Thursday, April 5, 2018

Rant Review: Masters of the Universe Classics Lodar figure

We're taking a break today from reviews of figures that released years ago to take a look at one that is currently shipping to customers: Lodar, one of the figures from the first full wave of Super 7's offerings. (If you don't count the Ultimates or last year's Power Con exclusives, anyway!) As I've mentioned previously, the minicomics packed in with the vintage MOTU figures were my first point of entry into the MOTU mythos. The early minis, in particular simply were MOTU to me in a way that nothing else was, and that remains the case to this day.

Though it was released near the middle of the vintage toyline's run, 1984's Slave City (which you can read at made nearly as big an impression on me as those early stories. The main reason was its villain, Lodar. The villainous master of a city full of slaves forced to battle one another for his amusement, Lodar was immensely powerful, and had an army of cool creatures called kobolds to do his bidding. Whereas a typical encounter saw He-Man dispatch whatever enemy stood before him in a couple of panels, usually with a single punch, Lodar battled He-Man for several pages! Of course, interviews with the creative team in the years since (which can be read in the awesome MOTU Minicomics collection) make it clear that they extended the battle to ensure the comic met its required length, but I knew nothing of that as a small child. That Lodar was able to trade blows with He-Man for so long was hugely impressive, and that made him a very formidable foe in my mind. Surely, five year old me assumed, we'd be getting a Lodar figure soon! As it turned out, I'd have to wait more than three decades to get one. Was he worth the wait? Read on to find out! (Or skip to the end, if you want. I'm not the boss of you!)

The figure's sculpt is extremely faithful to the character's single minicomic appearance, though the Four Horsemen have added some details here and there in appropriate spots. Lodar's eyes gaze menacingly from within his helmet, and his boots have some very nasty-looking spikes on their soles.  With even more spikes on his helmet and bracers, there's a definite theme here. The belt/crotch piece is one of the areas with added detail, with even more spikes sculpted onto the belt, and a ribbed pattern descending from it. His pauldrons resemble Beast Man's bicep armor, but they do not share a mold. These pieces have some different sculpted texture, and are more simple in appearance overall. They're very soft, so they don't impede the shoulders' movement too badly. Unfortunately, the armor is glued in place. I do like to mix and match armor on my figures sometimes, so it's annoying that the option has been removed.

I'll mention here that the plastic has a different feel from that of the Mattel figures. Some have accused this plastic of being cheap and brittle, and while it does have a slightly harder feel, I see nothing to indicate that it's any cheaper. The figure feels good and solid in-hand, though I do have a slightly oily residue on my fingertips after handling it. I've bought figures in the past whose joints had been oiled in the factory, so perhaps that's what happened here. Moving on...

The MOTUC articulation model has been tweaked a bit by Super 7, mostly for the better. Lodar has ball joints at the head, shoulders, and hips, hinges at the elbows, knees, and torso, swivels at the biceps, thighs, and waist, and a swivel/hinge combo at the wrists and ankles. The addition of hinges at the wrists is most welcome. As I've stated many times, this should have been a standard POA for this line from day one, so it's always nice to see it added. The elbows and knees have the ratchet-style joints introduced with the Power Con 2017 figures, which I quite like. The articulation works well overall, but there are a couple of issues. The abdominal hinge is very loose, though it helpfully has a catch in the middle so that Lodar can easily hold an upright standing pose. The head feels a bit odd when I'm moving it, though it does hold whatever pose I place it in, so it's not the neck peg bending. Still, many people have had the neck pegs break on their figures, so I won't be getting too twist-crazy with it. I'm not sure if this figure is supposed to have side-to-side rocker motion on the ankles or not, as there is a bit of this on the right foot, but none at all on the left.

Lodar only has two accessories, but they're pretty great ones. He has his trademark mace, seen on the cover of the Slave City minicomic, and a set of shackles to slap onto a captive figure of your choice. The spikes on the mace, as with the other spikes on the figure, are a good deal sharper than we ever got on a Mattel figure! These shackles are very cool, and naturally, I couldn't resist recreating the cover scene! The manacles will fit most MOTUC figures' wrists. (As well as plenty of figures from other lines, so you can finally teach the likes of Superman, Ash, or Jason Vorhees a lesson in humility, if you so choose.) Paint is mostly good, with neat, clean work on the eyes and various rivets. There are a couple of spots where paint was either rubbed off or not applied, though these are mostly in areas where it's tough to spot, such as the bottom of the figure's crotch, as seen below.

I hope his mother doesn't see this. C'mon, Lodar, if you needed money, there were other ways to earn it! Anyway, Lodar's skin seems too light and bright to me, but given the way it varies from panel to panel in the comic, it's tough to say they definitely got it wrong. It certainly doesn't look bad, and I do like the contrast it creates with the darker purple on his armor. I do wish his body had gotten the airbrushed highlights many Mattel figures had, as that would have really made the sculpted musculature pop. If you're in doubt, just look at the original release Mer-Man, and check out how much the airbrushing enriches that figure's look. He'd be far more plain without it! While I do like Lodar's look, I do lament what could have been. I suspect I'll wind up adding a wash myself in the near future.

Aside from a few QC issues and questionable design decisions, Lodar is a fantastic figure. He's definitely not an essential figure for every MOTU collection, and many collectors will feel fine about skipping him. For those of us who are really into the "deep cut" figures, however, he's a total delight, and a perfect example of exactly why this line is so damn great. I've been waiting a very long time for a figure of this character-- I liked him enough that I even made a custom figure of him in the 2002 MOTU line-- and I'm giddy as hell about finally having one in my MOTUC collection. As soon as it became clear how expansive the MOTUC line was going to be, Lodar was the first character that popped into my mind. Finally having this figure in my hands feels like a promised fulfilled. It's nearly everything I could have hoped for! That's it for today, but be sure to swing back by next week for the next review! The next one will also have the usual amount funny photos; perhaps due to how long-awaited Lodar was for me, this one wound up with more action shots and fewer humor pics than usual. I didn't even realize it until I was putting everything together. Hopefully nobody is too disappointed about that. See you next week!

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