Masters of the Universe Classics
Battle Armor Skeletor
7” Scale
By: Mattel
$20 + shipping from www.mattycollector.com
(available now on ebay and other online sellers)

Skeletor, the Evil Lord of Destruction, is probably my favorite fictional villain. Let that sink in for a minute, not only does he beat out fellow cartoon characters like Cobra Commander, Megatron and Dark Heart, in my book Skeletor beats out every villain in the history of literature. Sauron, Cthulhu, Moriarty, Dracula, they all fall short. I don’t know if that’s proof of how awesome Skeletor is or just proof that I need to broaden my horizons, but either way, I love Skeletor.

This version of Skeletor was definitely one of my favorite MOTU toys, not only because of his looks but because even by himself he was fun to play with. I must have spent hours just flicking his battle damage chest from clean to 1 cut to 2 and back. Swipe. Swipe. Swipe. Over and over, endless, monotonous fun from Battle Armor Skeletor.

Battle Armor Skeletor came to be in the vintage line as a way to reuse expensive new parts from Battle Armor He-Man. After all why would you go to the trouble of making a complicated action feature like the spinning battle damage chest without using it on both of your toy line’s main characters? That would be like throwing away money! But how does this new BA Skeletor stack up to the old one?

Packaging:
Skeletor comes packaged in the same gorgeous packaging shared by all of his fellow Masters of the Universe Classics figures. He gets a brand new bio that explains why he’s wearing his fancy new duds, although lets be honest, JUST BECAUSE is plenty reason for me. He’s packaged with a damaged armor plate in the chest for some reason, my best guest would be to see just how many threads would be started on the forums complaining about it.


In the future I’m going to spend very little time on the packaging for the MOTUC figures because the vast majority of them are in identical containers. If there’s anyone out there who enjoys the detailed descriptions of the boxes and card please feel free to post, I just usually end up saying the same thing and I hate to waste you guys’ time!

Sculpt:
Most of the sculpt for Battle Armor Skeletor is shared with previous versions of ol’ skull face. His legs, arms and head are all parts we’ve seen several times before while the chest, waist and crotch are all shared with Battle Armor He-Man. The face is painted noticeably differently from both the original Matty version and the Toys R Us 2-pack version, it’s a nice hybrid of the two styles in that it’s yellow in the middle with a green border. I’m not sure which version I prefer but this one does look a little less cartoony than the TRU head.


The chest armor, while similar to Battle Armor He-Man, is actually it’s own unique sculpt. This is something that really makes me happy to collect these toys, I know without a doubt that Mattel could have simply repainted He-Man’s armor without anyone batting an eyelash. Instead we get a brand new evil looking pair of armor pieces that match up to Skeletor perfectly.


The paint on my Skeletor was done nicely with no noticeable problems. His black painted fuzzy underwear are a nice change from the loincloth Skeletor normally wears and they make him feel like more of a unique figure than he would have without them. The painted feet are kind of an odd concept, I understand that Mattel was responding to fan requests when they painted them but since they just used Skeletor’s normal bare feet they feel a bit off.

Articulation:
Skeletor has all of the usual joints of a Masters of the Universe Classics figure. The Battle Armor stops him from putting his arms fully down at the sides but it’s not nearly as bad as it’s been on some other figures (such as the Palace Guards). He’s an extremely posable toy and it’s ridiculously fun to match him up against various heroic characters.


I did not have any stuck or loose joints on my Battle Armor Skeletor, though I know there were several out there with fairly serious problems. It can be a bit of a roll of the dice when ordering mass-produced toys online, especially when there are so many joints and parts that can be messed up. I definitely encourage anyone purchasing from a re-seller to request pictures of their item before they finalize a deal.


Accessories:
Battle Armor Skeley comes with 4 accessories, although to be fair to you the consumer only 1 of them is any fun. The 3 armor plates that give him his prefix come in clean, 1 slash and 2 slash varieties and are inserted into the slot in Skeletor’s chest plate by removing his armor. The armor comes off just easily enough, Mattel must have fixed whatever it was that made changing Battle Armor He-Man’s plates an exercise in terror, and the armor plates pop in with an acceptable amount of effort.


I understand why Mattel is skipping out on the “Action Features” with this collector focused toy line but I still miss the spring loaded action from the original Battle Armor figures. I’m far from the first to bring this issue up but it’s kind of hilarious that we’re buying new figures that outshine their vintage counterparts in every way…..except for the features that defined the figures to begin with. I don’t actually wish that my MOTUC figures had “THUNDER PUNCH ACTION”, far from it, but the remakes of these old, one note toys shine a unique light on my beloved hobby!


The real accessory, the one that you’ll actually use beyond the first few minutes of owning the figure, is the purple axe. It’s exactly the same as the gray axe that He-Man and Battle Armor He-Man came with and yet for some reason it’s a lot of fun. I don’t know if this is just an extension of the fun I had posing Battle Armor Skeletor, but he just looks great with that axe.

Value:
Another MOTUC review, another paragraph where I attempt to justify the high cost of the figure being reviewed. $20 + shipping is pretty pricey for a toy, even for one as well made and cool looking as Battle Armor Skeletor. I got mine in a paired shipment with King Hsss which helped to shoulder some of the cost of getting him across the country but even $5 is almost the cost of a small toy in itself.


$25 is probably a little more than I would want to pay for this figure on it’s own, there are several other Master of the Universe Classics figures that provide more play value by having more useful accessories, but in the grand scheme of things I don’t feel like a I got a raw deal. The extra armor pieces are easy to forget because no more than 1 of them is going to be used at a time but I don’t know that that’s a true justification for the cost.


The bottom line is this an extremely well made, highly articulated figure that is available from essentially one outlet. There are no other products on the market that come anywhere close to replicating the style and construction of the MOTUC figures, much less the MOTU brand that so many people love.

Summary:
Variants are at the core of any profitable action figure line, re-using many of the same parts and then charging full price for the resulting figure helps to offset the cost of other more expensive figures. He-man and Skeletor had lots of variants in the vintage MOTU line as well as the 2002 MOTU line and hell, we already have several of each in the Classics line.


It seems the key to success is to disguise these variants just enough to make them not just endured by the customer but actively desired. I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t excited about Battle Armor Skeletor in the least, I already had BA He-Man and wasn’t blown away by him, but in the end he turned out to be almost perfectly executed.

Battle Armor Skeletor is a great action figure of a great character, he’s well made, looks awesome and is just flat out FUN. If there’s room in your collection for another Skeletor I think you owe it to yourself to track this one down. If you’re just looking to get 1 of each main character then I think Battle Armor Skeletor ranks right up there with the Toys R Us Skeletor as the best of the bunch. Either way, he’s highly recommended.

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