Friday, September 18, 2009

Toy Review: Masters of the Universe Classics Hordak by Patrick Garone

Our look back at the Masters of the Universe Classics figures concludes with Hordak, the “Evil Leader of the Evil Horde.” Hordak is perhaps best known as the snorty nemesis of She-Ra in the 1980’s Princess of Power cartoon. He was first released in June and sold out in about an hour, making him one of the more popular figures in the line and, thus, a prime candidate for rerelease in 2010. He is also one of the best figures released in the line thus far and well worth his $20 plus shipping and handling price tag.

New on the packaging for Hordak is a sticker that identifies his sub faction, The Evil Horde. He is given a spacey “real name,” Hec-Tor Kur. So for those of you wondering, Hordak’s first name is Hector. Okaaaay. Interestingly, there is no mention of She-Ra anywhere in his bio and it seems the MOTUC Hordak draws heavily from his minicomic origins and, especially, the 200X storyline in which he briefly appears as Skeletor’s phantom mentor who had been banished to Despondos after an encounter with King Grayskull in ancient Eternia. This makes me wonder how Mattel will work in the other Princess of Power characters into their unfolding Masters of the Universe Classic continuity. We should find out more in January, when Adora is released.

Like the other MOTUC figures, Hordak uses tooling from previously released figures, although he has a good amount of new pieces. Hordak has new feet boots and hands and features the return of the long loincloth of King Grayskull, which must have been all the rage back in the day.

The paint is rather understated, with reds, grays and creams being the dominant colors. There are some nice metallic details like bolts on the armor and an iron-looking paint used for the belt and a segmented frame around the hood.

Hordak also features a new armor system which only covers his chest and leaves his abdomen exposed to allow for the “ab-crunch” joint to be used. This was The Big Controversy, prior to the Mossman Flocking Controversy and the Teela Articulation Controversy. I personally don’t think that this removable half-armor makes or breaks the figure, although it might have been better to have sculpted abs like they did with He-Ro. Attached to the armor is a red cape, sculpted out of soft plastic. In a first for a Hordak figure, the hood is sculpted as a separate and removable piece, which allows independent movement of Hordak’s head. In addition to the above armor pieces, there is also a removable bicep band with the Horde logo painted on it. Hordak is pretty much covered in Horde bling from head to toe.

Hordak has always had a very cool and distinctive look to him. I’ve read that his head was originally inspired by an African witch doctor’s mask. Hordak was given a makeover for his 200X appearance was far more evil and angular-looking. The head sculpt on the MOTUC figure seems to be a hybrid between the classic head and the modern head. It is very much right in the middle of those two designs. It is much meaner and scarier-looking than the 1980’s version, yet not quite as nightmarish as the 200X head design or the staction figure. There are lots of nice details such as little folds and warts sculpted onto Hordak’s head.

Aside from armor-related accessories, Hordak comes with three other accessory pieces. The first is a nod to his 1980’s weapon, a Horde Crossbow, although sculpted in black plastic as opposed to the white of the vintage bow. There is a surprising amount detail to this bow and it almost looks as though it would be able to fire a projectile. The second accessory is a small bat-like creature that can perch on Hordak’s arm, which recalls his 1980’s “bat shield” or his companion Imp from the cartoon. Finally, Hordak comes with a large staff straight out of his appearance in the MYP series episode “The Power of Grayskull.” It’s great to have this accessory, as this version of the character is much more of a sorcerer like his appearance in the 200X continuity, than the techno-villain from the Filmation series.

Hordak is a great addition to the line and part of the upward trend in quality and value that we have been getting all summer from the Masters of the Universe Classics line. Hordak, Man-At-Arms, He-Ro and Tri-Klops have all been great figures that have been loaded with cool accessories and armor. Hordak is definitely in my top five list of MOTU classics figures thus far and if you haven’t already got him, be ready to pick him up in the likely even that he goes on sale again.

Patrick Garone
Staff Reviewer

No comments: