So today I received my Masters of the Universe Classics Mer-Man figure! I have covered MOTUC in the past before, but never given a full fledged review to a figure so I thought I would enlighten you all with a look at Mer-Man today. He’s the latest and greatest figure to date in the series. How can I say he’s the greatest? Well he’s sold out faster than anyone before him. Go Mer-Man it you’re birthday!

Masters of the Universe is an interesting line to say the least. The original 1980’s property was one that sort of came and went. When it first hit in the early 1980’s it EXPLODED. It was the biggest toy property in the world. It quickly spawned some successors, Transformers and GI Joe and in the course of a couple of years it went from being the most popular toy franchise to a dying one. Just check out this little piece from Topless Robot where in the comments section everyone basically admits to giving up MOTU as soon as GI Joe hit.

But Masters of the Universe is back in this MattyCollector.com exclusive series. Critics of the original toyline will tell you that it was a cheap line for Mattel to produce because the figures had very little new tooling. But I’ll point you back to the same Topless Robot article where you see that they actually had TONS of unique sculpting, it was just the first couple of waves that had lots of reuse.

Still reuse is the name of the game nowadays and MOTUC certainly has some reuse. But the unique sculpted elements are truly awesome and it’s one of the areas of mix and match that really makes Mer-Man shine. Let’s break it down, shall we?

Packaging:
I’m so not a packaging guy. I’ve said this 1,000 times. Yet I really feel compelled to talk about the package a bit. There’s something so freaking beautiful about the MOTUC packages. I don’t know if it’s the stone Castle Greyskull paper, the little retro indented bubble or the old school card back with file card and VINTAGE picture. Mattel has really put some work into the packaging and they should be applauded for that. There’s even lightning bolts shooting down the package.

The contrast of red, blue, silver, green and yellow colors really work. It looks retro, but looks new too. It’s a really nice package and I rarely say that. It’s a standard card with bubble attached which isn’t great for collectors because you have to rip it open. It’s glued not taped.

Inside is a nice bubble card and NO TWIST TIES! Of course there are those clear rubber bands which can be even worse in some instances, but I cut those with scissors and Mer-Man came out of the package very easily. His trident is bent in the package, so one of the ends of it is bent when you remove it but it’s not terrible. His sword was a bit of a pain to get out, but it comes out none the less with no damage.

Articulation:
Fish people need lots of articulation. I’ve always said that. Mer-Man is a fish person, so he has plenty of articulation. From the feet up he has, hinged ankles, standard knees, swivel ball socket thighs, waist cut, ab crunch, ball joint swivel shoulders, ball swivel upper deltoids, cut wrists, regular elbows and a ball jointed head. That’s quite a mouthful! I think I need to trademark the term “ball swivel upper deltoids” because I just made that up.

This is more than enough articulation to get this guy into all sorts of poses. The original MOTU figures pretty much had one or two poses. This guy has plenty. The articulation is pretty tight, but loosens up quickly. Especially if you throw him down on the floor (more on that later) but he remains poseablility even as he loosens up.

Sculpt:
Remember how I said critics of the original line commented how much reuse their was? Well that’s certainly true of some early He-Man figures (But not on Grizzlor, Modulok, Mosquitor and countless others fanboys!) and Mer-Man was one who used them. Mer-Man has the same feet as Skeletor. The basic MOTU body and Skeletor’s wrists.

But does he look like Skeletor? No not at all. That’s where reuse can be useful. Unlike DCUC which basically repaints the same bodies over and over as new characters, MOTUC really uses the parts wisely with new sculpted elements and armor to create different looks.


Two heads are better than one.

What all is new on Mer-Man? For starters he has new hands. These are gloved hands but still have little claws underneath so we know his fingers match his toes. He also only has three fingers. He also has a neck/gills sculpted onto the main body. This may be to help with his removable head, but even if they aren’t for that they help him look unique. Although they don’t look very good when he’s not wearing his armor.

The armor itself is very nice with a couple of cool jewel areas. The only downfall to them is that they’re painted rather boring. He has a spikey corn-cob looking armor that really stands out in it’s mustard yellow color. MOTUC figures are uniform and different at the same time.

The paint is excellent with almost no slop at all. I ordered several of these, some have better pain that others but I’d say overall the paint is very good. I like the washes on his loincloth and armor which really give him a nice accent. The same can be said for the skin wash.

His hands and head are made out of a more rubbery material which helps for posing with weapons and removing the head. You don’t have to worry about breaking the head or the ball joint because of the soft head. It’s also a bit of a throw back to the original He-Man mush heads.


It’s like that scene from Mechagodzilla!

Accessories:
Mer-Man’s most important accessory is the second swappable head. See, Mer-Man the figure looked different than his card art. So Mattel has went the extra mile and included BOTH heads. This is good because the 2002 MOTU Mer-Man had a head that reflected the original card art. Interestingly neither of these heads look like the original cartoon’s head which was a bit of a hybrid of the two designs.

I don’t have my original Mer-Man because I PLAYED with my toys and thus Mer-Man was probably in the scrap heap around 1990ish if he even survived that long. My mother also liked to throw my toys away. The bitch. But for whatever reason I had Mer-Man’s head for AGES in my toybox. I can safely tell you that this new Mer-Man head is almost identical to the original and yet… So much better.


I’m Mer-Man Bitch!

The second head makes Mer-Man look a bit goofy. Then again the first head is labeled the “cat” head because of his strange ears. Anyway, goofy head Mer-Man is pretty sweet too. I think you could use this head as a good guy if you wanted.

His other accessories are his removable armor, with a cool sheath for his sword. His strange corn-cob sword which I still don’t understand but hey who’s gonna argue with a fish? (Beastman of course!) And a pretty cool trident. There’s a bunch of hullabaloo about how Mer-Man can’t hold both weapons at once because of his open left hand. But that left hand is a weapon in itself because it allows him to give vicious Hollywood Hogan back rakes to his enemies.

Additional Notes:
Since the MOTUC line is so expensive and rare, I haven’t been taking them out of the package. Well, that’s not entirely true. The first figure was King Greyskull and I did indeed take him out of the package. His flippin’ foot broke about 3 seconds out of the package and since then I swore I wouldn’t take them out of the package until I had a good reason. So I bought a few extra Mer-Men to dick around with. Upon opening him I went to post him and threw him on the floor. I actually tried to catch him, but he bounced around my hands and then hit my cat’s scratching post, avoided the soft carpet floor and crashed onto the harder tile floor. Such is life. I’m happy to report he didn’t break at all. Which makes him 100X tougher than that ret-con bitch King Greyskull.


Handy for holding Corn-Cob swords…

Value:
Look this figure costs nearly $30. It’s $20 for the figure and $8.50 give or take for the shipping. If this figure was at Wal-Mart for $30 I’d punch the manager in the face. But since it’s online exclusive and limited runs (Limited to usually like 20 minutes) I’m willing to let it slide. It’s no great value, but for nerds like me who want to relive their childhood it’s an alright deal. It’s certainly better than those who pay $150 for a Barbie doll, err, I mean Sideshow toy. 😉

Score Recap:
Packaging – 9
Sculpting – 8
Articulation – 9
Accessories – Trident, Cob Armor, Cob Sword, Goofy Head
Value – 7.5
Overall – 8.5 out of 10

Mer-Man was cool in the cartoon because he talked like he had water in his mouth. I wonder if the actor actually did? He was all gargling and crap. Look, I love this figure. Mer-Man is just quirky enough and yet cool enough to be a badass. Let’s face it, Mer-Man and Beastman were Rocksteady and Bebop before Rocksteady and Bebop were Rocksteady and Bebop (Confusing much?). He’s a cool figure and it’s nice to have a MOTUC figure out of the package. At the price point you should probably consider him if you’re a fan but if you’re not, it’s a total pass. MOTU fans will love him. I should mention mine has a stress line on his knee joint which is pretty inexcusable at this price point, but it doesn’t look like a thing that will actually cause him to break.

Go get yourself a Mer-Man when he goes on sale again for a second run on April 29th. Or don’t. I don’t give a fuck.

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