As I discussed a few weeks back, I’ve effectually become a cherry-picker on MOTUC (I plan to sell the figures I don’t want). But one figure I always knew I’d hang on to since the minute he was revealed was Fang Man. He’s a member of the Evil Warriors, which makes him a keeper right off the bat, but that’s not the only reason.
I have absolutely no nostalgic attachment to Fang Man. He never had a vintage figure, or even a Millennium figure, and I certainly didn’t remember his one-shot appearance in the original cartoon. But he has a few things going for him. As previously mentioned, he’s a member of the Evil Warriors, and I’ve already vowed to collect all of those. But he also has what I find to be a really appealing color scheme – light blue and red, with a touch of yellow – and he’s a lizard person, which is always fun. Overall it’s just a design that really appealed to me, so I decided to keep him (despite the fact that he’s going for big bucks online, since for whatever reason, there was no day-of-sale stock made available).
If you want to know more about Fang Man’s small role on the cartoon, check out “Life in Plastic: Who is Fang Man?” over at Nerditis. Or if you prefer, you can just go with the bio provided by Mattel.
First off – “Scutes Ignis”? It’s Latin for “fire shield,” but it sounds like the name of a dumb cartoon dog with impacted anal glands.
The bio itself is basically a synopsis of the episode in which he appears, “The Time Corridor,” although it canonizes a long-discussed oversight in the episode in which Skeletor returns to present-day Eternia without Fang Man. This isn’t actually mentioned in the episode – Fang Man just disappears. “Skeletor abandoned Fang Man in the past where he resides with his ancestors on Dragosaur Isle, waiting for the return of his master.” It’s actually a little sad, really. I can just see Fang Man curled up on the shore, waiting patiently.
You know it, you love it – it’s the standard MOTUC packaging!
Fang Man has a newly-sculpted head, torso armor, pelvic armor, and possibly new hands. The torso armor is very well-sculpted and detailed, and cleverly designed to make it look as if he has spikes beneath the armor on his back. There are lots of little folds and other details on the armor – more than we often see, giving Fang Man a particularly realistic look – from the neck down.
The head is a different story. It’s very cartoonish, and while a dead ringer for Fang Man as he looked on the cartoon, I agree with fans who think it looks incongruous next to most other MOTUC figures. Scott Neitlich and the Four Horsemen often refer to the process of “Classics-izing” characters to conform to the MOTUC style, but increasingly we’re getting figures who more closely resemble a particular form of their appearance (be it from a vintage toy, cartoon, or cross-sell). In the case of Fang Man, it’s the eyes that do it, I think – tone down the cartoonishness of the eyes a bit, perhaps make his features a bit more reptilian and less rounded, and he’d fit in just fine.
Still, as a sculpt of the Filmation version of the character, he looks fantastic. The paint work is great too, with a nice wash on the back to show off those undershirt spikes. There’s a lot of detail work on the collar and the belt, as well as the yellow stripe down the torso, and it’s all done very well.
His articulation is standard for a MOTUC figure with the exception of everything above the neck. The head attaches to the second neck piece via a ball joint. There’s some decent up-and-down movement available, but his ability to look left and right is limited – somewhat ironically given his long neck.
But one pleasant surprise is the tongue – it’s mounted on a swivel joint, and the mouth is rubbery enough that you can slide it past the fangs to put the tongue lolling out of either side of the mouth. It’s one of those little touches that no one would have missed if it weren’t there, but adds some extra value and appeal to the figure.
Fang Man comes with three accessories: a “Force Field Rod,” the Time Wheel, and the Sword of Ancients.
The Force Field Rod doesn’t appear in “The Time Corridor,” but was apparently included on Fang Man’s “model sheet.” I’ve only found references to this model sheet online and couldn’t find an actual image of it, so I guess we’ll have to take their word for it. It’s an odd little accessory but a nice inclusion.
The Wheel of Infinity is a bit less cool, given that it’s just a flat plate, and not even sculpted on the back. Still, it’s always fun to get a Filmation-based accessory.
Finally, there’s the Sword of the Ancients, which appeared in the Fang Man-less episode “Masks of Power.” It appears Mattel plans to throw in Filmation relics with various figures that didn’t appear in the episode (such as the Staff of Avion coming with Icer).
The Sword of the Ancients is certainly a cool design and a nice accessory. In the episode, though, it was kind of lame. After He-Man engages in an epic battle with two ancient magicians for control of the Sword of the Ancients, he just merges it with the Power Sword and that’s that. Still, Fang Man looks cooler wielding it than the
two-headed dildo Force Field Rod.
In terms of quality control, the only issue is that Fang Man has those Keldor boots that tend to be a but curved inward at the sole of the foot sometimes. He has a touch of that on his right foot, but it’s not too bad.
I really like Fang Man. I like him not so much as a MOTUC figure as an action figure in general, thanks largely to his Poe-pleasing design. The extra accessories are the icing that puts this cake into 5-raven range.
I’m not sure about this new tendency to hew so close to the Filmation designs, though. I suspect part of the reason for it is to get the most out of having the Filmation license – if they get it but the character doesn’t look entirely like their Filmation design, does that hurt the value of purchasing the license in the eyes of upper management? I don’t know. I just know I like this figure.
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