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Man-E-Faces

Masters of the Universe Classics
by Poe Ghostal

Man-E-Faces was one of the most iconic characters in the original Masters of the Universe toyline (and a personal favorite). He also had a Mo2K figure which, while a bit pre-posed, was nonetheless one of my favorites from the revamp. Let's see how his Classics figure compares.

Perhaps the greatest actor on Eternia, Perkaedo, the Master of Disguise, performed before King Randor and Queen Marlena at Prince Adam's 18th birthday celebration. It was here that he drank a magic potion created by Skeletor, that transformed him into a terrible monster with great strength loyal only to evil. With the help of He-Man and the Sorceress, Perkaedo was cured from this transformation, but the process left him forever split between not just two but three personalities. He now uses his powers to protect justice in his greatest role; as Man-E-Faces, the man who is three warriors in one - fighting as a human, robot or monster!

One concept I just could never buy into was the idea of Man-E-Faces as an actor. If so, he's an actor with a fairly limited range: he can play a guy in big blue mechanical suit with a domino mask, a guy in a big blue mechanical suit with a robot face, and a guy in a big blue mechanical suit with a monster face.

All right, so perhaps that's unfair - for all we know, the monster is the Laurence Olivier of his generation. And based on his first minicomic appearance, it looks like Manny was more of a wandering bard than a leading man (note that apparently his helmet was removable). If you think of him as a storyteller who uses his ability to create the faces of the speaking characters, the whole "actor" thing makes more sense.

MOTUC Manny's sculpt is not based on the vintage toy, as the Mo2K version was. It's based on the cross-sell art from the back of the original 1980s packaging. The biggest difference is that the pipe running from the center of his chest up to his chin is absent. It's not a radical difference from the vintage figure, but it's worth noting.

Manny's legs are and arms, except for the newly-sculpted shoulders, are borrowed from Trap Jaw; his pelvis piece we've seen before on Optikk; his chest is actually brand-new, as it had to be sculpted to hold the base for the helmet. The piping on the front of the chest is a separate piece, which makes the figure seem a bit less toy-like than the solid-sculpted parts did on the previous figures.

The Four Horsemen have not made significant changes to Manny's faces in either the Mo2K or Classics versions, perhaps because they're so iconic. While some might wish for a more detailed or exaggerated face, it wouldn't have worked well with the Classics style. The head itself is designed quite well. It's made from three pieces: the helmet, the rotating head, and the removable peg that plugs into the top of the helmet so that the heads can be spun. They all hold together tightly and are easy to swap out (even if he looks like a background character from The Neverending Story without the helmet on).

The color of Man-E-Faces's skin area was put to a vote. There were three options: the bright orange of the vintage figure, the flesh color of the cross-sell art, or a half-and-half option. I originally voted for half-and-half, then later regretted it, wishing they had offered just the two choices (or, since they'd decided to use the cross-sell art for the design, just gone with flesh). But now that the figure is in hand, it worked out surprisingly well - look at him from one angle and it seems to be orange; look at it thinking it's flesh, and it looks like flesh color. The paint applications themselves are applied a bit thickly, but they're fairly even, with little bleed.

Man-E-Faces has balljoints at the shoulders and hips; swivels at the "face," neck, biceps, wrists, waist, top of the thighs, and top of the boots; and hinges at the elbows, abdomen, knees, and ankles. Theoretically there is "rocker" side-to-side motion at the ankles to allow for wide-legged stances with feet flush to the ground, but it never really works with these feet, for whatever reason.

The Mo2K Man-E-Faces came with a ridiculously oversized version of the small vintage laser pistol. Fortunately, the Classics version shrinks the pistol back down to normal size. Much hype was spread about this figure receiving a mysterious "bonus accessory," not to be revealed until it was released. It turns out the bonus is an interchangeable face wheel, featuring Skeletor, He-Man and Orko. It's the sort of accessory that plays to the character's traits.

Man-E-Faces is as good a Classics update of a vintage character as we've had. It's great that they followed the cross-sell art, though part of me does wish they could have used the normal flesh color. There's enough new tooling here to make the character look distinct from the other figures, and while the paint is thick, it's well-applied. I started out a bit unexcited by the figure, but ended up being more satisfied with it than I realized.

-- 09/02/13


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