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Queen Grayskull

Masters of the Universe Classics
by yo go re

Come with us, friends, and journey to the distant past! A past that is either 5,000 or 1,000 years ago, depending on which continuity Mattel is using this week.

After the death of her husband, Grayskull's widow took up the lonely duty of Guardian, residing in Grayskull's castle to watch over the secret Orb she helped create, containing the Power of the Universe. With the help of the Elders and her apprentice Sharella, she split He-Ro's sword in two, knowing that the united blade was the key to channeling the Power once again. While she watched over the Orb, Sharella became The Goddess, seeking out brave heroes to guard the twin blades, preventing them from being combined by the hands of evil. The Guardian of Grayskull went on to protect the castle throughout her life, occasionally tapping into the Orb of Power to protect it, as she did during the battles with the Fighting Foe Men. Shortly before her death, at extremely old age, she located a new guardian to protect Castle Grayskull's secrets and passed on her role.

Veena, here, was introduced in the same episode as King Grayskull, Battle Lion, and everybody else's suspiciously similar ancestors. Clearly she was the stand-in for the Sorceress, but only thematically, not genetically: by virtue of being Queen Grayskull, we know she's the great-great-however-many-greats grandmother of Randor and his kids. (And unless that bloodline passed through Randor's mother, then Veena and D'Vann are also related to Keldor.)

The 2002 Sorceress had an Egyptian theme going on, so Queen Grayskull does too. She wears the same sort of golden bird-hat - it's not identical, but a golden bird-hat is a golden bird-hat. There's a head cloth falling down the back of her neck (gold with blue lining), and golden strands framing her face. It's less ornate than Teelana's was, but then, it's supposed to be older, so why not be simpler?

She still has big wings with golden trim along the top, but they sprout from the samll of her back, rather than her shoulders. They're packaged behind her in the blister, but plug in easily - I got two of the same wing, which might be an error, or might just be the way it is. She's barefoot, but has armor on top of her feet to go along with her greaves and bracers. Her skirt appears to be the same material as her armor, which must make it hard to sit. There's a blue loin cloth, and her belly-baring top is white with gold trim.

So far all the "Club 200X" figures have been really good, so that had to catch up with us eventually. For the most part, Veena is fine, but there are a few production issues here that we haven't seen on the previous four. She has problems with her paint, her articulation, and her accessories: the gold on her greaves spills way far onto her skin; her neck joint is loose to the point that she's nearly a bobblehead; and... this last one will require some explanation.

In the cartoon, Queen Grayskull wore this nifty little sash thing. It went behind her back (conveniently hiding where her wings joined the body), then draped over her arms. To Mattel's credit, they tried to do that justice, but the execution is less than ideal. It's plastic, not softgoods, so that's one in the plus column, and they even shaped it to fit around her body. What they forgot, however, was to actually have it fall downward after going over her arms. So it runs behind her back, around her sides, over her elbows, and then sticks straight out to the sides. I don't even know if boiling the thing and reshaping it would be a permanent solution, or if it would go back to its default state.

She's also got a golden staff with a bird on top, which isn't something from the cartoon, but it seems right for her. The prototype had a blue ribbon wrapped around it (the Horsemen showing their McFarlane roots?), but the final release doesn't have it - no great loss. The staff alone is enough.

The paint mistake is minor, the loose and rattling head joint can be fixed with a little glue or floor polish, and even her shawl could conceivably be improved on your own. None of them are horrible problems, but they're the worst any of the 2K2 characters have had yet, which should give you an idea of the general quality we've been getting so far.

-- 11/30/15


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