Masters of the Universe: Revelation is out on Netflix and toy maker Mattel has a range of products based on He-Man and friends, but I’m here to ask the question: who are they for?
While Revelation is meant to introduce a whole new generation to He-Man, I was born in 1995 so I don’t have any nostalgic connection to the original show or its merchandise.
But someone who does is my older brother, born in 1983, who fondly remembers the show and had several of the toys.
Finally, for some variety, let’s also throw my nephew into the mix. Born in 2010 he’s squarely in the age range for this kind of thing and it will be interesting to see what he thinks of all of this.
The toys themselves
There’s a large range of Masters of the Universe toys on the market right now which are also available in South Africa.
Mattel sent us over three products to get a taste of the range:
- 5.5 inch action figure – Mer-Man: R249.99
- Battle Cat – R299.99
- Prince Adam Sky Sled – R479.99
I was the first to have a crack at these toys and, taking them out of the box, it’s apparent how chunky these are.
If you’ve picked up toys in recent years and felt that they were hollow and made with cheap plastic, these are the opposite with some very solid casting.
This solid build quality does make posing a bit of an issue with the joints a bit stiff out of the box and the insane muscles getting in the way, but I’m sure some play over a few months will loosen that up.
Overall all of these are very solid in terms of build quality. Zooming in the paint application is rather great with only one or two areas of overpainting.
Then again the designs here are rather simple and the detailed sides of the Sky Sled are actually factory-applied stickers.
The biggest problem with these is a lack of play features. Maybe I have a lack of imagination – or LEGO has spoiled me – but I would have loved to see some shooting functionality or other moving parts.
Maybe it’s to do with the nature of these being aimed at replicating old toys, but I feel a bit let down with joints being the pinnacle of play opportunities here.
From my point of view these toys are well built and look good on display, especially for the prices here. They are on the simple side but there’s a charm to that too.
The other two respondents
As alluded to above my older brother and younger nephew are more likely to be in the target market for these products with nostalgia selling it to my brother and the very nature of it being a toy selling it to my nephew.
Helping me with the unboxing and by the smile on my brother’s face he was a bit taken aback by these.
I don’t want to put more into the moment than was really there but that little burst of nostalgic joy is why companies keep making products like this. I think that, if my brother were the type of person to pick up toys as an adult, these would have been picked up a while ago.
Harder to impress was my nephew. I’m going to provide you with some choice comments he made while messing around with the toys.
“I like this. It’s cool. Why does it look like a goblin?” referring to Battle Cat.
“He looks like a fish you’d find swimming around in Fortnite,” when looking at Mer-Man.
“Is this Hercules?” No, that’s Prince Adam.
Despite being 11 my nephew has learnt the words “vintage” and “retro” and used both of these to describe the toys. It’s clear even to him that these are not brand new designs, even if they were made recently.
While some of the comments may seem bewildered the reception here was mostly positive from the kid.
What’s it all mean?
With three separate viewpoints here there’s no clear consensus but an overall thumbs up from the three of us has been achieved.
For the kids out there these toys may seem a bit misplaced but there’s still appeal and the sturdy nature means even the younger ones can have a go.
For 20 and 30 somethings with no childhood connection to these toys it’s a harder sell but they are nice display pieces if you prefer cheaper vintage pieces.
And then for those like my brother, who have fond memories, they are an easy sell.