Review > Demo-Man (Masters of the Universe Classics, Mattel)

The first thing I need to discuss about Demo-Man is his name. “Demo-Man” was not attached to the sketch this figure is based on; the sketch was nameless. Rather, “Demo-Man” was the working title for Skeletor for much of the early development of the Masters of the Universe line in the 1980s. The “Demo” was meant to invoke the word “demon.” I’ve long suspected the name might originally have been “De-Man,” a demonic counterpart to “He-Man,” but somewhere down the line someone decided to make it more obvious by adding the “mo.”

The sketch this figure is based on was drawn by Mark Taylor very early in the development of MOTU; its heroic counterpart has already been immortalized as Vikor. Like Vikor, Demo-Man is the MOTUC equivalent of a Star Wars Concept Collection figure. Also like Vikor, Demo-Man has been shoehorned into the Motuthos. I’ve discussed this at length here and here (including Mecha-Shiva’s amazing art showing Hordak merging Demo-Man and Keldor into Skeletor), so I won’t rehash the debate again.

Design & Sculpt: Like Vikor, a lot of effort went into making Demo-Man look as close to his concept sketch as possible, which means there’s a lot of new tooling. By my count, here are the new parts (not counting accessories):

  • Head
  • Forearms
  • Hands
  • Wrist cuffs
  • Elbow armor
  • Feet
  • Shoulder armor
  • Tunic
  • Loincloth

The Four Horsemen’s sculpting here is very good. The forearms, wrists and feet have a lot of detail like veins and muscle tone that we haven’t seen on earlier figures (I’d love to get a new Skeletor with a Millennium-style paint job, the Alcala head – painted white to match the cartoon – and Demo-Man’s feet).

There’s a lot of texturing on the figure too, especially in the metal of the armor, which has a dented, weathered look.

I can imagine some collectors might find Demo-Man’s extra details to be at odds with the general MOTUC style, and I agree that both he and Vikor look a little off next to some of the figures. But it’s worth noting that the same thing happened in the 1980s – the later figures, such as the Horde, had a lot more new tooling and detail than the initial MOTU figures.

The “elbow armor” is made from a pliable plastic and seems like it will hold up over repeated use. However, it’s not removable (though I imagine you could head it up and slip it over the wrist spikes if you really wanted to).

Plastic & Paint: This is the area where this figure disappoints.

The metal armor and the tunic look fine; the metal armor has a metallic finish, and the bronzed details on the “snaps” and the spikes on the wrist cuffs are fairly sharp. The paint is a little messy on the medallions behind the beard, but it’s not too noticeable.

There are two problems, as I see it. First is the screaming bright green the figure is primarily molded in. The original sketch was black and white; it seems evident the reason Mattel decided to make him green was so that their “Demo-Man becomes Skeletor” plot twist makes any sense; it “explains” why Skeletor’s face is greenish-yellow. Given that we had no knowledge of what color the character would be, I’m not going to take them to task for choosing green. The problem is it’s such a bright, toyish green. Even with the darker wash – which is fairly well done – the figure looks very toyish.

Then there’s the face. The paint work on the beard, teeth, nose and eyes is awkward – it’s too thick and sloppy, and he ends up looking like a ghost from a Scooby-Doo cartoon.

Articulation: Demo-Man has most of the usual MOTUC articulation: a ball-and-socket head, ball-and-hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, hinged abdomen, swivel waist, ball and hinge thighs, swivel upper thighs, and hinged knees and ankles. The ankles are tight, but the “rocker” motion is there. Obviously, without a boot, he doesn’t have the swivel at the top of the boot that many figures have.

Accessories: Demo-Man almost makes up for his paint and plastic deficiencies here. He comes with a sword, a flail, a brand-new Skeletor head based on the artwork of Alfredo Alcala, and a skull. They’re all brand-new sculpts.

The sword and flail are closely based on the concept art, and as such they’re a lot more detailed than most MOTUC weapons. The flail is made from a tough enough plastic that it will stay in the air when the arm is raised.

The helmeted skull is, again, just from the sketch, and – as part of a pair with Vikor – it raises the disturbing question of whether that might be Vikor’s skull. Though it would be a neat accessory on its own, Mattel went the extra step and gave it a hole so it can be fit on Demo-Man’s neck, though the result looks bizarre.

Finally there’s the Alfredo Alcala head. Alcala drew some of the earliest minicomics (He-Man and the Power SwordThe Vengeance of Skeletor, Battle in the Clouds, and King of Castle Grayskull). An accomplished fantasy artist, Alcala drew what many fans considered the most creepy depiction of Skeletor in any media, with shades of Gustave Doré; an Alcala-style head has been in demand since the line began. Kudos to Mattel for finding a way to work this head into the line, and all praise to the Four Horsemen for capturing Alcala’s style so well (while working in small touches of their Demo-Man sculpt, connecting Skeletor and Demo-Man better than any bio ever could).

