Toy Review: MOTUC Gygor


I'm developing a love/meh relationship with the Masters of the Universe Classics line. I love many of the figures, but there seem to be just as many are disappointingly "meh". As enthusiastic as I am with the line when I get a figure that I love, the meh figures just deaden that enthusiasm into indifference. The last MOTUC figure I got, Optikk, definitely falls into the meh category. After Optikk, it took me a few months before Matty offered a figure interesting enough for me to come back to the line. And here it is: Gygor, a yellow and green armored gorilla toting a seriously huge axe. I love gorilla figures so this was a great way to reel me back in. But does Gygor descend into meh-dom like many of his MOTUC brethren?

Stats

Company: Mattel
Size: 10" tall
Price: $30 at MattyCollector.com
Packaging: Boxed (within a mailer box)



Appearance


Gygor has a great sculpt with a nice fur texture and that roaring countenance that you often see on gorilla figures. The paint apps are sharp and there's plenty of wonderful detailing (especially in the open maw). And the green/yellow color scheme is dynamic and fun. So why did Gygor score only 3 pacs?


I went back and forth on this, but eventually I decided that the main problem with the figure's look is its armor. It's shiny, stark black, and spiky... and way too garish. It contrasts with the figure's coloration and design in a distracting manner. I suspect that's because it was based on the vintage line's Gygor prototype. (As you may know, Gygor was never released in the vintage line but the figure did make it to the prototype stage.) The original prototype's armor looks like it was cut and pasted together as a quick "first draft", so it looks pretty crappy. Since this new Gygor is designed to mimic that first draft, its armor, like the prototype's, looks incongruous with the figure.


If you remove the helmet and arm/leg guards, the look is calmed down and seems to work better. And without any equipment at all, Gygor looks pretty good. But Gygor needs some kind of armor to tie it in with the rest of the MOTUC line, and the armor it has sucks.


Articulation


Gygor has 13 points of articulation:
  • Neck (ball socket)
  • Shoulders (ball hinge)
  • Biceps (swivel)
  • Elbows (hinge)
  • Wrists (swivel)
  • Hips (swivel)
  • Ankles (swivel)

That's a good amount of articulation for a gorilla figure and each joint has a nice range of motion. But I would have liked to see better waist and leg articulation.


Accessories


Gygor's armor is comprised of lots of removable parts: a helmet, chest straps (with cape), forearm guards, and shin guards. But as I mentioned before, the armor just doesn't work with the figure's design to give it a coherent look... even though I really dig the cape and its gorilla hand print.

The axe is all kinds of awesome. It's big enough to look like it does some serious damage, but it's not so unwieldy that the figure can't easily be posed with it.


Value


Gygor is larger than other MOTUC figures, but it maintains that top-notch MOTUC quality. The body and the legs feel like soft vinyl, so if you're looking for more solid plastic, look elsewhere. I love vinyl figures myself. Frankly, I wish the whole figure was made of that wonderfully squishy plastic.


Regardless, $30 is a pretty pricey sum for a figure that's not any bigger (and far less substantial) than the recent $18 Marvel Select Thing.


Coolness

McFarlane Kong and Gygor sans armor.

Gorilla figures are awesome, and a gorilla wielding a giant axe is that much more awesome. But Gygor has two things working against that inherent coolness.

The first is the previously mentioned and definitely uncool armor. The second is that I frankly don't know what to do with the figure. Gygor just doesn't seem to belong in the MOTUC line. Part of that is because of its size. At 10 inches tall, it's entirely out of scale with the other figures in the line. (I know that the Big Jim gorilla on which the original prototype was based was proportionally larger than vintage He-Man figures, but Gygor seems out of scale anyway. Maybe Mattel nixed that prototype because it didn't look like it belonged with the rest of the line.) Also, its realistic gorilla sculpt doesn't mesh well with the vintage MOTU-inspired sculpts of the other figures. And finally, this figure doesn't elicit those feelings of nostalgia that are so pivotal to this line. MOTUC is all about reliving the "good ol' days" with awesome upgrades of figures from the original line that keep the spirit of those vintage figures alive at the same time. This figure was never in the original line, so I have no memories of him from my childhood... hence, no nostalgia.

Mezco Kong and Gygor.

I do realize it seems contradictory to blast Scareglow for relying too much on the design of the original figure and not thinking outside the nostalgia box, yet also blast Gygor for being completely outside the nostalgia box. But the idea is to get a happy medium between the two: a figure that's tugs on the nostalgic heart strings but is also a substantial upgrade that's cool in and of itself. Mer-Man is a perfect example of this. Gygor seems out of left field.


Overall

The verdict? Meh. Like Optikk, I thought Gygor would be an inherently awesome figure. But also like Optikk, Gygor disappoints. That armor just sucks. But maybe more significantly, Gygor stands apart from the rest of the MOTUC line, and not in a good way. The figure is out of scale with the other MOTUCs and has no nostalgic ties to the vintage line. He's just a big yellow ape with an axe. Which is cool enough in its own right to keep the figure from tanking... just as long as you lose the crappy armor.

It looks like I'll be taking another MOTUC sabbatical. I'm seriously contemplating giving this line the boot as I can't justify spending this much money on disappointing figures. But I doubt I'll be able to resist Grizzlor, one of my childhood favorites. Let's hope he's less "meh" than Gygor.

