Monday, August 22, 2011

Toy Review – Masters of the Universe Classics: Queen Marlena/Captain Glenn - SDCC Exclusive By Mattel

I briefly entertained the idea of doing separate reviews for Queen Marlena and Captain Glenn since I will be getting one of each. Then I realized that was stupid, so here we go.
Oddly enough this will be my first San Diego Comic Con Exclusive Masters of the Universe Classics figure. I didn’t get into the line full-bore until last year, so I missed out on King Grayskull and He-Ro (who I think were the previous exclusives). And then last year’s exclusive was a two-pack of characters I absolutely despised as a kid and continue to dislike to this day – Orko and Prince Adam. It’s funny; I didn’t know anybody that didn’t hate Orko with a passion back in the 80’s, yet he sold like fucking crazy last year.

But this year’s Exclusive item is a huge win in a couple of ways. First, she is part of Eternia’s Royal Family. Since we already have that ugly-ass King Randor figure, we needed his lovely wife as well. We may not ever get any kind of castle diorama or playset for them to inhabit, but they can rule over our MOTUC shelves just fine.
The second great thing is that Mattel looked back to Her Royal Majesty’s origins of being a space explorer from Earth who gets stranded on Eternia. That’s how we ended up with the extra pieces to make the outstanding 50’s sci-fi inspired Captain Glenn. Granted, this does not address the fact that Mattel has stated that Eternians are supposed to average seven feet tall and Earthlings average about a foot less as an attempt to explain the scale discrepancies in their DCUC/MOTUC 2-packs; so technically this figure should be around six inches tall rather than matching up with the rest of the MOTUC line. Maybe Captain Glenn was in the WNBA as well as being an intergalactic traveler.
Anyway, I was lucky enough to have some very kind friends help me out with getting some of the Matty goodies directly from San Diego (thank you so much Monkey, Evil and Melissa – I owe you all adult beverages at Dragon*Con). And that’s kind of a bigger deal than anybody will ever realize. Let’s just say that I feel very blessed to have the group of friends and family I have right now. And yes, I can get sentimental over getting a few toys. So the point is I got a Queen Marlena.
I also got online on 8/1 and endured Matty’s infamous WSOD for over half an hour so that I could order a Captain Glenn (and, as it turns out, a Blazing Sword Voltron). I didn’t really care about how this figure was packaged, but I did want to have each look displayed and I didn’t want to overburden the kind person that picked everything up in San Diego by ordering two Marlenas. That damn Swamp Thing was big enough.
First Glance: This is a larger-than-usual package for a MOTUC figure. Now that I think about it, I guess Orko probably was as well. I’ll never know because I don’t buy irritating pieces of shit. Also I totally forgot Cringer was in here. He’s bigger than I thought he would be.
Mrs. Troublemaker – “She looks like an old lady. Like, a middle-aged lady. That’s really funny.”
Me – “Well, she is He-Man’s mom. She’s not exactly a spring chicken.”
Mrs. Troublemaker – “I just think it’s funny she has that middle-aged-lady paunch.”
I’ve always referred to that paunch as the “Pants Football” because it looks like these ladies have a football tucked into their pants just under the belt. The worst case was this crazy-ass drama teacher I had my senior year of high school:
Sculpt: The base body seems like the standard MOTUC female buck. I could swear the shoulders have a slightly wider range of motion than She-Ra and Evil-Lyn, but then I’ve never tried to make either of those hold anything with a close two-handed grip. Most of this portion of the figure is as basic as basic can be since the torso is meant to be covered. Marlena has the She-Ra boots, which work well for both looks. Those hip joints are unsightly as all get-out, but like I said – they’re meant to be covered.
The Queen Marlena head looks very much like the Filmation version, but slightly more realistic. The little crown is very nice and is a more detailed version of what was in the cartoon. The Horsemen are so good at that sort of thing.
I could be wrong, but it seems to me the Captain Glenn head looks a bit younger than the Marlena version. It’s probably more in the paint than the sculpt. Glenn has a short pony tail that adds a little more youth to the character without interfering with the space helmet.
I’m going to cover the dress and space gear under accessories since they are all separate, removable parts of the figure.
Design: The basic body is green with painted flesh tone on the chest. Much like the hip joints this is ugly, but it isn’t meant to be seen. The hands are also a flesh tone with nails painted on. This is fine for the Queen, but I wish we had gotten an alternate set of gloved (or at least painted to look gloved) hands for Captain Glenn.
Feminist Batgirl – “Now this is what I’m talking about! A strong female presence in the toy aisles!”
Me – “Well, Stephanie – um… this one is online only. Won’t be showing up at Toys R Us.”
Feminist Batgirl – “Still, a woman who not only is a powerful leader but was also once an independent explorer! An exciting role model to be proud of!”
Me – “Yeah, one that crashed her vehicle into a planet. Women drivers…”
Feminist Batgirl – “You are such an asshole.”
Me – “Hey, those planets can really just sort of jump out at you.”
Both heads have nice paint jobs. There’s a very slight difference in the way the two are done and it serves the differences in the character well. Marlena’s crown has a tight, clean app and the painted circle around the base of Glenn’s pony tail is a nice touch.
Accessories: Here’s where this figure becomes something really special. We’ll start with Cringer since we haven’t talked about him yet.
A lot of people were complaining about how small this non-articulated figure is. I think he’s just fine. If you go back and watch the original cartoon there are times when Battle Cat looks barely any larger than this. Those animators had some scale issues. It wasn’t until 2002 that Battle Cat was the large, imposing mount we think of today. He-Man actually looks a little silly riding around on Battle Cat sometimes back in the day. So it stands to reason that Cringer is going to be barely larger than a German Shepherd. 
The actual sculpt is very nice, with lots of detailing in the fur and a tremendous face. They really nailed the look of the Filmation feline; and the fact that his facial expression leads you to believe the Eternian Royal Veterinarian is elbow deep into a rectal exam makes it all the funnier. Cringer’s paint is great as well, matching up perfectly with Battle Cat’s. I like this figure a lot more than I thought I would; especially considering I completely forgot I was getting it.

