Sunday, October 25, 2009

Toy Review: Master of the Universe Classics Stratos Review

Rounding up the retrospective look at the already released Masters of the Universe classics figures, is Stratos.

Now, Stratos is another character that has very mixed receptions by many Masters of the Universe fans. He was one among the original 8 figures released back in the 1980’s toy line, however, much like Zodac, he has also suffered somewhat in the character development stakes. To be fair, he really has not had very much development and was often sidelined in favour of promoting newer characters in the original toy line.

Even so, he is still a very popular character, and this was made even more apparent by his swift sell out on the website when he was released back in February. Those who underestimated his widespread appeal were the ones who ended up missing out on him.

The actual figure itself is a tough one to classify. The sculpting and detail is excellent, and a very good rendition of Stratos as he was depicted on the original illustrations that were displayed on the back of the toy boxes. However, the figure is not without its small share of faults, and I am going to explain a few of them here.

The fist thing that I noticed was that Stratos wings seem to be misplaced on this figure. On both the 1980’s figure and the 200x version, Stratos was depicted as having his wings placed on the outside of his arms, in a lateral position. However, the MOTUC version of Stratos appears to have his wings positioned on his arms in a posterior position. This is at direct odds with the original 8 back illustration image and the previous versions of the character. So it did feel somewhat unsettling, and although it has not been confirmed, I somewhat suspect that it may have been an error that the figures were packaged this way.

While not a terribly glaring fault, it is still noticeable. This can be fixed however, if you have a bit of patience. It is possible to reposition the wings, but it does require effort and some basic knowledge of how to customise figures. In short, it’s a shame that the figure requires extra work to make him look as he is actually shown in the photos on the website.

The second problem that I have with this figure is the absence of a flight stand. Stratos is a flying character, and I think it would have been fitting to have included a stand to help display him in a flight position. This is a small issue in itself, but it becomes more pronounced by the fact that Stratos is packaged with no accessories whatsoever. He doesn’t even have a weapon to fight with, so he does feel somewhat disappointing when compared to other MOTUC releases such as Man-At-Arms, Hordak and Mer-Man who had plenty of extra weapons. Even Zodac had a gun at least.

And this in turn, directly leads me onto Stratos biggest fault which is his hands. Both of Stratos hands are sculpted in an open position. This means that while Stratos is packaged without a weapon, he also has NO possibility of holding a weapon of any Kind. And I must say that this was a huge let down for me personally.

Stratos is effectively a Master of the Universe toy that is difficult to work into a display, due to the absence of the flight stand, and also the failure to be able to display him with any kind of weapon.

It has been mentioned that in the original comics Stratos was capable of projecting energy blasts from his hands. And if this was indeed the case then I feel that some sort of energy effect to attach to his wrists could have helped the figure to seem more interesting. But due to the way that Stratos is presented when lifted straight out of the packet, he seems completely incapable of combat, and personally, I find that at direct odds with the purpose of the Masters of the Universe toy line.

Even so, with that being said, it is possible to solve all if these issues if one is so creatively inclined. But these faults do serve to make what could have been a fantastic figure, merely an average figure. The sculpting quality is fantastic, and the figures overall colour scheme is visually appealing. But the lack of a practical weapon, no possibility of holding a weapon, the placement of the wings, no energy blasts or flight stands makes this figure fall a bit short in comparison to some of the MOTUC releases.

Review and Photographs By: Dean René Middleton
Staff Reviewer

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