Digital River Steals Mattel’s Thunder on MOTUC Reveals (Spoilers)

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First off, for anyone who hasn’t heard, I’m not going to Toy Fair. There are a variety of reasons for this, but the nail in the coffin was the blizzard. It’s a bummer, but I’ll be doing my usual armchair coverage from here at home. Which, yes, means actual posts here on the site.

It feels like it’s been a while since we’d had a good Digital River/Mattel screw-up. Even the subscription section of Mattycollector was more or less working! But it couldn’t last, and someone digging around in a public image directory stumbled upon a bunch of images of previously-unrevealed Masters of the Universe Classics, Club Infinite Earths and Club Black Freighter products. I’m not sure who first posted the images, but it may have been the DASH blog.

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Typically for Mattycollector, the images unfortunately aren’t very large, especially the ones of the biggest reveal, Castle Grayskull. I’m also a bit surprised that they’re using unpainted images; if they’ve gotten this far, I would think the Four Horsemen would try to get the whole thing painted in time for Toy Fair, and Mattel could just wait to snap a few of their own photos at the event and post them on the site.

Looking through the He-Man.org thread on the reveals, most people are psyched about Grayskull but a few note that it seems a little small and narrow. I think this was always going to be an inevitable aspect of it, just to keep costs down. It doesn’t bother me much; I’m already worried about where the heck I’ll be able to display this thing.

If you look behind Clawful, you’ll see what appears to be the Grayskull “robot” or “astronaut” – who was represented by a cardboard cut-out in the original playset. That’s pretty damned cool. I’m guessing it’s not articulated, but we’ll find out on Sunday for sure.

Let’s see…what else?

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OH HAI MANTENNA.

Yes folks, Mantenna is coming!

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The 4H and Mattel seem to have gone all-out on Mantenna – there’s a ton of new tooling there. The design of the legs looks great, though we’ll have to see how functional they are (and with four ankles, you’ve got to wonder what the odds of having a problem ankle or two are).

I think this is some of the Horsemen’s best work on MOTUC or even anything else, and rivals the Mantenna Staction.

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Next up is Batros. If you weren’t an avid fan of the 1980s Filmation He-Man cartoon – or even if you were, but you haven’t watched the show in years – you may not remember who this guy is (that will be a theme for the next few reveals).  Here’s his Wiki Grayskull page. He appeared in one episode “The Great Books Mystery.” He looks pretty cool, if a bit simplistic design-wise, but that’s the trade-off you get when you get all the new tooling for a figure like Mantenna – they’ve got to save the money somewhere. Batros’s head, feet and maybe his calves/boot-tops look like new tooling.

Filmation seems to be the big theme for 2013, because next up we have Shokoti.

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Shokoti appeared in twice as many episodes as Batros, a two-part called “The House of Shokoti.” The 1980s He-Man cartoons didn’t have a whole lot of two-part episodes and Shokoti was played up as a pretty powerful villain, which made her appearance memorable to fans.

I haven’t watched the episodes recently, so I’m not sure what the deal is with the little Cthulhu Muppet, but the Shokoti figure looks like a good translation of the cartoon character.

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Finishing out our Filmation-themed trifecta is Icer. Another one-hit wonder, Icer appeared in “The Ice Age Cometh” (proving once again that Eugene O’Neill’s most enduring contribution to pop culture was creating a go-to reference for the title of any ice-related album, TV episode, or NHL news report). One thing I like about Icer is that’s he’s basically just one of Skeletor’s Evil Warriors. That, combined with his cool translucent design, the neat accessories, and the fact that I just love ice-themed characters make this the Filmation figure I’m most excited about. It’s worth noting that he (apparently) comes with the fan-demanded Staff of Avion as well.

In his write-up at ItsAllTrue.net, NoisyDvL5 states “No word yet on how the three Filmation figures will be released, but I strongly suspect they won’t be part of Club Eternia.” Maybe I’m out of the loop on MOTUC, but why would that be the case? I can see how they might be a three-pack a la the vehicle pilots, but those are part of the subscription. It’s too late for a new “Filmation Sub” now. So I guess Noisy is speculating that this will be a big non-sub item, like Granamyr? Given that 2013 seems to be a big year of budget-tightening for MOTUC, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. But again, maybe I’m out of the loop?

One commenter on IAT wrote:

People are speculating on the Filmation figures because during the last panic/threat/complain-off that is subscription deadline, there was the impression that people’s interest in the line was waning and finishing off the vintage line in the sub was top priority. Somewhere down the road, they’d look into another format of possibly pre-orders for ancillary characters. I think I’m getting this straight, this is cobbled together from Toyguru appearances on Roast Gooble, Youtube and Matty. So that’s why several people are questioning the bulk of Filmation leaks from last night.

I was thinking, as I looked through the reveals, that it was a little odd these obscure Filmation characters were being made when it had been made clear that finishing off the vintage toy line was a priority, but I figured that had just run up against Mattel’s desire to get what they could out of their deal with Classics Media for the Filmation rights.

But wait, there’s more! SO MUCH MORE!

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We’ve already seen New Adventures He-Man sans helmet and armor, but here he is all geared up. While I’m not a fan of the original NA cartoon, I like the way it’s been incorporated into MOTUC and I like this figure – especially the new ball-jointed right wrist, allowing for the classic He-Man pose with sword-raised. I can only hope Mattel produces one more “regular” He-Man with that joint – perhaps as an SDCC exclusive? Fingers crossed.

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And here’s Castaspella. Yep.

Moving on to DC Comics, there were three reveals leaks:

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The Huntress. I’m pretty sure this is the version with Jim Lee-designed outfit from Batman: Hush. It’s my personal favorite outfit, so while I didn’t subscribe to CIE this year, I may try to snag her on the day-of sale.

