Toy Review: Mondo Toys He-Man Version 2

When Mondo Toys started doing Masters of the Universe, they gave each character a redesign, Incorporating elements from across the Masters multiverse, they felt more elaborate and movie-ready than some Mattel lines like the vintage-faithful Origins. More recently, though, Mondo’s MOTU offerings have been literal adaptations, from a Skeletor in his Revelation design to a vintage toy-styled Scareglow. In rereleasing He-Man, partly to tie in with the upcoming Battle Cat and partly because He-Man is always popular, they went with a much more classic design. Three of them, in fact. He-Man version 2 came as both a no-frills original He-Man, and a Mondo exclusive edition with parts to dress him as the original, Battle Armor He-Man, or Thunder Punch He-Man.

Both are sold out at Mondo, though Sideshow has a wait list available for the no-frills He-Man. And there was a production error on this figure — a common flaw made the figure pop apart at the waist, either from twisting the waist or even sometime just picking it up by the torso. Mondo were very quick to send a replacement review sample, and have apparently been similarly responsive to buyers. For mint-in-box collectors, the issue won’t be noticeable. But for secondhand purchasers, caveat emptor. Also, it wouldn’t be too hard to glue in place if you don’t mind a fixed waist.

He-Man version 2 looks larger than version one, but compare them up close and it seems to mostly be an optical illusion, because He-Man’s new head is bigger. The body appears to be exactly the same, though it’s painted differently, with the hero now more tanned. The armor’s also a little bulkier, though as a tribute to the first figure, his left wrist brace remains the same.

The first thing collectors will notice is that this He-Man does not come with a Castle Grayskull outer sleeve for the box, as all heroic warriors have save She-Ra, who got the Crystal Castle. And his bio is now on the back of the box instead of inside the front. Otherwise, it’s the same magnet-flap style, with art showing the three different He-Man armors at three different fortresses: Grayskull, the Fright Zone, and Snake Mountain.

The biggest change on this He-Man is the classic furry loincloth, rather than the leathery one. And Mondo seems to have listened as far as the accessories go. Previous shields, scabbards, etc. had handles that popped out, and would do so at the slightest adjustment, rendering the figure a bit fiddly. Here, the shields are solid and one piece, with handles permanently attached. The Thunder Punch shield can even go on without popping his hand off, though the classic shield does require that. There’s no scabbard — like the classic toy, the sword can simply stick through the back armor. A real sword would slice up somebody’s back like that, but He-Man rarely uses it for cutting anyway, as it’s more of an energy weapon/shield combo.

As for the sword, it’s a simpler, more classic toy design. You get two — one a translucent yellow like the classic Thunder Punch variant. It’s mixed with orange this time, with a painted handle for an energy effect. Especially if it catches the light.

Also like the original toy, the sword slots into the shield, along with a ring of caps, represented here as cap-like objects. (Note: the sword doesn’t fit tight — it’s held in by gravity, so don’t tilt the figure if you don’t want it falling right out.) The backpack doesn’t open or feature a turning dial, but it doesn’t need to. For the Thunder Punch itself, a swappable energy-effect fist comes included. It maybe could have been a little bigger, for the age of anime fireballs, but it’s a nice way to convey the action feature without reproducing it.

He-Man comes with three heads, which sit a bit like a bobble-head, with a slightly loose joint fit. There’s calm, angry, and vintage toy, but as with the previous figure, that vintage head just looks like a cheap Halloween mask on him. Almost nobody will display him that way.

The Battle Armor clips on with magnets, which feels fancy and cool. To achieve the battle damage effect, the H-logo also attaches via magnets, and can be switched out for a scratched-up one.

As seen in close-up, most of the armors and accessories have painted-on “scuffed” damage to look battle worn.

In other accessories, He-Man comes with his battle ax, and the original prototype design boot sheath. Interestingly enough, on the first figure which broke, the elastic strap was higher on the sheath than on the replacement. The dagger, though quite small, does fit his hand.

Extra hands allow for a fist or a holding hand on either side, plus a right-hand with pointing finger. (Really, one does not need more hand choices, on the whole — other companies way overdo it.) Thunder Punch He-Man has two red wristbands, while the other versions make do with one in classic orange, and the bracer from He-Man version 1. Of course there’s a Mondo figure stand included, which in this case uses the crotch underhook rather than the waist clip that came with She-Ra.

Overall, He-Man version 2 feels much sturdier. While Mondo specifies that their figures are more for display than play, this He-Man feels like he’ll hold up to more than just delicate posing. You might not want to play kid-level hard with him, but you can play some.

Mondo Masters sometimes turn up later on Amazon — eBay prices for the three-in-one He-Man 2.0 run in the $400 range currently, though again, the stripped-down version appears on a wait-list at Sideshow. Mondo understands the importance of keeping He-Man around, though, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see another variant in the future. Maybe a Revelation version, or a combined Flying Fists/Laser Power armored redo. It’ll be a shame if they veer altogether away from their wildly creative original designs, but the move toward sturdier figures and accessories is a very good one indeed.

Check out a lot more images in the gallery below. Then give us your thoughts in comments.

Recommended Reading: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Collection

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