8 comments:

  1. I think this is just an ugly figure. Simply changing the color of the armor to something more blend-able would have made a substantial difference. But Black over yellow and green? Maybe a Blood Red Armor or Maroon like Battle Cat's. It just seems like if you shaved this guy he could be pushing catapults and siege towers during the Battle of Pelennor Fields.

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  2. Gygor didn't interest me, which is odd because if I just heard a description without seeing pictures I'd be all over it, but he just looks bland. Also I don't think he will fit in well with my other MOTUC figure (although I thought the same thing about Carnivus, but went ahead and got him, and I think he's great).
    I'm really hoping Grizzlor comes out as cool as I think he'll be. Originally I didn't wan't Grizzlor, but after seeing pictures of him with all his weapons I won't be able to resist (and hopefully get a King Greyskull and possibly a weapons pack while I'm at it). I loved Roboto as a kid, but that "classics" styles doesn't look that awesome this time around, so I'll skip him. Same thing goes for Buzz-off, and Bow in January doesn't interest me at all because I already have Prince Adam filling in the "Gay Hero of Eternia" for me.

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  3. I hate the head shape, the big gap in the neck and the roaring sculpt. I guess I'm crazy. I like the big ape concept, this just isn't a home run with me. I'm sure I'll eventually get it. Just not right now.

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  4. Nate, maybe MOTU has passed from your "gotta have it" to "meh" stage. It hits us all eventually. I'm currently in meh on Gi Joe and Star Wars, even though the product is as good or better than it has been in years.
    (this thought brings up something else in my psyche - which is when the overall meh sets in on toy collecting overall. Will I be 40 and still wanting to live the adventures of He-Man and Optimus Prime? When they pack me off to the nursing home, will I need a tractor trailer sized space in the place? A strange tangent on a late-night)

    I did pick up Gygor, and I like the figure overall, but he is strange as a MOTU because he is a new character. I also put him on a shelf with the other Evil Warriors, and he doesn't seem to mesh with them. Again, I think it is because he is new. As you mentioned, there is a MOTU ideal in each of our minds that is hard to meet. Optikk gives me a real charge because I've had that original version on a shelf for years and years - and now he has reached full potential as a fully-articulated, well-detailed toy. Gygor is something that I wasn't even aware of until a couple of years ago.

    I dunno. I look over the above and it reads like I don't like the figure. I really do like the figure - I'm just not sure I like him as a MOTU.

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  5. @URS: I agree that changing the color to something less "contrasty" would have worked a lot better. But also the design of the armor has too many sharp edges. I think it should have been scrapped entirely in favor of some other armor design. Or, maybe the concept of doing MOTUC figures based on prototypes should be scrapped.

    @clark: I'm not sure what it is about that Roboto, but he doesn't interest me all that much either. And I loved Roboto as a kid.

    @Newton: Good point. The neck gap is very distracting, especially with the helmet off. But it does allow for a good range of head movement.

    @John K.: You're exactly right, MOTUC has definitely gotten to the "meh" stage. The first few figures in the line had me totally enamored with the concept. But now, it's more of a "been there, done that" type of feeling. From the upcoming releases, the only ones I want are Grizzlor and Vikor. And beyond that, the only figures I can think of that I would definitely buy would be Stinkor and Man-E-Faces. Maybe I'll pick up a few more beyond those 4, but I doubt it.

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  6. I think the figure looks horrible, but I've also essentially lost all interest in the MOTUC line. A large part of my disinterest is due to the inability to get figures that I want because I can't be at my computer when they go on sale at noon.

    I still don't have He-Man because even the re-issue sold out quickly and I refuse to pay $40+ to a scalper for it. Even the $20 retail price is too high IMO. I signed up for the 2010 subscription and got rewarded with fabulous figures of Adora, She-Ra, and Evil-Lyn but then I can't get Prince Adam (SDCC exclusive) or Keldor (monthly bonus figure)?

    Mattel's method of selling this line is ridiculous in my opinion. They want us to commit to spending $400+ for next year's subscription but not tell us what figures will be released? So, maybe I can end up with 5 females or some more fantastic New Adventures figures in 2011? I don't think so, I don't care what the bonus subscription-only figure is.

    Anyways, I've sold all of my figures on eBay with the exception of Skeletor and TrapJaw. The only MOTUC items that I will possibly buy in the future are exceptionally cool He-Man/Skeletor variants or a TrapJaw accessory pack. And that's only if I can get them at a non-scalper price, so, that almost definitely means I probably won't be getting any more MOTUC.

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  7. @Matt: That's the reason I haven't gotten into the subscriptions. I'm not interested in paying for figures of which I haven't even seen prototypes. They don't even announce which characters will be available! I don't get it myself.

    By the way, the next Weapons Pack assortment will have some Trap Jaw-friendly accessories. They're the Roboto attachments in Trap Jaw colors. I think the black versions of Optikk's blaster and shield will probably work well with Trappy, too. Also, Spy Monkey Creations created a really cool Trap Jaw accessory pack a while back.

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  8. I agree Nathan, the armor should have been completely scrapped. A new character, regardless of his prototype history (which itself looks like a quickie custom), leaves open so many possibilities for re-imagining. I think if Gygor had an alternate closed mouth head, and some armor similar to old 30's football gear with some studs and a couple horns in a BattleCat Armor color, the figure would have been perfect, and even fit in with the MOTUC line overall. That black sharp and spindly look just kills the figure. But he does look alot better without the armor.

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