Review > Teela (Masters of the Universe Classics)

teela2Whew! After all that chaos and uncertainty, Teela is finally here.

I’ll forgo the tempting-but-predictable “sausage fest” jokes about the current state of Masters of the Universe Classics and simply say that Teela, the line’s first female figure, is a welcome addition.

The story of Teela’s creation for the original 1980s MOTU line, and how that conception was later woven into the various continuities, is pretty damned complicated. The original sketch of the character we know as Teela was called simply a “female warrior.” Since it was known even in those earliest stages that MOTU would re-use a lot of parts between figures, there was also a sketch of a character called the Sorceress, who would use the same basic body as the female warrior but have a snake-themed helmet and staff.

From here the story gets murky, but somehow the design labeled “Sorceress” got labeled “Teela” on the toys themselves, but the early mini-comics mixed up Teela and the Sorceress all the time (sometimes referred to as the Goddess, or even the Warrior-Goddess). In one mini-comic she was actually colored green.

The cartoon series put an end to it all, with the figure’s design (sans snake armor and staff) being called Teela, captain of the king’s guard, and the Sorceress having a completely different design. But the “Green Goddess” idea continues on, and we’re even getting a translucent repaint of the character (with a new-tooled staff) in December.

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Packaging: Mattel seems to be doing a better job of keeping mint-on-card collectors in mind when they position the figure in the package. I still don’t like when they put the weapons in their hands, though for my Teela it doesn’t seem to have hurt the grip any.

As always, I love the classic look of the packaging design, which evokes not the original single-figure cards but the more interesting artwork on the various vehicles and playsets.

Design & Sculpt: This is the Four Horsemen‘s first female body for this line and is going to see a lot of re-use, so I hope you like it. Fortunately, I do. There have been some complaints, legitimate I think, about the tendency of the Horsemen’s female warriors to be a bit too slender, but Teela has some real meat on her bones. I would have liked a bit more muscle in the biceps perhaps, but the legs and torso look great. Even the breasts are of a natural-looking size, neither too big nor too small.

The rest of the sculpt is great too, particularly the detail on the outfit. As I’ve said before, I think this is the first MOTUC figure to look all-around better than its 2002 version. The head in particular came out a lot better (though how much of that is due to the vagaries of the production process in both cases is a fair question). The facial sculpt doesn’t seem to be based on the cartoon Teela, nor any specific incarnation of the character as far as I can tell, but it’s evocative of both the cartoon and the comics.

The snake-armor and alternate head is also well-sculpted, and you can pop the head out of the snake armor if you want to have a helmeted Teela.

On a side note, I’m fine with the size of her much-discussed butt, but your mileage may vary.

Another side note: Teela is quite tall, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with He-Man. Some fans have expressed disappointment with this. As someone who married a woman the same height as himself (6′), I’m keeping my mouth shut.

Plastic & Paint: There’s not a lot of intricate paint work on MOTUC figures, but what there is on this figure is clean and neat, for the most part. I like the gold color chosen for the armor. The light brown of the boots and the darker brown of the boot-straps corrects the old monotony of the original figure.

The paint work on the snake-armor is excellent as well–it’s a shame I’ll almost never be displaying her with it, because it came out great.

Articulation: Here’s where this figure both lost a raven, then gained the half-raven back.

As you’d expect, Teela has most of the standard MOTUC articulation: a ball jointed head, ball jointed shoulders and hips, hinged elbows, knees and ankles, and swivel joints at the biceps, wrists, and the top of the boots. The Horsemen were also able to give her true side-to-side ankle joints that allow for some great side-to-side range.

She does not have an abdomen hinge, which was a design decision that is apparently going to hold true for all MOTUC females going forward. However, she allegedly does have a waist swivel–it’s just unusable due to the tight plastic used for the outfit.

Also, on my figure, the ball jointed head is very loose. It’s almost like a bobblehead. I can get it into the poses I want, but a good bump to the desk and Teela’s going to be looking down. It seems to be due to the small size of the ball joint, which, by the way, you should be very careful with when swapping heads.

