I never owned Grizzlor as a kid. I do recall thinking that, like Moss Man and Panthor, there was something uncool about the fact that he had fabric parts. Fur, flocking, and fabric clothes were always a turn-off to me as a kid, I think because it made the toy seem perishable. Flocking could wear off; fabric could tear or get filthy; fur could fall out. Plastic, on the other hand, was forever (or so it seemed to a kid, anyway).
And so I’m fairly sure I was never interested in Grizzlor, and though I recall seeing him in friends’ or cousins’ collections, I don’t have a lot of nostalgia attached to the character. However, I’ve re-familiarized myself with Grizzlor, as with many MOTU characters since the advent of the 200X line ten years ago (remember, the announcement came in 2000, even if the figures weren’t on shelves until 2002). And now I think he’s kind of cool.
That mostly comes from my love of monsters. Grizzlor is a big, hairy, classic-looking monster, and while the fur may have turned me off as a kid, as an adult I find it charming. Yes, on one level he’s a ridiculous furball with hair like Cher and the face she would have if hers weren’t 90% polypropylene, and if you can’t roll with that, you’re probably not going to like him.* But on another level, he’s a really fun addition to Masters of the Universe Classics (MOTUC).
Packaging: It’s the same packaging we’ve seen on MOTUC since day one, but this time we do get a nice “Evil Horde” sticker. I wish these were cardboard placards inside the bubble so that they could be collected, or perhaps an actual sticker could be included inside.
It’s worth noting that Grizzlor’s head hair looks absolutely ridiculous on card, due to the way the bubble fits around his head. As JVS3 noted on the Roast Gooble Dinner podcast, Grizzlor looks a lot like a Troll doll–or Don King on his worst day. The hair is somewhat covered by the big MOTUC logo, but that’s hardly comforting for MOC collectors.
Design & Sculpt: In his vintage toy incarnation, Grizzlor was truly a big furball–he looked a bit like those novelty Koosh balls with faces and arms from the 1990s. The 200X “Staction”–an action figure-sized statue–updated the character, minimizing the hairiness and making him look more like an actual warrior–or a Wookie, or perhaps Ookla from Thundarr the Barbarian. The Staction also came with a bevy of weapons: his trademark Horde crossbow, sword, a machete, an axe, a dagger, and six crossbow bolts. MOTUC Grizzlor is based primarily on the vintage figure, with a little bit of the Staction thrown in.
In terms of sculpting, much of Grizzlor is a re-use from earlier figures–the arms and legs are from Beast Man and Chief Carnivus, while his boots are from Hordak and Keldor. [Note: a commenter below points out that the boots do look different from Hordak’s, so they may be a new sculpt. Mea culpa for not checking more closely.] Grizzlor’s face is new, obviously, and I think his hands might be new–they look different from both Beast Man and Carnivus.
The face is glued on, but it was originally designed to be removable, as the Four Horsemen sculpted a second face in the style of the 200X Staction. Unfortunately, Mattel decided not to include the second face, disappointing many fans. Personally I don’t like the 200X head–I think the yellow headgear makes him look like a contestant on American Gladiators and diminishes his beast-like nature, like a horse with a bridle. But obviously it would have been a nice pack-in for fans, and it’s a shame Mattel didn’t give it to us. (Still, I’m happier with the extra weapons.)
The face sculpt is very reminiscent of the vintage figure, which means it of course resembles any number of other 1980s B-movie monsters like Critters or Hobgoblins. While definitely old-school, it has a lot of character.
As for the fur: as other review sites have noted, it’s sort of a big furry potato sack that’s sewed around his body. I think it looks good, though; the color and texture of the fur works for me, anyway.
The harness is removable, and can hold all his weapons–but I’ll discuss that more in the Accessories section, along with the loincloth.
Plastic & Paint: The figure is mostly molded in brown plastic, but there are some paint applications on the face, bracelets, fingernails, and boots. The paint apps are satisfactory for the most part, though the white on the teeth looks just a tad sloppy.
There is a stray bit of yellow paint on my Grizzlor’s arm–not something that annoys me all that much, but worth noting.
Articulation: Grizzlor features the standard MOTUC articulation: ball jointed head, ball jointed shoulders and hips, swivels at the biceps, wrists, top of the thighs, and top of the boots, and hinges at the elbows, knees and ankles. The side-to-side “rocker” movement of the ankles is minimal on my figure, but on the bright side, the forward-and-back aspect of the ankles are nice and tight (which seems to be a common thing for the Keldor boots–it’s the He-Man boots you have to watch out for).
Accessories: Hoo boy. This is where Grizzlor is way ahead of the pack. He comes with a removable loincloth, a removable Horde armband, an axe, a machete, a longsword, and his trademark Horde crossbow.
The loincloth is a reference to the 200X Staction. The skull shape on the loincloth was a reference to the Four Horsemen logo, and it’s reproduced here. [Evidently the Horsemen have stated that it is not a reference to their logo–myth busted!] I know a lot of fans don’t like the loincloth, claiming it doesn’t really work with the thicker body of the vintage Grizzlor. I see their point, and I’d been assuming I wouldn’t want to use the loincloth when I got him. But after messing around with the figure a bit, I decided I liked it; rather than looking wrong on the thicker body, I think it defines the figure’s shape a bit more, giving him the illusion of hips and making him look just a tad less like a giant furball.
Contrary to what a few reviewers have said, the crossbow is not identical to Hordak’s–it has a slightly different head, as you can see from the pic. It’s still in the same green/teal color of the vintage figure’s weapon. It also has some minor paint apps.
While the crossbow is neat, what I think most fans are excited about are the other weapons. They’re all silver, with some darker silver highlights here and there. Each one looks great, and every weapon can be snapped on to the harness on the back. As you’d expect, the weapons are a bit less detailed than their Staction counterparts (this review at Dork Dimension has a good comparison pic), but that’s because they’ve been “Classics-ized” by the Horsemen.
This was a brilliant way to work in some 200X features to the figure, and hey, who doesn’t love getting lots of accessories?
Quality Control: There have been reports of significant fur shedding on Grizzlor, but I haven’t noticed it on mine. I guess that doesn’t mean it’s not happening, but it’s not like the fur is peeling away in my hands.
Overall: As I said in my introduction, I don’t have much nostalgic fondness for Grizzlor, and I tend to hate fabric on toys, so I wasn’t particularly excited for him. However, he’s won me over with his furry charm. The fur of Grizzlor and the flocking of Moss Man gives one’s MOTUC collection a welcome variety of presentation (unlike, for example, rows upon rows of DCUC figures with the exact same bodies–which is less the fault of the toymakers than the superhero designers).
*I thought about going with a Robin Williams joke here, but hirsute references to Williams seem both passé and not necessarily obvious–when was the last time we saw Robin Williams with his shirt off onscreen? I can’t think of any modern celebrities who are well-known for body hair…maybe a pro wrestler?