Toy Review: Super7 Wave 1 Conan the Barbarian and Thulsa Doom
There’s an old urban legend in toy circles that Mattel originally meant for Masters of the Universe to be a toy line based on 1982’s Conan the Barbarian movie. It’s not true — Mattel did consider Conan, but were developing He-Man prior. Yet in an ironic twist of fate, Super7‘s new figures from the Conan film utilize body parts originally sculpted by Mattel for Masters of the Universe Classics. Super7 took over the Classics line when Mattel deemed it no longer profitable. But when Mattel recently decided they wanted all Masters of the Universe rights back, Super7 continued to utilize the same base body parts for other characters like Conan, ThunderCats, and the Toxic Avenger.
The first wave of 1982 Conan figures started hitting fans’ mailboxes this week. We purchased two: Pit Fighter Conan and Thulsa Doom. (The other two figures in the wave are minor henchmen.) With the third wave — featuring new versions of Conan and Thulsa — soliciting preorders, it seems a good time to take a look at the finally complete first wave. (Wave 2 features exactly one figure: a shirtless Conan with windswept hair.)
So let’s lead with the bad news. Does this look like Arnold Schwarzenegger to you?
Like Hasbro’s last attempt at Indiana Jones figures, a semi-decent sculpt seems to get a downgrade due to big cartoon eyes. From the right angle, one can see Arnold in the shape of the face, a bit. But if ever a figure needed photo-real face-printing, this is it. Customizers with painting skills can probably make it right.
On the other hand, while the James Earl Jones headsculpt also suffers from a simplistic paint job, it is still recognizable as the actor. This may be the first time that he –rather than just a character he voiced — has seen plastic representation. (Look closely at the facial contours.)
While using the familiar He-Man base body type, both figures feature lots of new parts. Conan has spiked wristbands and new boots (though the thigh-cut articulation is gone). Thulsa Doom features new arms and legs with scaly armor and raised green stripes. Doom’s chest is elaborately painted, and has ramor pieces attached, but is actually the standard chest piece. Henchmen Rexor and Thorgrim, also in the wave, look to reuse some of these parts. The sculpted armor detail is top-notch.
Doom also can vary his appearance. An alternate helmeted head keeps the Jones likeness but hides the paint job behind panels, which may seem preferable. And his fur cloak fits under his long hair. It’s a better fit with the helmeted head, that leaves more space for it, than the tighter fitting unhelmeted head.
Conan also has two headsculpts, which mostly vary by the amount his mouth is open. The spikes on his helmet are soft-ish, unlike the sharp ones on his gauntlets. Yet it still hurts some to switch out his portraits. His right hand grips tighter than his left, which makes no sense given that two of his key weapons come in pairs, so it may be an accident of process. To make the gauntlets fit flush to his forearms, play around a bit with the wrist hinge joint. For the spikes, any grip will do.
Conan also comes with two swords — his father’s broken blade and his own mighty weapon. Due to the muscular sculpt, he cannot grip either one two-handed. But they sport a fine level of detail, all the more impressive given that they’re almost paper-thin and translucent. (Viking Raiders above courtesy of Mattel’s WWE line.)
Doom’s weapons are all daggers. The two in his belt can unsheath, though they’re small for his hands. He also has two larger, fang shaped daggers in soft sheaths that don’t seem to attach to anything. Finally there’s the signature snake knife. He seems like he ought to have something bigger, but that’s what his henchmen are for.
Thulsa Doom is definitely the standout here, and not just because NECA already made a Pit Fighter Conan years back that’s way more accurate (albeit unposeable). Conan’s small and poorly painted headsculpt is a problem that mars an otherwise excellent figure. If Super7 continues this line it would be nice if they’d maybe try again and offer an extra Arnold head in future releases to go on this one. For a $45 figure, this isn’t at the level it needs to be. Thulsa Doom, on the other hand, is one of those long-awaited figures fans thought they’d never see. And while the face paint job could be better, it really delivers in all other areas. Some fans may resent it using the He-Man body type, but that’s a feature of this line one can’t escape and must expect.
The packaging will feel familiar to buyers of other recent Super7 Ultimates. Slip-sleeves, in this case with the logos of the characters’ signature knives on the back. That’s then put in a plastic bag, and packed inside a brown mailer box with the Conan logo.
While these figures were initially made to order, some secondary retailers may still stock them. As of this writing, BigBadToyStore still has a few Conans left. Mainly, though, this review serves as an advisory for those who want to know what they might expect from future Conan waves. Early images telegraphed that this one might not have the best Conan likeness. Pics of future variants look a little better.
Get a look at more images and angles in the gallery below. Then tell us what you think in comments.
Recommended Purchase: Conan the Barbarian Epic Collection: The Original Marvel Years – The Coming of Conan
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