Masters of the Universe Classics
$20 + shipping from www.mattycollector.com
(available now on ebay and other online sellers)
The She-Ra, Princess of Power (referred to as “PoP” from here on out) mythos have been a source of quite a lot of debate amongst fans of Masters of the Universe ever since I’ve been paying attention to them as an adult. I’m sure that, even back in the 80’s, there was someone, somewhere, complaining that He-Man didn’t need a sister and that Mattel and Filmation were ruining MOTU beyond repair.
You can click on over to just about any toy forum where MOTUC are discussed and find people who come down on every possible side of the debate. Whether you’re for or against the inclusion of the extremely girlie Etherian Rebels (for the record, I’m for ‘em!) you have to admit that the members of the Horde are just as cool as any of Skeletor’s minions. Even as a kid I remember not hesitating to pick up Leech, Hordak and Grizzlor to send after He-Man and his fellow Eternians.
Catra, on the other hand, was a pretty hard sell. She had all that pink everywhere along with rooted hair and a crazy loincloth that I’m fairly certain warped many young, impressionable minds long before they had any idea why. This new Catra, on the other hand, is extremely faithful to her cartoon appearance. She’s a tough, mean-looking chica who joins Hordak and Grizzlor in the MOTUC Horde. How does this new female fit in with the rest of the MOTUC figures? Can she scratch out a new post for herself or will the existing women nip this cat out of the running?
Catra comes in the same well-done blister card as all of the previous Masters of the Universe Classics figures have come in. The layout showcases her sword and shield nicely but hides the Filmation mask, the vintage toy mask and her whip just out of sight. The bio talks about her coming from a far away star system and joining up with the Horde for an unknown reason. I feel pretty meh about this bio, nothing moves me for or against it, so I don’t have anything else to say.
Catra is built on the same core as She-Ra, Teela and The Goddess so she has a very strong, solid frame to her that feels right for a warrior woman. Her arms and legs are significantly skinnier than the male figures, as it should be, but they don’t feel at all fragile.
The dominating feature of this figure is definitely her mane of raven hair that sweeps up over her collar and down her back. Catra has a nice semi-pony tail that’s a separate piece attached to the rest of her hair. It’s really good looking and blends itself into the rest of her hair in much the same way as a real hair piece would.
Catra sports a very pretty but extremely harsh face. I can almost see her screaming at Grizzlor for letting Bow slip through his grasp again or getting into a slap fight in a fountain. It’s really a fitting visage for her especially since it’s based on her cartoon looks. Catra was basically nothing but a mean ol’ jerky jerk in the Filmation cartoon and the head sculpt gets that right on the nose. Her high cheekbones are accented with blush or some other female deception powder and it makes her look elegant and evil at the same time.
The costume is essentially an evil onesie that manages to look pretty nice despite itself. The skirt is tattered (although I’m positive Catra bought it that way) along the bottom just like those “Sexy Witch” costumes that crop up around Halloween except, on Catra, it’s a lifestyle. The Evil Horde symbol is integrated into the chest of the outfit really well and despite her decidedly non-monstrous appearance she doesn’t look out of place with Hordak and Grizzlor.
Catra sports a pair of wicked red boots and a fancy purple cape that work together to complete her ensemble. The boots are nice and shiny because of course Catra’s going to wear vinyl boots while cape is more of a flat color to play pretend fabric. The cape is also removable with a simple “PoP” of the head and even though I don’t count it as an actual accessory there is some room for creativity there if you’d like to share her cape with your other figures.
Catra’s left arm, the one that’s sculpted into a claw, is made of softer materials than the rest of her. I’m a bit divided on this as I really like the poses this hand allows but I am concerned about the strength of this small part made of weaker plastic. I’ve been very careful when twisting her wrist joint because it does feel a bit flimsy but it hasn’t caused any problems yet. I do worry a bit about what will happen if she falls over onto the hand though.
The paint on my Catra was generally very good. I did have a couple of faint white smudges on the back of the cape but overall I thought I had gotten lucky again, sadly that was not the case. The first time I put on Catra’s silver cat mask and then removed it a very large piece of the paint on her hair came free on the mask. The spot is covered up any time she has a mask on but it’s extremely disappointing to spend this kind of money on a figure and have to deal with this kind of shoddy paint work. I am in the process of requesting a replacement figure from Digital River as I write this.
