Joined: 18 Dec 2005
|Posted: Mon May 07, 2012 12:23 pm Post subject: Masters of the Universe Classics: Thunder Punch He-Man
|Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-Ravers,
Today we look at another He-Man variant and. while I'm not a huge variant fan, this one is based on a classic vintage figure that holds a lot of nostalgia for me; Thunder Punch He-Man! The vintage Thunder Punch was my first He-Man figure ever so does this update hold true? Let's take a look.
Thunder Punch He-Man comes packed on the standard MOTUC blister card. Something to note is behind him you can see the first issue of the new 3 part mini-comic series being released as part of the 30th Anniversary. This is a nice nod to the vintage figures which all came with mini-comics packed behind them.
As always the back of the box shows off other figures in the line and presents a bio explaining how the character fits into the new continuity.... except it doesn't really. The bio reveals a lot about the new continuity, but really says almost nothing about the Thunder Punch!
We finally get an explanation for why Faker is blue, and it's dumb. Skeletor told everyone He-Man was a Gar and they turned on him. So, not only are Eternians racists, they are complete morons! Well, okay being racist means you're a moron to begin with, but my point is how could anyone possibly believe this ridiculous facade? Why are the Eternians taking the word of SKELETOR over the word of the other heroic warriors who know he was framed? For crying out loud, Queen Marlena's bio states she knows He-Man is her son so obviously she knows he's not a Gar! Why isn't anyone listening? I really wish they had just stuck to explaining what the Thunder Punch is and how it works. Is it connected in any way to the big backpack and if not why is he wearing that? Instead it's just a tack on at the end of a bio that defies plausibility.
I really don't like harping on the bios but I have to be honest and when they suck they suck! This new mashed up continuity is screwing up many of the things that make fans love MOTU in the first place. On that note:
The mini-comic is mostly a retelling of the vintage "Legend Begins" mini-comic. It's been shortened and adapted for the new continuity which means many changes that I do not like. I'm going to wait until I have all three issues then I'll post a full review of the entire story but for now I will say this; Mint on card collectors may feel upset that they can't read it since they'd have to open the box to get it out. Folks you aren't missing much. Just go and read the original much better version.
So let's ignore the bio story and move on to the actual figure
As you can probably guess this figure uses the same mold seen on previous He-Man figures. He does have the two short arm bands just like the vintage figure though. Also his boots are the newer mold introduced with Vikor that cover the ankle peg. The paint job is slightly different with a red belt and wrist bands. Also the fur tops of his boots are painted white, again like the vintage figure.
While speaking of the paint job though, it can't help but be noticed that Thunder Punch He-Man has a much lighter skin tone than previous He-Man figures. No one seems sure why this is. A Q&A to Mattel implied this was the Horsemen's choice but I've heard no comment from them on the subject. It has been suggested by some fans that his lack of tan is due to spending months in the underground city out of the sun. Other fans argue that since He-Man's tan shows up on Adam's non tanned body magically when he transforms this should not be a factor.
Now Thunder Punch He-Man does have a new body piece. just like the vintage figure his right hand is molded in a completely closed fist. It still rotates at the wrist so there's no lack of articulation there.
The other new mold is his chest harness and backpack. Now the way this is molded it does slightly hinder the ab crunch a bit. It's also worth noting that while the vintage figure's pack was molded to the torso, this figure's is a separate piece and sticks out more. It doesn't seem to weigh his back down badly but it does seem a bit bulkier than usual. The harness is done like the vintage in a bright red with silver vac metal highlights giving it a nice shine. The backpack actually can be removed from the harness which can then be slipped off, but I should mention it can be a bit of a pain getting it back on.
Now the whole point of the vintage figure's backpack was to load the cap rings that were used to produce the Thunder Punch sound. The backpack of the Classics version does open up just like the vintage and there is a molded place to set the ring, though there is no action feature so it doesn't really do anything and is just a nod to the vintage figure.
The back of the pack has the dial like the vintage figure and it does turn, which does rotates the cap ring holder inside. On the vintage figure this was used to help advance the ring to the next cap. Again this is just a nod as there is no cap popping on the Classics figure. With no mechanisms the dial does spin more loosely than the vintage.
So with no action feature how do we represent his Thunder Punch and why all the nods to the cap ring? Well take a look at his accessories.
Thunder Punch He-Man comes with a fake cap ring as a nod to the vintage figure. The ring does not have actual caps of course but fits into the backpack just like the vintage one. Alternatively you can fit it into the slot on his shield. The shield is also vac metalized, though the clip is not, so no worries about rub off there. He also includes a Power Sword done in a translucent yellow plastic. The vintage figure's was like this however this sword is much lighter. So much in fact that it's almost clear. The sword can fit into the shield's slot as well and can go in at the same time as the cap. In fact I find having the cap in works better as it's a tighter grip.
Since he can't produce the Thunder Punch through sound we are given instead a visual representation in a translucent yellow, though not as much as the sword, energy blast effect. It is form-fitted to clip onto He-Man's closed fist and is a really cool addition. I'd like to see more energy blast effects in the line. Wouldn't you like to display Skeletor shooting energy from his Havoc Staff? I would!
The Four Horsemen really did a good job of updating this iconic variant from the vintage line. The addition of the energy blast effect does help take a bit of the sting away from not having the action feature. That said, the action feature is really what this figure was all about, and without it he's not as cool. There is definitely some real nostalgic attachment to the figure though.
There was a NA figure called Thunder Punch He-Man but it only shared the name and was in no way a update of the vintage figure. Also... I don't have it. It's kind of hard to find.
As I mentioned, the vintage Thunder Punch He-Man was my first MOTU toy ever. (Well him and Dragon Blaster Skeletor -got em at the same time) I still remember getting him home and trying out his action feature for the first time. I load the cap, pull back the arm then release, there's a loud BANG, and suddenly my dad can be heard yelling from the garage, "What the hell was that?!?" Ah, good times.
This figure is purely one for the vintage fans. You're not going to attract new collectors with this one, but nostalgia will attract old schoolers. Thunder Punch He-Man is sold out on Mattycollector.com so you'll have to check the secondary market for this one. Good luck, good hunting and until next time, Good Journey.
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