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Next up we have Fire, whom I don’t know at all and therefore can’t muster up any excitement for. To try to pretend I’m excited about this would be disingenuous, but to those who have always wanted a Fire figure, your time has come.

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And finally, it’s everyone’s favorite psychopathic rapist, the Comedian!

He looks fantastic, but I have to admit that even years after I stopped collecting DCUC, seeing those same re-used hips (with the “just a hint of underwear” sculpting), thighs and boots always bums me out a little.

So, what are your thoughts on the reveals? Excited? Disappointed? Wondering if there will be any surprises at all on Sunday?

Comments now closed (21)

  • The boots on Batros and the furry cuffs on Icer could easily be reused to make an Ice Armor He-Man.

    I think these Filmation figures will be part of the sub. Scott has said that they are working on a plan to finish the vintage line in 2014 so I'd imagine that's why they are cramming in these Filmation characters, to save the remaining vintage figures as an enticement for the 2014 sub. It's just the kind of douchey thing Mattel would do.

    Regardless, I'm liking what I see of the MOTUC stuff here. Mantenna was nowhere near being on my radar but after seeing these images I'm kinda psyched for him.

    Icer, if he IS made of translucent plastic, will be one I'll get multiples of to create and iceman army.

    Also, isn't that Stratos staff with Icer? The one from the cartoon that everyone wishes he'd come with originally?

    • Why is it douchey for any company to arrange product in such a way to make a profit? Or, if you'd like to be less corporate – why would we begrudge them a means of organizing their releases so that there's a better chance of the 2014 sub going through?

  • The reason people assume it is a Filmation sub (I also do) is because when we had that whole scare-fest over the 2013 sub and Scott did that "yay you did it" video he mentioned that the amount of sale green-lit some other programs to get fan-demanded figures in our hands.

    My assumption is that they can't fill the Club Eternia with Filmation figures, and they paid for the license so they want to get the most bang for their buck, so a six figure or so sub like the 30th one to add on to this year. It may not be a sub, could be two packs or whatever … I hope it is a sub because that is the only way it will combine with my current one.

    Plus all these reveals would overfill the year, unless the $50 slot is two of the Filmation dudes we saw … then all these reveals would be the rest of the year and I doubt that.

  • I really hope the Grayskull robot is either fully articulated or some kind of snap-on shell that can house basic figures. I'd much rather have that than some of the other stuff they're looking in to, and quite frankly, for the price, it should come with a figure.

  • Mantenna looks fun, but yes, the odds of rubbish ankles are high.

    Meanwhile, I still haven't nabbed a He-Man figure. Quite the oversight on my part. I'd try to get one, but I really want to photograph Protruscus or whatever he is called, so He-Man will have to continue to wait.

    • I have a bad feeling that it won't have the smile. That 'symbol' is trademarked, so Mattel would most likely have to pay extra for the right to use it, or run the risk of getting sued.

      • If DC Direct could manage a smiley-face on their Comedian figure, but Mattel could not, I’d be a little more than pissed. I was hoping I’d be able to make it through this sub unscathed. . .

        • To be fair, Legendary Pictures could have licensed the smiley face for the movie and all subsequent merchandising, which would mean DC Direct wouldn't have had to pay for that particular license (at least directly). And a movie studio has a lot more money to spend on licensing than even a company like Mattel, particularly when you're talking about a small collector line. We know Mattel budgets things like that – no matter how much money Barbie or Hot Wheels makes, that doesn't go into the MOTU or DCUC budget.

          Also: I can't think of an easier customizing task than creating a tiny smiley face. :)

  • These can easily be 2013 sub items. I think everyone is misremembering what was actually said by Scott at Sub time.

    When he was begging fans to buy the sub he said the line was locked for 2013 and that if we gave him this year then Matty would throw out the road map and in 2014 they would get the rest of the classic figures out.

    • While Scott DID say that, when the sub deadline came to a close he did also say they sold well enough to green light a way of getting more figures in to our hands. Thus everyone thinking a filmation subscription

  • Personally, I'm really excited about Shokoti. Her episodes hold up better than most from the cartoon, and she's a convincingly threatening pseudo-Lovecraft villain. The little flying minion is just gravy.

  • With the reveal of Fire I was going to say we must be a lock in for Ice too, but then I remembered this is Mattel we're dealing with, I doubt they'd be so smart as to complete a duo in one 'wave'.

    • You mean like Hawk and Dove?
      Or Green Arrow and Black Canary?
      Or finishing the Metal Men in one month?

      • The Metal Men were spread across three waves and the sub.
        If Ice appears, happy days but I'm not holding my breath…

  • I will be covering the Toy Fair as live as I possibly can… I will be going to Hasbro tomorrow and Mattel on sunday… I will not let snow stop me! I'll also be sure to hit NECA, Bluefin/Bandai and Underground toys. Normally I do this on Poe's behalf, but it isn't official this year, since he was expected to come up until so recently.

    follow me on twitter @JediN8 for pictures and news!

    (hope this is ok Poe)

  • hmmm…. How to display Castle Grayskull, from the front, or the side? These are the decisions that haunt me at night…

  • Great reveals/leaks! Especially without having Toyguru involved with the reveals.

    Mantenna and Castaspella are the highlights for me. Two characters that I've wanted to add to my MOTUC collection for a LONG time.

    As for the Filmation based action figures. The popular rumour is of various two-packs to be released throughout 2013 outside of the subscription. This will be the "bonus" part of the early access for subscribers.

    Mattel has released a further picture of Icer (fighting He-Man in the snow) which indicates that Icer is a production figure, not a proto-type and therefore may be ready for release very soon.

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