Queen Marlena’s gear consists of a dress, a staff and a sword. The dress is a firm rubber that opens in the back via a fairly unobtrusive seam. It’s a bit difficult getting all the tabs and notches under the seam to line up when putting the dress on the figure, but they are secure enough once you get it done that it’s worthwhile. The dress has some shading painted on and the belt is a clean gold app. The staff comes slightly bent thanks to the fucktards at Matty who design the packaging. Some hot water and patience can correct that. I’m going to start charging Matty for all the hours I spend fixing their fucking products. The sword is a firmer plastic that was thankfully straight, but unfortunately lost a portion of its silver paint job while in the package. That’s okay – it wasn’t totally gone. It’s was on the front of Marlena’s damn dress. A little delicate scratching later and it was pretty much taken care of, though.
Melina – “Hello, everybody! It’s me, your Queen! I’m so excited about my new position as co-ruler of this Masters of the Universe toy shelf!”
Me – “Um, Melina – what are you doing?”
Melina – “What are you talking about? My name is Marlena, not Melina. Queen Marlena! Hee, hee.”
Me – “That dress doesn’t even fit you. And you don’t have a crown.”
Melina – “Dammit! That assclown Johnny Ace fired me last Friday for being too hot! And now I don’t have a job and my cat’s gotta eat and poor little John-John is all alone in the big, bad WWE and I just need something to do and I though being a queen would be pretty great and waaaah!”
Me – “Um, well – you can’t stay here. I don’t need that kind of drama on my shelves.”
Melina – “Oh, don’t get me started. That green fuzzy guy that smells like an air freshener can’t keep his hands off me. I think you need to discipline him.”
Me – “Okay, seriously. You need to get to steppin’.”
Melina – “But where am I going to go? What am I supposed to do? Waaaah!”
Feminist Batgirl – “Sister, you are pathetic.”
Finally, Captain Glenn’s accessories are a holster, blaster, rifle, space vest (?) with attached helmet and the faceplate for said helmet. There’s also a tunic that works in the same way as Marlena’s dress. The tunic fits fairly well on the figure but leaves a bit too much of those ugly hip joints exposed. I kind of wish they’d used the Battleground Teela hips for this one. The space vest fits perfectly over the tunic and has all kinds of cool details – painted panels, the sculpted interior of the helmet. 
Once you’ve replaced the figure’s head the faceplate fits just as perfectly onto the helmet, creating a look for Captain Glenn that’s very retro sci-fi. It once again makes me think how awesome it would be for Mattel to get a license to do Barbarella figures. Or Star Crash. How fucking awesome would that be? The holster slings around the waist in a very Han Solo fashion and the figure can hold both weapons in a variety of ways. 
The blaster looks like an old-school ray gun with some nice little painted details. The rifle is straight out of the live-action Masters movie. It looks great and also has some minute painted details that really make it pop.
Packaging: An oversized version of the standard MOTUC blister. I think this might be the only figure I’ve seen that actually fills up the packaging. The SDCC-Exclusive version comes in Queen Marlena packaging with the appropriate bio on the back. 
The version is packaged as Captain Glenn.
Overall: This is a great figure and in my opinion a great choice for an exclusive. Matty could have easily gotten away with simply releasing this as Marlena and saving Glenn for a quarterly variant but they went all out and gave us two options in one figure. 
Things like this are why it is so frustrating being a Matty fan. They do so many awesome things in creative ways we might never have even thought of; but they also have some of the shadiest and worst business practices of any toy company I’ve seen. I don’t know the whole story with Shocker Toys, but it seems to me that if anybody deserved to get broadsided at Comic Con it was Matty.
5 out of 5
This is a fantastic figure that is not only better than it needed to be but also is a rare great value from Matty. For twenty-five bucks I don’t see how you could have passed one up. Naturally you can get both versions from BigBadToyStore or other online retailers. Just know that there is zero difference in the figures – it’s just the packaging that varies.
Until next time, stay creepy

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