Saturday, January 23, 2010

Toy Review: Battle Armor He-Man (Mattel)

January's Masters of the Universe Classics bonus figure was the ever-popular He-Man variant, Battle Armor He-Man. This figure is the fastest selling bonus figure to date, having sold out in about three days. For many kids growing up with MOTU, Battle Armor He-Man was the version of the character to have, due to his very cool action feature, which used a spring-loaded rotating barrel to simulate damage to the figure's chest with one of three armor plates. As has been said many times, the Classics line does not do action features but that didn't stop Mattel and the Four Horsemen from taking on this character and attempting to simulate his classic feature.

Battle Armor He-Man comes with a new bio that explains his Battle Armor as a special power bestowed upon Adam by the Power Sword to help even the odds in special situations. This is a neat little touch that will help to explain the future versions of the character that we will no doubt see. I'm quite enjoying the evolving story presented in these bios. They do a great job reconciling and explaining various facets of Masters of the Universe lore.

So, instead of the spinning barrel mechanism found in the vintage figure, BA He-Man, the classics version of the character has removable snap on torso armor into which you can insert three different chest plates simulating the three damage levels of the original figure. To switch out the plates, you have to go through a rather long and involved process of removing the armor, popping out the plate, popping in a new plate and snapping back the armor. So the need to do a costume change is the fundamental and basic disappointment of MOTUC Battle Armor He-Man. Once you get past that, he's a pretty cool figure.

He's basically the standard He-Man figure with his torso painted silver/gray, so you can't just throw your extra He-Man harness from your Goddess figure on him. The armor itself is nicely sculpted with lots of detail. The Horsemen seem very fond of rivets and they are found on this figure around the "H" logo on the armor plates. The armor seems to have an almost biomechanical look, as it seems to be an exaggerated metallic representation of the muscle and bone underneath. This was present in the original figure as well but, as expected, it taken to a new level here. I know that there was some concern regarding the snaps and that they might be too brittle to allow repeated use but the plastic quality seems high and it is not so hard that it is likely to break on you.

Fortunately, He-Man uses some of the improvements that came with the recent reissued version of the character: a less glossy paint and no red under the eyes. In fact, the overall paint is really nice on this figure with the armor painted a nice metal-flecked gray. Another point of controversy was that BA he-Man shipped with only one weapon, his battle axe and not the sword which is referenced in his bio. I guess Mattel was counting the armor and plates as accessories.

My figure arrived in good shape with only a few quality control issues. There is some brown paint spots on the back of his head and also some weird gloss or glue in his hair. Overall his joints are okay, he does have weak ankles which makes him not want to stand up.

Battle Armor He-Man is a great addition to the line and will be replacing my original He-Man on my shelf. In fact, in the couple of days that I've had him, I keep pulling him down from the shelf to pose him and examine him. He's actually quite an appealing figure. While I am not a big fan of variant versions of these characters (frankly I'd like to see Snake Armor He-Man and that's it), the Battle Armor version of the character is an iconic Masters of the Universe design and I'm glad he's been released, which means that Battle Armor Skeletor can't be too far behind. If nothing else, Battle Armor He-Man will look great atop next month's Battle Cat figure.

Patrick Garone
Senior Reviewer

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