One of the absolute best things about the original She-Ra: Princess of Power cartoon is that Swiftwind is voiced by what appears to be a chainsmoking mall Santa. Instead of choosing someone warm and soothing and appealing like, say, Twilight‘s Robert Pattinson to voice the talking horsie,* it was decided that a better option for selling the new pretty pink pony toy to little girls was the voice of the nearest gravelly-voiced hobo.** This pays off in spades, especially when the damn thing gets some action
unlike poor Bow and his mate pops out a kid. If this isn’t reason enough to get over the weirdness of being an adult male collector buying dollies to own the thing, then I don’t know what is.
One of the excellent things MattyCollector has done with these larger boxed toys is brought out variant figures of the central characters so that we can have one He-Man or Skeletor to display with the other characters and one to ride on their oversized magic kitten. I feel Battle Armor He-Man looks superior to regular He-Man on Battle Cat, and the MOTU promotional material tends to agree.
Packaging: Swiftwind comes in a huge window box, much bigger than the one for Battle Cat and Panthor, though with the same Grayskull-brick-style.
Design & Sculpt: The first thing one notes with Swiftwind is the amazing size of the steed, much bigger than the previous magical kitties. Perfectly in scale with the other MOTUC characters, Swiftwind is huge, standing about 8″ tall with an impressive 18″ wingspan. The design, although simple, is incredibly effective – the primary color is white, with the strong blue, pink and yellow adorning its wings and armor. I’m extremely glad the white color was used instead of the classic toy’s pink (which honestly make me think of Neapolitan ice cream), which wouldn’t have had nearly the striking and magnificent effect of this toy.
The entire sculpt has excellent detail: the underlying horse looks very realistic, and the magical additions stand out to make the toy feel perfectly in place alongside other MOTUC. The wings are removable, as is the saddle and the mask, which means you can nearly turn Swiftwind into an ordinary Spirit if you were so inclined, and while worn all are very stable as not to fall off during play. (I say “nearly” because the bridle is seemingly sculpted to the horse – this is unfortunate, but hardly a dealbreaker.)
The saddle is designed with divots enabling toys to ride Swiftwind and stay in place easily; Bubble Power She-Ra has no problem staying on Swiftwind, and other characters can also easily sit on the saddle to ride if you were so inclined
you weirdo. Even with a rider the wings still have complete movement, showing that a lot of thought went into the design of this toy. It’s fantastic.
Plastic & Paint: Swiftwind feels like a solid and playable toy. The fact that the wings – which are sculpted in a slightly softer plastic than the more solid horse – can be removed eases my worries about them breaking, and at the same time they’re also very stable and stay in place well. If one was so inclined to run around the room making Swiftwind fly in the air, I am certain that he would survive any inadvertent topple intact. The paint on Swiftwind is flawless. Although the main body is a simple white, shading brings out the detail all over the body, and there is no overspray on any of the bright rainbow-colored wings and armor.
Articulation: Swiftwind is super-articulated and I cannot imagine anywhere else it could have articulation. The wings are balljointed and can make a great flying movement with easy, and the legs are each jointed at the body, at the knee and at the hoof. Neck and head articulation allow Swiftwind’s head a full range of movement, and all of these joints are very solid, allowing you to pose Swiftwind any way you want. This is amazing work and complements the toy even further.
Accessories: Swiftwind comes with a removable saddle and mask as accessories, and I’m not sure whether they really count. The wings are also removable, but can’t be used in any other way except as a part of the toy, so they don’t really count. Regardless, this is such a large and well-crafted toy that a lack of accessories isn’t a problem.
Quality Control: Swiftwind was unfortunately hit with one of Matty’s infamous issues. As Poe detailed, the front forelegs (bottom part of the legs, above the hooves) are often two left or two right legs. I fortunately avoided this issue, but Poe was not so lucky (note: the pics in this article are of Poe’s Swiftwind). It’s an odd problem, one that most probably wouldn’t have even noticed had it not been brought to their attention – I personally feel that the Photog cracks are far worse, but some people were really upset about this, and I understand why.
It is a striking mistake on an otherwise amazing toy, and it’s a bummer that it happened. Unlike toys purchased in B&M stores, MOTUC collectors are forced to buy sight unseen, which means sidestepping QC problems can be impossible. Worse, the customer service is seriously questionable – I hope I wont have to endure it myself; as an international customer outside of the US, I am willing to bet it’ll be a lot harder, and more costly, to return a toy for replacement.
Overall: It’s also awesome that we can now have She-Ra and her steed alongside He-Man and Battle Cat, riding into battle against Skeletor’s minion and the Horde. While I feel it’s a shame that many collectors sidestepped this set because these toys are “for girls,” they’re only doing themselves a disservice. She-Ra and her steed are an important part of the Masters of the Universe mythology, and these toys are nearly flawless plastic representations of them. I’m extremely happy they were made with such care, and that fans have been rewarded with such an impressive final product.
Where to Buy:
- Swiftwind is available at BigBadToyStore for $47.99 plus shipping.
- He’s also available at Amazon starting at $42.
* Film critic Walter Chaw has noted that the only way Twilight could be more of an absurd and extreme women’s fantasy were if Edward were a pony.
** It was actually Lou Scheimer, one of the founders of Filmation and producer of the original He-Man cartoon. But he played Swiftwind’s voice like a gravelly voiced hobo. –PG