Joined: 18 Dec 2005
|Posted: Fri May 11, 2012 4:09 pm Post subject: Masters of the Universe Classics: Man-At-Arms
|Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-Ravers,
Another reissue, another review and it's a major vital character. I do find it a bit odd Mattel chose to reissue this figure a month before a variant of the character comes out, especially when the variant is not one being well received by the fans, but whatever the case let's take a look at Man-At-Arms!
Man-At-Arms comes in the standard MOTUC blister card package. Once again, being a figure with two heads, Mattel has packed him out with the vintage figure style head on the figure in the box. The back of the box shows off other figures in the line and gives us a bio for the character.
Well every fan knows Man-At-Arms' real name is Duncan and for the most part the bio sticks to what we've long known. I'm a bit confused about the two centuries/royal family part since in this continuity, like 200X, the Council of Elders ruled Eternia until they gave the throne to Randor. Though at the same time they still refer to Randor's father as King Miro. Hopefully this rank and command issue will get cleared up in later bios. (Like if we ever get a Miro figure) The inclusion of the electronic Power Sword bit is strange in that they went back to a rejected idea for it.
When the Four Horsemen were first putting together the 200X line they envisioned it as a continuation of the old series but went back to the old mini-comic idea of the two halves of the power sword. This is why the 200X sword looks so different, and also where Skeletor's duel blades came from. The original idea was that Skeletor had obtained both halves of the Power Sword and Duncan had made an electronic sword to allow Adam to still become He-Man. Mattel nixed the idea, deciding to make it a reboot, but kept the designs. Now for Classics they reintroduced the basic idea, though now it was to use while looking for the real sword for the first time. As you know I'm not a fan of the two halves bit so I don't like this angle, but I do like that they gave us the bonus accessory with Man-At-Arms because of it.
As a "secret" accessory, that wasn't kept secret for very long, Man-At-Arms includes a version of the 200X Power Sword. It does not open like that one did, but does capture the look perfectly and is done in actual metallic colors making it look even better. While I prefer the vintage style Power Sword for He-Man this is still a cool looking weapon. I display mine in King Grayskull's hand and it looks great and appropriate.
Let's move on to the actual figure now. As you notice I've decided to spruce up my review pics with some background. I think it looks better and actually seems to help with the lighting somehow. What do you think? Anyway, Duncan here uses the standard male buck for almost all of his body. He does actually have the gloved hands introduced with Hordak, though he still has the He-Man forearms. The gloved hands are smoother without sculpted veins or fingernails. Since Duncan is wearing a body suit that covers his hands this was good attention to detail.
Duncan includes two heads. The first one is based on his vintage figure head with the clean shaven look. The second is basically the same style, but with his more familiar mustached appearance. This is the head I prefer as it's how I picture Duncan. As a kid I always felt something was wrong with my Man-At-Arms having no mustache. So did my sister and she chose to draw one on my figure which wound up fading and so for years I had a Man-At-Arms with a purple mustache. (I eventually got a new one) When this figure first came out some collectors bought extras and used the clean shaven heads as makeshift palace guards. Remember this was long before the line took off and we had no way of expecting to actually get guard figures. Now that we have them you can still use the head on their bodies to add to the ranks if you want.
Duncan comes with quite a few accessories. In addition to his traditional mace, he also comes with a small pistol and short sword that are both modeled after weapons included with the vintage Castle Grayskull's weapon rack. I am really happy these are included as Man-At-Arms finally lives up to his title as master of weapons. It always bothered me as a kid that the master of weapons, the guy who invents most of the new advanced technology for the heroes, only came with a club -the most primitive weapon in existence! At least in 200X he also had a big gun, plus the cartoon turned his mace into a high tech item that contained lots of fancy gadgets yet could still be used as a club without breaking anything inside. I guess if anyone can make such a thing it's Duncan.
Now speaking of the mace, sadly it had to be tooled and made out of the same plastic as his armor. This results in it being soft and flexible. Good for the armor, not so much for the weapon. Now the armor is well done and the arm piece is actually two pieces so as not to interfere with articulation. Another neat feature is the end of the arm piece has a small bit that resembles the arm blasters he often used on the Filmation series. As you can see his armor now features a special back piece that serves as a weapons holder, a very cool new function. I always like it when a figure has a place to hold his weapons when not in his hands. The back piece can come off after which the rest of the armor slips off over his shoulders. The arm and leg armor have pegs that unclip to remove.
Man-At-Arms is a spot on recreation of the vintage figure but with much more detail given to the little bits of his armor. They also went back to the old card art and placed the fur trim on both sides. If he had only come with one head I would prefer the mustached one, however I don't object to the addition of the extra head. We were lucky to get so much in one figure though and Mattel has stated it's unlikely we'll ever see so many accessories in one figure again. Given the number of dropped accessories this year I can believe that.
200X Man-At-Arms had a mustache and was given a more armored look with his body suit was made into a metallic armor. I would have liked to see his arm cannon in the new figure, but again it's amazing he got approved with all he did. A Classics version of the cannon is now coming, though as of this writing we still don't know who it will be packed in with.
Man-At-Arms is a pivotal character to the Masters of the Universe storyline and a must have for any collection. This figure is probably the best version of the character ever and I highly recommend it. I feel it's important for me to say that BEFORE confessing that Duncan has never been one of my favorite characters.
While I recognize his importance and usually give him big major roles in my stories, the personality of the character never appealed to me. I think that's largely due to his overall grumpiness and, in particular, his relationship with Orko. I'm a lot more like Orko myself with a fun loving nature so I always liked him and felt Duncan picked on the little guy too much, especially in 200X. In Filmation he came off as an over strict parent like figure, but you could tell he did like Orko. In 200X I did not see that. 200X Duncan seemed to actually hate the little guy and treated him like an inferior. I kept waiting for Orko to dump a bucket of water on Duncan's head like in the old days because 200X Man-At-Arms actually deserved it!
Anyway, Man-At-Arms will be available as a reissue on Mattycollector.com on May 15 -despite, or maybe because of, the fact that Snake Man-At-Arms comes out in June. This is the real Man-At-Arms you need for your collection though. Good luck and, until next time, Good Journey.
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