Thursday, January 2, 2014

Toy Review - Masters of the Universe Classics Lord Dactus from Mattel

I feel like such a fraud. I always claim that the 2002 Masters of the Universe cartoon is my favorite iteration of the franchise – and it is – but then Mattel puts out a character like Lord Dactus or… uh… Chef Lion Face… that I do not remember from the series at all.
Luckily for me, my baseline for liking MOTUC figures isn’t “do I know this character?”, it’s “does this figure look awesome?” This means that I waited for Chief Carnivus to go on sale and only bought him because I was buying something else and decided “why not?”, but was happily expecting Lord Dactus.
Unfortunately, I have nothing else to say about Dactus. Let me be lazy today. I've got a lot going on.
First Glance: Dactus appears to be even larger than Draego-Man. He really fills up the packaging. And I dig the color palette.
Articulation: Lord Dactus has the same articulation as any other MOTUC figure, but his legs are so interesting I could’ve sworn they were different.
Head – ball joint
Shoulders – ball joints
Biceps - swivels
Elbows –pivots
Wrists – swivels
Torso - pivot
Waist – swivel
Hips – ball joints
Thighs – swivels
Knees –pivots
Boot Tops - swivels
Ankles – pivots
Dactus’ head has all kinds of business hanging off of it that would lead you to believe that it isn’t going to move very much. It’s deceptive, because there’s actually a pretty good range of movement.
It’s amazing the difference a weird sculpt can make. The giant, taloned feet on this figure make it seem like there are extra points of articulation somewhere, or at the least different ones from the standard figure. But those are just regular old MOTUC legs. Nothing special. The only difference is the size of the feet and the angle at which they are joined to the calves.
All of the joints on my figure move freely and are solid. Dactus can hold a pose.
Sculpt: Lord Dactus has new hands, feet, and a new head. Every other part of the main body comes from other figures.
The head is a massive, pointy thing that is unlike anything else we’ve seen in MOTUC. It has a great, angular look that is clearly from the 2002 cartoon. The ears are huge and the ridges, notches, and folds in the sculpt are great. Obviously this is a very distinctive face – almost to the point that it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the line. If you just go straight from Beast Man to Dactus it doesn’t work. But if you sort of ease into Dactus via Grizzlor, Leech, Mantenna, and maybe Draego-Man (assuming you’ve accepted him); then he works.
I like Dactus’ headgear. It’s kind of like a combination between a pilot’s hat and a samurai helmet.
The rest of Dactus’ sculpt helps him blend in as well. The base from the knees to the wrists is just a regular MOTUC body. It works perfectly well and the different parts are enough to distinguish the figure.
The hands are massive and clawed – the kind where you wonder how Dactus actually does anything. Going after an inconvenient booger would result in an instant lobotomy. But the hands look cool and the extra portion of wrist bracer sculpted on gives the whole arm a different look, despite the fact those are just Skeletor’s forearms.
The new feet are giant and monstrous and use the same trick as the hands. The calves are just Skeletor’s, but the different angle of the hinge and the extension of the grieves gives an entirely different look. Another advantage of the big ol’ feet is that Dactus has great balance – something important in a winged figure.
Coloring: Lord Dactus’ color scheme is simple and appealing, and also different from any of the other MOTUC figures.
The head has the most detail. The eyes and teeth are applied well and I particularly like the darker burgundy shape on the front of the helmet. The facial markings are very bright and thick – a tough trick with such a light color.
The rest of the body is pretty simple – light blue and burgundy. All of the colors are applied well. There’s no blotching or bleeding into the wrong areas. The most important thing is that all of the colors match very well across several different materials. Mattel seems to have gotten this down pat.
Flair: Lord Dactus has a ton of what I categorize as “flair” – parts that are separate from the basic body of the figure that may or may not be removable (and that I don’t want to bother with removing because I don’t feel that the figure was intended to be displayed that way). He has a new piece of chest armor and a new skirt/tail. He shares wings with Draego-Man and Granamyr.
In a perfect world these wings would be different – longer and without the scales, more bat-like. But we all know how MOTUC works and I have to say that these do look fine. They plug into the back of the chest armor, which is a new piece. The holes provide a tight fit and you don’t have to worry about the wings just popping out while you’re posing them.
The chest armor is made of rubber. I love the design of this thing and the attached shoulder pieces look great and add a lot to Dactus’ profile. They flex fairly well and don’t interfere too much with arm movement. Also, the sides don’t seem to prevent the arms from hanging naturally as much as some of the other MOTUC figures’ armor does.
The skirt and tail look great. They are made from the same material as the chest armor and hang well without interfering with posing. The paint job is good and I like the fact that there is a shape on the top of the skirt to match the one on Dactus’ helmet.
Accessories: Lord Dactus comes with a totally kickass new sword that was made in China, but less obviously than some of the other MOTUC weapons. The despised “China” stamp was placed on the crosspiece in a darker part of the weapon, so it isn’t as apparent. It’s still there and I still hate it, but at least Matty tried this time.
The sword itself is awesome. It’s a firm plastic that managed to not warp in the package. The crosspiece is bat-like and the blade has a unique shape that stands out from other MOTUC swords without being too weird. The paint job is one of the best I’ve seen on a weapon in this line, with five (FIVE!) different colors, all precisely applied.
Sometimes I’ll bitch about a figure only having one accessory, but not when it’s all that was needed.
Packaging: The standard MOTUC blister card. I love the blister and this is probably my favorite modern toy packaging. I think the best thing about it is that Mattel has kept the design consistent through the life of the series. That does not often happen. Granted, I open all of my figures, but for the folks who leave them in the package it must be nice to have one line that actually all matches.
If you have scared somebody off, why do you need to attack them? And I’ve never mentioned this before, but all of the little trademark bullshit in the bios drives me nuts. Couldn’t Matty just put a little disclaimer underneath with a list of the registered names?
Value: One of the rare MOTUC figures that I feel okay about paying thirty-four bucks for. I’m not saying Dactus is actually worth that, but compared to most of the other figures in the line he seems like a better deal.
Overall: Lord Dactus is one of those figures that I might recommend to any toy collector. He’s fun, he looks great, and he doesn’t scream, “He-Man figure”. He could fit nicely into any collection. I can’t imagine how Mattel could have done him much better.
5 out of 5
Check out eBay or BigBad if you need one. It might be pricey, but this is a solid figure.

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