Toy Review: SDCC 2022 Masters of the Universe Exclusive Figures, Mega

It’s He-Man’s 40th anniversary this year, and Mattel is pushing the line harder than they have since the ’80s to celebrate. This year’s Comic-Con exclusives felt particularly elaborate, with a deluxe set of 40th anniversary He-Man and Skeletor action figures, and a Mega set — Mega being the new shortened name for Mega Construx, presumably to sound more like LEGO — featuring a Castle Grayskull facade with transforming Prince Adam action feature. Mattel generously provided samples of both the SDCC 2022 Masters of the Universe Exclusive Figures and the Mega set, and after taking many, many photos, we sat down to take a good look.

The packaging for the 40th anniversary figures is so nice that even devoted “openers” may think twice. Even the outer brown box has cool artwork on the back of both characters. Cut the tape and open that up to reveal another box, this time with the Castle Grayskull crest on the front.

Open that one up to reveal a faux-blister card two-pack of He-Man and Skeletor under plastic bubbles, along with plastic strips that help balance the outer box “doors.”

Next, tug on the ribbon at the bottom to remove the top layer and open up access to the figures.

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It’s amazing, reusable, collector-friendly packaging, with one big exception: He-Man and Skeletor are attached to their plastic trays with plastic shirt-ties around their wrists and ankles. To play with them at all, you have to snip those ties, and render the package no longer perfectly mint. Presumably some safety law required it, but that’s still a bummer. The rest of the packaging is nice, and worth keeping.

Included in the set is a ring based on the vintage glow-in-the-dark one that came with Tri-Klops. This time it’s fully metal, with red light-pipe eyes. It still opens, but doesn’t really have a compartment that can hold anything. (To be fair, the vintage one at most could contain a couple of pills.) For kids, it may work nicely on a ring finger; adults had best consider it a pinkie ring.

Special reprints of the two original mini-comics come included. These ones are basic text-and-pictures stories rather than proper comics, and the stories read rather hilariously calculated to describe all of Castle Grayskull’s play features. Cool art, though.

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He-Man and Skeletor’s weapons here are composed mostly of diecast metal. He-Man’s shield still requires a plastic clasp, and on Skeletor’s staff, only the skull itself is metal, not the horns or handle. Both swords are solidly diecast, however, as is He-Man’s axe. (They do tend to slide out of the back-sheaths easily.) In another premium touch, He-Man’s loincloth and boot-tops get an extra real-feel with fuzzy flocking, a la Panthor.

Both figures have alternate hands — He-Man’s are a fist and karate chop, while Skeletor’s are a fist and a clawed spellcast. Their defaults both feature weapon holding grasps.

Skeletor also has a movable jaw, though it will not hold closed. Pose it either hanging slightly open, or all the way wide for evil laughter.

He-Man’s right holding-hand correctly features and up-down hinge rather than the usual side-side, so he can do the signature pose justice.

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As for the figures’ bodies, they basically use the Masterverse figure style, with one significant exception: both the chest and ab pieces go broader, for more classic muscle proportions associated with the classic toys. This makes the legs look less like thunder thighs. Skeletor also utilizes the full monster-boot, rather than the barefoot and shin armor look seen in classic control art and more recent figures like New Eternia (below left).

Heads can swap out between these and older figures. Given that the classic He-Man face looks a touch broad and over-simple for this body, some may even prefer to do that.

Both figures also feature a wash to highlight the sculpt details, though it’s not as drastic as some early images of the commercial release made it look.

The torso changes, while arguably less “realistic,” help take the Masterverse body closer to the look we all know and love as more typically He-Man. It feels like a nice hybrid of Masterverse and Classics. The metal weapons also have a great feel and look, and while they require a bit more balance compensation, they pose surprisingly well in these figures’ arms.

A non-exclusive version of this He-Man, minus flocking and metal, should hit stores soon. Skeletor as yet remains unannounced.

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The Mega set, which comes in a box that opens and closes with magnetic clasps, builds a Castle Grayskull front. The box itself opens up to depict the rest of the Castle.

Though it looks a relatively simple build, it takes a deceptive amount of time. Maybe because of the transforming mechanism, which flips down Prince Adam to reveal He-Man.

In our case, one of the pieces also must’ve come out of the factory mold slightly melted. No matter; like President Bizness in The LEGO Movie, we used the Kragle.

The minifigs feature a cel-shaded deco, and the He-Man is clearly the Revelation version, though Adam is more of the classic beefed-up version. The sword does not glow in the dark.

The set fits into the closed box so long as one removes the transformation dial and places it on a small stand next to the skull first.

For more steps in the building process, check out the gallery below, which also includes many closer looks at the 40th anniversary figures.

What do you think of both Comic-Con sets? Let us know in comments.

Recommended Reading: The Toys of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

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