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Masters of the Universe Classics: Fighting Foe Men

 
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Lord Skeletor
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PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 8:44 pm    Post subject: Masters of the Universe Classics: Fighting Foe Men Reply with quote

Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-Ravers,

As you probably know by now, one thing Masters of the Universe Classics does is to shed light on the more obscure aspects of the entire franchise. For this latest multi-pack of figures Mattel really went with the obscure in more ways than one to bring us The Fighting Foe Men.

Most casual fans first heard the name Fighting Foe Men mentioned in the bio for Vikor (himself based on an obscure aspect) but the name actually dates back to the very beginning of the line. The name Fighting Foe Men was one of the early suggested titles for the line before they went with Masters of the Universe and, while some overly religious groups may disagree, I think the final choice was the better one.

I've been reading a lot of stories lately about how many fans as kids had to contend with religious zealots who branded He-Man satanic and blasphemous since "God is the only master of the universe". It's just a name for a toyline about villains trying to conquer the universe, and the heroes who stop them. Mellow out! It's simply meant to sound mysterious and mystical. (Fighting Foe Men sounds a little goofy, or at best like pro wrestlers) If God was actually offended he'd have done something about it 30 years ago. Sorry to go off on a rant there, and I mean no disrespect to anyone's religion. I just hate when people overdo their religious beliefs and then try to force them on everyone else.



Getting back to the Fighting Foe Men, when Mattel decided to use the name for a group in the Classics continuity it still raised the question of who they are. Mattel's answer was to take some other characters that no one knew who they were. Back in the 1980's Mattel licensed out to Monoram to produce model kits based on the vehicles from MOTU. Three were produced; Roton, Atttak Trak, and Talon Fighter. Not only did the models differ some in appearance and color from the toyline, the box art depicted each being driven by a different pilot that had never been seen in any form elsewhere. Fans had wondered for years who these characters were and if we could have figures of them. Finally Mattel has given them to us and declared them all members of the same team.



The figures come in the large style window box like the Star Sisters did however, thanks to the multiple accessories, it doesn't seem like a lot of wasted space this time. The bubble features the Powers of Grayskull logo sticker as, in the Classics continuity, they are from Preternian times. That is somewhat confusing for some fans as the vehicles they supposedly pilot are used in modern Eternian times. Also it's strange that they are all declared to be villains when two of those vehicles were heroic warrior vehicles, plus the pilots don't really look evil.

Obviously since the pilots were obscured in the artwork, some creative liberties had to be taken. Probably the biggest is that the Attak Trak driver, who was the most hidden in the picture, was made a female. While the team now had a name, the individual members still needed their own names. As such the Four Horsemen chose to name them after members of their staff. Ditztroyer is named after Shane Dittsworth, Shield Maiden Sherrilyn after Sherri Lyn Cook, and Dawg-O-Tar after Owen O-Dawg Oertling. You've probably never heard of them, (I admit I hadn't until these figures came along) but if you've collected anything from the line you owe a lot to them. See while the Four Horsemen design and sculpt the figures, it is Shane, Sherri, and Owen who are responsible for the molding, casting, prototyping, and painting of everything that the Four Horsemen create.



The back of the box shows off other figures in the line and presents a bio for the Foe Men. Like the Star Sisters bio, it deals more with the group as a whole and does not give any insight into the individual members, which is rather disappointing since we know NOTHING about any of them. The Star Sisters had the benefit of having some media exposure in comics and books, but until now these characters were just obscure artwork. Also. unlike the Star Sisters, only the names of the three figures are given with no real names for each member. (I seriously doubt Sherrilyn was given the title Shield Maiden at birth) This also gives the implication that these three were the only members of the group. I find that even harder to believe than the idea that they're all evil in the first place. The Talon Fighter is a war machine used to terrorize? I think not.

I prefer to imagine in my canon that these three were once among several members who worked together, but later went their separate ways with Ditztroyer remaining evil, Shield Maiden turning to good, and Dawg-O-Tar becoming neutral and working with the Cosmic Enforcers as keeper of Point Dread. (in the vintage stories Zodac revealed Point Dread to He-Man and gave him the Talon Fighter). One nice thing about this set is the options of how to align the characters is very open to individual interpretation.



