Review > Sorceress (Masters of the Universe Classics, Mattel)

The character of the Sorceress/Goddess was created by Mattel for the original Masters of the Universe line. However, as many fans know, that original Sorceress was referred to as “The Goddess” and featured a design that was ultimately used for Teela instead. When the Sorceress was introduced as a character in the 1980s Filmation cartoon series, she was redesigned to look like the bird-woman we all know and love. Confused yet?

From the admittedly brief research I did for this review, it appears Filmation redesigned the Sorceress for the cartoon, but that would haven’t caused any rights issues for MOTUC even before they secured the Filmation rights because Mattel (finally) produced the much-desired Sorceress figure at the tail end of the line in 1987. It’s worth noting the Filmation cartoon debuted the new look of the Sorceress in 1984, yet we didn’t get a figure of this central character until three years later. Moreover, the Millennium line only gave us an immobile “Staction figure, while it took nearly three years – again – to get a Sorceress figure in Masters of the Universe Classics.

Design & Sculpt: This is one of those situations where the sculpt and design of the figure really have to be assessed separately.

From a sculpting standpoint, the Sorceress is an example of the Four Horsemen (4H)’s fine, consistent work on this line. A few of the parts are re-uses from earlier figures, but most are new, including the head, torso, forearms, “skirt,” upper boots, and, of course, her wings. The skirt and wings feature intricate texturing to evoke the look and feel of feathers.

Some fans wanted the Sorceress to have an open “spell-casting” hand, as the vintage figure did, and even suggested using Catra’s hand. Mattel’s Scott Neitlich stated that this was a design decision made by the Four Horsemen, though after twenty minutes of bleary-eyed searching I was unable to find a comment by the Horsemen confirming this. As for my opinion – I do think a spell-casting hand would have been nice, actually.

Then there’s the design. The execution of the Sorceress’s wings has been the subject of some debate, and even led Mattel to re-engineer them after the initial reveal at SDCC last year (where I think they were just glued to the biceps). To be clear, the 4H don’t always play a role in the engineering of the articulation, and in this case they didn’t, as Mattel brand manager Scott “Toyguru” Neitlich stated.

The goal was for the Sorceress to be able to hold her iconic “wings spread” pose, while also retaining the standard arm articulation. What Mattel’s engineers came up with was a large peg on the back of the shoulder piece, with three wing-parts that rotate on hinges attached to the peg. Each hinge has a particular “stop” point at which it stops falling, so as the arms are raised, the wings fan out. The downside to this system is that the pegs are ugly and obtrusive, and when the arms are moved forward the wings look unnatural.

That said, with the wings spread the figure looks fantastic. But those shoulder pegs were not an elegant solution.

Plastic & Paint: I’m not the best judge of paint – unless a figure looks like an absolute mess, I’m generally satisfied. And the paints on my Sorceress are generally satisfactory. There’s a nice wash on the arms and boots, and the color choices for the orange and blue, while bright, fit the character. My figure does have one noticeable flaw, a bright white scrape on the right foot.

Some fans wanted the blue removed from the inside of the Sorceress’s wings. In the cartoon and comics, the Sorceress’s wings are blue on the back/outside, but entirely orange on the inside. This was also how the vintage figure was done. According to Neitlich, the 4H didn’t like the all-orange look and went with the inner blue.

Having seen a comparison, I like the all-orange look a bit more, and it is more accurate to every medium (with the exception of a variant Staction). It seems a bit inconsistent to be so wholly faithful to the original toys so as to sculpt boring dials, then change something more iconic like this. How many times did we see the Sorceress in this pose at the beginning of every episode?  So I have to disagree with the 4H on this one. It’s okay. Even the best of friends don’t agree all the time.

Articulation: The Sorceress features a ball jointed head, which is limited by the cowl (though it’s made from softer material, so there is some movement); ball jointed shoulders; swivel biceps; hinged elbows; swivel wrists; a hinged waist; hinges at the hips that allow the legs to move back and forth and side to side; hinged knees; and ankles with hinges and “rocker” motion for wider stances.

Many fans have lamented the removal of the swivels on the hips on female MOTUC figures, and I agree it seems like a needless change, particularly when those molds already exist.

Accessories: The Sorceress comes with her staff, the falcon Zoar, and a stand for Zoar. The staff is molded in white and is, well, a staff.

Unlike the Zoar that came with Teela, this time we finally get a proper Zoar with the orange-and-blue coloring, red armor, and red stand like the vintage toy.

Quality Control: Aside from the scratch on my figure’s foot, I didn’t have any significant problems. I believe there may have been a problem with some people’s staffs arriving broken or breaking when the figure is opened.

Overall: The best way to describe my opinion of the Sorceress is disappointment. The uninspired wing design and the lack of a spell-casting hand detract from the final product (I’m leaving out the wing paint issue because that seems more like a matter of personal preference). This should have been a figure I was excited to get; instead, she’s at best a mediocre addition to the line.

I’ll admit my enthusiasm for MOTUC is at a low ebb right now, so that could be coloring my impressions here. But I can’t help feeling something could have been done to make this figure special, and it just didn’t happen.

11000

Previous

Pic of the Day > Cold Day In Hell by Infinite Hollywood

Next

Pic of the Day > A difficult pass by Falcon C

2 Comments

  1. Frogman13

    I agree with poster ‘Kelektor’ about the way Masters Classics collectors feel this year.

    I also agree – though not in such strongly put terms – that Scott Neitlich has piggybacked a career at Mattel onto a line which would have performed just as well or badly without him, given the ready-made fanbase.

    The freezing-out and mockery of great fan contributors like Emiliano Santalucia are crimes – if you’ve seen online what Santalucia proposed the design team could do with Sorceress’s wings you’lll see my point. Instances like that is where Neitlich grinds my gears.

    I agree that this is a year for the money men at Mattel with money for the celebration flowing in one direction. The Four Horsemen have salvaged things a bit with the impressive ‘Draego-Man’ but it is hard to love Mattel as a corporation anymore when they just don’t seem to “get it”.

    • Harrig

      Santalucia has some beautiful ideas and the execution is sublime – his Shadow Weaver is one of the pieces of art that got me fired up about the figure in the first place! I'd find it difficult to find one that stands out as there are so many excellent concepts that he has produced.

      And his articulation of her wings also seems like a good execution, although the articulation is not really important to me. But why not sockets in the shoulder blades? I am sure they would get more use out of that piece than the wierd shoulder pieces. I am sure there are a ton of better ideas for execution than what they went with. Part of me keeps saying "yes, but they are meant to be toy-like" but they are pretty expensive toys.

      I'd love to see the Horsemen's original sculpt for this prior to tinkering, though.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén