Joined: 18 Dec 2005
|Posted: Wed May 06, 2015 10:35 pm Post subject: Masters of the Universe Classics: Hover Robots
|Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-Ravers,
I kinda feel like I should apologize for not getting this review done sooner as I have actually had the item in hand for a while now, but it arrived right when I was in the middle of a performance run. As you may or may not recall, I do a good deal of community theater and after a long absence I had finally gotten back on stage in a production of The Music Man, so between my work schedule and the performances I just didn't have enough free time to sit down and do the review. (and the show had been so much fun that when it ended I fell into a bit of depression) At any rate though the item in question was only offered through Early Access to subscribers and will be available again a few times this year so there's no real rush. It's this year's Traveling Convention exclusive, and it's an army builder pack; The Hover Robots.
The Hover Robots (also known as Robot Knights) appeared in several episodes of the Filmation cartoon giving Skeletor an army of disposable minions. Much like the Horde Troopers that came later, being mindless robots allowed the heroes to violently destroy them without actually hurting or killing anyone. On that note you'll probably notice a resemblance between the Hover Robots and the Horde Troopers. I'm not sure if this was intentional but keep in mind the Hover Robots appeared in the He-Man cartoon a good year or two before Horde Troopers were ever seen so it may be that the Troopers design was actually taken from these guys. (I'd need to get behind the scenes info and time tables to know for sure)
An army builder seems like an odd choice for a traveling convention exclusive, but that's how they were ultimately released. Because of their smaller size though not only do we get three to a pack instead of the usual two, they come in the standard MOTUC blister card package instead of the usual two pack box. As usual the back shows off other figures in the line and gives a brief bio for the characters in Classics continuity.
As I noted, there is a similarity in design between the Hover Robots and the Horde Troopers. While in terms of the actual first appearance and release the Hover Bots came first, going by in story continuity it does make sense that Skeletor would have based their designs off the Horde Troopers from his days serving as Hordak's apprentice. I really don't have any issues with this bio overall.
Outside the package the first step is to place the robots on the included flight stands. These stands are similar to what we've seen in the past with other flying characters, but they are a new mold. They are slightly shorter than previous stands, but in turn the robots themselves are taller than say Kowl. Not much bigger though, they come in at about three inches tall and even on the flight stands they still remain below the height of a standard character. That's okay though as this is consistent with how they appeared in the cartoon. The stands plug right into the bottoms of the robots' hover tubes (or whatever you call it) and the entire stand is clear plastic so it really helps capture the hovering look.
The robots can balance on their bases without the stands, but really only with their arms down at their sides. Otherwise it throws the weight off. On the stands though they stay up with no real issues. Looking at the design it's not overly complex owing to coming from the Filmation cartoon. However the Horsemen have managed to break up the simple grey bodies with more silvery plates and knob buttons. The paint on the domes is great with the haunting yellow eyes and below that is a feature that I really like. The mouth part is actually a lenticular sticker, similar to what we've seen with Sy-Klone and Fearless Photog, so that as you turn the figure and/or look at it from different angles the sort of "electric mouth" appears to change and move as it would on the cartoon.
The figures are more lightweight than expected, apparently being hollow. This isn't really a bad thing, just unexpected. Articulation wise there isn't all that much, but given the character's design there shouldn't be much expected. In fact there was a slightly unexpected point in that the top dome head part can swivel side to side. Other than that the only articulation is in the arms. They have ball joints at the shoulders and again at the midpoint combining the elbow and bicep into one articulation point typical of small characters like these. They also have swivels at the wrists, though this is more due to the interchangeable hands.
Which aside from the flight stands is pretty much the only accessories for these guys. There are enough extra hands included so that all three have two sets. One set of hands has the "fingers' in a claw like pose, though they can't really grip any weapons. The other set has them in wide open pose like a fan blade as on the cartoon they would often use spinning blade hands as weapons against the heroes. The hands easily pop out at the wrists so you can mix and match them as you like. It is worth noting though that the trio comes already set up with one in each option. One with two claw hands, one with two blade hands, and the third with one of each.
The last thing included is a sheet of decal stickers featuring various forms of battle damage. There are cracks, sword slashes, holes, blast marks and even holes with exposed wiring. The fact that they are done via stickers this time really helps with the customization and army building features so, unlike the Horde Troopers, you don't have to have half your army with battle damage, nor will every robot have the same kind of damage in the same spots. (though you can of course use some of these stickers on your Horde Troopers too if you want) Do take note however that these are not meant to be reusable stickers so think carefully about how you want to design your robots as they can't really be pealed back off without destroying the stickers.
I really like these little guys. Growing up with the Filmation series these robots have long been a desired addition to figure form and it's great to finally get them. The lenticular sticker mouths are a fantastic feature and doing the optional battle damage via stickers where you can pick how it's done was a great move. Plus this finally gives us an army builder for Skeletor since the heroes. Snake Men and Horde all have already gotten theirs. The only real issues I have are the decision to make them the Traveling Con exclusive as that limits the availability which goes against the army building idea. The other thing I question is the price point of $35. While you do get three, they are so small and lightweight it seems a tad overpriced, plus the shipping adds a lot. Between this and the $30 Spirit of Grayskull chase figure this year I really hope Mattel isn't trying to give us an early taste of a big price increase for next year.
The Hover Robots were first offered in April through Early Access to subscribers, but are this year's Traveling Convention exclusive so they will be offered up again at multiple times, though Mattel has not yet announced exactly which cons. Most likely they will also pop up for everyone on Mattycollector.com towards the end of the year (like around Black Friday or so) So don't go turning to inflated secondary market prices just yet. Until next time, Good Journey.
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Joined: 30 Jan 2005