In addition to their individual weapons, each character also includes interchangeable chest plates that pay homage to their vehicles. They also include Evil Horde logo chest plates in accordance to the Classics bio. So you can really have them on pretty much any side you want. (Snake Men might not work but...) The Horde logos are slightly designed more for each character individually. Dawg-O-Tar's is more curved at the top to fit with his armor better and Shield Maiden's is much smaller to fit on her smaller buck. Much as I love the Evil Horde though, I prefer to stick with my above mentioned alliances for each of them, and display them with their individual chest plates.



Okay now let's take a look at each of the figures individually, starting with Ditztroyer here. His only new parts are his hooded head and his cape. The hood seems to be a separate piece from the head, but doesn't come off. The face is not actually based off Shane, which would be freaky if it was since Ditztroyer has creepy solid black eyes which give a sort of lifeless/soulless feel to his gaze. The other two figures feature details that are tributes to their namesakes, but to the best of my knowledge there isn't one here. The sculpt is the standard buck for most of the figure. He has the Hordak gloved forearms and hands, Keldor feet, and King He-Man shins, which are He-Ro's boot tops modified to hide the ankle pins.

His chest piece plugs into the front part of his cape and is designed after the face on the Roton vehicle. For weapons he comes with a staff that has a disk top that represents the Roton complete with the ring of red blades. There is a slot on the back of his cape where his staff can be placed leaving him free to hold his giant gun with two hands. The gun is based more on the model kit Roton's guns which, as you may notice, were slightly different than the actual toy's. The model kit also had a cage top that the toy did not, but there doesn't seem to be any representation of that here.



No offense to Owen, but Dawg-O-Tar is probably my least favorite of the trio. Don't get me wrong, it's a very good figure, but his overall appearance is rather generic. He could easily pass for an army builder pilot character. He is made of the standard buck through and through. His forearms are the both short wrist band version and he does have the boots with no ankle pins showing. His head and helmet are one sculpt so it doesn't come off. The visor is a separate piece but glued in place. It is made of a semi-translucent plastic so you can see his face underneath. The armor is removable and doesn't hinder his articulation. His long hair can slightly hinder head movement though. Of interest is the streak of gray in his hair which is a nod to the real Owen.

For weapons he has a shield that clips on to his arm. It is shaped like the Talon Fighter and painted in the colors from the toy version, though the head is more yellow than the orange of the toy. His chest emblem is similar and honestly without it I can see this armor being reused. Of course they'll need to plug the hole with something else. Dawg-O-Tar's other weapon is based on the guns from the side of the ship, though like Ditztroyer it is based more on the model kit than the toy. Also, instead of being an actual gun, it is designed as a large club weapon.



Last, but not least, is Shield Maiden Sherrilyn. Maybe it's because I'm a sucker for female figures, but she's actually my favorite of the trio. Ditztroyer has a cool design overall, but his color scheme seems a bit odd. Sherrilyn however works well and fits right in with her vehicle... which I do not own. Yeah, I don't have any of the model kits (I found those pictures online) but at least I have the toy versions of the Roton and Talon Fighter. Both of those, however I got off E-Bay as an adult. As a kid I never had many vehicles, and honestly even back then I've always put more concentration on getting the figures than vehicles. Not counting the beasts like Battle Cat, Panthor and the POG dinosaurs, I only had a few vehicles as a kid like Land Shark (which I loved!) Bashasaurus, and near the end of the original run I picked up a Road Ripper at a garage sale. (I also had Stridor and Night Stalker -not sure if they count as vehicles or beasts) So to this day I still have no Attak Trak.

Take note of course that the toy Attak Trak was nothing like the big boxy tank vehicle seen in so many of the Filmation episodes, aside from the flipping tracks. The toy version actually did appear at least once, but on the show it was called the Mini-Trak. Anyway back to the figure.

