Review > Zodak (Masters of the Universe Classics)

zodak_artThe 2002 revamp of Masters of the Universe was ambitious in scope, encompassing the toys, a new cartoon, a McDonalds tie-in and even a videogame. Mattel was fervently hoping to recapture the bottled lightning they’d found in the early 1980s.

Unfortunately, the toys weren’t as successful as Mattel’s immense hopes, and after two years it was shut down (though it lived on for quite a while via NECA’s “stactions”).

The theories for the 2002 line’s demise have been hashed out ad infinitum, so I won’t go over them again here. Suffice to say Zodak represents the second 2002 character to appear in MOTUC. As a variant of the already slow-selling (comparatively speaking) Zodac, it’s not surprising that he took two weeks to sell out; I’m very curious to see how the Goddess does in December.


Packaging: Have you liked the packaging for every MOTUC figure thus far? Then you’ll like this one, because it’s the same. I personally like it, but I’m finding it a challenge to say something about it every damned time in these reviews.

Design & Sculpt: With the exception of his accessory, Zodak is entirely made of repurposed parts, so there’s not a lot to discuss in terms of the sculpting.

The design is another story, because choosing which parts to re-use is part of the design process. The 2002 figure represented a pretty radical design departure from the original character, and Mattel and the Four Horsemen did a pretty good job using existing parts to re-create that design. The gloves were first seen on Hordak, while the pelvis and boots are taken from He-Ro. The result is a far more cosmic-looking character than the original version who looks like a new character, not just a repaint.

It’s a shame, however, that we couldn’t get an unmasked alternate head, particularly given his single accessory and the amount of re-use. An extra head would have won this figure an extra raven.

Plastic & Paint: The plastic color choices and paint applications are even more important than the parts swapping for making Zodak look like a new, separate character. Fortunately, Mattel did a pretty good job.

In terms of plastic, the brown used for the skin tone looks good. The boots are molded in gray, rather than the silver of the original figure. I have mixed feelings on the boots; a silver paint job, a la the gold of He-Ro, would have matched the 2002 version better, but I actually like the gray.

The paint applications are more interesting. In keeping with the 2002 figure, the chest armor has more white and silver highlights than the 1980s version–and looks a lot better, too. There are some silver highlights on the mask that aren’t on the 1980s version, which make it look more detailed; however, there’s some errant silver marks on the back of my figure’s head, and some glossy slop around the top of the helmet. None of it is too noticeable, fortunately.

I think the use of white paint for the gloves, rather than the silver of the original figure, was the right way to go. It matches the detailing of the chest armor, whereas silver gloves might have looked a bit too 1950s retro. There are still plenty of silver touches throughout the figure, from the helmet to the boots to the little nub at the bottom of the back part of the armor, which gives Zodak his sense of the cosmic.

Of course, there are also the blue “tribal” tattoos, which are made from glow-in-the-dark paint. They’re just another treat on this bonus figure, and they’ve been applied quite neatly.

Articulation: Standard MOTUC articulation: a ball jointed head, ball and hinge shoulders, ball/hinge/swivel hips, hinged torso, elbows, knees, and ankles, and swivel biceps, wrists, and waist. The head’s ball joint has a decent range of motion, and the ankles have great side-to-side articulation as well.

Accessories: The oversized staff of the 2002 figure has been slightly downsized and Classicized for this release. The ends now resemble the barrel of the 1980s Zodak’s gun.

It’s a cool weapon, but you know what would have easily earned this figure another half-raven, though? If the staff could be collapsed and snap onto his armor for storage. It just looks like it should be able to do that.

Quality Control: Other than a few paint problems around the helmet, none. The joints are nice and tight.

Overall: I like Zodak more than I expected to. In fact, I think I like him more than the 1980s Zodac; he has a more distinctive design, and his skin tone is a welcome change from all the white and blue we’ve seen up to now.

Remember, a 2.5 raven score simply means “average”–which means nothing negative, just nothing particularly above-and-beyond, either. He gets an extra half-star for the paint work, the design, and the staff.

[raven 3]


Wanted: Questions for Mattel


The Grayskull Poster from Adam to Zodac


  1. Poe

    @DankOne: True–to be fair, while Zodak gets some crap for being a repaint, he and Zodac differ a lot more than DCUC Hal Jordan and John Stewart (though Stewart does have new tooling for his head).

