Though mostly forgotten now, there was some mild controversy around MOTUC Catra. At the time she was shown, fans weren’t sure whether Mattel had the rights to do her “Filmation” look. It turned out they did, owing to a depiction of the character in a Mattel-created style guide from the 1980s. And thank heaven, because otherwise we might have had a figure based on her vintage look. (“Cobie Smulders is Demeter in Cirque du Soleil’s Cats!“)
Unlike the sausage-fest that was the Evil Warriors (Evil-lyn excepted), the Evil Horde was a more equal-opportunity organization. In addition to Catra, there was Shadow Weaver, Scorpia, Entrapta and Octavia. And while Hordak was the boss, most of the other male characters were dumb grunts while the women were smarter and often held positions of authority. After Adora’s defection to the Great Rebellion, Catra became the Force Captain of the Horde. Like Shadow Weaver, Catra once teamed up with Skeletor in an attempt to overthrow Hordak. [Source]
Design & Sculpt: While I haven’t been disappointed with any of the female MOTUC sculpts so far, I think Catra is one of the best so far. The character already has a great design–the Horsemen simply did it justice.
The head sculpt (I can’t bring myself to say “portrait”) features Catra’s distinctive high cheekbones and pursed lips. The hair has some great texture, but its weight does make posing the head difficult.
The cape isn’t attached to the bodice as it is in the style guide design, but that was probably necessary–combining them would have presented production problems, and the connection might have been easily torn.
Plastic & Paint: The paint applications are the best feature of the figure. They’re well executed, with sharp detail work on the face (not to mention great color choices), a well-done wash on the dress, and a great patent leather-like gloss to the boots and bracers.
There were complaints among collectors about the figure’s rubbery left hand, but it doesn’t bother me. It looks fine, and it doesn’t need to hold anything. Presumably the rubber was used for safety reasons (otherwise the claws would be a bit too sharp, I suppose).
Articulation: Catra has the standard MOTUC articulation: a ball and socket neck, ball-and-hinge shoulders and hips, swivels at the biceps, wrists, waist, top of the thighs, and top of the boots, hinges at the elbows, knees and ankles, and a “rocker” side-to-side joint at the ankles as well. The plastic used for the skirt is pliable enough to allow a good range of motion in the legs.
On a side note, I’m disappointed we’re losing the swivels on the hips, starting with Battleground Teela. They’re not the most necessary joint, but they do help with creative posing.
Accessories: Catra comes with a whip, a sword, a shield, a red “tiara” and a silver cat-mask. The silver mask and shield are references to the vintage figure, while the whip is a cross between the vintage comb and the whip she used in the Filmation series. The sword is based on the one that came with the vintage “Shower Power” Catra figure.
The red mask can sit tightly on both her forehead, as it usually did in the cartoon, or on her face (in the cartoon, when she put the mask on her face she transformed into a panther). The silver mask fits her face tightly, but because it’s painted silver (rather than being molded in silver) it tends to rub off on her hair. The silver mask, sword, and shield are nice nods to the vintage figure, but I doubt I’ll ever be using them since they don’t fit the style guide/Filmation look of the character at all.
I love the “comb-whip,” as I love all these creative comb-weapons we’re seeing on the POP characters. It’s just such a neat, amusing touch.
Quality Control: Other than the tendency of the silver mask to rub off on her hair, none.
Overall: I wasn’t particularly excited for Catra, as I haven’t been for most POP characters (unless you count Grizzlor and Hordak), but at this point she’s my favorite female figure behind Battleground Teela (whom I’ll be reviewing next). She fits in well with MOTUC thanks to her darker colors and her outfit, which is much more S&M than her vintage look.