Sherrilyn uses the Battleground Teela buck for the majority of her sculpt. She does feature the Bubble Power She-Ra forearms though and they do have the details painted. Her armor is actually not removable. At Toy Fair Scott mentioned that the armor was tough to get off, but it seems the final product just made it permanently stuck on. Also you can notice when you take out the chest plate that under her armor she has a red bra painted on the figure, so maybe they were just uncomfortable with the thought of Sherri's namesake figure going topless. Her helmet and head are one sculpt so it does not come off and unlike Dawg-O-Tar you cannot see her face under the visor. It's too small to really see in the photos here, but like the real Sherri Lyn, Shield Maiden has a small beauty mark on her face. I love little details like this as I think it really helps add to the figure.

Shield Maiden has, naturally, a large shield that clips on her arm. It is modeled after one of the tracks from the Attak Trak vehicle, even being made in a clear plastic. She also includes a double blaster gun like the one on the side of the vehicle. Because of the design though it can be a bit tricky getting it in her hand. In case you were wondering all the chest plate pegs are all the same size, so they are interchangeable thus increasing display options. How well this looks is a matter of opinion though.



These figures are not for everybody, no question about that. They are super obscure characters and the high price tag certainly doesn't help boost collectors' desire to pick them up. Still they did manage to sell out very quickly leading conspiracy shouters to claim Mattel pulled them early and we'll see them pop up in special sales like Black Friday or shoved into Mad Matty packs. Never mind that it would be dumb for Mattel to pull an item from sales early when it's quite clear they want to empty their warehouse of excess stock quickly. Never mind that the same people said the same thing about the Star Sisters and that muliti-pack has never resurfaced. I find it far more likely that Mattel simply had a lower production number for this set and the limited Day of Sale figures was decreased even further by the reopened sub sales.

Overall though, I think these are some pretty cool figures and they blend into the line quite well. The multiple display options help them fit in for anyone's personal canon. I will admit the price point seems rather uncomfortably high, even though it does even out to what you'd pay for three separate figures, but it seems those who don't want them are willing to take a hit. I checked the secondary market and saw at least 20 E-Bay auctions well below the original price so honestly finding them at a bargain shouldn't be too hard. Some sellers are also breaking up the set so if you only want one or two of the trio you might be able to go that route too. Good Luck and, until next time, Good Journey.



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MacGyver
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PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The name Fighting Foe Men was one of the early suggested titles for the line before they went with Masters of the Universe and, while some overly religious groups may disagree, I think the final choice was the better one.

I've been reading a lot of stories lately about how many fans as kids had to contend with religious zealots who branded He-Man satanic and blasphemous since "God is the only master of the universe". It's just a name for a toyline about villains trying to conquer the universe, and the heroes who stop them. Mellow out! It's simply meant to sound mysterious and mystical. (Fighting Foe Men sounds a little goofy, or at best like pro wrestlers) If God was actually offended he'd have done something about it 30 years ago. Sorry to go off on a rant there, and I mean no disrespect to anyone's religion. I just hate when people overdo their religious beliefs and then try to force them on everyone else.


I just wanted to quickly comment on this. I'm not offended or anything, so don't worry about that. Thank you for being respectful in your comments on this. I certainly agree that there are plenty of religious zealots that go on witchhunts and brand things as evil and satanic and try to enforce that view on everyone else- and I don't agree with that.
However, of course God is the only Master of the universe. But I get what you're saying about how the title was just used to sound mysterious and mystical about different folks fighting to be ruling over the whole universe, which of course plenty of other villians on '80s cartoons did (Shredder and Krang, Cobra, the Decepticons, etc.)
I can't speak for every religious group of course, but I think for Christians at least, the big deal was not just the name but also the depiction of magic. For me personally, I try to be careful with that. But as myself and others have stated in another thread on here, I think the way things were depicted in the original He-Man cartoon was actually pretty well done and still carried Lou Scheimer's standard morals and virtues with each episode. In fact, Adam's conversion to He-Man could even be seen as analogous to the redemption that Christ brings when people put their faith in Him as Savior and Lord.
So I don't have an issue with the show really, but I certainly respect those who prefer not to have their kids watch it. There's a difference between making personal choices for your own family as to what is and isn't allowed for TV viewing and going out on a crusade to make sure every family adheres to your views.
I just wanted to point out that distinction- that's all.
And sorry to go off too much on this point- I don't want to derail your review post here. (Which is exquisitely done, as usual by the way. Very Happy Cool)
(If you haven't already, you really should contact Mattel about these reviews and see if you can't be a beta tester and reviewer or something for them- I think you could certainly do it.) Smile



