Friday, February 25, 2011

Masters of the Universe Classics Eternian Palace Guards

No namers.  Minions.  Collateral damage!  D-listers.  Calefare (meaning bit part actor--and hence expendable--in the Chinese dialect of Cantonese...)

But we love them all, whether they are Stormtroopers, Rebel Commandos, Iron Man 2 Assault Drones, or COBRA Troopers!  Without them, the Empire would be an empty place, Justin Hammer wouldn't know what to do with his time, and GI Joes would have no one to warm up on before laying the smack down COBRA Commander.

Without the Eternian Palace Guards, who would Prince Adam get to do his bidding?  Who would go to the Burger King drive thru for King Randor?  Who would Man-at-Arms get to boss around?

But that's not why we love them so.  We love them to bits because they lack star power.  The toymakers, feeling bad for these poor fops, make up for their lack of charisma with...tons of accessories!  (And lots of new tooling.  Ok, maybe not the Stormtroopers but ya get what I mean. ;])  Just check out GI Joe's Pit Commando.  Or the tooling on Iron Man 2's Ground Assault Drones.  Heck, the Eternian Palace Guards are no different!

In fact, they might even be better, lots better...more after the jump!

Like: The accessories!  1 halberd, 1 spear, 1 mace, 1 axe, 2 shields, 2 full suits of armor with 4 interchangeable chest pieces, and 2 helmet mouth-guards.  And as if that weren't enough (it never is!) 4 interchangeable heads!  Talk about value for money! 

Like: That they didn't just give them accessories, they also gave them action features.  The mouth guards are removable (and fit on nice and tight on the helmets), the chest pieces are interchangeable a la Battle Armor He-Man, the heads all fit very nicely, while every piece of armor can also be taken off.

Also, the back of the guards' armor, like Man-At-Arms, have two clips where you can snap on their weapons--this means these guys can do what all excellent action figures can do: have their stuff as well as carry it all!

Like: That the accessories (along with the figures themselves, of course) are highly detailed.  Chest pieces, weapons? shields? Armor for sure, and heads!  Oh, the beautiful heads!

Dislike:  The clipping mechanism for the shields.  They're hard to clip on snugly without bending the ends of the forearm armor.  Also, the clips on the shields have been painted silver, which comes off onto their wrists wherever you clip it on.  Both these guys had quite a bit of silver paint flake off from the shields onto his hands that I had to gently scratch off with an exacto knife.  Even then, they've left stains which can be seen if you look carefully.

The thing I dislike the most about the shields from this line it's their bearing mechanism.  They would have been better off with the more elegant solution they used for the 200X line: handles.  Handles instead of clips.  The figure can then hold onto his shield the same way he holds any sort of weapons.  Clipping just causes paint scratching and chipping, especially after doing it a number of times.  Holding stuff is way better because even if there's paint wear, it's on the inside of your figure's hand where it's much harder to spot.

Dislike: That I'll need two more bodies for the other two heads.  But if I get another 2-pack, I'll need another four bodies for the extra heads.  It's a crazy, I tell you! ;P

Like: I know it's odd, but I also like the fact I have an extra two heads.

Hereabouts in this part of the world, we tend to be able to find loose figures from Mattel that are quality control rejects but have somehow found their way onto the secondary market.  DC Universe figures are a the most abundant and you can find loose Aquamen (both orange and gold), tall Thaal Sinestro (I just got one), and most any of the figures that have been released so far.  Of course, the older ones are harder to find now and the newer ones sometimes beat their packaged versions onto the street, but all can be found for as cheap as $12 (US$10).

Now, MOTUC figures have been surfacing as well for about half the retail price here.  If I can find myself a couple of cheap bodies, I'd jump all over them.  The only catch is that they're likely to be missing their weapons, which I can deal with.  But if they come without armor or have some severely stuck joints, then it's a problem.  Yes, it's confounding--but still fun nonetheless! :P

Like: That the heads have 4 very distinct looks.

A flunky looking pale head (sorry Scott Neitlich, Mattel's Associate Brand Manager), a dark-skinned head, who might be the rookie Clamp Champ, a Catman head, and a Snake head.  This gives the Eternian Guards diverse looks without sacrificing the army feel or looking too heroic all on his own.  We can't have any of these guys upstaging Man-At-Arms, much less He-Man now, can we?

Like: Got love that MOTUC articulation!  This line has the best articulation to aesthetic ratio for a 6" figure.  Even if you take the articulation on its own, these guys beat out DCUC and Marvel legends for the quality of the joints (He-Man boot ankles notwithstanding.  But they've corrected those with Vikor...)

When you compare whether the joints break up the overall look of the figure or not, MOTUC comes out on top for having the least breakages of sculpt. (This was always my problem with lots of Marvel Legends figures.)  The leg/hip joints come to mind most for MOTUC, because they're so small, yet so flexible and almost invisible!

