Review > Man-E-Faces (Masters of the Universe Classics, Mattel)

One concept I just could never buy into was the idea of Man-E-Faces as an actor. If so, he’s an actor with a fairly limited range: he can play a guy in  big blue mechanical suit with a domino mask, a guy in a big blue mechanical suit with a robot face, and a guy in a big blue mechanical suit with a monster face (at least until this figure, which gives him three more options).

All right, so perhaps I’m being unfair – for all I know, the monster is the Laurence Olivier of his generation. And based on his first minicomic appearance, it looks like Manny was more of a wandering bard than a leading man (note that apparently his helmet was removable). If you think of him as a storyteller who uses his ability to create the faces of the speaking characters, the whole “actor” thing makes more sense.

Man-E-Faces was one of the most iconic characters in the original Masters of the Universe toy line (and a personal favorite). He also had a Millennium figure which, while a bit pre-posed, was nonetheless one of my favorites from the revamp. Let’s see how his Classics figure compares.

Man-E-Faces MOTU_Mattel_Man-E-Faces

Design and Sculpt: MOTUC Manny’s sculpt is not based on the vintage toy, as the Millennium version was. It’s based on the cross sell art from the back of the original 1980s packaging. The biggest difference that I’ve noticed is that the pipe running from the center of his chest up to his chin is absent. It’s not a radical difference from the vintage figure, but it’s worth nothing.

Manny’s legs are and arms, except for the newly-sculpted shoulders, are borrowed from Trap Jaw; his pelvis piece we’ve seen before on Optikk; his chest is actually brand-new, as it had to be sculpted to hold the base for the helmet. The piping on the front of the chest is a separate piece, which makes the figure seem a bit less toy-like than the solid-sculpted parts did on the vintage and Millennium figures.

The Four Horsemen have not made significant changes to Manny’s faces in either the Millennium or the Classics versions, perhaps because they’re so iconic. While some might wish for a more detailed or exaggerated face, it wouldn’t have worked well with the Classics style.

The head itself is designed quite well. It’s made from three pieces: the helmet, the rotating head, and the removable peg that plugs into the top of the helmet so that the heads can be spun. They all hold together tightly and are easy to swap out (even if he looks like a background character from The Neverending Story without the helmet on).

Plastic & Paint: The color of Man-E-Faces’s orange/skin area was put to a vote last year. There were three options: the bright orange of the vintage figure, the flesh color of the cross-sell art, or a half-and-half option. I originally vote for half-and-half, then later regretted it, wishing they had offered just the two choices (or, since they’d decided to use the cross sell art for the design, just gone with flesh).

But now that I’ve got the figure in hand, I think it worked out surprisingly well – look at him from one angle and it seems to be orange; look at it thinking it’s flesh, and it looks like flesh color.

The paint applications themselves are applied a bit thickly, but they’re fairly even, with little bleed.

Articulation: Man-E-Faces has ball joints at the shoulders and hips; swivels at the “face,” neck, biceps, wrists, waist, top of the thighs, and top of the boots; and hinges at the elbows, abdomen, knees, and ankles. Theoretically there is “rocker” side-to-side motion at the ankles to allow for wide-legged stances with feet flush to the ground, but it never really works with the Trap Jaw feet, for whatever reason.

Accessories: The Millennium Man-E-Faces came with a ridiculously oversized version of the small vintage laser pistol. Fortunately, the Classics version shrinks the pistol back down to normal size (see above pics).

The mysterious “bonus accessory” is an interchangeable face wheel, featuring Skeletor, He-Man and Orko. It’s the sort of accessory I really like, one that plays to the character’s traits.

Quality Control: In what is proving to be the exception rather than the rule with this line, no problems.

Overall: Man-E-Faces is as good a Classics update of a vintage character as we’ve had. I like that they followed the cross-sell art, though part of me does wish they could have used the normal flesh color. There’s enough new tooling here to make the character look distinct from the other figures, and while the paint is thick, it’s well-applied.

This is one of those reviews where I started out a bit unexcited by the figure, but ended up being more satisfied with it than I realized. The extra heads put him over into 4-raven territory.

[raven 4]


Odds ‘n Ends > Newgistics Delays, MOTUC Grayskull Astronaut, DCAS Wave 3 Lineup


Figure It Out #5


  1. Ryan Hipp

    I actually had a completely different take on his acting. i think when they wrote the minicomic, they misunderstood the character design…I think the original idea was he was an actor in his past life, before the spell cast on him, and it was obvious to me, even as a kid, that they made a mistake showing him in his harness prior to this magical accident…Someone doesnt wear something like that unless they have to. I assumed that the harness helped control his Hyde-esque transformations. When he appeared in the minicomic with the harness, I thought how stupid the grown-ups that wrote that comic must have been for not having the imagination that he probably should have started the comic as an Average Joe.

  2. clark

    I wasn't planning on getting this figure until because I really wanted one that was cross art colors, but I really like him. I think the colors they went with work out, having the armor closer to the original figure, but the skin is still mostly flesh-colored.

    I skipped a lot of motuc figures last year due to my frustration with dealing with mattycollector, and their horrible shipping (e.g. it's been 12 days since I ordered Fisto and my first shipping update for 7 days, he's still on the other side of the country from me). I got Vikor, MEF, Demo-man and BG Evil-lyn. Out of those MEF ended up being my favorite closely followed by Vikor.

  3. Mysterious Stranger

    Regarding Man-E-Faces as an actor, I've always thought of him not in the traditional costume and make-up type of actors but more along the lines of the classic renaissance type that used handheld masks-on-sticks to depict their characters thereby relying on the actors ability to emote through their portrayal of the character rather than the visual physical look.

    As for the figure, Man-E-Faces completes my collection of MOTUC figures that I had as a kid and if the line ends tomorrow I'll be content that I got all of them in Classics form. And I'm really happy with how he turned out. My one disappointment is that they painted his gun orange rather than casting it in orange plastic. Mine doesn't look that great up close but the figure outshines this minor annoyance.

  4. Ridureyu

    The fact that Man-E-Faces and Faker can fool anybody does not reflect well on the citizens of Eternia.

  5. Dead Man Walking

    Decent figure, but on mine the helmet never stays flush with the torso. Annoying.

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