  2. DankOne

    I was on the fence for a while about a repainted version of the Z man. But I broke down and plunked 20 bones plus shipping for him and I am happy I did. Both Z's look good standing together… Kinda like a Cosmic Enforcer Corp! Great review Poe!

  3. Mark

    Very cool but since I have Zodac they would need to bring him down in price or give him another head and some more accessories before I would buy it.

  4. With regards to the packaging, you can describe which 6 figures are on the back – that's one of the few things that changes. You could also talk about the "pose" of the figure in the clear bubble and how the accessories are packaged – i.e. the hidden ring with Tri-Klops, etc.

  5. Reverend Ender

    Man, now that I see those cool boots close up, I wish I had bought this guy! Not at all familiar with the character though, AND I just read the OAFE review of the 2002 version, and I really liked the concept art for the character pictured there:
    I would TOTALLY have bought a figure like this, but it would require Mattel to make a skinnier buck, which they will never do for this line.

  6. Thomas B

    good review as usual.

    i really like this figure but a new head and/or removable helmet would have made it perfect but i inderstand this was a figure that was made on the cheap and designed to be exactly that.

  7. @Poe: Using the krackle from Superman is genius!

    Great review as always!

  8. Nicholai

    I picked up the 2010 subscription so I'll surely get a few characters I'm not too excited for, but while I've still got the choice I decided to not pick up Zodak just as I didn't pick up Zodac. They don't stir any feelings for me and they're both, though Zodak to a lesser degree, just too meh for me to spend my tight money on.

  9. If they're bringing the Snakemen into the bios, I wonder if they're planning on releasing them!

  10. Young Richard

    I like the bit about trapping King Hsss with the power of his staff.

  11. dayraven

    you have to love mattel, don't you? they show us a picture ON THE BOX of the character w/out helmet… yet they don't give us an unhelmeted head. everytime they mention "the fans" i hear a toilet flush.

  12. I think an evenly paced, well thought out line is better than a short-lived ill-planned one. If I collect nothing but MOTUC for the next year or two, I'll have no complaints. I think the line has enough luster to go into 2011 at least. If and when they do pull the plug, I'll have got some great characters.

    If Matty did release these a wave at a time, say 5-7 figures, I think I'd have a much harder time being able to manage. 12 main figures a year, thats about equivalent to about 2 waves of 6 each.

  13. George

    Question: To all you MOTUC and well Prety Much Action Figure Collector.

    Is it better to obtain the completed line in a short time or a more chronic time period.

    Shorter line, you'll finish up quick having all the characters quickly, though spend more money per year on toys. And then eventually having to look for another line that is in par with the interest you've had with the prior line. Also in a short line if they didn't fully perfected a iconic character; the chances of having one is reduced.

    Longer life of the line probably will get you a lot more variants, and repaints of the line, which allows you to catch up if you missed a particular release, but then makes you wait longer for character you lust more. In turn might spend more money buying Say a He-man and then that He-man getting a better tooling and but less accessories in a later release.

    What do you all think?

  14. Poe

    I've got the "Kirby krackle" accessories from DCUC Superman Blue on either end of the staff, and it looks really good. I'll take some pics tonight.

    @Matthew K: Yep, I mentioned that little nub in my review. I agree, I almost thought it was diecast metal at first. It looks like they're going to use that nub as a sort of Easter egg; on Wun-Dar, it has some colored dots like Wonder Bread packaging.

  15. Matthew K

    Did you notice the shiny silver paint on the circle (I imagine it as the thruster for his jetpack) on the back of the armor? I swear it's the most real metallic look I've seen from a metallic paint in quite a while.

    I dig this guy. The parts re-use is pretty well done (nice choices that look good together) and the weapon is pretty fun for action poses. I agree with you on the headsculpt, though. I wonder if they would have done a new head if he wasn't a 'bonus' figure. Perhaps they would have never got to him at all if they never implemented the 'bonus' range.

  16. I pulled out my 2002 Zodak and examined the two of them side by side. At first I was curious why they didn't go with silver boots/gloves, but I agree that they made the right choice going with gray/silver on the Classics version. The pelvis actually does a great job in replicating the look as well.

    I would have loved second head, and that would have definitely upped the value of this figure. Especially since one of the features of the '02 version was the fact that you could remove his helmet.

    Its interesting on the cross-sell art, I wonder where they took that image fromm, if its directly from the cartoon or perhaps some sort of toy art.

    Right now I've got Zodac and Zodak displayed right next to each other, but I think when space becomes an issue, ZodaK will be my go-to figure for the character.

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