Joined: 18 Dec 2005
|Posted: Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:46 pm Post subject: Masters of the Universe Classics: Fang Man
|Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-Ravers,
Today we take a look at a figure that for a very long time it looked like I would not be able to have. First there was the issue of him being a Filmation character and Mattel not having the rights. Then they got the rights and the figure was to come, but personal issues forced me out of my subscription. So I managed to arrange a trade deal. It fell through. Then they announced this figure would have no day of sale availability thus making him harder to come by. Still I made a second trade deal. It fell through. So I made a third one. That burned down, fell over then sank into the swamp........ err I mean it apparently fell through too. (the guy never sent it out and just stopped responding to my messages -thankfully I was waiting for him before I sent my part so I didn't loose anything) but the fourth one paid off! So FINALLY I can bring you a review of Fang Man.
Fang Man is a character who hard core He-Fans will probably recognize, but casual collectors may not remember. He was only in one episode of the Filmation cartoon, "The Time Corridor", and never had a figure until now. Even in that episode he wasn't a main focus villain, though he did play a fair sized part. There is some speculation that with his reptilian appearance, long forked tongue, and hissing voice that he was a precursor to what became Kobra Khan. At any rate he was popular enough to gain a sort of cult following among the fan base and was a favorite of Four Horseman Eric Tredaway so he finally arrived in figure form.
Fang Man comes in the standard MOTUC blister card package. I had to use this stock photo because the deal that finally worked was for a loose one, but I'm an open displayer so who cares? Many fans were hoping these figures would feature a new faction sticker with a Filmation logo but no such deal. The back of the box shows off other figures in the line and presents a bio for the character.
As usual, weird real name. Fang Man was given no back story in the episode he appeared in. He was just there serving Skeletor from the start as though he had been around for a while. His being able to control dragons is more of an expansion and wasn't really mentioned in the episode. He was seen controlling dragosaurs, which he called his "beauties" but it wasn't made clear if it was through telepathy, like Beast Man, or if he was simply their keeper/trainer and they were obedient pets. One thing though is that dragosaurs were not shown to be able to breathe fire.
The rest is pretty faithful to what happened in the episode "The Time Corridor" including Fang Man being left behind in the past. Well basically anyway. At the end of the episode Skeletor flees through his time portal alone. We never see him take Fang Man back to the future with him, and since Fang Man never appeared again it has long been speculated by fans that Skeletor left him stranded in the past. The one slight issue is Tri-Klops was also there and left behind, yet he did reappear later. A possible explanation is after He-Man returns to the present Sorceress flies off saying she's going to ensure that Skeletor's time corridor is sealed for good so he can't use it again. Perhaps Skeletor was only able to get Tri-Klops back before Sorceress sealed the corridor and Fang Man didn't make it. Problem there is I doubt Sorceress would intentionally leave a present day villain stuck in the past where he can alter history -since that was the whole point of sealing the corridor in the first place. So this bio makes it sound like Skeletor intentionally left Fang Man in the past, basically firing him. Rather odd Skeletor would abandon the only henchman he had that could control dragons though.
Okay let's take a look at the actual figure. The Four Horsemen really did a good job of capturing the look from the cartoon, while upping the detail in several areas such as the emblem on his belt and the folds of his shirt including down the back where it looks like his spines are almost pushing through.
Fang Man certainly looks very unique, but actually is made largely out of existing parts. His arms and legs are the standard male buck with the both short bracer forearms. He has the Keldor boots with the newer sculpt that covers the ankle pins. Under his shirt he uses the scaly torso buck, which seems a bit pointless since you can't see it unless you take off his shirt and he really doesn't look right without it. He appears to have new hands. At first I thought he reused Demo-Man's but on closer inspection they do seem to be a sculpt not used before.
Fang Man achieves his hunchback look through a combination of his shirt sculpt and his new neck extension piece. The shirt is designed with a curve to the spine bumps so it makes him seem hunched over. The neck piece furthers the curve. It is similar to other neck extensions we've seen in the line in that it plugs onto the ball joint neck peg and then the head attaches to another ball joint on top of that, which really opens up the articulation on the figure. As an additional articulation point his tongue is on a peg in his mouth and can swivel side to side. It runs into the teeth, but his jaw, while not articulated, is flexible enough to move down and slide the tongue under the teeth so you can pose him with it out the side.
Now it's worth noting that the way it's sculpted, without his extension piece Fang Man has a Igor like no neck look. On bodies without his curved shirt it tends to look up making it not so interchangeable. Also other heads look very weird on the extension. Clearly this piece is not going to see a lot of reuse in the future.
Fang Man comes with three accessories. The first is a strange device that I'm not sure what it was intended to be. It's apparently some kind of electric rod or a force field projector. Fang Man never used this in the actual cartoon, but it was seen in pre-production character sheet art work. Fang Man can hold it in either hand, though his left is a bit more open so the grip is loose. His left hand is better suited to hold his episode specific artifact.
In the package it's on it's side looking like a number 8 but that's an infinity symbol. The Wheel of Infinity was crucial to Skeletor's plot in the episode Fang Man appears in, as noted in his bio. Contrary to what the bio says (and some other reviewers have been saying), this device was solely to be used to destroy Castle Grayskull. It was NOT the wheel itself that allowed Skeletor to go back in time. He used the titular Time Corridor to do that. It's basically the same as those portals they always used only it moved through time instead of to other dimensions. The Wheel was a weapon that once set spinning would go faster and grow larger over time until it exploded. Skeletor set it in motion on the spot where Castle Grayskull would eventually be built so that when the Wheel exploded in the future it would blow up the castle. He-Man foiled his plans by making the wheel spin faster thus speeding up the process until it exploded in the past saving the future.
The accessory captures the look from the cartoon perfectly. It is designed with a hollow back so it can fit in just about any character's hand.
Fang Man's other accessory is also right out of Filmation, but from another episode that Fang Man himself was not in. This is the Sword of the Ancients from the episode "Masks of Power". According to the Sorceress in the episode, it's a sword of great power second only to He-Man's Power Sword (keep in mind this was an early episode before the concept of the Sword of Protection came about) so of course they had to find it before the bad guys. Made all the harder by the fact that it was hidden under Snake Mountain. Fortunately, like Excalibur, it was stuck in a stone and in the end only He-Man could draw it out and use it.
And then it fused with the Power Sword giving He-Man even more power and really keeping it away from anyone else. So the only real reason Fang Man comes with it is he's a Filmation character and it's a Filmation artifact. Not really meant for him, but it's cool to get another piece of MOTU history in toy form.
Fang Man is a very well done figure who I feel fits in well with the wide assortment of other characters. I can see where he's not for everyone though. He's not as big and important character as other Filmation exclusives, and he does have a slightly more toonish look than some characters. Frankly he kind of looks like a Koozbanian Phoob from the Muppet Show.
Still, I stick by my belief that if you're not a Filmation fan than you aren't a MOTU fan. While this guy wasn't one of my most wanted, seeing the actual product made me really appreciate him more. Fang Man was held back and not made available for day of sale so if you want him you're in for a struggle because he's going for big bucks on the secondary market. There do seem to be plenty out there, but they either start at scalper inflated prices, or start low and jump up in bids very quickly. Good Luck and, until next time, Good Journey.
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Joined: 30 Jan 2005