Note: portions of this review were originally posted in my review of the Millennium Mekaneck on 3/7/2004.
The photos for this review were taken by toy photographer extraordinaire Ed Speir IV. You can see more pics of many different toy lines at his Flickr page.
Despite his absurdity, I have a soft spot in my heart for Mekaneck. He is one of the few Masters of the Universe figures I can distinctly remember opening as a tyke on Christmas morn. I’d been eyeing the wrapped package for weeks (this one had been put under the tree by my parents, not Santa), recognizing that the distinct trapezoidal profile of the wrapping paper, sloping from the top of the card to the top of the blister, indicated that most wonderful of presents, an action figure.
Mekaneck also gets an edge on his fellow MotU figures by being blue. I seem to have a soft spot for blue He-Man figures - Skeletor, Trap Jaw and Faker, for instance. Like Trap Jaw, Mekaneck is dark blue.
And like Trap Jaw, Mekaneck is a freak. I think Matt from X-Entertainment.com put it best when he wrote:
The guys in Masters of the Universe don’t have superpowers… they have deformities. Think about it… Fisto’s got elephantitis of the hand… Trapjaw’s got no arm at all [...] it just goes on and on. The show’s a lesson in overcoming adversity more than anything else. If these guys can get over the fact that there’s something wrong with all of them, so can you.
Design & Sculpt: At this point, it seems superfluous to evaluate the sculpting of MOTUC figures since so many of them are comprised primarily of parts we’ve seen before. As any regular reader knows, I like the distinctive big, chunky style of MOTUC figures, so it follows I’m happy with the general design of Mekaneck.
The only newly-sculpted part of Mekaneck, aside from his accessories, is his head. We saw his armor with Stinkor, and in fact, it still has a plug in the back for Stinkor’s backpack, as well as a plug in the part directly in front of his mask, where Stinkor had the alternate gas mask part.
Plastic & Paint: I think enough keys have been tapped in the community regarding Mattel’s newfound use of painting over black plastic instead of casting them in the actual color; this is obviously some sort of cost-saving move, though whether or not it’s temporary I don’t know. The primary problem with it is that any scratch or nick to the paint – which is particularly common around the joints – causes the black to appear. Unfortunately this is a problem that will only get worse as the figures age and go through the normal trials of a toy (being played with, tossed in storage, and so forth).
The paint applications themselves are what we’ve come to expect from MOTUC. They’re pretty basic, with a bit of a wash here and there, and a little bit of slop but not enough to be distracting.
While I’ve sometimes been displeased with some of the color choices on this line, Mekaneck came out fine. I’ve always been fond of his blue/red/silver look. However, there was one obvious missed opportunity: chrome glasses like the vintage figure. It’s a real shame, and almost certainly an idea that was considered and discarded to save on production costs.
Fortunately, I believe there’s an easy solution – just find some chrome stickers or contact paper, cut out some tiny triangles and stick them on.
Articulation: Standard MOTUC articulation.
Accessories: Mekaneck comes with his trusty yellow mace and two interchangeable neck parts.
The mace is the usual Classics-ized version of the vintage figure’s weapon. I was initially concerned the plastic used for the mace would be rubbery and the handle would sack under the weight of the head, but for once someone at Mattel was actually paying attention and willing to pony up the cash to use plastic hard enough not to sag like a bologna after a couple hours. It still does sag, but not nearly as badly as Spikor‘s mace.
The neck pieces are a lot of fun. The shorter one is about the same length as the one that came with the vintage and Millennium figures, but the second one increases his height to 12½”. The other nice thing is that the heads do move on the ball joint, allowing for more interesting poses than the earlier figures. And you can even “stack” the two necks to make one super-neck that makes the figure nearly fifteen inches tall! Finally – a Mekaneck who really lives up to his name and (ahem) reputation.
All that said, I’d be lying if I didn’t mention I wish both necks – or at least the long one – was a bendy. As NECA’s Evil Dead II Henrietta proved, a strong, reliable bendy limb is possible, as long as you put some money and thought into it.
Quality Control: We already discussed the black plastic issues. Aside from that, no major QC issues.
Overall: As a classic, iconic MOTU character, and one I’m particularly a fan of, I’m predisposed to like Mekaneck more than, say, Sir Laser Lot or the upcoming Cy-Chop. So it doesn’t take much for me to give it a good score – basically, no swapped shoulders or forearms and at least one good accessory will do it (though the black plastic drags the score down a bit). And while a bendy neck might have pushed Mekaneck to five ravens, I’m still very happy with what the Four Horsemen and Mattel have given us.
Where to Buy: