figures!" but please understand that between his hand and the guard is a maybe 2mm piece of the grip. If you so much as touch the sword, it bends in that exact spot. I assume/hope plenty of testing went in to the plastic's durometer, because that's where the wear and tear is going to go first. Be careful. Interestingly, the figure comes out of the package totally perfect and not at all warped. I know that shouldn't be a statement of surprise, but I've bought so many figures with something warped that it surprised me.
Compared to M.U.S.C.L.E., He-Man's arms and hands are a little on the small side. Considering the wrestlers should be meaty, I would assume He-Man can match them. Thankfully Super7's sculptor nailed the legs - if not the feet - as overstuffed sausages. Totally perfect. The sword looks good and so does his vest. The shield is interesting in that it's another spot where it's "wrong," but I'm sure it was done this way to allow for manufacturing at this scale. He-Man's shield has a bunch of rivets, a "nipple" for lack of a better word in my vocabulary, and a series of red recessed spots. On this particular figure, though, He-Man's recessed areas are instead sculpted out. It's the inverse of what I expected, and it still looks correct - but it is different, and I think I'm required by law to nitpick on the parts that don't really matter. I look forward to Faker.
Joining him is Man-At-Arms, Eternia's mechanical genius. One of his arms is straight down - boring and non-M.U.S.C.L.E.y, but the right arm is bent at an appropriate angle and holds his famous club. Due to the chest armor it's impossible to tell if he has his famous mustache or not, but the helmet and shoulder armor are all there. The fuzzy briefs and boots are also present, ensuring this is as Duncaney as you can get.
The arms are a little small, and the body language (complete with the plastic type and lack of deep grooves) feels like a departure from the inspiration. But if you just want a mono-colored Man-At-Arms, this is a spectacular figure. It looks more like an RPG miniature than a wrestler, but hey, I got one, I'm happy.
The only woman figure in this line so far - that's all the packs - is Teela. The Sorceress and Evil-Lyn aren't represented, but at least there's a series 2. For now, Teela is in her snake armor and in a very non-M.U.S.C.L.E. pose. It's a great mini-figure pose, a skinny figure who stands perfectly with her snake hood and staff. Again, I'm shocked nothing was bent out of shape - you just plop her on your desk and she stands.
Given that I can't think of a woman in M.U.S.C.L.E., I can't say for sure if this would match the look or not. It's very three-dimensional, whereas M.U.S.C.L.E. dudes tend to be flattened. Her head is a little wider - a plus - but it's also quite small. Like the others in this set, they lack that tiny bit of deformed edge in their sculpting, and this one seems to be pretty nicely toned with a developed back and thick legs. Not bad, not bad at all. The reptile texture on the snake hood is excellent, as are the bugged-out eyes on the hat. I can't not be impressed by this one. Sure, she may not make the cut as a faux wrestler, but it's a wonderfully neat little keshi figure at a good price.
When I can get little guys like this for $2 each, I will - almost always, at least in one color. If you can get these for a fair price, you totally should. $6 per 3-pack is a good deal - slightly less so if shipping is a factor, but I'm still charmed enough to be willing to buy subsequent series as well as another license or two. I wish the plastic was less glossy and slightly less translucent, and it would be nice if the arms and poses were just a bit closer to the inspiration. Without the nod to M.U.S.C.L.E. these would be perfect - much like ReAction, the inspiration does raise certain demands or expectations. These are their own thing - despite the comments from the manufacturers, there's probably no way you could have figures with skinny little parts like this back in the 1980s. Just enjoy them for what they are, and if you can luck into all 4 3-packs at $6 a whack you've got yourself a gorgeous insta-collection of He-Man mini dudes.
Additional M.O.T.U.S.C.L.E. Series 1 Box Images
Note: I ordered the set after Comic-Con as I was unable to make it to the pop-up store after waiting in line at their booth on a break. They tossed in a Purple Skeletor, Skeletoken, and some cards. Nice freebies.
16bit.com is best not viewed in Apple's Safari browser, we don't know why. All material on this site copyright their respective copyright holders. All materials appear hear for informative and entertainment purposes. 16bit.com is not to be held responsible for anything, ever. Photos taken by the 16bit.com staff. Site design, graphics, writing, and whatnot credited on the credits page. Be cool-- don't steal. We know where you live and we'll break your friggin' legs.