Monday, November 19, 2012

Toy Review – Masters of the Universe Classics Mekanek By Mattel

I’m not entirely sure how excited I was about Mekanek. I never had any particular feelings about him when I was a kid, but he also wasn’t one of the ones I disliked. I guess the more human a character seemed the less interested I was in them. Granted, a dude with a twenty foot long cyborg neck isn’t all that human. Until you compare him to the fish man and the giant, anthropomorphic leech.
I think part of the reason I don’t get more excited about this guy is that he has kind of a one note feature. If you’re lost in the woods you’re going to be glad to have Mekanek with you because otherwise you might have to climb a tree or call Stratos or something. But on the battlefield he just isn’t that useful other than as a regular warrior. When you’re pals with two entire races of flying people, a guy who can peek over a two-story castle at best just isn’t all that great.
I do, however, think Mekanek would be great for morale. Let’s be honest – he could put on any number of bawdy plays to entertain the troops. Between him and Man-E-Faces Randor has a veritable USO show.

So as a character Mekanek may not be all that great. But he makes a pretty solid toy, particularly in the feature-challenged Masters of the Universe
Classics line. As much as I tend to hate action features on action figures, I find myself looking forward to the ways that the Four Horsemen figure their way around things. For example –
  • How the Horsemen did Tallstar. The original toy would have had extending limbs, but the Horsemen incorporated plug-in extension pieces. It worked very well and looked great. Well, except for the neck.
  • The original Leech would have been a really stupid figure if his head and hands hadn’t been suction cups. But the Horsemen had to figure out a way to make him work without those features and they did.
  • The whole point of Thunder Punch He-Man was to incorporate caps into an action figure. Today, caps are so lethal and dangerous that the Imperial Federal Government would shut down any toy manufacturer that even mentioned the word. That’s why any headwear accessories are always referred to as “hats”. So why should Matty even bother releasing a MOTUC Thunder Puncher? For the challenge, that’s why! And the Horsemen were up for it. Even without his signature feature, this He-Man variant was still awesome.
  • Without his wheeled zipping action, the original Orko would have been an extremely lame toy, but the MOTUC Orko… well… you can’t win ‘em all.
So I’ve got to say I was very excited to see how Mekanek would turn out, even if I wasn’t necessarily stoked about owning the character.
First Glance: In hand he does look good. Even without the neck feature Mekanek is still a pretty solid figure. There’s enough style that he doesn’t seem generic.
Articulation: Mekanek
Head – ball joint
Shoulders – ball joint
Biceps – swivel
Elbows – pivot
Wrists – swivel
Abdomen – pivot
Waist – swivel
Hips – ball joint
Thighs – swivel
Knees – pivot
Calves - swivel
Ankles – rocker joint
Mine has loose ankles, which is a big problem with a character this top-heavy. I had to lean him against Castle Grayskull on my shelf. Other than that all of his joints are functional. His head pops off easily – as do most MOTUC figures’ – and the neck extensions plug in with just a bit of effort.
Sculpt: I love this guy’s head. It looks like a Doctor Who alien. It’s seriously out of 60’s sci-fi. The Horsemen produced a clean, angular sculpt that stands out among all of the other weird noggins in the MOTUC line. I like how his goggles look like they’re squinting. I kind of wish he had a little smile than his case of dour-mouth, but it’s not a big deal – just preference. For some reason I think of Mekanek as being cheerful and excited. Perhaps it’s the phallic thing.
His body is the standard He-Man body, but with matching studded wristbands. I know this is how he’s supposed to look, but his body isn’t very exciting. I think it would have been really cool to have Roboto’s arms and legs on this guy. I mean, it would have pissed people off because it was wrong, but it would have looked cool.
Mekanek sports the shorter fur loin cloth and it works. For whatever reason I do think he looks better with the short one. Perhaps it’s the dichotomy of the short loin cloth and the long neck. Or perhaps I just wanted to say “dichotomy”.
The boots are the one thing I really would have changed. I like silver and I like furry boots, but I do not like silver furry boots. I think He-Ro’s boots would have been way better here.
Coloring: The body may be a bit bland, but I do totally dig the color scheme. The red, blue, and silver with the dark brown and metallic green of the loin cloth and belt looks great.
The head is very bold. The red and silver of the goggles and helmet really draw the eye on top of the Caucasian-tone jaw. And that is one thing I like a lot about Mekanek’s design - he just has a few little pieces of exposed flesh. He would pass for a robot if not for those. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but that really appeals to me for some reason.
The metallic green of the wristbands and the belt is a great accent. Without these pieces the other colors might seem a little bland. There’s also some nice highlighting on these pieces.
If they absolutely had to go with silver furry boots, I do wish they had used a darker color for the trim. Maybe not black, but a very dark grey would have looked better, I think.
All of the apps on my Mekanek are tight and accurate. I didn’t notice any spots that had the black plastic problem. As a matter of fact, Mekanek has this feel like he belongs to late 2011/early 2012’s crop of figures. The last few months have been a little rough, quality-wise, so it was nice to have one without a single glaring problem in that department.
Flair: Mekanek is sporting Stinkor’s chest gear. It’s exactly the same minus the rebreather plug-in thingy. I don’t understand how or why, but it works just as well for Mekanek as it did for ol’ Stinky. I particularly like the way they did the colors. The silver portions help to make this piece look much different from Stinkor’s orange vest even though it isn’t.
Accessories: Mekanek comes with two different neck extension pieces and a big, yellow bat.
I’ve hated that stupid fucking bat ever since I was a kid. It’s too long and goofy. I don’t like the weird diamond patterns. And what’s with the divot in the top? Do they eat ice cream out of the fucking things? I mean, I’m sure it would totally suck to get your head caved in with this thing, but mainly because you got killed by such a stupid-looking piece of shit.
The neck pieces look great. The circuits and wires and stuff sculpted on look genuinely good and not like just a bunch of busy crap like, oh, that bat. I love that Matty gave us two different-length pieces. This is how they made up for his neck not actually extending. What we got is actually better because his neck goes way longer than it would’ve. The pieces take a bit of effort to snap into place, but better that than if they were too loose. And yes – you can combine them to create what I call “Ridikunek”:
Packaging: It’s the regular MOTUC blister card. Still neat and still effective. Here’s his bio:
The fact that his neck is magic rather than science seems a little off to me. It’s fine that the Sorceress healed him, but I always thought Duncan fitted him with the neck.
Value: $28.70 (including shipping) is a bit steep. Mekanek is fine, but he is not one of the more outstanding toys from the line visually. I suppose I should cut him some slack because the neck was done so well, but I won’t.
Overall: A couple of little tweaks here and there could have made Mekanek a true must-have figure. As it is I don’t think I would be too heartbroken if I had missed him. But MAtty did a very good job recreating the vintage figure.

4 out of 5

But, he is Mekanek and he is a valuable member of the Masters (in stories, anyway). If you need him, you can check out BigBad or eBay.


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