Last month, I wrote a list for Topless Robot of the best repaint figures of all time. Number two on the list was Faker, He-Man’s laughably un-twin-like evil twin.
Rather than regarding Faker as an actual twin designed to fool people, I always thought of Faker as a kind of Bizarro He-Man–he’s an “evil twin,” yes, but not an identical twin. Reverse Flash, Evil Ash, Evil Jim–these are Faker’s brethren. He’s not an evil twin of the Lore or Evil Bill and Evil Ted persuasion.
However, his name is “Faker,” and in the cartoon episode he appeared in, he actually looked exactly like He-Man (except for a pair of glowing eyes and a voice heavy on the reverb, which fools the Sorceress, natch). His original packaging refers to him as “Evil Robotic He-Man Imposter,” but on the cardback art, it says, “Faker is no He-Man–he’s the evil blue robot of Skeletor!”
It’s obvious what happened: Mattel was looking for a way to save money while creating new characters and someone came up with the idea of an evil He-Man. Of course, a toy that’s an identical twin of He-Man would be pretty damned boring, since it would just be the same figure as the regular He-Man. So Mattel made him blue, to match Skeletor, and for some reason decided to go with orange for the rest of it. It’s distinctive, that’s for sure.
Besides, it’s not like every character and vehicle in the Masters of the Universe cartoon matched the toy version. The Attak Trak looked completely different (and frankly, the toy was cooler), while Skeletor wore boots with no toes and Man-at-Arms had a mustache.
Since he’s such an easy repaint, it was inevitable that Faker be included in Masters of the Universe Classics. He was sold at the New York Comic Con earlier this month, and will be available on Mattycollector.com on March 15.
(Before I go any further, a big thank-you to JediCreeper for nabbing me a Faker at NYCC. You’re a class act, JC!)
Packaging: I like that he’s packaged with his sword in his left hand–it’s a nice nod to the evil twin concept. Other than that, it’s the usual MOTUC package.
So Mattel’s going with the “evil identical twin” angle, eh? Frankly, I’m disappointed. I’ve always preferred to think of Faker as a failed attempt at a He-Man clone that Skeletor decided to just use as one of his generic warriors. There’s no question the idea of Faker has a lot of potential, though, and it’s never really been explored in any of the media.
Sculpt: Well folks, it’s the same sculpt as He-Man. Did you like He-Man’s sculpt? Then you’ll like Faker’s.
Plastic & Paint: Oddly enough, Faker appears to have been molded in a slightly different shade of blue than Skeletor. Personally, I would have preferred the lighter Skeletor shade; Faker’s color similarities to Skeletor were part of what made him so appealing to me as a kid. (I also think he’d look better in purple armor, which makes me regret not buying an extra Skeletor, but oh well.)
He’s got a blue wash that’s effective at bringing out some of the detail of the musculature without being noticeable. His bracelets and belt have a great tarnished silver look that I almost wish had been used for He-Man himself.
I like the purple they went with for the loincloth and boots, though again, I might have preferred they be a little closer to Skeletor’s shades. The sheen on the loincloth is well-applied and, despite being a bit odd, works for the character.
The orange armor has a very strong brown wash that just barely manages not to look simply “dirty.” I think it would work better if the “bones” in the center weren’t so bright and burnished, but I do like how the bones and gem look almost like a separate piece of the armor.
The wash on the hair is a bit gloppy, and the only part of the paint work I find disappointing. Love the red, Terminator-like eyes!
The final bit of paint work is the infamous robot chest symbol. On the original figure, this was a sticker, and due to the curvature of the pecs, it tended to flake off pretty easily; finding a loose original Faker with the sticker intact is pretty hard to do these days. The MOTU2K figure also had a sticker, but fortunately, this time we get a tampo’ed version. It’s applied straight to the chest, like a DCUC figure’s chest symbol, and looks great. I much prefer this tampo version to a sticker.
As for the image itself, while it is a bit more detailed than the original version, it’s still quite retro. I can’t help wondering why Faker needs a 1960s-style studio tape recorder in his chest, but I’m sure he has his reasons.
Articulation: Faker has the usual MOTUC articulation: ball joints at the neck, shoulders and hips, swivels at the biceps, waist, wrists, hips and top of the boots, and hinges at the elbows, knees, ankles and torso. The ankles have a good side-to-side movement too, allowing for nice wide-spread stances.
One thing to note: in order to remove the armor to reveal the chest sticker, you’re going to have to pop Faker’s head off. Fortunately, since the figures were designed to have interchangeable heads (several upcoming figures, starting with Mer-Man, will come with multiple heads), Faker’s head pops right off. I really wouldn’t recommend trying to get the armor off without removing the head, though.
Accessories: Like his predecessors, Faker comes with an orange version of the Power Sword, as well as an orange half-sword. Not much to talk about here.
Quality Control: Unlike He-Man, Faker’s shoulders aren’t turned around (as far as I can tell…), so he’s actually an improvement in that regard. Other than that, I had no problems, although I recommend being very careful when prying the half-sword out of the package.
Value: Since he has no unique tooling, it’s a bit annoying to have to pay full price for what’s basically a straight repaint with no new accessories. I’m sure they could have thought of something to toss in–maybe a purple or orange version of He-Man’s axe?
As much as I like the concept of Faker and am fond of the character, the truth is he’s just a repaint, and a relatively cheap one at that. There’s nothing wrong with him, so it wouldn’t be fair to score him less than average, but he also doesn’t have anything unique other than the chest appliqué. And at $20 a pop, that’s not enough to boost him into “exceptional” territory. Remember–a 2.5 rating means “average,” not “bad.”
- Faker was recently the subject of what is probably my favorite Robot Chicken skit ever.
- The art for Faker’s bio comes from the original cardback.