Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Toy Review: Masters of the Universe Classics Teela

October's Masters of the Universe Classics figure was the much-anticipated Teela, available exclusively on mattycollector.com. Even with the expanded amount of figures produced, Teela sold out in under a week, which is a testament to both the popularity of the character and the excitement surrounding the release of this, the first female character in the line. From the beginning there were lots of questions about how she would come out, especially how the articulation would work in this and future female figures. So how did she turn out?

As always there is a short bio on the back of the package an in Teela's case it is relatively uncontroversial. Although, there is the strange reference to her being the "cloned" daughter of the Sorceress. At this point in line, the relationship between the Sorceress, the Goddess and Teela are unclear. Especially since the Goddess is a straight repaint of Teela. I guess this is appropriate considering the historical confusion between these three characters. Part of the charm of the MOTUC series is to confuse us in exactly the same way all these years later.

Teela is a rarity in this line: she is an all new figure. Just like King Grayskull before her, she is the first of her kind and although a great figure there are some definite bugs that need to be worked out for future female characters. The first point of controversy and confusion regarding Teela was in whether or not she would have waist articulation, as Mattell had stated confusingly that she would have no "mid waist articulation" so fans were left to wonder what that meant and speculation ran wild for weeks before Mattel chimed in. So here's the deal, she has no real waist articulation, not necessarily because of the plastic of her outfit but because the joint is a good deal lower than her waist, closer to her hips (in the area of that belt of golden discs she wears.) Now there is actually a good bit of turn there but the problem is that when you turn it, the skirt rotates in an unnatural and unappealing way and starts to reveal the joint mechanisms normally concealed by the big gold leaf that is at the front of her skirt . The point is you can turn her quite a bit but you are not going to want to.

The other main issue is with the head. The female characters are going to have a smaller ball joint on which to put the head. To me, it seems very flimsy and I really don't want to mess with it anymore than necessary. The smaller mechanism also seems to result in a head that fits more loosely than on the other figures. I have read of people complaining of a bobblehead effect on line. My figure is not nearly that bad but the head is not on there as tightly as it should be .

Other than those couple of issues, Teela is a phenomenal action figure. The sculpt is beautiful, feminine and strong at the same time. The outfit is a separate sculpted piece with all kinds of great molded details. There is also lots of golden curlicues sculpted onto the guantlets. There is plenty of sculpted detail on the arm-braces and boots. The primary head is sculpted with a short ponytail. I never had the original figure but I always remember her hair in a bun on the cartoon, so this may be a reference to the ponytailed Teela that we saw in the MYP cartoon.

The paint scheme is outstanding and works beautifully with the sculpting. Teela's primary colors are white and gold, which gives her an Elvish/Egyptian quality. The gold looks very shiny and metallic, much better than the bronzy color that they used on He-Ro. I noticed a few stray paint flecks on my figure, most noticeably on her chin.

Like her father before her, Teela comes loaded with accessories. Her primary weapon is a neat new sword which is inspired by her 200X counterpart. It is painted and sculpted to match Teela's Egyptian leaf/snake motif and is inset with a large painted maroon colored stone. Teela also comes with an alternate head which is sculpted with a smooth golden helmet. This head is designed to work with the cobra armor which is also included. The cobra armor looks great and has vivid painted green eyes that really pop against the brown serpent skin (unfortunately there was a little green slop on my from the paint). The armor is sculpted with a really cool texture and actually looks a lot like snake skin. Teela also includes her Staff of Ka, her newly-named cobra-themed staff which is sculpted to be curvy and is the same great golden color that you find so much on Teela. The staff is really cool with lots of sculpted detail. It is amazing how the Horsemen have captured the look of real gold on this figure and in her accessories. Teela also includes a small shield, based on her classic accessory. This shield seems a little too small and has some trouble staying on her arm. If all of that weren't enough , Teela comes packaged with Zoar, a falcon, which itself has articulated wings and ankles. Unfortunately, without a perch Zoar doesn't really do much but it is nice to get her.

As all of you know, October 15th was kind a rough sale day for Mattel and there have been numerous complaints of problems with subscriptions and other issues associated with the sale. For my part, I had no problems other than that my figures went out a couple of days later than they normally would. I've only dealt with customer service a couple of times at mattycollector and have found them nice but generally clueless about this line. Digital River is strangely inflexible about doing simple things (why don't you know if I can combine shipping on subscriptions purchased on different days going to the same location?) and I genuinely feel sorry for anyone who is in a position to have to rely on them to solve a problem. I am sure that by and large people (like myself) get their figures with no problems but when there are problems there needs to be a functioning system for dealing with them. I hope Mattel is putting this in place for future orders as I would hate to see people turned off this great toy line because they can't get their figures.

So despite some problems with the sculpt and with the sale itself, Teela turned out to be an extraordinary figure and one of the best of the line so far. Just as they did with Grayskull they will make improvement for future female characters and hopefully give us a sturdier ball and socket mechanism for the head and a usable way to approximate a waist turn that does not make the figure look bad. Teela's gone and it will probably be a long time before we see her again but she is definitely worth picking up on the secondary market, and her green doppleganger, The Goddess will be available on mattycollector.com on December 15th.

Patrick Garone
Staff Reviewer

1 comment:

Nathan Baertsch said...

I don't agree that the new MotUC storyline has confused the relationships between Teela/Sorceress/Goddess. If anything it's all become more clear.

Sorceress guards Grayskull.
Teela is magically cloned off of the Sorceress.
The Goddess (Sharella) is an ancient spirit that at one time helped He-Ro and King Grayskull, and then over the centuries, has trained various "He-Men" to protect the two halves of the power sword.

All three separate beings. Uh oh... This is sounding religious! :)