Joined: 18 Dec 2005
|Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:57 pm Post subject: Masters of the Universe Classics: Horde Troopers
|Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-Ravers,
To quote Blade in the live action Masters of the Universe movie, "I've waited a long time for this!" It took three army builder packs to finally get the one we all wanted first and foremost, but at long last they are finally here. Was it worth the wait? Let's take a look and see. Here are the Horde Troopers!
The Horde Troopers come in the usual window box we've seen with other multi-packs in the line. The bubble features the Evil Horde logo sticker and in a new twist there is a star blurb referring to how this is an army builder pack and you can collect multiples of these guys. It seems strange that the previous two army builders did not have this, but I think it's a throwback to a similar blurb that was on the vintage Horde Trooper card. (though the vintage ones were sold individually) The back of the box shows off a few other Horde figures in the line and gives a bio for the Troopers.
It seems odd that they give real names as if referring to the two you get in the box instead of saying "real name: varies" like on the previous army builders. You can't even really argue that the serial numbers are the model numbers and there are multiple 2549 and 3849 troopers, because they all look the same. I'm also mystified by the whole connected to a central computer brain thing. These are Horde Troopers not Borg drones. I do like how it references living troops wearing the same armor as the robot troops since the cartoon did imply in some episodes that at least some of the troopers were men in armor rather than robots. (mainly in early episodes though) The final line is a reference to the vintage figure's action feature where the button on its chest would make it fall apart when hit. In fact the vintage tagline was "Evil Collapsing Robot". I'm glad that's been changed as what exactly good does it do to have your main feature be falling apart?
Out of the package you can immediately see how these guys are a beautiful unique sculpt. I've looked them all over and I can say that they are indeed completely new tooling with no reused parts. (the new parts are getting reused themselves later -Flogg will be sharing some of them) The detailing on all the little bits such as wiring are fully brought out and the emblems on the chest armor even capture the round look that was the action feature button on the vintage figure but without making it stand out like Hurricane Hordak's dial.
For accessories these guys are loaded. They come with the red staff of the vintage figure which is highly detailed bringing out the dragon top design that was hard to make out in the vintage. They also feature the shock rod weapons used in the cartoon series. It may seem simple but attention to detail was put in with the sculpted on buttons. The new shield forms a large Horde emblem with the clip on the right side so it works best on the figure's left arm, but can be used on the right. Finally, the Horde Troopers now have their own unique crossbows done in black with red detailing and a triangle design on the head that is modeled after their visors. You get two of each weapon in the pack so that really opens up the display options and adds to the army building capabilities. There are no alternate heads, but then the troopers are supposed to be uniformal in design. The only difference between the two is all in paint not sculpt. One trooper is slightly "battle damaged" and has a few black "blaster burn" marks on the front and back of his armor and the side of his head. I actually like this as it adds a bit of character without making a huge difference in appearance. Remember, unlike the Palace Guards or even the Snake Men, the Horde Troopers are robots made exactly the same.
The articulation is similar to a regular figure for the most part, but also has a few differences. The shoulders are ball jointed and there are the ball jointed hips, wrist swivels, waist swivel, and ankle cuts like you would expect. The arms do feature the bicep swivel, although the cut is very well hidden by the sculpt. They also feature the elbow joints but then there is another swivel below that adding to the range of poses. Similar to Ram Man though the Horde Troopers have ball jointed knees so they not only bend but can swivel though this also serves as the boot cut articulation since the troopers have knee high boots. Again like Ram Man, the articulation joint is hidden by the sculpt of the leg.
The armor is made of the softer flexible material and can be removed via the usual side pegs. You actually don't even have to take the heads off to do so; it slips right over. And that leads to what some people are complaining about, or at least questioning. You probably noticed that in the box and some pictures the heads have a full triangle vizor. This is, of course, in tune with the vintage figure's design where the famous yellow eyes look came about as a result of how the armor's collar lined up against the helmet. This was most likely intentional though, but in the cartoon the troopers were drawn with straight up actual eyes and as a result the argument comes that the helmets should have been made this way or at least had the armor higher, or the helmet lower, so the eye look was achieved.
Well as you can see in my photos here, it can be achieved. The trick is that the Horde Troopers have a brand new unique robotic torso which is actually a bit smaller than the standard buck. Thus the armor when riding low exposes the whole visor. All you need to do is pull the armor up on the torso a bit and tilt the head forward until you get the desired look. I can kind of see how mint on card collectors would be upset the look isn't there in box, but to anyone claiming this detail ruins the whole figure I have to say you are being WAY too finicky! The adjustment takes like two seconds to make and I find it stays there. Like one out of the four I have kept slipping back down but I got it to finally stay with only minimal effort. If it's that big a deal to you get some tacky stick or something to place under the armor. I consider this such a minor issue that it really is not an issue at all. Besides, the vintage figures are the same way! You need to work to get their visors lined up right, plus they don't even have a torso under the armor! (Not sure who if anyone this new torso can be used for in the future though. Maybe Multi-Bot)
While the initial pack does not come with extra heads, the figure's heads are removable, though I must point out they are a bit tighter than the usual figure's heads. This opens up some other display options such as recreating some scenes from "The Secret of the Sword". For example there's the part where He-Man sneaks into the Fright Zone disguised as a Trooper. Or the flashback where Hordak, in his Eternian Invasion suit I guess, kidnaps the infant Adora. (Baby Adora not currently available though) There was one or two other instances where rebels disguised themselves in Horde armor too so there's good playability there.
There is no doubt about it, the Four Horsemen achieved exactly what the Classics line is all about with these guys. They took the vintage figure's design and updated it with more detail and greater articulation. It was hell waiting so long for these guys, but the end result was well worth it. This is exactly what I wanted and expected for the Horde Troopers and the only way I could be happier is if I got more of them -for less expense. But hey even with just one set you get two. The vintage figures were sold individually. And since they came out near the end of the line, despite being the one army builder character, they are some of the hardest to get and usually cost a pretty penny. I have but a single vintage Trooper to my name and I only just finally acquired it three years ago! (and he doesn't have his staff either!)
I was able to get two packs for a total of four Classics Horde Troopers though. This is likely all I'll ever have however as, despite having high production numbers because Mattel knew they'd be popular, they sold out in about ten minutes! With all the resources going into new figures to try and finish the line before cost issues make it impossible to continue making new products, (i.e. by the end of 2015) Mattel is saying there won't be a second run on them so if you want them, and trust me if you're a fan YOU WANT THEM, then you're going to have to hit the secondary market where they are already getting as hard and expensive to acquire as the vintage ones! (maybe more!) Good luck and until next time, Good Journey.
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