Man-At-Arms vintage figure review thread
After looking at a late figure on last week's figure review thread (<a href="http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/showthread.php?t=148534">Sssqueeze</a>), it's back to the very first the releases this week, with one of the core characters. It's the master of weapons himself, it's MAN-AT-ARMS.
With <a href="http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/showthread.php?t=145155">He-Man</a> and <a href="http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/showthread.php?t=145457">Skeletor</a>, Man-At-Arms was one of the four figures of the original first wave, with Beast Man being the fourth (Zodac, Teela, Mer-Man and <a href="http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/showthread.php?t=143520">Stratos</a> were released as additions a couple of months later).
Man-At-Arms has a distinctive green and orange colour scheme, which matches that of the Wind Raider, one of his creations.
I remember when I very first started getting into the MOTU line, at about 5 years old, and I saw him advertised on the back of one of my other figure boxes, that I couldn't understand his name, and asked my Mum why he didn't have lots of arms! She had to explain that arms was another term for weapons. :hmblsh:
In the vintage line, only variants of He-Man and Skeletor were released (unlike the 200x line, who released variants of just about <i>everyone</i>!); and I feel that vintage Man-At-Arms is one of the characters could really have justified a new version. The original was very basic when compared to other slightly later figures, and with his weaponry and inventing streaks, he could have had some really good updates.
The figure came with removable torso armor, arm armor, leg armor, and mace. Although not at all rare, with all of those pieces, naturally finding one complete on the average second hand market can be a minor hunt.
I always wondered why Man-AA only had armor on his left side; I guess this was his vulnerable side. I liked in the Filmation version how they made the armor symmetrical (although this was really so Filmation could save costs by flipping cells over).
I bought Man-At-Arms a little way into my collecting the line as a child. Quite often, I would be tempted away from the basic early releases by the more varied featured newer figures, but for some reason, I felt the urge to save my pennies up for trusty old MAA.
Since collecting the line seriously as a (so called) "adult", one of the Man-At-Arms figures that I have purchased in various bundles turned out to be a later hard-head release, and his colours are also might brighter, with more of a lime green body, and much more yellowy armor.
In the early mini-comics, Man-At-Arms was portrayed as a trusty warrior, experienced in combat and weapons. As things progressed, and Filmation put their spin on the scenario, Man-At-Arms was made into an older, wise soldier. He was given a moustache to make him look more mature, leaving many young figure collectors wondering why their Man-At-Arms figure didn't have one (and more than a few being drawn on in felt-tip pen! :rmlol:). As the war-ish aspects of the original concept of the MOTU world were toned down slightly, he became more of a scientist and general inventor, constructing machines and vehicles. He was given the 'real' name of Duncan, and was one of the most regularly seen characters, acting as Prince Adam/He-Man's best friend and mentor. Of course, he was also Teela’s loving adopted father, and with King Randor being busy with Royal duties, not to mention that MAA knew of Adam’s duel identity as He-Man, he was in a way a step-father to both of them.
One thing I really liked in the Filmation series was the occasions when we saw Man-At-Arms as a younger warrior, notably in the classic <a href="http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/showthread.php?t=142223">"Teela's Quest"</a>, and <a href="http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/showthread.php?t=147340">"The Remedy"</a>). I always felts elements like these really added to the rich history that gave MOTU so much depth. Although He-Man was obviously the central character, I always felt that there was room for more history to other characters.
With Filmation's often limited budget animation, Man-At-Arms did just about <i>everything</i> in his heavy armor and helmet. The dude even swam in it! Only a couple of times (such as <A href="http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/showthread.php?t=78860">"Eternal Darkness"</a> and <a href="http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/showthread.php?t=145868">"The Return of Granamyr"</a>) was he seen without.
With him being made more mature, and thanks to the voice work, he could occasionally come across slightly as an old bumbler; I love how Matt on <a href="http://www.x-entertainment.com">x-entertainment</a>'s often used to lay into Man-At-Arms, in his more mature, watered down version, was pretty useless! (Check out <a href="http://www.x-entertainment.com/messages/414.html">HERE</a>, or even <a href="http://www.x-entertainment.com/articles/0592/">here</a> or <a href="http://www.x-entertainment.com/messages/456.html">here</a> for some classic articles featuring examples).
Man-At-Arms was played by Jon Cypher in the 1987 movie. His was one of the more direct big screen adaptations from the original character; his mannerisms were very much the same, and his costume was pretty much identical other than being all in grey (one of the things that some fans didn’t like, the lack of colourful costumes, but that's been done in other threads).
Man-AA was one of the first figures released for the 200x revamp line. I have to confess, it wasn't really one of my favourites. When I first saw it I immediately felt that, like 200x Skeletor, the head was too small, and I didn't really like his exaggerated, manga-type armor, complete with huge armor dome on his left shoulder - what was that all about?
He was also a regular in the Mike Young Productions cartoon. He was given a pretty good overhaul and portrayal, and <i>even often took his helmet off</i> (I wasn't sure about his like ponytail, but I can forgive it). And as well as an inventor, he was given some of his original weapon prowess back to boot.
Anyway, in terms of the vintage figure... it's very basic, but a staple of the line. I think I'll give him an average but reasonable 7 out of 10.
That is my summery of the Master of Weapons.
I'd like to hear your thoughts, comments, memories, criticisms, and anything else MAA related. And whether you post or not, don't forget to rate the figure in the poll. :)
New version of Man-At-Arms?
I've been thinking, if MOTU returned for a new cartoon series, or even a live action film or series, how should Man-At-Arms be based. The Filmation version was a staple of the series, but lets face it, he was a bit grouchy and a bit of an old bumbler at times!
I like the fact that he was made older than Adam / He-Man, kind of like is mentor. But then again, I kind like how it was loosley interpreted in the early mini-comics, with them more of the same age and best friends who went through adventures together.
I'd kind of like to see a blend of the two versions, with MAA being made a bit older and a mentor, but made a might lighter and not so... well... bumbling.
The Mike Young Productions version was quite good, making him as such - more senior and serious, but still able and competent. But - as with many 200x things - it lacked the 'heart' of the older versions, IMO.