Catra boasts the same major points of articulation as most MOTUC figures and more specifically she has the same joints as She-Ra. This means that she is missing the ab-crunch just like every other female figure released to date and, while less movement is never ideal, it’s not terribly missed.
All of the joints feel right and move with enough ease to make posing Catra a joy, even the ankle rockers work smoothly and hold their positions. Hopefully Catra won’t join the older MOTUC figures in their pastime of shelf diving!
The only negative thing I have to say about Catra’s movement is related to her massive head of hair, it blocks a good bit of the range on her neck. It’s a little annoying to get her into certain poses because the hair combines with the cape’s collar to block access to certain positions. You can kind of get around this problem by moving the cape itself but that doesn’t always look right, however I am willing to sacrifice this little bit of head range for her awesome head of hair.
The new material of the skirt is a very big improvement, it doesn’t block her leg range in any way and I’m happy to say that Catra, at the very least, will be able to ride Swift Wind without an “updated” figure. Poor She-Ra.
Catra comes with a nice little assortment of items that all are pulled from her past looks. She has a silver cat mask, a silver shield, a pink and silver sword, a whip/comb and her Filmation style red mask. Each piece is molded in it’s primary colors and the masks and sword are highlighted with some solid paint apps.
The sword, shield, cat mask and whip all pull from the vintage Catra toy, a toy that really doesn’t look anything like the MOTUC figure. They’re a bit of an odd inclusion simply because the color scheme is different, they’re a lot more girlie than really befits this Catra’s deco, and consequently I’m not sure I’ll be displaying any of them. They are well done, though, and if we ever get a variant of Catra that’s closer to her vintage toy looks they’ll be right at home with her. I know I’ll keep my fingers crossed for something to do with this crazy pink kitten sword.
Catra’s best accessory is her red, cartoon styled, mask. It looks best when it’s up on her forehead and it sits there smoothly, almost as if it’s attached permanently. You can also push it down over her eyes and nose where it will stay, however it doesn’t look quite as nice there and it will come off if you move her around too much. I’m not sure if this position is intended to be an option, though, since in the cartoon she transformed into a cat when she wore the mask.
There’s been a lot of complaints on the forums about her sword being too bendy, flimsy and soft. I honestly don’t know if I would have noticed if no one hand pointed it out and I think this may be another case of fans getting worked up over nothing. The sword is definitely softer than most of the other weapons in the toy line but it is far from soft or flimsy to the point of affecting the looks.
Catra is a very well sculpted action figure, she’s highly posable and she comes with several really cool and interesting accessories. She’s a good looking toy and she’ll bring you a lot of fun whether you play with her, take pictures of her or just pose her on the shelf punching Bow in the crotch. In order to get this figure you’ve got to shell out the equivalent of a semi-fancy meal in your hard-earned cash.
$28.50 is, to me, a reasonable price for Catra. I’m interested in getting my grubby little mitts on every possible MOTUC figure simply because I love the universe and I enjoy seeing these characters and playing with the toys. If you’re a casual fan of He-Man or She-Ra it’s probably not worth it to shell out that kind of money for a figure of a villain. If you’re a big fan of She-Ra or of the Horde or just bad girls in general I definitely think you can do a lot worse than skipping a big night out in favor of Catra.
Sometimes I feel like a bit of a broken record when talking about these Masters of the Universe figures. Every month I gush about how nice they are, extol their virtues from the highest rooftop and then complain that I have to pay to ship them to my home! I almost wish that Mattel would release a MOTUC figure that just completely sucked so I could break my streak of loving these things.
Catra is a character that, beyond being unreasonably attractive to me for a cartoon character, I have no nostalgic love for. She’s a villain with an annoying speech impediment and a really strange special power in a cartoon that to this day I can’t really get into….and yet the toy is a blast to pose and play with.
The 4 Horsemen (sculptors of MOTUC) and Mattel continue to produce extremely interesting and overall FUN action figures. There are still plenty of things wrong with this toy line such as inconsistent paint applications, random plastic changes and many more but above all Masters of the Universe Classics remains my favorite toy line to collect. Catra, though not purrrfect, would make a fine addition to any collection and I highly recommend her!