Review > Buzz-Off (Masters of the Universe Classics, Mattel)

As a kid, I loved the Buzz-Off action figure. The colors were bright and appealing, the articulated wings were a unique feature (and looked a lot more flight-worthy than Stratos’s arm-feathers), and the claws were cool…to a kid. But I’ll admit that the 200X Buzz-Off was possibly the best redesign of the entire line, pushing the insectile aspects to the limit. MOTUC is meant to invoke the original line, not 200X, so I’m going to review Buzz-Off compared to his MOTUC brethren and the general concept of the line.

As much as I like Buzz-Off, he’s one of the MOTU characters whose name I see as a potential stumbling block to getting a movie taken seriously. As “codenames,” this sort of thing works in G.I. Joe; it works in Transformers because the Autobots are ostensibly replacing their Cybertronian names with Earth names that fit their character in some way. But I really can’t come up with an even remotely feasible fannish explanation for names like Buzz-Off, Two-Bad or Clawful. I suppose Mattel may be trying to get around that by using the “real names” on the bios, but if so, they’re not trying all that hard, since–well, see for yourself.

Packaging: Buzz-Off comes in the standard MOTUC packaging. The logo is high enough that his entire head is visible, though I wonder whether mint-on-card collectors would have preferred the helmet on.

Design & Sculpt: Buzz-Off legs and torso are from Whiplash (his loincloth is the standard He-Man one). His shoulders and biceps are also re-used (shoulders from Whiplash, generic biceps), but his forearms are a new sculpt–they’re not as spiky as Whiplash’s, nor are they like Skeletor‘s.

The forearms match the vintage figure’s, since vintage Buzz-Off’s arms were different than vintage Whiplash’s (hence the claws). They have spikes, but only small ones, suggesting the rough hair of an insect’s leg.

The claws and head are obviously new, as is the “backpack,” which holds the wings and the “legs,” or arms, or whatever you want to call those bug bits. The legs, by the way, are not the same as Webstor’s–they’re a link shorter.

So the most significant new sculpts are the head, forearms, claws, wings, and backpack. The head is closely based on the vintage figure, as one would expect. The vintage sculpt has been tightened up and details have been added.

The claws also look sharp, and they can hold the weapons quite tightly. The claws are not articulated. I do wish they had been (with detents, a.k.a. “clicky” joints, to make sure they could still hold the weapons tightly).

Finally, there’s the “backpack” and wings. The translucent wings are based on the vintage design, and feature a kind of techno-organic look to them. Their rounded shape matches the vintage figure as well. A set of swappable, sharper 200X-inspired wings would have been a nice addition, but the 200X style is retired, in case you haven’t heard. Except for weapons.

Plastic & Paint: Plastic and paint applications have often been hit-or-miss on this line, but I think Buzz-Off is a hit. They chose a nice, not-too-bright yellow shade for the paint of the chest. I really like the tan color chosen for the arms and legs.

There’s a wash on the legs and particularly on the arms, bringing out the details in the shoulder and forearms and giving character to the figure. It’s a bit too thick in places, but I think the overall effect is positive. Buzz-Off is one of the better-looking figures on the shelf.

Articulation: Buzz-Off features the standard MOTUC articulation: a ball jointed head, ball joints at the shoulders and hips, swivels at the biceps, wrists, waist, upper thighs, and top of the boots, and hinges at the elbows, abdomen, knees and ankles. The ankles also have a limited “rocker” motion as well (i.e., side-to-side).

In addition to all that, the wings and “legs” have ball joints.

Accessories: Buzz-Off comes with three weapons: a brown axe (the silver version appeared in the Eternian Guards set), his 200X-style staff, and his traditional helmet.

Since I was a kid, I’ve always found Buzz-Off’s helmet to be an odd accessory. All three versions of the character have come with one, and yet, what is it but a larger version of the very organ it’s covering–like a codpiece for the eyes? (Ugh, that analogy did not work out like I hoped it would.) That said, I always found Buzz-Off’s shiny green eyes to clash a bit with the rest of his look, so the helmet actually fixes that issue. Long story short: I like the helmet. Incidentally, it fits quite tightly, unlike the vintage version.

The axe is obviously fairly simple, but accurate to the vintage figure. Thankfully, we also get the 200X-style halberd. There are a number of paint apps on it, from the reddish-brown haft to the shiny yellow blade and stinger, with some darker brown highlights around the top as well.

Quality Control: I had no problems. Even Buzz-Off’s ankles are nice and tight.

