Joined: 18 Dec 2005
|Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:15 am Post subject: Masters of the Universe Classics: Dragon Blaster Skeletor
|Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-Ravers,
Back in 1985 I joined the ranks of the Masters of the Universe fans and collectors with my first two figures; Thunder Punch He-Man and Dragon Blaster Skeletor. Those were the two that started it all for me so aside from being some of the coolest variants ever, they hold deep sentimental attachment. When we got the update to Thunder Punch He-Man earlier this year I, and many others, desperately hoped Dragon Blaster Skeletor would not be far behind and sure enough he wasn't. So does he live up to expectations, especially mine which will be high? Let's take a look.
Dragon Blaster Skeletor comes on the standard MOTUC blister card package. The dragon is not on his back in the box and while the vintage one wasn't either this is still a difference as the vintage figure's package was a wider deluxe package. He does have the chain attached though and the vintage figure did not.
One little thing I found amusing was the dragon is held in place in the package with the plastic bands, which is typical in this line, however the placement seems funny. The band is around the dragon's mouth making it look as though it is muzzling him.
The back of the package shows off other figures in the line, including a few exclusives like He-Ro, Preternia Disguise He-Man, and the upcoming Temple Of Darkness Sorceress. Strangely it does not feature Thunder Punch He-Man. As usual there is a bio card however, like Thunder Punch He-Man's, it focuses more on revealing the new continuity's storyline and doesn't really say much about the Dragon Blaster angle. To be fair it does talk about it more than Thunder Punch He-Man's did his, but I would prefer the bio focus on the actual character and the origin of the dragon and its powers.
While at first this may seem like another Skeletor in new armor, there are some actual changes to the normal overall buck used for Skeletor. While it's not new tooling, it is different than previous Skeletor variants. He features the Whiplash forearms instead of the standard Skeletor versions, and his boot tops are the new scaled versions first seen on Kobra Khan. The idea here is they wanted to make him look more like the vintage figure. Many fans are opting to put the original Skeletor's armor on this buck to have a "perfect" vintage style look. Me, I don't really see it. The vintage figure's boots do have a bit of a scaled sculpt to them, but you kind of have to look close to notice it whereas the Classics version stands out more. Admittedly though that is part of the Classics appeal in that little details are drawn out. As for the arms, well the Classics finned arms have only the bottom fins while vintage have ones on top too. So in that regard the arms are more vintage like, but the Whiplash arms also feature more ridges on the side that are not on the vintage. So in the end it's a mixed bag. I don't dislike the changes, but I also don't find them a thrilling hype worthy item.
Another thing to note is the paint job. This version of Skeletor is much brighter than the standard version. It's more like Faker or Keldor bright blue. The colors on his face are a bit brighter too, though mine ended up with a little too much green wash. He does feature fully painted feet, but once again differently painted toenails. I know I keep mentioning it, but they keep doing it.
Now on the vintage figure the dragon was fused with the back of the armor, which itself was a hard plastic. The Classics version has a softer material for the armor, though it does still slightly hinder the ab-crunch articulation, but the dragon is a separate piece. Sadly, though it might as well not be really. While the paint job and detailing on the dragon's sculpt is nicely done, he is not articulated. He is sculpted in a pose that is designed for him to be clinging to Skeletor's back so he doesn't quite look right sitting on the ground. More to the point however, while he can be taken off the back of the armor, via a peg on the armor that fits into a hole on the dragon's underside, he is still stuck to it via the chain.
Like the vintage, the figure features a real metal chain that on one end features a clasp that goes on Skeletor's wrist. The clasp appears to be the same mold as Scare Glow's accessory, though the metal chain attached is longer. The other end is attached to the dragon, but unlike the original, it cannot come off.
As such the dragon is permanently stuck to Skeletor's armor even though it can be taken off his back. This pretty much renders the fact that you can take it off at all rather pointless. Also this can slightly limit Skeletor's arm movement when clasped on. Not a huge amount but there is some strain. I really wish the dragon could detach and stand free, even if it was basically static like say Cringer. Now on the plus side this Classics dragon actually features the collar that the chain attaches too. The vintage one is shown with a collar in the artwork, however the actual figure has the clasp but no collar. It's not even there but unpainted, the clasp just comes out of the dragon's neck. Strangely though the padlock goes through the chain but not the collar clasp, which means it's not actually securing anything. The vintage padlock had a small opening so it could be fit through the chain and clasp, thus holding them together and keeping the chain on. (Though because of the opening and small size the padlock was easily lost and is one of the rarest vintage accessories these days... I've got mine though!) The Classics version has both chain and padlock sealed shut.
The dragon does have one articulation point in that his head is on a ball joint. It is also removable so if you want to make a custom dragon warrior you can. (Though we have Draego-Man for that now...)
One thing that struck me as odd at first is that the head is sculpted with a shut mouth full of teeth. The vintage had the water squirting action feature so the mouth was open similar to Kobra Khan. Therefore I expected to see a similar treatment for this figure but that was not the case. Honestly it looks much better in hand than earlier pictures, but I still find it odd they went this route.
For weapons Dragon Blaster Skeletor includes only his standard two tone purple sword. This is the only weapon the vintage figure had so it's true to form and I can't complain about that. It's nothing new, but there's nothing wrong with it. He also includes the final issue of the three part mini-comic story. This story is really an end battle conclusion to the saga style tale, though it does have a sequel hook finale. As promised, I'll go over it and the whole three part story in more detail in a separate review.
All in all, the figure really does recapture the look of the vintage figure, though they still probably should have had a more open mouth on the dragon. Even so though he looks awesome and doesn't loose a lot of the appeal without the action feature like many recreation variants in the line do, including Thunder Punch He-Man.
This really brings my collection full circle. As I said, Thunder Punch He-Man and Dragon Blaster Skeletor were my first two MOTU figures so I have a deep sentimental attachment to these variants and I love that they have been added to the Classics lineup. If we got no more variants in the Classics line after this, I would still feel complete. This is a real one for nostalgic fans, and the cool look will make him appeal to newcomers as well.
Dragon Blaster Skeletor is sold out on Mattycollector.com so hit up the secondary market for this one. Good Luck and until next time, Good Journey.
MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE CLASSICS LIVES! -Thanks for the support.
"I HAVE THE POWER!!.... the power is mine, not yours. Thanks for asking."