Joined: 18 Dec 2005
|Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:48 pm Post subject: Masters of the Universe Classics: Rokkon & Stonedar
|Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-Ravers,
The exclusives made for SDCC are done on a separate budget than the main line and that works out sometimes to give us more elaborate figures with extra accessories that would be too costly otherwise. Such is the case in this year's exclusive which is a 2-pack of some pretty unique characters. Let's take a look at Rokkon & Stonedar!
The Comet Warrior duo come in a 2-pack window style box much like the army builder packs we've seen in the past. Unlike most previous SDCC exclusives in this line, there is no difference between the ones that were sold at the actual con and the ones offered on Mattycollector afterward. The sides of the box shows off the "transformation" of each figure, which I'll naturally discuss in a bit. The back shows off other heroic warrior figures in the line, though surprisingly few, and gives us a bio card for the two characters. While it is one card, it actually gives us separate bios for each character. This is more what I wish had been done with other multi-packs like the Star Sisters or Fighting Foe Men. To be fair, I guess it would be a bit tricky to squeeze three bios into the same size bio card. The print is rather small on this one as is.
It's rather hard for me to be critical or supportive over what path was taken with the information included in the bios, owing to the fact that the Rock People have so many different origin stories throughout various media. Most characters stay relatively the same in various media but these guys have at least six to eight versions of how and why they came to Eternia! In fact in Filmation they instead arrived and stayed on Etheira owing to the figures getting released after the He-Man show had ended but She-Ra was still going- even so they had very few appearances. Rokkon only appeared in the introductory episode and didn't do much as the plot had him captured by the Horde leading to one of the most inefficient rescue attempts ever since the Rock People refused to fight in any shape or form. (They finally gave in and used the bare minimum amount of force) Having them as pacifists is one thing but I must admit Filmation kinda overdid it.
Most incarnations did have them as a peaceful race who tried to avoid fighting but the extent to which this was carried varied per media. In the mini-comics their first appearance had Stonedar mention they preferred settling things peacefully, but at the same time he also claimed they had come to Eternia for the purpose of helping He-Man fight evil. One thing that does seem to be kept here is that Rokkon was often depicted as being more adventurous and willing to fight than Stonedar. The relationship between the two was also much the same throughout various sources with Stonedar the older mentor/father figure to Rokkon. Actually in at least one version Stonedar actually was Rokkon's father with the female Granita as his daughter/Rokkon's sister. (Granita appeared in Filmation as well but the status of the relationship was not made clear)
As I said, there were a lot of different versions of the story for these guys so I could go on for quite a while discussing them. This is supposed to be a figure review though, so let's move on to the actual figures. It is worth noting how their appearances in Filmation had them with far less rock armor on their bodies when not in transformed state. It should be noted because the Classics figures have the option to be displayed like this. Both figures utilize the standard bucks for their torsos, hands, and upper legs. While the rock part on their backs can be popped off, the rest of the torso armor is not removable. Both figures use the Trap Jaw forearms, and lower legs once again but it works, particularly in the arms due to how the armor works. More on that in just a sec. Rokkon uses the Man-E-Faces shoulders and the Trap Jaw biceps, while Stonedar has standard shoulders and uses the Roboto biceps which are nicely detailed.
The sculpts all around on these guys are incredible. The detailing on the armor, both the chest and outer rock areas, is fantastic and the face sculpts are expertly done. You really get a feel for the youthful nature of Rokkon, while Stonedar has the aged wisdom in his features. And I love the paint job on both of them. There was no cutting corners on detailing here.
Now admittedly, if you look at the picture on the back of the box you can see the earlier prototype versions of the figures and notice once place where it looks like they did scale back due to cost. The earlier versions had the bands on the legs that the final products don't. Look closer though and you will notice that the bands are actually designed as the clips that hold the armor pieces on. You may also notice the rock armor seems a bit smaller. So it appears this was more a reworking of the armor pieces, probably to actually make the transformation process work right, not a case of Mattel didn't want to budget new leg tools.
Each figure includes armor pieces for both arms and legs as well as a front "cradle" piece that completes the transformation into the rock form. The armor pieces have the extra detailing with the wiring and paint aps. For the final figures the clips were designed so that they fit onto the peg holes at the elbow and knee joints. A rather ingenious idea that helps secure them on while hiding the joint pegs.
When all armored up the figures are rather limited in articulation due to the size and inflexibility of the rock pieces. Nevertheless, they look great and really capture the look of the characters. The size of the armor also creates a slight optical illusion making them look a bit larger than the standard figures, but frankly who cares if some characters have more bulk than others? It's not like they look grossly out of scale, they just seem bigger than they are due to having huge armor.
In addition to the rock armor, both figures include a recreation of their vintage gun. Like the vintage guns, they can either be held in the figure's hand or plugged into a hole in the chest. There is a slight difference in design because the vintage figures hands were molded into the rock armor. As such they had holes in the hands and the guns had pegs on the sides to plug in. For the Classics versions they have the actual buck hands so the guns have actual gun handles molded on. It should also be noted that the large dishes on the guns do not rotate like the vintage ones could. A sad sacrifice, but a minor one on the whole.
The set comes with an instruction sheet showing how the transformation sequence is pulled off, but really it's pretty straight forward. The vintage figures simply folded over but due to the Classics bucks some creativity was required. You can see in the pictures where the leg pieces have tabs and slots that fit together to hold the armor in one piece. These also attach to the cradles which make up the difference in how far the figures can bend over. You still need to bend them forward and adjust them into position forming a full, albeit big, rock form. Like the vintage figures they are still open underneath, but you can't see it when they're sitting on the shelf. The rock forms are a great update of the vintage figures. (My vintage Rokkon's paint job is heavier on the silver than usual for some reason)
I am really happy with how these guys turned out. Heck I'm ecstatic that they came out at all. Particularly since they did not get updates in the 200X line. These two were among my favorites in the vintage line and I was concerned that they wouldn't make it into the Classics line due to them needing a lot of unique tooling, or if they did they would have to sacrifice the transformation sequence that made them unique, like how Sy-Klone doesn't spin.
Some fans were upset that this was not a three pack including the female Rock warrior Granita. Considering the cost of the other three packs we got and the negative backlash that followed I'm not surprised at all Granita wasn't included. To the best of my knowledge Granita could have been made even without Filmation rights as she did appear in at least one other media source plus she apparently was originally planned for the vintage line but they decided three characters with the same power was too many. (so of course the female got cut ) There's nothing saying that Granita can't be made down the line, but first we need to get through the all important characters in the next two years -and to do that we need to get the necessary sub numbers so please go over and sign up if you can but haven't yet.
Rokkon and Stonedar are kick ass additions to a great line that still has plenty of great characters left to give us. Support the line for 2014 and then check the secondary market for Rokkon and Stonedar as they are all sold out on Mattycollector. Until next time (when hopefully we'll be safely secured for another year) Good Journey.
SUPPORT MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE CLASSICS
"I HAVE THE POWER!!.... the power is mine, not yours. Thanks for asking."