The vintage Masters of the Universe line was littered with variant versions of He-man and Skeletor. Mattel knew that the main heroic warrior and his archenemy were their bread and butter with both kids and parents alike, so every couple of quarters there were new versions hitting the pegs. One of the more intricate figures (action feature-wise) was Thunder-Punch He-Man who utilized the, now frowned upon, cap-gun technology to add some oomph to his beatdowns! The action feature for T.P. (Toilet Paper?) He-Man was such an integral part of his sculpt that when it came time for his MotU release, The Four Horsemen had to get creative– and they certainly did! Join us as we review Thunder Punch He-Man: Heroic Leader with a Power Punch!
The packaging used for Thunder Punch He-Man is the same blister card that has been present since the line’s inception. No surprises, and frills. The back of the card shows some of the other figures in the line and his bio covers the lower 3rd. The first MotUC He-Man looked great in this package and so does his fist-fighting variant, so he’ll still look just as good hanging on your wall as he would on your shelf. Actually, that is a stretch. Thunder-Punch He-Man looks way cooler posed up with that streaming trail of energy on his hand, and you know it too!
Here’s the complete bio from the back of the package:
Real Name: Adam of the House of Randor
“When Skeletor banished Randor to Despondos, he used Faker to convince the royal court that He-Man was not only a Gar but also responsible for the King’s “death”. This ruse turned the people of Eternia against He-Man and he and the Masters soon became renegades in their own land. Driven to the underground caves of Tundaria , the Masters reformed as an elite attack squad. They returned to the surface, and found not only Skeletor ruling Eternia, but King Hssss and a newaly returned Hordak also challenging for control. To enhance his strength for these new battles ahead, He-Man used the powers fo Frayskull to energize his weapons, giving them a new Thunder Punch to combat evil!”
Most of the sculpt for Thunder Punch He-Man is… well, it’s He-Man. It only makes sense seeing as how it’s the same guy. The big difference here is the addition of a newly sculpted right fist and the chest harness/backpack. The fist is very tightly sculpted with plenty of wrinkles and definition to show all the details of the knuckle sandwiches He-Man will be serving up. The harness has the familiar look of the vintage toy while making the proportions more eye ctaching since this time around it’s not actually part of the torso. The detailing on the harness is very clean and symmetrical, and the knob, arrows, and venting on the rear of the backpack come across as Eternian technology and not quite as action feature driven as the vintage toy. In fact, even with the sculpted “gimmicks” on this figure, it still manages to come across better than the some previous ones like the dial on Hurricane Hordak. Our only complaint here comes in the form of He-Man’s hair. We’re not sure if it’s because of the mold being re-used so often (as seen with some DCUC Batman heads), or if it was a simple factory mistake, but the mold line in the top of the head is very, very noticeable to the point it almost looks as if his hair was glued together in two halves.
When it comes to the paint, the first thing we noticed was He-Man’s lack of a tan. While this look is a far cry from the norm, it also jives with the thought of him being hidden away underground for a while. Most of the figure is molded in the proper colors with paint added for effect. Our eyes were drawn to the shiny silver deco on his chest emblem. The entire front has been vac-metallized with red paint added to match the rest of the harness. It gives the figure a really nice look, but the area around the “H” is a little sloppy on ours. Other detailing on the backpack has been brought out with the use of maroon and silver paint. While keeping in mind that most of the paint apps have been applied cleanly, there are a couple of missteps with the white of He-man’s teeth not being applied evenly and his fist (which is completely painted in fleshtone) being too glossy.
Articulation for this figure is the same as we’ve seen on most other Masters of the Universe Classics figures. A ball-joint neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, hinged torso, swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees, swivel boot tops, swivel/hinge “rocker” ankles, a hinge on the backpack, and rotating knob on the backpack round out the articulation model. The figure we reviewed had very tight joints that work properly. It seems like a lifetime ago when we were frustrated with loose ankles on a MotUC figure. The backpack is opened by simply pulling at the top and it opens like an oven door. The knob on the back turns 360 degrees and the fake cap ring can be placed inside.
The accessories are where Thunder Punch He-Man really shows his worth. He comes packed with a pile of awesome including a transluscent power sword, transluscent power effect, vac-metal shield, a fake ring of caps, and the first MotUC Mini-Comic! The power effect and Power Sword are both molded out of the same yellowish plastic. The effect snaps onto the fist securely and his left hand can grasp the Power Sword. The power effect is by far the coolest addition we’ve seen in a while and we’d love to have some varying colors and styles for some of our other figures. The shield has a gray and silver deco that takes advantage of the vac-metal look of his chest. The shield snaps onto his wrist and the rubber cap ring can be inserted into the recesses on the front to give it that vintage look. The Mini-Comic features a cover by Eric Powell (Dark Horse Comics’ The Goon) and tells a story that we’re not gonna ruin here in this review. Sorry.
Even with his small problems, Thunder Punch He-Man is a great addition to our regular and Battle Armor editions of Prince Adam’s alter-ego. He’s a good choice for a Quarterly Figure Slot since he’s cool, but not necessary for the average collector. If you’d like to add Thunder Punch He-Man to your shelf, be sure to check out the Matty Collector website when he goes on sale, noon EST on April, 16th!
Stay tuned to MTV Geek! for all your Mattel and Masters of the Universe Classics coverage!
Interview: Toy Customizer Joe Amato
EXCLUSIVE! DC Comics Launches Brand New ’He-Man and the Masters of The Universe’ Comic From Writer James Robinson