Released in December 2012, Procrustus is a giant sized figure similar in size to the earlier giants Tytus and Megator. He measures in right around 12 inches from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet, although his posture is slightly hunched over. While he’s not a very well known Masters of the Universe character, Procrustus is an exceptionally well made figure possessing all the charm of a stop motion creature designed by the late Ray Harryhausen. Procrustus was quite the surprise when he was revealed at SDCC last year, but he was one of those nice surprises; a somewhat off the wall characters that still manages to fit in well with the line.
All right, let’s get down to brass tacks: So who exactly is Procrustus? Procrustus is an immortal being who lives at the center of the planet Eternia and is responsible for literally holding the planet together. Procrustus appeared briefly in the vintage minicomic “The Magic Stealer” which was part of the second series of minicomics from 1983. In the story, Skeletor is using some kind of magic siphon, and one of the side effects of that is that Procrustus is lured to Eternia’s surface. While He-Man is traveling in the Attak Trak, he comes across the giant crawling out of the crust of the planet’s surface. He-Man instantly recognizes Procrustus, referring to him as a “the god who holds the inner world together with his many arm.” While we can speculate that He-Man might recognize Procrustus from his description alone, interestingly enough, Procrustus recognizes He-Man. What can I say? He-Man’s kind of a big deal on Eternia and we can only assume that stories about him have made their way down to Eternia’s core. From the dialogue between the two, it is implied that Procrustus is literally responsible for holding the planet together in some way and if he neglects his duty for too long, Eternia will crumble. Somehow, the lure of Skeletor’s magical siphon clouds the giant’s judgment, making it difficult for Procrustus to resist, so He-Man shoots him with the Attak Trak. This seems to knock some sense back into him, as shooting someone with an attack vehicle usually does. He wishes He-Man well and that’s about it for Procrustus in “The Magic Stealer.”
Since we’ve all been educated now, we can talk about the figure itself. While MOTUC figures usually rely on the heavy reuse of parts, Procrustus manages to be a fairly unique figure. The only shared parts are his upper legs (shared with Tytus and Megator), his lower legs, and two of his hands (also all shared with Megator). The rest of his body is unique as he has a rocky texture all over that truly gives him the appearance of a living statue. I know the minicomic and bio seem to imply that Procrustus is some type of earth deity, perhaps a rock golem like creature, but the living statue thing keeps jumping into my mind. His chest and arms, while having rather normal looking musculature to them, are covered with various jagged edges and smaller rocks and pebbles. Take a look at Procrustus’ back: he’s truly chiseled back there. Even his hair and his loincloth have a rocky, hewn texture. It’s too bad that Mattel had to reuse the legs from Megator. They’re not terrible, but when you really start looking they do stand out as being too smooth and veiny compared to his upper body. Procrustus’s face is nicely detailed and he even has a cool beard, yet his milky, empty eyes give him an appearance that is just lifeless enough that he could still pass for a statue. Perhaps they’re that way because he spends all of his time underground? How’d he recognize He-Man then, I wonder?
While the paintwork is not overly complex, it manages to be extremely effective. The mixture of a darker brown wash over the tan plastic he’s molded in truly compliments the sculpting that captures his rock like skin. As I said, simple, but perhaps one of the most effective paint jobs on a MOTUC figure yet in conveying the texture and composition of the character. Even if you’re not a MOTU fan, Procrustus is an appealing figure to have in your collection. The four arms look incredible, making Procrustus an imposing addition to any toy shelf. I’ve seen some fantastic pictures of this guy with a variety of toy lines that show just how versatile he can be.
While none of the giant sized MOTUC figures have been as well articulated as the smaller figures, Procrustus does offer a few more points of articulation thanks to having four arms instead of two. He has: hinged knees, swivel hips, a swivel waist, swivel shoulders (x4), swivel biceps (x4), swivel wrists (x4), and a ball jointed head. The joints are all really nice and tight on my figure and I can’t say that I’ve heard any complaints from other fans about him.
Due to his limited leg articulation, you’re not going to have many options in posing him; just variations of him standing up straight. If you’re willing to get a little rough with the head, you’ll find that there is a better range of motion there than you might initially have expected. Since there are no ball joints on the arms, the upper body poses will also be more limited. The fact that two of the arms are on the sides of the body and two are on Procrustus’ back does make him look a little more dynamic than he actually is, though, and with a little work you can get him into some decent poses. He’s one of those figures that still manages to look impressive even when he’s just standing around. You can also place his rear arms over his head and have him hold up the shelf above him – that’s my favorite way to pose him!
Procrustus only comes with one accessory: the Star Seed. To the uninitiated, the Star Seed simply looks like a translucent super ball. Except it doesn’t bounce. And can you chew on it. It’s made of a very hard plastic and tends to roll away from you when you’re not looking. While it’s not an exciting accessory in and of itself, it is a rather significant story piece, which is something that I always love in an accessory. As a kid, anytime a toy came with an item that served as Macguffin or prop of some kind, it really seemed to help make playtime more interesting. I feel the same way as an adult, as I love “story telling” accessories. While Procrustus is unable to “hold” the Star Seed, it can rest fairly stable in the palm of his right hand. It does look really cool, but it’ll roll off if you bump him too hard. Appearing in the Filmation episode “The Search”, the Star Seed is an ethereal fragment of some kind that exists at the center of Eternia, a remnant left over from the creation of the universe. In the Filmation episode, the Star Seed is simply a glowing yellow orb, so Mattel has captured its design well. Now that Procrustus has made his appearance in the Masters of the Universe Classics line, we have some new information about him from the character bio. The demigod Procrustus is assigned to protect the Star Seed, an embodiment of the magic the Gods used when creating the Five dimensions. After an attempt by Hordak to break Eternia apart to get the Star Seed, Procrustus now is forced to hold the planet together.
Procrustus was one of my favorite MOTUC figures of last year (he ranked 4th or 5th on my list, depending on if you consider Demo-Man a 2012 release). His status as a unique character with an unusual gimmick (a living statue type character) and his having a powerful presence on the shelf really won me over. I imagine that fans simply seeking to rebuild their childhood collections in the new Classics style won’t find him to be necessary, but for fans of the minicomics and those who just enjoy the variety of odd beings who inhabit Eternia and Etheria, Procrustus will most likely be a hit. He’s obscure, but well executed. The only nits I have to pick with this fellow are 1) the fact that Mattel used the “smooth” Megator legs that do clash with the upper body and 2) the difficulty I had with putting his rear arms on, as they come separate in the package. It’s been quite a few months since I did so, but I really remember those suckers being tough to get on. So, in the end how do I rank Procrustus? I gotta go with 4.5 Ravens. For being a character that had only one minor appearance in a minicomic, the Four Horsemen turned Procrustus into an extremely nice figure that stands out amidst the diverse crowd of characters that makes up the Masters of the Universe mythos.