POWER‑CON 2019 EXCLUSIVE FIGURES
The eagerly anticipated 2019 Power‑Con selection has arrived, and it has to be said from the outset that they are very good. This time around we're back to Classics figures. They comprise the other half of the Vintage MOTU concept designs we saw in 2017 from Super7, plus a minicomic figure. But something odd has been going on in the MOTU world, and these new toys come from Mattel. That's the same Mattel who abandoned Classics in 2016.
So, before we get to the reviews of the figures, we need to explore this anomaly. While it remains unclear why Super7 didn't produce the 2019 Power‑Con offerings, we now know that Mattel has ordered a halt on many of its licences. That's partly because they intend to start a new line called Origins (basically the original line bucks with more articulation), but also because of the forthcoming MOTU movie. (Despite the hype, at this stage I am still not convinced it will ever be released.)
This is a bad move on Mattel's part. Super7 were doing pretty well with their Classics figures. (This decision also halts their Filmation roster.) Arguably the quality was not quite on a par, but the differences were minimal. There should be no clash between a costly line for adult collectors and a cheap retail line for youngsters. It's a snub to all those collectors who have supported the line for over a decade. I simply cannot see a good reason for Mattel to order a stop. In theory it's just a pause, but for how long?
So, Power‑Con 2019 basically became the MOTU event that marked the demise of a remarkable line. At this time it is hard to imagine that Classics will be able to pick up where it left off. There is still some pending product from Super7 which is unaffected by the licence withdrawal, but after those items the line will effectively be terminated indefinitely. It is a great shame because there are still many figures that we ought to see in Classics. I'm sure the Filmation fans feel the same way.
This year it wasn't possible for international customers to order the toys directly from Power‑Con. The figures were distributed to a handful of toy sellers, including Big Bad Toy Store, who supplied mine. This made already-expensive figures almost prohibitively costly. A figure now costs in the region of four times what it would have at the start of the line. Even after a decade, that's still an enormous rise. Another obstacle was the limited production quantity. The individual figure of this set sold out rapidly.
That figure is a He‑Man variant known traditionally as Slime Pit He‑Man (after his appearance in the Escape From The Slime Pit! minicomic), but now renamed as Zombie Horde He‑Man. The other figures were sold as a three-pack. The set included a version of Ninjor (Ninja Warrior) and two Snake Troopers. All these figures are made up of previously used parts. The quality is as good as anything Mattel has produced in this line, albeit not flawless. So, let's have a look at the figures.
HORDE ZOMBIE HE‑MAN. I don't know if the name will stick as well as the slime, but this figure has been wanted by fans for a long time. (He featured on my Most Wanted page.) Perhaps the perfect version of this character would have been resculpted to include slime blobs, but that was never likely to happen. The translucent plastic looks great, and the paint around the eyes gives him a sinister necrotic look. The weapons and harness have a slightly sparkly effect which works very well. Zombie versions of all three Classics He‑Man heads are included for display options. The Oo‑Larr head (left) works the best.
I don't often get excited about He‑Man variants, but this is definitely one of the better ones. I really like this figure. Not only that, the box he comes in is specially decorated with gloopy slime artwork (logo above and rear card scan below). The biography, by contrast, is typically rambling and incoherent - these haven't improved since the Neitlich days - but can be ignored. Will we ever get a Slime Pit to go with this figure? I hope so, but the current freeze on the Classics licence might prevent that. Frankly, this figure had to be something special due to the high price. Is he worth it? On balance, he achieves a win.
SLAMURAI. A repaint of Ninjor (except for the plainer arms and legs), Slamurai is a new old figure, coming as he does from concept artwork from the Vintage era. The designs were deliberate and unashamed chimæras of existing toys. They were sadly never made in the eighties before the line ended. This figure, now named Slamurai, is a good addition to the Classics. Shading has been added effectively to the white paint, making what would otherwise have been a plain design much more interesting. The chestpiece and belt are some of the best-sculpted pieces in the line.
The second head is the Sy‑Klone alternative head from the Head Pack, which was released as a subscription exclusive back in the Matty Collector days. It looks okay, but it's obviously a completely different face design from the masked one. As such, it's easier to once again ignore the biography and think of these as completely different characters. The cloth jacket and belt are interesting - this line isn't exactly famed for its use of soft goods. They look good though. Apart from the bow, the weapons are nicely decorated. This is a good figure, even if mine came with some black paint flecks attached.
SNAKE TROOPERS. So, that brings us to the army-builder figures in the three-pack. Featuring repaints of Rattlor's head, these Snake Troopers look very impressive in their black-and-gold armour with the red Horde logo on their chests. You can't see it clearly from the pictures, but the tops of the heads have some nice decorative blotches. The armour, arms and torso pieces are, or course, Horde Trooper parts. The legs were first used on King Hssss (Hiss), and the boots come from Hordak. This collection of parts could have looked weird, but somehow it all comes together very well.
As with their fellow Horde member in this collection, the Troopers' paintwork is very nicely done. However much I like Super7's Classics, it has to be said that they never matched Mattel's finer examples. That's not to say Mattel did a grand job with every figure while producing the Classics - far from it. But when the effort was applied, the paint detailing could be superb, and I'm glad to see several examples in the 2019 Power‑Con collection maintaining that standard. One point about these Snake Troopers though - they only come with one weapon each (Blast Attak's... whatever it is). For the cost this seems very stingy. The original Troopers were accessorised to the teeth.