STRONG ARM/ STRONG-OR (2013)
On the 15th of every month Mattel makes at least one new Masters of the Universe (MOTU) figure available on their website. Sometimes there are a couple of figures and sometimes there’s a special item like a beast or a vehicle. I order at least 1 item from them almost every month. The MOTU brand is full of strange characters but December’s assortment of figures had to be the strangest I’ve seen yet. I debated whether I should buy any of the 3 available figures but ultimately I ended up ordering all of them.
None of the December offerings were character that I would consider integral to the brand. All of them were first time figures meaning none of them appeared in either the vintage or the 2002 toy line. If any one of them had been the lone new figure available that month I don’t think I would’ve ordered any of them. The shipping cost of a single figure is practically equal to, and sometimes more than, the cost of the figure itself so in order to justify the shipping cost I need to buy multiple items (or a lone figure that is an absolute must-have). None of December’s figures were must haves in my opinion. First off there was Plundor the evil purple Easter Bunny-like character who appeared in a single episode of the 80s Filmation cartoon. Next up is Standor who is literally a muscle-bound blue version of Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee. Why this exists I don’t really know. Stan has nothing to do with the MOTU brand. Apparently this figure was an exclusive item that was sold at Stan Lee’s Comikaze convention last year and the remaining stock was now being sold on the website.
The third figure from December was Strong-or; or Strong Arm as he was originally named. I assume it was changed for legal reasons but I shall continue to refer to him as Strong Arm as it sounds better and makes more sense. Like Plundor, this character only appeared in a single episode of the 80s MOTU cartoon. I have no recollection of him but apparently some fans have been clamoring for a figure of this guy for a while. I felt the other 2 figures were somewhat charming oddities but were far from essential pieces for my MOTU collection. This figure however looked pretty cool and was the main reason I shelled out my cash to order these guys. In the cartoon Strong Arm was a member of Skeletor’s Evil Warriors, just like Mer-Man and Beast Man. He actually has quite a bit in common with another one of the Evil Warriors, my brother Doug’s favorite MOTU character, Trap Jaw. Both have metal faces and a robotic arm. Perhaps this is why Strong Arm was a one hit wonder. Maybe Mattel knew he was too similar to Trap Jaw and so they banished him into obscurity. It could also be because of his similarities to the giant metal fist wielding Fisto and his nemesis, the golden gloved Jitsu.
Whatever the reason, it’s too bad this guy got swept under the rug because he’s a pretty neat looking character. He’s also completely nonsensical and ridiculous but that’s partly what I like about the MOTU toy line. Strong Arm has a pretty plain body with Snooki-like orange skin. He’s got blue armor, a metallic silver face and right arm, and one really out-of-place yellow glove. I almost wish that Mattel had made his glove blue for aesthetic purposes but I respect their decision to remain true to the characters one and only animated appearance.
The problem with sticking so close to the original design is that this figure suffers a bit for it. Strong Arm is pretty boring to look at which is hard to believe considering he has a metal monster face with a spiky blue mohawk. There just isn’t enough color or sculpting detail on this figure to jazz it up. There’s far too much bland orange-ness going on here. I will say that despite the underwhelming body, the head, and the metallic arm, are pretty great.
I’m not sure if Strong Arm was given any sort of origin story in the cartoon but the bio on the card back of this new figure states that he was a photanium miner who lost his face and arm while working in the mines of Phantos. Being a master metal worker he fashioned himself this new head and arm which I must say is an impressive feat. I wonder if he was this ugly before the accident. His body design leads me to believe that this guy was probably human and if that’s the case then maybe he’s not such a master metal worker after all. It just doesn’t make much sense that he would give himself a fanged, mohawked monster face but who am I to judge.
For accessories Strong Arm came with an additional arm and a ray gun. From what I’ve read on other sites Strong Arm never carried a gun in the episode but this particular ray gun was seen in a different episode. Its inclusion here adds some value to the figure by providing fans with a recognizable prop from the cartoon. The additional arm is slightly longer than the standard arm. The arms can be swapped out to replicate Strong Arm’s telescoping arm ability. I’ll keep my figure displayed with the longer arm on because it gives him a more unique look.
Overall, this isn’t a great figure but it’s not at all a bad figure either. I probably would’ve loved this weirdo if I had this toy as a kid. I’m happy to add a few more oddities like this to my MOTU collection before the line comes to an end. 7 out of 10.