Wednesday, September 23, 2009

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

Masters of the Universe Classics Webstor was the September figure released exclusively on and it almost looked as though he was still going to be available in time for this review. Skeletor’s Master of Escape sold out after six days, slightly longer than Tri-Klops, the last figure that was rumored to have been produced in the same quantity. Webstor was also the first figure of the 2009 subscription program and in my experience, ordering him was a breeze for the first time with no waiting at all. Although he is largely a repaint of Skeletor, Webstor has a lot of cool features that make him stand out from his boss

Webstor has a cool and evocative new bio that suggests lots of story lines that we have never seen in MOTU. According to his bio, his real name is Araneus, son of Raknus, which makes me wonder why he goes by the silly name of Webstor. His bio describes him as the last of an advanced civilization of spider warrior who fought the Snake Men in ancient times. He was awakened from his slumber within Snake Mountain and now is loosely aligned with Skeletor.

In terms of his sculpt, Webstor is more than loosely aligned with Skeletor, with the exception of his waist and head, he is a virtual clone but as they have throughout this line, The Four Horsemen have done a great job diverting attention away from the fact that these figures share so many of the same parts with clever use of paint, accessories and excellent head sculpts. For those 200X fans out there, hoping for a more monstrous character, Webstor largely falls in line with his 1980’s figure, although there are some nice touches inspired by his modern incarnation.

Webstor is sculpted in an indigo-colored plastic, a good deal darker than his prototype pictures would have you believe. I guess I should automatically assume that the colors are going to be darker than those we are shown on the prototypes. Next to the other MOTUC figures, Webstor is strikingly dark, perfect for a predatory man-spider who hides in the shadows. He has some nice vivid touches that pop against the dark blue coloration such as the magenta-red colored belt and armor emblem.

His head sculpt is about 85% inspired by his 1980’s figure although the gauntness, the “angry” brow and the added set of eyes are modern additions. His eyes are done in that same burning red color. The whole effect strangely makes him look like James Carville. The way that the head is sculpted slightly restricts up and down movement of his head.

His armor is a removable backward vest (he is packaged topless like his ‘80’s counterpart) onto which the backpack is clipped. The backpack has the figure’s greatest visual reference to the 200X Webstor, four hinge and ball-jointed spider legs. The backpack, when detached, looks a little like a facehugger from Alien. The pack clips on very easily to four tabs on the back of the vest, giving the option of displaying your figure with a classic or modern look. The legs themselves are not articulated at the segments but using the base joints you can put them into a variety of cool positions. The legs are a nice addition but they look a little too small and vestigial. Personally, I think they look best all posed up, the two top legs on either side of Webstor’s head and the bottom two over his shoulders, as the bottom legs are not big enough to really stand out under his arms, the way that they were arranged in the MYP cartoon and the action figure.

The backpack also features a line and grappling hook, which runs through it, although it lacks the zipline feature of the original. It is sort of an odd addition like an action feature with no action. The hook is painted a nice metallic purple but sculpted of a very soft plastic, which is already warped on my sample. There is a small handle sculpted in the shape of Webstor’s spider warrior sigil on the bottom end of the line and both the handle and the hook can fit into a notch on the back of the pack, although the hook will not easily fit into the notch due to the softness of the plastic. There is also the problem of the length of string that is left hanging without a home. The best solution to this is to clip the handle into the notch on the back of the pack and wrap the string around it, where it is out of sight.

Webstor’s only other accessory is a blaster rifle, which is made of a soft plastic similar to the mace that came with Man-At-Arms. The thin tip of my gun is already bent from the packaging. The rifle is sculpted in orange plastic and looks great against Webstor’s dark skin. There are also some nice metallic orange highlights like we saw on Faker’s armor as well as a couple of red accents as well.

I don’t pay a lot of attention to the packaging on these figures as I am a compulsive opener but I would like to point out that the card and bubble for this figure was pristine. He was shipped in his white MOTUC outer box, which is now standard on these figures after complaints of the packaging getting dinged up. I noticed also that the outer cardboard box in which my figures were shipped was of much sturdier construction than those that have been used for previous figures. Its nice to see that Mattel is spending some money to address issues that fans have been having with these figures, not only the ordering process but the shipping as well.

Also, I am happy to report (mostly) tight joints on Webstor. My number one complaint with this line from the beginning has been getting figures with loose joints. The mid-upper arm joint is a big and consistent offender (even on Webstor). This is particularly bad with a line that comes with such nice big weapons. It's sad when the arm joint is not tight enough for your figure to be posed with accessory with which it has been packaged (I'm looking at you He-Ro). Webstor is an improvement (his legs are nice and tight on my copy) but there is still some work to be done.

I can’t say that I have ever had a real fondness for Webstor. He is, to me, a C-list character and his figure is a glorified repaint with some new accessories thrown in but the Four Horsemen have developed a habit of making me enjoy figures that I am sure I am not going to like (If I end up liking Burger King, then I will be surprised indeed). Adding in the extra spider legs was a great nod to the 200X fans and makes for lots of interesting display possibilities. He also has an bold color scheme that really stands out against the other Masters of the Universe Classics figures in my collection. Webstor may have escaped for now but hopefully we will see him again down the line.

Patrick Garone
Staff Toy Reviewer

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