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Lord Skeletor
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PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2013 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MacGyver wrote:

I can't speak for every religious group of course, but I think for Christians at least, the big deal was not just the name but also the depiction of magic. For me personally, I try to be careful with that. But as myself and others have stated in another thread on here, I think the way things were depicted in the original He-Man cartoon was actually pretty well done and still carried Lou Scheimer's standard morals and virtues with each episode. In fact, Adam's conversion to He-Man could even be seen as analogous to the redemption that Christ brings when people put their faith in Him as Savior and Lord.
So I don't have an issue with the show really, but I certainly respect those who prefer not to have their kids watch it. There's a difference between making personal choices for your own family as to what is and isn't allowed for TV viewing and going out on a crusade to make sure every family adheres to your views.


I don't want to take focus away from the review either but I wanted to address the magic issue. I tried to reply to that other thread but for some reason every time I clicked on post reply it took me back to the main index instead.

But what I was going to say is that it bothers me when something is branded as "evil and satanic" or just plain something to avoid simply because it has magic in it. 9 times out of 10 the person making the accusation has not even bothered to read/view the material but simply labeled it as forcing satanic witchcraft down the throats of children and society at the mere mention of the word magic.

Magic is not evil. It is the bad guys and the purposes they use it for that are evil. I freely admit, I do not know what, if anything, the bible actually says about magic. I'm sure there's something in there about avoiding the devil's witchcraft, but does it actually say all magic is evil? If so where's the distinction that marks the difference between evil magic and divine miracles? How is Moses parting the Red Sea, or Jesus giving sight to the blind not considered magic? Is it because of who's doing it? God chose these guys to use the powers for good. Well guys like He-Man and Harry Potter were chosen to use powers for good.

In the Harry Potter stories who can and can't use magic is entirely unpredictable. Wizards are born to Muggles and Squibs are born to Wizards. So in short, it's up to God who can and can't use magic. (Yes Hogwarts is called a school of "witchcraft and wizardry" but again it's just a term for magic and there's no satanism involved. One of the in universe reasons the wizarding world is kept hidden is to protect them from the zealous muggles who brand all users of magic as evil)

In MOTU He-Man was chosen, destined from birth, to wield the powers in the name of all that is good. On more than one occasion he has been tested to make sure he is worthy to wield the powers.

The MOTU mythos frequently points out -and this is the attitude taken by most franchises using magic though they don't always draw attention to it- That magic itself is a force of nature. It is no more good or evil than air fire or water.

Yes there are characters who take short cuts and do horrible things in order to gain magical powers.... but they're depicted as villains. (there are a couple stories where person who is actually good of heart makes a bargain with evil for magical power but they ALWAYS end up realizing the error of their ways, repenting and giving up any power they gained turning back to the ways of good) Good guys who use magic are either chosen by destiny, or more frequently have to study and learn it like any other ability. Even Orko who comes from a race that are all naturally magical, has to study and practice. In fact frequent plots revolve around how villains will do bad things to get power and it will cost them greatly. The She-Ra episode "The Price of Power" tells Shadow Weaver's origin -she made a "deal with the devil" in this case Hordak, to gain power but the cost was she became hideously deformed. And even then after gaining the power at the cost she was still no match for her former teacher -who only used magic for good.

I could go on and on but I think we've spent enough time off topic.



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MacGyver
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You make some good points, sir. And I think I get where you're coming from on this and I would generally agree. But yeah- that's a debate that will go on and on and everyone seems to have a bit different view on things, depending on what they believe.
And yes- Moses parting the Red Sea and Jesus giving sight to the blind would be like magic in a sense- except of course that this "magic" comes from God's power. That's the real difference- it's the source of the power, whether from God or from Satan.
And I think you did a good job of pointing out that shows like the He-Man shows are careful about making that distinction and that is good.
Anyway- that's all I have to say on it.



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