Thursday, 7 June 2012

Review: He-Man Starship Eternia

There's a black sheep in the family.

There tends to be one in most families. I suspect, though no one's ever stayed around me long enough to confirm it, that it's me in my family. The oddity. The one people aren't sure about. The disliked one.

For the Masters of the Universe franchise it's The New Adventures of He-Man.

I only found out this was the situation when I started reading the stuff on, which was about the time the 200x series launched. As a child, I happily watched NA every school holiday morning. It was shown on ITV, usually paired with COPS or some other cartoon that most people have forgotten about, yet I have fond memories of. I didn't know, at the time, that He-Man wasn't supposed to be in space, that it was all just a rip-off of Star Wars, that the scientists were annoying, that all the characters looking different from the Filmation show was bad.

...That Skeletor having eyeballs was sacrilege.

Nope, I just thought it was a fun action-adventure series.

I didn't have any of the toys, however. Not being able to pin down exactly how old I was when I was watching, I'm not sure why I didn't have any. Maybe I just didn't like it that much. Maybe there was something else that was consuming all my pocket money. Maybe I wasn't taken to toy shops that often and so never knew the toys existed.

I simply have no idea.

From reading, however, it seems that one of the main reasons people disliked the toyline - in addition to the cartoon-dislike reasons stated above - was that the figures were a different design to the old Masters of the Universe line. The NA figures were a lot slimmer and had none of the GIANT muscles or other exagerated parts that the originals did. It was difficult to play with both the old and the new together since they looked so different.

It's interesting that these days it's a lot more difficult - and expensive - to get hold of NA figures (on the whole) than the original Masters ones. Presumably this is due to them being no where near as popular and therefore a lot less of them produced. It tends to be ~£20+ for a good condition figure, which is why I don't have any.

I do have the big ship, however.

I would go into details of my adventure in getting hold of Starship Eternia, but my getting lost in Birmingham probably holds little interest to readers of this blog. In brief, however, I found one on ebay for a reasonable price and bought it.

Mostly I bought it as something that could be used as a display piece for my NA Masters of the Universe Classics figures. I have Grayskull, Crystal Castle, Fright Zone etc for all the other factions but NA was missing something. And now I have it.

Eternia is pretty darn big. Size-wise it'd be hard to say it was a disappointment if you opened this up on Christmas day. It really is a monster. But beyond that...

The gimmick for Eternia is that all the bits of the ship come apart and then can be reassembled in 12 different ways. It has to be said that most of those 12 ways look a bit rubbish and of zero playing use. The main ones - the ship itself and perhaps the space station - are still not fantastic. There's not really a lot to it. There's a light & sound section, which wails whenever you press a button, and a semi-successful lift, but that's it features-wise.

Mostly, it's an empty grey shell.

And despite this, and despite my lack of NA figures, it's gone down really well with my boys. While 4" figures are a bit small for the cockpit, they fit reasonably well and these are being used to pilot the ship. The main body section is used for die-cast cars to park. Sounds odd, but it works.

And did I mention that it's big? You turn this into space station mode and it's almost as tall as your average child. As a centre piece to your playing adventures this would be hard to beat.

What is very obvious from the photos is that Eternia is completely out of scale with the new Classics figures. So despite my 3yo spotting Flipshot on Eternia's box, our Flipshot won't fit in the cockpit nor fit in the lift. A disappointment, to be sure, but one he's learning to live with.

In today's review we came across something familiar, yet a little different. It's important to remember that while change can be scary and off-putting, it's worth giving it a chance before rejecting it. . Yes, for my new adventures I did sport a ponytail and Skeletor found some eyeballs, but judging the stories on their own merits instead of comparing with what came before can lead to a lot of enjoyment. Why not give my space adventures a second chance and see for yourself if your hatred of the scientists was really justified?

Until next time...

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