Overall: Buzz-Off is a straightforward, well-executed figure. He’s one I’ve been waiting to add to my collection since the early days, and I’m glad to finally have him standing alongside He-Man, Man-At-Arms, Teela and the rest. An alternate 200X-style head (which evidently isn’t possible) or 200X-style wings (ditto) would have been a great addition that would have pushed this figure to 5-raven territory, but he’s still a better-than-average addition to my MOTUC collection.

[raven 4]


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  1. Mijet

    Good review, I really like this figure, except mine had 2 left shins(got it fixed) but still. I do have a question though, where did you get the stand in the top pic?

  2. Poe

    @Reverend Ender: I have to say I didn't even notice that until you pointed it out. And even then, it's a lot more noticeable in the pics than in the lights in my apartment when I was writing my review.

    That said, it is the sort of thing a good reviewer should point out.

  3. Scissors

    A plausible explanation of the name could be:

    After witnessing the chaos and havoc brought upon his people by Skeletor's army, the heroic Andreenid king reluctantly decides that he needs to ally himself with King Randor and the Masters of the Universe. With much flourish, he lands at the palace behind Randor during a weapons demonstration by Man-at-Arms, and announces his presence to his fellow king.

    However, the Andreenid's timing is unfortunate. With Man-at-Arms weapon roaring, Tzzzzt zzz zzTTTzz's grand announcement of his presence is mistaken by Randor for a buzzing fly. Swatting absently, the great king grandly announces "BUZZ-OFF!", silencing all in attendance and turning all attention to the Andreenid.

    In an attempt to forestall a political incident, Man-at-Arms loudly proclaims, "All hail King Buzz-Off!" echoed enthusiastically by the rest of Randor's court. Despite the Andreenid king's attempts to correct the humans, no one present speaks Andreenid, and hence the name sticks.

  4. Reverend Ender

    I am quite disappointed that his forearms don't match the rest of his arms. Looks like they were molded in black and then painted. Why would you do that, Mattel?

  5. Nicholai

    Buzz-Off has joined Marzo and Carnivus in my trade pile as he just isn't a figure I cared at all for as a kid and who I just don't like with the rest of my Masters of the Universe.

    I'm not in the 2011 sub so I'll just be attempting (key Digital River word) to pick up those who I like from now on.

  6. I've never been a big Buzz-Off fan and I still prefer the 200X design over the vintage look. But this figure turned out to be moe fun that I expected.

    I have two gripes, though:

    – The forearms' color tone is siginificantly different to the biceps.

    – The color schemes of his weapons don't fit together well enough. I would've preferred if both were colored in vintage style and later offerd in 200X colors as part of another Weapons Pak.

  7. FakeEyes22

    I love the subtle work on his head. It's somehow nearly identical, but way less goofy than the vintage. I love the way the eyes pop with such a striking color, but it's also impressive that the helmet doesn't look bad.

    Overall, he really surprised me. I wasn't too excited, but the solid execution and great QC won me over.

    I do wish I hadn't learned that the 4H did in fact sculpt an extra 200X head. The large wings and extra axe offer quite a bit of plastic, but more is always better with these guys.

  8. misterbigbo

    Oh yeah. I've been picking up most all the original MOTU figs. I'm even excited about Vikor.

  9. Poe

    @misterbigbo: Did you get a Buzz-Off?

  10. misterbigbo

    As a kid the thing I loved the most about Buzz Off was the color scheme, and was always a little ticked about the claw hands and goofy head. I had completely forgotten he had a helmet; I must have lost that accessory, like so many GI Joe guns, instantly upon opening him. So I love the job they did, especially the brown.

    I was hoping, however, for a slightly tweaked head. This one is so close to the original that it kept the same smirk, one I never had an adequate adjective for until I learned "douchey". It just seemed that many figs had slight adjustments to the head sculpts and I was hoping for one here. Oh, well.

    Great review nonetheless.

  11. De-Man

    While the wings do indeed have the basically same design as the vintage, they seem to have roughly the shape of 200X. They have a larger "upper" wing with a smaller "lower" wing.

  12. Mecha-Shiva

    Nice review,Poe!

    He is weird to me as when I saw him as a kid,he is still weird now.

  13. Dead Man Walking

    I strongly disagree with the notion that his green eyes clash with his coloration. I think they really compliment his look and are what really make him "pop" on the shelf, along with the translucent wings.

    That said, I think the helmet looks goofy, though not as much as the vintage one.

    In regard to the names, Buzz Off is of course incredibly goofy, but I have no problem with his "real name." I mean, it makes sense to me that he would have a name comprised of the sounds that are native to his species. I mean, even among humans (a single species) we have people whose languages employ clicks and other sounds that might not even "sound" like language to English speakers.

    Lastly, it's worth noting that Buzz Off got peg holes in his feet, while Whiplash did not.

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