Like:  That the paint is excellent!--shield clip chipping issues aside.  Great face and eyes, with a sharp job done on all the heads.  And this is consistent over both the sets I opened for this review.  So a shout out to and huge thanks to the Rangerlord, who was more than happy to loan me one of his two 2-packs for the benefit of greater toy reviewing!  Thanks bro! ;D
"Let's go Clubbing, boys!"
Dislike:  That I missed out on Man-At-Arms both when he was initially released and also when he was re-released!  And there's no sign on the horizon that they might re-re-release him.  The agony!  Is anyone else in the same boat of painful Man-At-Arms-less-ness?  Who will will led my Palace Guard now?  Please don't say Prince Adam!...


Aesthetics: 9/10 - This is an awesome looking set of two figures.  They've both got highly detailed armor with great orange pint and superb skin tones on each of the four faces.

The blue paint on belt is a very striking blue, which pops nicely against the darker smooth tone of the matte green.  The eyes are especially painted well, with only Scott's paint slightly looking up.  The heads are crisp overall (especially after you pop 'em in the oven for a quick bake.  I kid, I kid...)  The armor's orange is also rendered beautifully-- it's hard to do a good orange without looking gaudy.

Poseability: 9/10 - As if being a standardly articulated MOTUC figure wasn't enough, these guys get tons of accessories to pose with.  They have so many things to hold and swing and wear that they might as well be called the Eternian Palace Supermodels.  If there's an issue at all, it that the armor gets in the way of them striking those poses.  Then again, armor always does that, whether it's in real life or in the 6" fantasy sci-fi world of Eternia!

Fun: 10/10 - Army builders are always fun but those aren't as good as army builders with tons of accessories.  But those aren't as good as army builders with tons of stuff that have great play value.  That's where these guys fall--from the heads to the masks, to the armor to the interchangeable chest plates, these guys got it all!

Value: 10/10 - Yes, they cost twice what you'd normally pay for a single carded figure but you'd never get that much accessories with one single guy.  Also, I appreciate that there's a line like this where collectors can pay a little more for better overall quality than say, your average off the shelf retail action figure.

Overall: 9.5/10 - I just love these guys!  They're like Eternia's best buddy cops and remind be of all those TV cop shows and movies where there are cops and they are Will Farrell and Mark Wahlberg in The Other Guys.  They won't ever be top notch characters and will never out-hero the hero but by gosh, they'll get it done, much like this Eternian Palace Guards 2-pack gets it done for MOTUC!


  1. LOL *Snort* - Earn your spurs!

    Awesome review dude!

    Can't wait to bust open my red... er greenshirts now!

    The RangerLord

  2. I have planned from the start to get He-Man himself, but otherwise, despite my love of articulation, I am one of those staunch defenders of the 200x series; those sculpts still blow the MOTUC sculpts away, in my opinion.

    That said, this review has done more than any other to make me reconsider my stance; these guys look badass in your photos.

    A request: review another G.I. Joe figure soon!

  3. Just noticed: How did lizard guy grow a porn-stache worthy of Duncan?

    The RangerLord

  4. @geekcreek - Thanks! You're right--the Rangerlord and I were very much into the revamped sculpts for the 200X line. It's a pity about their articulation, though.

    To be honest, I was pretty slow to get into MOTUC for the very same reasons you're holding out. But once I got the first He-Man, I got hooked. Slowly but surely (and a Christmas present or two later), the Rangerlord followed me down the dark path. ;P

    And yes, I do have a Joe review coming up. Watch this space! (Though I know you always do! ;])

    @Rangerlord - Thanks bro! And thanks for loaning me one of your 2-packs for the review. :)

    As for lizard guy, he did Adam's homework twice and then traded with Lt. Clamp Champ! ;)

  5. I interviewed Toy Guru at Toy Fair for the Green Lantern figures and I was almost expecting a massive powerhouse due to his Guard However, he is scrawny like me, so there's still hope I'll one day be in MOTUC! :) Don't stomp on my dreams!

    Great review, by the way! The comics are classic!

  6. Lol, I can only imagine! It's not just you, it's all of us who want to be an MOTUC figure...But admit it, LJ, you really want to be a Princess of Power figure, don;t you? ;P

    That was a great interview, by the way. Glad you got to meet Toy Guru and get some good answers!

  7. Hey man, don't knock Princess of Power! Could you imagine the amount of tail you'd get since the only other male hero was Bow? I'd totally rack up in that fictional wonderland!

  8. Lol, that's too true. I always wondered what the attraction was for us guys when it came to PoP. Because no matter how you look at it, we like She-Ra nd gang beyter than the girls do. Yeah, the girls always liked their Barbies better. But then again, LJ, if you were a Ken doll you'd be in the same "abundant tail" situation as with PoP.


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