Masters of the Universe Classics
Eternian Palace Guards
7 Inch Scale
$40 (plus shipping, around $49 total)
I’m back with another look at Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Classics! This set was supposed to come out late last year but was pushed back due to… Orko only knows. The Palace Guards have never had an official figure before, they were always in the background of both the Filmation cartoon and the more recent MYP cartoon, so it’s about time MOTU fans got their hands on ‘em.
They were originally included in last years subscription, thanks to whatever crazy crisis pushed them back a lot of people had to brave the evil ordering process at Mattycollector.com to get a hold of them. Was it worth the peril of my mortal soul Keep reading to find out!
My Eternian Palace Guards came well protected in a brown box from UPS. What’s that? Too much info on the packaging? The usual white mailer is a little smaller than the one Battle Cat came in, but it’s still a pretty good size. The outside says “ETERNIAN PALACE GUARDS”. There’s nothing too interesting going on here.
The ACTUAL packaging is a really good-looking item. It very nicely shows off the guards and the majority of their gear. I’m a little surprised that the 2 extra heads are hidden, to me they are a huge selling point and the reason that a lot of people bought multiples of this pricey 2-pack.
The back of the package shows both guards alongside their bio. The bio is pretty generic but that suits an army builder set. I think “Varies” is probably one of the most normal real names we’ve gotten so far! There’s a nicely laid out assortment of MOTUC figures that reminds me of the vintage card backs as usual.
Right off the bat, it’s obvious that these guys are modeled to look a lot like Man-At-Arms. They have the same orange armor, blue helmet and green bodysuit that Duncan wears….or do they? While the forearm, shoulder and knee armors are the same piece, the chest armor and boots are quite different.
The chest armor is a re-colored Battle Armor He-Man part while the boots are shared with Keldor. The leg armor covers the upper section of the boots and really makes them look like their own part. The Palace Guard helmets are very similar to Man-At-Arms’ helmet, they have a slightly different arrangement of wiring though which is a subtle way of setting them apart.
The 4 heads that come with this set are just flat out wonderfully sculpted. You get two human heads (one is modeled after Toyguru, the brand manager at Mattel, and the other is African-Eternian), a dark-skinned cat man as well as a brand new reptile type of creature. All 4 faces are entirely unique sculpts with very expressive features and great paint jobs all around.
My Toyguru face has a little dark spot under his left eye, it makes him look like he has a prison teardrop tattoo so I don’t mind too much. Big house ink aside, the paint was perfect on mine. As with Vikor, I don’t know if this is typical or if I just got lucky.
The Palace Guards are, unsurprisingly, extremely poseable just like the majority of the figures in this toy line. They can get into all kinds of exciting action poses thanks to the new plastic used on the loincloth part, it doesn’t get in the way like a lot of the older MOTUC figures’ furry undies do.
They also look great posed standing at attention or guarding something important. The ball joint on the head works really well and you can get lots of great emotions out of the different angles it gives you.
My one complaint about their range of movement is caused by the armor on their shoulders and upper arms. The band that comes around the bicep prevents them from bringing their arms fully down by their sides. It isn’t a huge issue but it does bug me a bit when trying to get them to an “at ease” stance.
Within the box you’ll find:
2 Armor Plates
2 Face Guards
(The arm, forearm and knee armor is all removable also)
This is a lot of extra pieces, although lets be realistic, the extra armor plates are going to be switched out once or twice until you find the setup you like and then tossed into a bin to stay. The process of swapping out the armor plates is a pain in the butt, just like it was on Battle Armor He-Man. I appreciate that Mattel gave us a way to make each of our guards look unique, but I personally would have preferred more weapons.
Speaking of the weapons, they are really nicely done if a little plain. The two halberds are appropriate weapons for guards, reminiscent of the Swiss Army’s famous weapons. They don’t have a lot of detail on them other than sculpted grooves to indicate the hand holds but they look really good either held at attention or pointed threateningly. The axe and mace are both repeats, the axe coming from Buzz-Off and the mace coming from Moss Man(it has been slightly retooled to look less viney though).
We also have two nice little dueling shields. I may be having a mental lapse, but I believe these are new shields. They are a good size and stay clipped onto the guards’ arms very well. The shields are molded all in one color but the simplicity works well for them. The faceguards are a great addition, allowing you to give your guards that faceless, generic trooper look that worked so well for Cobra.
Lastly, the armor pieces on the arms and legs look really great with some well done silver highlights scattered around to resemble the connecting points. While I’m really happy with the look of the armor, I’m not crazy about the way they connect and stay on the guards’ body. Besides blocking some of the movement range, the connectors that hold on the armor do not like to stay closed while you pose the figure. I spent a good portion of my time while writing this review re-closing the connectors or fidgeting with the two sections of the arm armor to keep the pieces in place.
At $49 (including shipping) for the pair of guards I actually believe that this is a decent price. There is a lot of play value here and the fact that I didn’t have to pay shipping twice to get two figures helps quite a bit. Realistically $25 a figure is still very high, the shipping is really the thing that hurts, and I can’t recommend these figures to anyone but a big fan of MOTU.
To put it into perspective though, a DC Universe Classics figure is $15 + tax and they typically come with zero in the way of accessories beyond a Build-A-Figure piece that’s useless on it’s own. Without shipping, a $5 price bump is well worth it for the improved sculpting and extra accessories you get from MOTUC.
I’m a big fan of these figures. I love the different heads, I love the way they aren’t exact clones of Man-At-Arms and I love their variety of weapons. If I had infinite space and infinite money I would absolutely want an army of these figures to march against the inevitable Horde Troopers coming down the line.
Despite all the love I have for the Palace Guards, I can’t in good faith recommend them to the casual He-Fan. After all, these are nameless, faceless characters. Heck, they’re barely even characters at all! At $49 a pair, these guys are very pricey and they’re not for everyone.
However, if you are already collecting MOTU Classics and you just haven’t decided to pick up a set of guards, I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. They perfectly capture the essence of the Palace Guards that were always watching Randor’s back. The extra heads bring welcome diversity to both the MOTUC toy line and my Masters of the Universe shelf and they just look flat out awesome.