Following up on its release of Barbarian set A (Conan the Destroyer), Mr Toys has just released its Barbarian set B (He-Man). As has already been noted elsewhere, unlike its predecessor, this set is considerably less closely based on a specific film appearance. Thus, do not expect an exact representation of either the action-film He-Man (portrayed by Dolph Lundgren) or of the animated character. It is as if the two were lumped together to produce a generic but realistic figure and given the ARH treatment in terms of detail. The degree to which this is either welcome or disappointing depends on each individual's tastes and priorities. Since there is nothing specific to compare to in terms of accuracy, I am omitting the assignment of specific scores in the various categories discussed below. Note that the set does not include the figure body, but does recommend using TBLeague's seamless super-flexible M35 body (their bulkiest version).
The set comes in a black shoe box-type container with colorful images of the fully assembled set on the top and bottom; on the bottom there is a front and back view of the kitted-out figure, with each piece included in the set labeled. Inside there are a foam trey and foam cover, all in stylish black. Everything is snug and collector-friendly. One disappointment is the absence of any sort of instruction sheet or instructive imagery.
Generally, the sculpting is excellent throughout. The head sculpt is realistic, even if a little generic, and certainly not really spot on for Dolph Lundgren (if that was the target subject). The sculpted detail on the scabbard and greaves is particularly impressive, although it is less so on the belt buckle and, perhaps, vambraces (although here the apparent difference may be due to the choice of design style rather than the quality of execution). The skull-shaped shoulder-guard is very nicely executed, with plenty of sinewy details and pitting. In contrast, the sculpted detail on the harness and shield is less impressive, in part because they went for much cleaner lines that don't seem to match the other pieces very well.
While the paint application is not poor or sloppy, it is less impressive than the sculpting; in some areas, it probably detracts from it. For example, fairly flat treatment of the the molded detail on the vambraces and the skirt. The relatively simple design of the harness and interlocking links elements does not help the paint, and there is little attempt at weathering on these pieces; the shield feels particularly cheap and unrealistic. On the other hand, some of the armored elements are quite nicely treated, in a way that makes them look realistic, worn, and possibly weathered -- for example, the greaves, belt buckle, scabbard, and skull-shaped shoulder-guard.
While the body does not actually come as part of the set, the nature of the fantasy hero outfit offers little impediment to articulation. Still, even divided as it is, the molded skirt is going to make sitting your figure a little challenging, except perhaps if you have him sitting on a backless stool.
The line between outfit and accessory can be a blurry one, but I count as accessories the sword, scabbard, and shield. I have had no issues with the sword (which is plastic and light) or shield, but the scabbard has been a bit tricky: there seems to be a way to get the sword to clip into it, but it is not secure; moreover, the method of attaching the scabbard onto the back of the harness with a little rubbery hook (which is part of the harness) is neither particularly easy nor particularly secure. But perhaps I'm overlooking something. That is not a whole lot in terms of accessories, but it is pretty representative of what the character wields; perhaps a double axe would have been a nice addition. There is no action figure stand.
The outfit consists of the molded skirt, harness, skull-shaped shoulder-guard, vambraces, greaves, pleather boots, cloth cape, and underwear. The molded skirt is divided into sections, allowing for some additional articulation of the upper legs (through the openings and as the sections can move out of the way more easily). If the skirt had to be molded, this was the way to do it. The harness is made up of several molded pieces; the cross-like chest element is of harder plastic, the interlocking links are of softer, rubbery plastic. Although it looks great, the skull-shaped shoulder-guard has trouble staying in place, since it is strapped on only via a pleather strap across the biceps. The vambraces are a single molded piece each, which makes them easy to use, but look a little less than convincing. The greaves are fastened in place with a couple of pleather straps each. The use of soft, pleather boots was an excellent choice for avoiding any hindrance to the ankle articulation. The foot pegs of the TBLeague body need some help fitting into the openings of the "feet" on the inside of the boots, but heating with a hairdryer should help; the fit is reasonably snug and secure, although you should always take extra precautions with these heftier bodies. The cloth cape does not drape particularly well, but it does have concealed thin wires across the top and sides, which would allow you to pose the cape in appropriate or dramatic configurations; there is no wire across the bottom edge, which is purposefully (though perhaps not very realistically) tattered. The cape is attached by a couple of pleather straps that go over the shoulders, under the armpits, and then across the back; getting this to work was one of the more frustrating parts of my experience with this set, and it still does not look quite right.
The absence of companion figures in the line is always a limitation here, and the Mondo figures are in a very different style (though you might be able to get away with using Skeletor). On its own, this is still a very decent product, looks good, and it can probably play well enough with others. The not entirely consistent design and paint, however, might make it look just a little out of place next to more realistic pieces based on grittier and more detailed source material. For the more adventurous collector, however, this can be redressed with a modicum of customization.
This set retails for about $100 (USD). This is not cheap, especially considering that the set comes without the body, which is likely to cost (on average) another $80. However, in this day and age, a high-end action figure under $200 is increasingly rare, and fine realistic head sculpts alone often cost over $30 by themselves. I suppose it ultimately comes down to the individual's appreciation of this product as either a(n alternative) portrayal of He-Man, or as a different fantasy warrior, or even as a set of items for kitbashing.
Things to watch out for
I have not had problems yet, but I would be careful with the plastic sword, with the little rubbery hook on the harness, and with the tabs on the harness and belt.
I ended up liking this set more than I thought I would. Perhaps because I am not wedded to a particular representation of He-Man; perhaps because I always considered this something to build up from with some customization and additional pieces. Paired with a good body, the set results in a nice figure that can take dynamic and epic poses. The design seems a little uneven and the paint a little overly clean for my more realistic tastes, but neither is altogether inappropriate for the character's comicbook/cartoon origin.
Where to Buy:
You can always check around, including on eBay, but here are some suggestions:
Cotswold Collectibles $100
Monkey Depot $100
Timewalker Toys $100
As always, what do you think?
Update: Extra photos in Post 12.
#heman #barbarian #mrtoys #fiction #fantasy #warrior #male