Masters of the Universe Classics was born in July 2008 with the King Grayskull San Diego Comic Con exclusive. The line proper started in December 2008 with the release of Beast Man and He-Man. The first “beast” was Battle Cat, released in February 2010; and now, three years into the line–three years!–we have the first vehicle, the Wind Raider.
I’ll admit I expected the previously-revealed Battle Ram to be the first vehicle–and also hoped it would be, because it’s my favorite (with the Talon Fighter coming in a close second). The Wind Raider is actually pretty low on my list, but it’s one of the more iconic vehicles and owing to its simpler design, I’m sure it was a lot cheaper to produce for this toe-dipping exercise.
The art for the packaging was created by Rudy Obrero, the same artist who painted the packaging for the original toy. (Obrero also painted one of my favorite posters of all time–for what was, by all accounts, a terrible movie.) It’s beautiful art and a great bit of (long overdue) fan service on Mattel’s part.
It’s hard to call this collector-friendly packaging, because there’s no window to see the product (so tough luck for mint-in-box collectors) and the vehicle inside is held in by some cardboard parts that aren’t going to be easy to replace.
(click any pic for a larger version)
Once you’ve got it out in the open, though, it’s a thing of beauty. It’s very similar in design to the original Wind Raider of course, and if you hold it in your hand without a vintage WR nearby, you can be forgiven for thinking it seems like it’s the same size. The Four Horsemen made the MOTUC figures the size they are so that adult collectors would still get that “chunky” feeling of the vintage figures, and the Wind Raider was similarly scaled up–check out this comparison pic.
Obviously the new Wind Raider has a lot more details in both the sculpt and the paint applications.
Parts that were stickers on the vintage toy are now tampographed on. UPDATE: Poester Dark Angel writes in regarding the various decals:
Poe, after reading some comments on he-man.org and examining my own very closely, the Wind Raider does no sport tampos, but some kind of decals, similar to the dampen and slide type decals that come with some model kits. Thus, they require some kind of sealant to maintain them and prevent chipping/peeling/discoloration with time. You want a sealant that is acrylic-friendly due to the “soft” (or rubbery) plastic parts (basically. all the yellow parts). I used Krylon Matte Finish 1311, which is archival safe and can but used on plastics. Spread the word!
Mattel could have gotten away with just making a fairly plain vehicle and I think most fans would have been satisfied. In this instance, however, they went the extra mile and added a few play features. Like the original toy, the “anchor” at the front shoots out, and can then be wound back up by turning the “skull” on the hood. I even went ahead and made a goofy Youtube video to show this function in action:
The wings can be rotated 360° and the rudder can move back and forth. Incidentally, the rudder is separate in the box and has to be attached, and it does take a bit of force to get it on. [Update] The wings come separately and also have to be attached.
Finally, there are small hatches on either nacelle that can be opened to reveal what looks like missiles:
One non-caped MOTUC figure can sit comfortably in the seat, with both hands held on the grips. The grips are a bit rubbery so it’s not difficult to get the hands on.
Finally, the Wind Raider comes with a fantastic stand. It plugs into one of the “turbines” on the bottom of the Raider, so it doesn’t look obtrusive. The stand has a strong hinge at the top that allows for lots of great posing options. It also has wheels in case you (or a kid) just want to roll it along the floor.
As I’ve often pointed out, Mattel seems to cheap out on some figures in this line while giving others the works. The Wind Raider is one of the latter cases. At $
40 45, it’s expensive but not too far from what you might expect to pay at retail for something of this size and complexity. All the moving parts and action features, along with the great stand, give it a ton of value.
As with the best products in this line, it’s not just a great collector’s item, but an amazing toy.
UPDATE: It was pointed out to me that there are supposed to be two small guns on the underside of the vehicle, to the left and right of the front wheel. You can see them in Michael Crawford’s review. Mine doesn’t have them, and they’re not in the box.
So, Mattel quality control strikes again. They weren’t so necessary to the design that I missed them, but now that I know they’re not there, I’ll be requesting a replacement. For this (and what sounds like a lot of QC issues), I’m docking the Raider a half-point.
Where to Buy:
- If you missed out on the Wind Raider, BBTS has them for $75.