So, the lack of a waist-swivel and the bobble head cost Teela an entire raven. HOWEVER–thanks to her narrow torso, Teela can do something no Masters of the Universe Classics figure so far has been able to do: she can hold her sword in both hands. It’s something I value highly in sword-wielding action figures. That, combined with the great ankle articulation, brings her back up a half-raven.

Accessories: Teela comes with the two heads, the removable snake armor, the snake staff (which, incidentally, is intended to be a bit twisted), her shield, her sword, and Zoar the falcon.

Of the weapons I like the sword the most due to the great detail and paint work. There’s some slight slop on one of the jewels, but other than that it looks excellent. The head of the snake staff is nicely detailed as well.

Then there’s Zoar. I’ve heard Zoar was the original intended use for this sculpt, and was later used for the animal form of Jayna in the infamous SDCC DCUC Wonder Twins exclusive. The falcon can perch on Teela’s staff when it’s held horizontally.

I loved the original Zoar toy, and I wanted to like this one too, but the gripping claws and lack of some sort of perch make Zoar a bit of a letdown. I miss the blue on the wings and tail, although Mattel has hinted we may see another version of Zoar down the line. Without the blue, though, I’m not really clear on who this Zoar is supposed to be–even on the cartoon she had blue feathers.

Quality Control: There’s the aforementioned looseness of the ball jointed head, but other than that, I have no visible problems with my Teela.

Overall: Teela’s addition to MOTUC is overdue (I wouldn’t say long overdue, but overdue) and I’m sure the heroes are glad to finally have another, non-dead addition to their ranks (King Grayskull and He-Ro having lived in ancient times, according to the continuity).

By January, we’ll have two more women added to the MOTUC ranks (Green Goddess and Adora), and I’m willing to bet we’ll see at least one more by the end of 2010.

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Comments now closed (29)

  • I'm happy with mine and do like the sculpt for the most part. I would have liked her a touch shorter, but height differences aren't something I complain about too much. I don't care much for the snake/helmeted head and staff though I'm glad for those who like them. Zoar is strange without the blue feathers.

  • I really like Teela, she makes the MOTUC line really feel like a collection. Maybe its her female presence, or maybe because Skeletor's minions outnumbered He-Man, Stratos, and Man-At-Arms, but now with an additional heroic warrior, it really helps tip the scale and makes it feel a little more whole.

    I really like the facial sculpt, and I'm not sure if its just me, but I do notice a slight difference between the two heads. I think they did her right though, giving her strong facial features, but not making her look too stern. My Teela's ball jointed head is also very loose. I wonder how problematic this is with the line. QC wise, the only other problem I noticed was a small chip of plastic missing from the top her right arm.

    Zoar is a bit disappointing, the sculpt is great, but missing that blue on the wings makes him look like an orange falcon. With no perch, I've got her flying out of the window of Castle Grayskull.

  • I actually wound up making the ring that came with Tri-Klops Zoar's perch. Turn it on its face and it rests nice and flat, and the bird's talons fit on the ring portion perfectly.

  • It's the original red Zoar from the mini-comics–when Zoar was a "he" and spoke. The reason why it's so unrecognizable is because there's no green armor with missiles.

    The Zoar everyone is used to is The Sorceress from Filmation.

  • Another great review, Poe! I love your style. Just a lot of fun to read, and very thorough. Keep up the great work, my friend!

  • Just echoing MegaGearX, This is the "card back" color variant of Zoar the Fighting Falcon. Pulled just from the old toy packaging art. Expect the common orange and blue Zoar in a future release. Also expect armor and a perch for possibly both of these birds. This red Zoar would have a green perch and armor. ;)

    Great review Poe! My Sub Teela will be waiting for me when I get home tonight! He-Man will be one happy figure. LOL!

  • I thought for sure when Mattel mentioned recoloring Zoar for a later release, that the repainted version would come with the Green Goddess. Sadly, not the case.

    And I'd guess we'll never get the green armor for this Zoar, unless they create an accessory pack, which seems a little unlikely to me.

  • Heli, according to Toyguru on He-Man.org, if they create an accessory pack it will be from existing parts–no new tooling. So if they make some red armor for the Filmation Zoar, then it stands to reason that an accessory pack might have a green version.

