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King Randor

Masters of the Universe Classics
by Poe Ghostal

The original Masters of the Universe toyline went through a mere six series from 1982-1987 (okay, seven if you count the two "Laser Light" figures that were never released in the US). The last series offered a much more diverse assortment of characters than the previous series, from Scareglow to King Hiss to Snake Face to, well, Gwildor. And it also finally gave MOTU fans a figure of one of the prominent characters in the cartoon series: Prince Adam's dad, King Randor.

King Miro's second-born son, Randor, came of age during the Great Unrest, a time when conflict returned to Eternia following the Count Marzo Uprisings and the subsequent betrayal of his half-brother, Keldor. After the disappearance of his father, Randor was appointed Captain of the Guard and lead Miro's troops in battle against Keldor's growing rebellion. Randor eventually ended the battles by fatally wounding Keldor, and locking him and his evil warriors behind the Mystic Wall. For this act, he was appointed King by the Council of Elders. King Randor raises his staff, exulting in his rule over all Eternia!

Of course, King Randor goes as far back as the original He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Bible, written by Michael Halperin in 1982 before the cartoon was even created. He's appeared since then in every incarnation of the He-Man story, including the New Adventures (where, in the first episode, he and his wife Marlena finally found out the truth about their son Adam). Since those early days, Randor's history has been greatly expanded. We now know that Skeletor was once in fact Keldor, Randor's half-brother, and that Skeletor's facial deformity is a result of a battle with Randor. (Keldor may even be the true ruler of Eternia by birth, but the Elders rather understandably interceded with the right of succession).

The Four Horsemen's Randor is closely based on the original figure. The deviations from previous MOTUC figures include the head, the cape (which is new), and of course the armor. The head sculpt is excellent as always, capturing Randor's bushy-bearded, fatherly demeanor. Though the crown of the 1980s figure was removable, this one isn't. And yes, he looks a heck of a lot like a certain fast food mascot.

The armor for the 1980s Randor was re-used from Jitsu, who had been released years earlier. The Horsemen have altered the armor here to make it more specific to Randor, adding cross-like elements (to match the accessories) and a blue jewel. Unfortunately, now that we know - from Evil-Lyn - that Mattel isn't above re-using an unmodified sculpt to the detriment of the character, I wouldn't be surprised to see this identical armor show up on a MOTUC Jitsu. All that said, I have to agree with some fans who have said the Horsemen seem to go overboard with the rivets - in this case on the crosses themselves (and even on the armor).

There's no question MOTUC figures look and feel more like toys than many of their fellow toylines, but that's just part of the MOTUC style. Still, that toyishness is especially noticeable on figures as colorful as this. The red arms and armor and the orange tights highlight that toyish look. Seriously, how many characters can you think of with a red, blue, and orange color scheme? Randor ends up looking quite striking among the rest of your MOTUC collection. There's not a lot of intricate paint work here, except on the head. The paint work on the head is a little gloppy, and the eyes look a bit off upon close inspection; it'd be nice if Mattel could get the factory to be a little sharper here.

Randor has balljoints at the head, shoulders, and hips; swivels at the biceps, waist, wrists, top of the hips and the boots; and hinges at the elbows, knees, ankles, and abdomen. The ankles also have good side-to-side movement, and the balljointed head works well despite the cape. Randor comes with a sword and a staff, both of which come from the 2005 Randor ministatue. They seem stylistically inspired by the cross motif the Horsemen created for Prince Adam's wand in the 2002 line, which was presumably inspired in turn by the cross on the classic He-Man's Power Vest. The style and shape of Randor's sword also resembles the smaller, "non-transformed" sword that came with the 2003 Adam.

Yet again we get a staff, but in this case it's relevant, since the original Randor did come with one. And kudos to Mattel for splurging on a unique staff for Randor, rather than the staff that will eventually go with Whiplash (the original Randor came with a reuse of that staff). Both the sword and the staff have some nice paint work, particularly on the blue jewel.

King Randor was a pleasant surprise for fans of the cartoon when he appeared in the last US series of MOTU figures in 1987. Mattel seems to be trying to make it up to fans for the scarcity of that wave by putting Scareglow and Randor in the first year of MOTUC. Personally, I don't find Randor all that exciting, but he is a fan favorite and an essential member of the MOTUniverse, so he's more than welcome in my collection.

-- 05/31/10


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