Toy Review: Mattel SDCC 2021 [email protected] Exclusives
Mattel‘s Comic-Con exclusives this year, for the first time, became purchasable through the Mattel Creations website. And they sold out instantly. However, another downside of the pandemic and remote convention is that they won’t actually show up in most homes till fall. Mattel kindly sent us some samples for review — not in time to help buyers make their mind up, but in time to see what’s coming. And maybe start staking out eBay if they missed out. While not comprehensive, as a few didn’t come in the press box, here’s our look at most of the Mattel SDCC 2021 [email protected] Exclusives.
Scareglow may be the most anticipated of the bunch. Masters of the Universe‘s glowing grim reaper on ‘roids comes to plastic form this time in his Revelation look. And that’s the only version to see adaptation to animation. Voiced by Tony Todd, he was truly terrifying in the new cartoon. He may or may not return, but this underworld lord generated serious heel heat nonetheless.
The presentation for this figure is awesomely elaborate. First, a brown cardboard box with illustrative art in grayscale. Open that, and a box shaped like a black book emerges. Slip off the “binder” with skull seal to reveal cutouts in the covers that allow glimpses of the ghost inside.
When opening the magnetic cover, and lights flash, revealing Scareglow behind another cutaway. Open that cutaway, also magnetically closed, and the figure can come out. Well…one tiny plastic tie needs to get snipped. And some tape cut or peeled off. So it’s not a 100% resealable figure, but very close.
Traditionally, Scareglow figures glow in the dark. This one, while looking the scariest, does that the least. Only his semi-translucent head glows on his body — though the blades of the power sword do as well. And either or both blades can pop out to make a half sword, or hilt only.
His cape consists of ragged fabric with poseable wire hems, and he comes with alternate fist and choking hands. Popular rumor has it Mattel will make a mass-retail version: I suspect no extra hands or sword, and a plastic sculpted cape on that one. or maybe they will make like Mondo and do an all-glowing variant. That would rule. Like other Masterverse/Revelation figures, he’s a bit like a 200x figure with more articulation, standing up straight. More emphasis on height than width, unlike the Origins/Classics.
The Sgt. Slaughter figure is interesting because of what Mattel technically can’t say. It’s as close as they can legally come to the ’80s G.I. Joe mail-away figure as possible without using any Hasbro trademarks. Now that G.I. Joe is back in 6-inch scale, the 6.5 inch WWE scale kind-of works with it, as the Slaughter portrayed in the cartoon and toy line was a muscular giant. It cannot be overstated how disappointing it was for so many ’80s kids to finally see the real Slaughter and realize he was bald and fat.
This figure goes for the fantasy, using a more muscular body than that of the real-life Robert Remus. It’s the WWE Ultimates style, with ball-jointed mid-torso, double elbows, and butterfly pecs.
In a way, this pays tribute to the fact that in the ’80s, Hasbro made a mail-away Slaughter wrestling figure in LJN WWF-style. Mattel leans into the LJN elements in the packaging, which is completely resealable.
His additional accessories included, foot locker-style, in the bottom of his package include bonus choking and pointing hands, riding crop, extra screaming head, and the jacket he wore in toy commercials to cover up the fact that his physique looked nothing like advertised.
Compared to the Joes, he’s a head bigger. Compared to other wrestling figures, the scale’s correct. (Note the red, white and blue stripes of the G.I. Joe logo on his tights, minus the actual “G.I. Joe” word.)
Still, he’s more “accurate” as a Joe than a human. Collectors of WWE may want him for completion’s sake, but he looks better as a standalone than alongside a realistically styled collection. And most likely, until Robert Remus’ WWE Legends deal is up, Hasbro won’t make any official G.I. Joe version. Moreover, if Mattel makes a mass-market Ultimate, fans can probably expect the more accurate dad bod.
Kevin — seen here with Star Wars Black Series Jango Fett for scale — kicks off a new collector-focused Pixar Spotlight series. Judging by the size comparison, she’s a little bigger than 6-inch scale. But given that some Pixar characters are meant to be actual 6-inch figures, or even bugs, scale will probably change per figure. Kevin sports ball joints, including on her tiny blue wings, although the neck features more limited swivels and a hinged beak. The level of detail far surpasses most previous Pixar figures, and Mattel hasn’t served Up super-well in the past. It would be a shame if this never saw stores.
As with Scareglow, however, it’s quite likely this is just an exclusive version. If that’s true, the bonuses are probably the fuzzy, flocked baby birds with articulated necks. While the included figure stand sports multiple foot pegs, the babies don’t come big enough to use them. More likely it’s all-purpose to accommodate future figures with different legs. Additional pack-ins include a chocolate bar accessory, and a trading card with Kevin concept art on it.
What can we say about Labbit that the pamphlet pictured above doesn’t? This feels like the right kind of exclusive. Inessential to kids and casual Masters of the Universe fans, it makes a fun oddity for collectors. The buildable Mega Construx Labbit styled like Battle Cat looks like a simple build with large pieces, but appearances mislead. That’s just the outer shell. Inside, it’s densely constructed of small pieces, lending it surprising heft.
In a weird way, it sort of works with He-Man Mega Construx minifigs. For fans into exaggeration, of course.
Yes, the ears include ball-joint articulation. But the build won’t challenge LEGO fans too much.
Now hold on to your butts for an exclusive set that imagines Samuel L. Jackson’s off-camera death in Jurassic Park. Open the front panel to hear one of at least four phrases from the man himself, as white lights flash on him. Then hear the velociraptor roar as blue lights focus on it.
Because these 3.75-inch scale figures are already displayed in the coolest possible poses, with plastic and cardboard diorama bits, there’s no real sense in cutting them loose. Unless your kids would rather pull Ray’s arm on and off than see the perfectly staged light and sound show. The raptor’s jaw is hinged but it’s not super-articulated.
Finally, Hot Wheel’s Darth Vader car gets a special green chrome comic art makeover. Artists at Marvel back in the ’70s didn’t always get color images to work with, and of course a popular assumption was of space adversaries as little green men. Hence, perhaps, the original Star Wars comic colors of the Sith Lord, who now has a car to match. Norm Macdonald’s Burt Reynolds would be pleased.
Comic-style linework makes the colors pop.
For many more details, angles, and looks at the fancy packaging, check out our massive gallery below.
What do you think of Mattel’s offerings this year? Let us know in comments!
Recommended Reading: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Collection
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