Thursday, December 24, 2009

Toy Review: Masters of the Universe Classics King Randor

December’s Masters of the Universe Classics entry was the new King Randor action figure who surprised many by selling out in a matter of days on the website. Randor is the first action figure update of this character since he was released at the end of the original Masters of the Universe line back in the 1980’s, not counting his stactions released after the demise of the 200X line. With this new release, Matty gives us a major, if somewhat dull, core character from the world of Eternia.

King Randor has one of the more eventful bios so far and makes a lot of connections to other characters and events that have already been referenced in other bios, such as Keldor, King Miro, and the Great Unrest. Naturally, being King, he is a major player in Eternian goings on. The bio also references Count Marzo and a series of uprisings with which he was apparently involved. This gives me hope that we will one day see a Count Marzo figure. Another little nugget tucked away in the bio is the question of the fate of King Miro, who mysteriously disappeared.

King Randor's MOTUC figure is faithful to his vintage look to a fault. With the exception of his accessories, Randor has taken almost no visual cues from the more serious and muted 200X version of the character. This is particularly jarring in the figure’s color scheme which employs cartoony, too-bright colors.

Randor wears removable torso armor with a built in cape, much like He-Ro and Hordak. The dominant color on his upper body is a rather nauseating red-orange with gold highlights with a matching color on his furry loin cloth. The paint applications on mine were a little sloppy, especially in the loincloth where a big patch seems to be missing a coat of dark wash that is on the rest. Randor’s legs are painted a vaguely flesh-colored orange (like a bad spray tan) which gives the impression that the king is wearing short short. This is usually not an issue on the other characters because they are wearing next to nothing on their chests but with Randor it looks like he is wearing an armored long-sleeved garment with tiny shorts. It makes him seem kind of top heavy.

The headsculpt is a decent, although it makes Randor look a little too much like a 1970’s country singer. This reinforces the overall quality that the figure has of being a big burly guy who is running around in his underwear. The crown is molded into the head and seems like a generic king’s crown that you would pick up at a costume store instead of something specific to Eternia.

Where the figure really shines is in the staff and sword which are included as accessories. These items are both 200X inspired and replace the simple spear which came with the 1980’s fugure. The Sword of Eternos, in particular, is a nice piece of work with dark gray metallic paint on the blade and a golden hilt with additional gold detail on the blade face. Both weapons feature the same Celtic-inspired squared-off cross with a spherical gemstone painted on in metallic blue. It would have been nice if they had carried this motif into the sculpt of the crown to make it a little more specific. The paint and sculpting on these weapons are beautiful and they are great additions to the ever-growing MOTUC weapons arsenal (can we get a weapons rack, please?). Both pieces are very similar to the weapons included with the King Randor staction from a few years ago.

So, December was a kind of dull month for Masters of the Universe Classics, with a pair of characters who, while pivotal, are not terribly exciting. I guess this is okay as the next few months are going to be bananas with the release of Adora, Battle Armor He-Man, Trap Jaw, Battle Cat, Wun-Dar and Moss Man. MOTUC is without any doubt a great toy line but-apart from Digital River issues-its only real weakness is a tendency to fall back far too much on the original 1980’s designs. I’m fine with the fact that these figures start off as being an update of the 1980’s style but they have proven in the past that they are willing to use other elements. The real goal should not be updating the 1980’s figures but producing quality action figures with strong designs. I have no doubt that the Horsemen could have made a kick ass King Randor figure, but here Matty has chosen to go the fanwank route and recreate a dated and silly looking figure concept instead. King Randor is going straight into my Shoebox of Despondos (although his weapons will be reassigned to He-Ro).

Patrick Garone
Staff Reviewer

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