  • Usual bang-up job on the review Poe.

    I'll get mine around Feburary thanks to Matty's more-incompetent-than-usual dispatch this month and the continuing state of Postal Anarchy in this blighted Nation but hey – For a whole week I didn't even know if I would actually get one and I can always look at the pictures here to remind me it does in fact exsist. So that's all good.

  • my teela has a similar issue w/ the head joint, but oddly, it's the bottom ball that wobbles in the neck. the ball in her skull fits very snugly. that was my one real gripe on the fig, the head doesn't appear to rest on the neck… from the back, you can clearly see the post.

    as for the waist, if you're not getting movement, you're still paint sealed… she doesn't get great motion, but she moves. same advice i told someone else, grab her firmly way up those honeyed thighs and twist the torso hard, the waist will move.

    BTW, have you lifted the shirt portion thing in the back? you know she actually doesn't have a butt right? the butt is a sculpted divet in the onesie… that's funny.

    and this leads me to my next ask matty question… any chance of a new DCU chick hip that resembles the engineering of teela more than the standard DCUC hip? cuz especially w/ the girls, the smooth thighs are a huge plus. i'd pay 30 bucks for a power girl w/ teela's legs.

  • @PrfktTear: You are correct about all Green Goddess' accessories except the snake staff. She will actually have a new staff (more like a spear) based on the "female warrior" figure design Poe references above!

  • I don't get why people are complaining about Teela's height.

    Match her up to the original He-Man figure and they are alomost the same height!

  • I got her and she is quite a nice figure. She has one of the prettier faces I've seen the 4H do, although I still sincerely hope that one day Mattel can do a Filmation Teela.

    Believe it or not, despite how huge of a 200X fan I am, I do not like that sword. I think it's an ugly design. But the staff is all I need for her anyway.

    I do wish she were shorter though. It would make He-Man more imposing. (Not to mention guys like Whiplash or Clawful).

  • @Richard & Poe: You're right about the staff, I guess I wasn't thinking.

    I can't decide about whether or not I like Teela best with the sword or staff. It was the same for me with the 2002 Teela. I happened to compare her with the 2002 She-Ra, and the engravings on the shield are nearly identitical. I'm not sure about Teela's shield though. I think this Teela's facial sculpt is superior in all ways, I never really warmed up to the '02 Teela, and She-Ra's didn't come out that great either.

  • Excellent review Poe.

    Need to get Teela. I think they should do Evil Lyn before Adora.

  • Nice review, looking foward to her in December with the rest of my subscription.

    But I do have one complaint:

    "she can hold her sword in both hands."

    "The falcon can perch on Teela’s staff when it’s held horizontally."

    It would be nice to see these in pictures.

  • 6' wifey? Hot.

    Teela, on the other hand… I dunno. I really liked the 200X Teela, and this one just doesn't impress me in the same way. Must be the lack of flowing hair! That one's face also had some personality to it, whereas this MOTUC Teela's expression seems kinda dull. She looks almost bored… or very, very tired.

    I mean, I know He-Man's all about stamina, but maybe he should let the girl get some sleep once in a while!

    Great review, Poe. :D

  • This is quite possibly the best female figure in this scale I've ever seen. The paint apps on the skin and the two-piece torso make a huge difference. When I got the subscription I had intended to resell a lot of the figures at cost or give them to friends…but each sculpt has so many merits apart from my nostalgia for the characters in this line, I keep opening the damn things. I think this officially means I'm back off the toy wagon, so to speak, collecting a whole line. And it started with your reviews, Poe. But that's another story. Incidentally: is the snake armour glued to the alternate head? Or is it just a tight fit? I don't want to go ripping anything, but i suspect the armour will be easier to apply after getting the helmet-head on separately…

  • My head popped out of hte snake armor too. It didn't pop right out, I think I had to push mine out from the chin for it to come out okay tho.

  • Mine has two left forarms, anyone else have this problem?

    Other than that she is probably the best looking female figure I own. I'm so glad she doesn't have the cut thigh that i think looks so ugly on the Wonder Woman