The head actually sits a little low on the Skeletor figure in comparison to the original Skeletor head, and it doesn’t have as much of a range of motion. But it’s worth is just to have such a fantastic-looking head.

Quality Control: No problems, as far as I can tell.

Overall: Mattel closed out 2011 the way they started it: with a concept figure featuring a ton of new tooling and great accessories. Demo-Man does suffer from too much bright green plastic and lackluster paint apps on the face, but he’s still one of my favorite figures in the line.

11111/2

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Comments now closed (19)

  • until this review i wasnt too interested in a demo-man figure.. but now i definitely want one! thank you

  • …I don’t actually hate the color. In fact, it has really grown on me. I mean, he is missing key portions of his physiognomy. He should look toxic, you know?

    Does this make me a bad person? Of course not. Its all the, you know, evil that makes me a bad person…

  • I have trouble reading the "Demo" in "Demo-Man" as "DEMOn" like it's supposed to be, and always pronounce it like it's "DEMOnstration."

    I also know logically that this is a cool figure, but visually he's just really unappealing to me and I didn't purchase him. I think it's a combination of the scraggly skull beard, the short leotard and the bare feet. Yeck.

  • I'm sure you'll get into this when you do the bio discussion, but the thing that disappoints me the most about this figure is the bio. With Vikor's bio we learned who he was as well as how he fit in the MOTUC universe. But Demo-Man's "bio" is simply a bit more of the Skeletor origin. I want to know who Demo-Man was and why he Hordak chose him to merge with Keldor. What are his powers? Was he evil to begin with or did that come from the merging with Keldor? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • I'll definitely get into it with the bio discussion, but it seems clear to me that most of this bio was damage control, making sure readers were assured that Demo-Man's (evidently non-existent) personality didn't "make" Keldor evil when he otherwise wouldn't have been.

  • One of my favorite MOTUC figures. I also noticed his calf muscles are very angular, not unlike the 200X MOTU figures.

  • Demo-man is one of my favorite figures of the MOTUC line. Actually I have bought all figures since King Grayskull in 2008 and , in my opinion, King Grayskull 2008, He-man, Vikor, Skelletor (with the Alcala´s head), Man-at-Arms, Teela and man-e-faces are the top figures of this collection.

    I agree with all the points that Poe talks about Demo-man and for me it was a great figure to end´s 2011 collection!!

  • The Alcala head is just awesome, and maybe the reasons I got thea figure in the first place. I don’t find it sitting too high or low, but rather it’s a touch too large. His skull should be smaller I think. As for Demo-Man, I also think the green is a bit much, but the likeness is great. I know it’s the character, but I wish the head sculpt was symmetrical.

  • "The paint work on the beard, teeth, nose and eyes is awkward – it’s too thick and sloppy, and he ends up looking like a ghost from a Scooby-Doo cartoon."

    That's a great description of the issues with the head. That and the color stopped me from buying this one.

  • At first I was somewhat unenthusiastic about Demo-Man, however once I had him in hand I liked him a lot. I'm just sort of going to ignore the whole "Hordak merged Demo-Man with Keldor" thing and pretend he is a standalone character.

  • I absolutely considered Demo-Man a pack-in that came with the Alcala head, but I find that I like him well enough as a generic monstery guy. I ditched his tunic, because it always showed his belly button when I used his ab crunch.

    One note for the review: he doesn't have the full compliment of MOTUC articulation; the calf swivel is removed for the naked calf pieces.

  • i must say, i enjoy the fig. he's just cool. the paint issues on the face are unfortunate, but not nearly enough of a deal breaker to trigger buyer's remorse. the biggest issue i have is the strange shape of the ball mace accessory… it doesn't really lend itself to posing, because the weight of it tends to roll his wrist over, but it sucks for play because it doesn't fit tightly in his hand. not my favorite accessory to say the least, but hey, that's why there's a spy monkey creations, right?

    as for his bio… yeah. i wrote him two different bios and honestly, could have written him a couple others had i the desire. the figure inspires the mind, but the bio (which really shouldn't be called that, most of them lack any identifying characteristics of a biography, they're just short narrative prose) really lacks. it's yet more evidence that scott & company half-assed the bios pretty badly. honestly, it's about the work i'd expect from the inventor of "mighty spector"

  • Great review Poe. I have to say that I was very uninterested in Demo-Man until I got him in hand. He ended up being a very good figure in his own right.

    I absolutely HATE Demo-Man being in any way connected to Skeletor. It's just a bad idea. Dem-Man should just be his own character and he'd be cool.

    I also really like the green.

    I thought he looked like a ghost pirate or a Scooby Doo villain as well.

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