Over the weekend I took a trip to my local toy shop to check out the new Masters of the Universe Origins line. The toy line – which was initially launched in the US in 2020 – is from Mattel, and includes a range of MOTU figures, alongside a collection of playsets.
Masters of the Universe Origins has been available in the UK for a little while now, but due to COVID restrictions and one thing or another, this was my first opportunity to see the toys in an actual bricks and mortar toy store. I was very excited to go check them out, and even happier to come home with four figures.
The figures that I picked up included: He-Man, Skeletor, Faker, and Mer-Man. These figures are from the fifth wave of the MOTU Origins line, which also includes Fisto and Evil-Lyn.
The toy store that was selling these figures was Smyths Toys, but because this shop is at least a 30-minute tram ride away from where I live (plus additional walking time), I checked online to see what was available in store before I set off on Saturday. According to the Smyths website, the store had both He-Man and Skeletor figures in stock, along with some playsets, but not much else.
I was fine with this, because these were the two characters I was after. However, upon arrival at the store, I quickly discovered the website was displaying incorrect information, as a number of other figures were on the shelves too, including the elusive Faker figure.
I’m pointing this out now, because if you are after a specific MOTU Origins figure (or any toy for that matter), it’s worth going on a hunt – don’t just take a website’s word for what’s in stock. Sometimes, websites display incorrect information, or are slow to be updated, so keep this in mind.
OK, so let’s talk about the Masters of the Universe Origins toys. And boy, do I love these toys!
I grew up with the original MOTU toy line, and have dipped in and out of the Masters line over the years (2002, Super7 etc), but these are easily some of my favourites to date. They are very much in keeping with the look and feel of the vintage toys, yet at the same time the figures have been brought up to date to ensure they offer something different from the ’82 toys.
Each figure boasts 16 points of articulation, which breaks down as follows: Movement in 2 x feet, 2 x shin, 2 x knee, 2 x leg, 1 x waist, 2 x wrist, 2 x elbow, 2 x shoulder, and 1 x head. All this articulation provides countless opportunities for collectors to pose the figures whatever way they wish, while for kids it gives them the ability to twist and turn all of the major joints to make playing with the figures a lot of fun!
And it’s here that it’s worth noting that these figures are designed for both collectors AND kids. Many toy lines these days seem to be aimed at either one demographic or the other, but Masters of the Universe Origins has found the sweet spot in the middle.
How do I know this? Because as much as I wanted to break these figures out of their packaging, so I could put them on display, I haven’t been able to put them down since cracking them open. I’ve been posing and re-posing them endlessly, and I know that if I was 8-years-old, I would be having THE BEST adventure with these guys!
The figures capture the excitement and imagination of the original line, yet at the same time they boast vibrant colours. The paint schemes are all in-keeping with the vintage toys, but they are a little brighter, with some of the colours really popping (especially on Faker).
The line also boasts a new feature: removable and interchangeable parts! Not only are the figures super articulated, but limbs can be ‘popped’ off and mix-and-matched with other figures.
From a collector’s point of view, I will be keeping all of the arms and legs intact – there will be no mixing and matching going on here. But for kids this is a great feature, and provides endless play opportunities – from the creation of new characters to imaginative (and blood thirsty) battles!
Those battles can be realised thanks to an assortment of weapons, with each figure coming with at least one accessory. For Mer-Man and Faker the accessory is a sword, for Skeletor it is a sword and a staff, while for He-Man it is the Power Sword, as well as an axe and a shield.
All of the weapons feel sturdy, and have been produced in good quality plastic – no flimsy production values here. And the same can be said of the figures too – each figure feels chunky and of a good quality.
Too many modern figures are made from a light (often cheap and crappy) plastic, which seems as if it will break just by looking at it. This is not the case here, these figures have been made with play in mind, and are quite robust.
The figures are also very detailed, with plenty of neat little touches here and there. And this extends to the packaging, which showcases great artwork, as well as the inclusion of a mini-comic which is a nice little nod to the comics that were included with the vintage toys in the ‘80s.
It’s often said that the devil is in the detail, and this is very true with Masters of the Universe Origins, because some of the figures in this line do differ in very minor ways, and this is something that needs to be highlighted. Case in point: He-Man and Skeletor.
When I was picking up the figures over the weekend, I had the option to buy the He-Man and Skeletor figures in two variations. They looked almost the same, but with a significant difference – the face sculpt!
The He-Man figure you see pictured comes in two different face sculpts: Classic (as pictured) or modern. The classic look, which is the one I opted for, is based on the face sculpt from the vintage line.
Skeletor also comes in two different face sculpts, with one featuring an open mouth and one with a closed mouth. I preferred the closed mouth, but it is nice to have the option.
The reason for the two different sculpts is because they belong to two different waves.
The figures from the earlier wave have slightly different swords too – the figures from the older wave come with a ‘half sword’ instead of a full sword. So, if you want a specific figure, or you want the full swords, make sure to take a good look at what you’re buying, as the differences are very subtle.
Where the difference is more obvious is in a figure like Mer-Man. The figure pictured here is called Lords of Power (LOP) Mer-Man and differs from the Mer-Man figure released in an earlier wave.
The previous version was based on the vintage figure, and has a different head sculpt, hands, and chest plate. Of the two Mer-Man figures available, I prefer this version, which is why he came home with me on Saturday.
I only intended to pick up He-Man and Skeletor at the toy store, but I simply couldn’t leave Mer-Man on the shelf, because he looked too damn good! I also couldn’t leave Faker on the shelf. Seeing him amongst the other toys was a very pleasant surprise, and I instantly knew he had to come home with me too.
I think it’s pretty clear from my words above that I am very impressed with this collection of figures. Sure, they are new versions of something we have seen numerous times before, but in my mind, these are some of the best releases to date.
The key to extending the life of any toy line is to ensure it appeals to kids. Adult collectors might have the money, but toy companies want to appeal to children because they are the future collectors.
For me, Masters of the Universe Origins has dual appeal. It has the power to stir up the imagination in youngsters, while bringing plenty of nostalgia for the older generation.
This is a line that parents can share with their children, children can share with their friends, and lots of fun can be had for everyone. I got a real buzz out of seeing these figures in shops, and I really hope that it is selling well for Mattel.
In the UK, the figures can be a little tricky to track down, as they are not popping up everywhere, but you should find them in all Smyths stores or via Amazon UK. In the US, I believe they are more widely available, and of course, Amazon US has plenty of the figures too.
I look forward to seeing more figures in this line, and I will be on the look-out for all past and future waves when I am out and about. Masters of the Universe is almost 40-years-old and I think it is great that we are still seeing these characters in shops, and looking better than ever!
Thank you for taking the time to read this post about Masters of the Universe Origins figures on It’s A Stampede! For more posts, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.
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