Closer Look: Mattel Masterverse Deluxe Hordak

November 8, 2022

Reviewed by:tfunk
11/08/2022

Hordak joined the Masterverse line with a deluxe release in wave five.  This version is based on his appearance in 1985’s Princess of Power which starred She-Ra, He-Man’s sister, with Hordak and his evil Horde as the villains.  When the show debuted in 1985, it was seen as a Masters of the Universe for girls.  I can even remember refusing to allow my sister’s She-Ra “dolls” around my mighty Masters of the Universe figures!

Oh how times change.  She-Ra and the Princess of Power characters are now widely embraced by Masters of the Universe fans (including myself).  I was excited to see the addition of these show specific characters to the Masterverse line and hope for more to come.

What makes this version of Hordak specific to Princess of Power?  Hordak is mainly known for his darker and more evil black and red look.  In fact, even though he was in the Princess of Power cartoon series, his action figure was released in the Masters of the Universe line (along with many of the Horde).  The original Masters of the Universe action figure is how many fans know and remember Hordak’s appearance.  Even the artwork found on the back of his original action figure from the 1985 in the Masters of the Universe line portrays the evil leader of the Horde once again in black and red.  Meanwhile, in the Princess of Power cartoon Hordak had what I consider to be his iconic look:  blue body with the black and red armor.

When Masters of the Universe returned in 2002, Hordak finally returned as well, and once again had his dark red and black appearance.

I decided to do a Versus between the original Mattel Masters of the Universe Classics Hordak (Filmation version) and the new Masterverse action figure.  Taking a look, you’ll notice the arm cannon is on the left arm for the MOTU Classics release while on the right arm on the Masterverse release.  Don’t worry though, there is an in-universe explanation!  Hordak has two unique abilities: techno-morphing and sorcery.  Throughout the Princess of Power cartoon series Hordak would switch his arm cannon from left to right along with transforming into completely unique things (even a tank).

I have been a fan of Masters of the Universe action figure lines for decades.  I had my own collection as a kid and one of my earliest childhood Christmas memories is getting Castle Grayskull from Mr. Claus himself.  Like many kids at the time, my interest fell off towards the end of the line and the relaunch of He-Man in the 90’s didn’t catch my attention.  When Mattel relaunched again in 2002 though, I was all-in.  From that point, I’ve kept up with the Classics, Super7’s awesome run, Origins, and of course, Masterverse.  Of all Masters of the Universe lines, I consider Classics to be at the top.  Even though those are long gone, Masterverse has continued with more and more releases, and I am starting to see it as today’s Classics line.

Here’s more comparisons of the 2014 Masters of the Universe Classics (Filmation colors) Hordak (and that Imp!), and the new Masterverse Princess of Power Hordak.

The other wave five release is none other than the Princess of Power herself, She-Ra.  Here are some shots of the two together with a surprise appearance from the Man himself.

Sculpt, Articulation, and Paint Application

Hordak’s sculpt overall is very well done.  The details in his boots and armor isn’t overly complex, but works very well for this look of Hordak.  His muscular body and height seem accurate for the character at this scale.  I also really like the shade of blue used for Hordak’s body.  Although their have been a handful of past releases of this version of Hordak that have used a lighter blue (as seen with the Classics example above), this darker shade is more accurate to the actual cartoon color.  The paint apps are also acceptable.  I can find a couple small paint flaws but overall the somewhat basic paint apps are tight.  Where I have an issue is with his head.  The sculpt is an overall decent representation of this version of Hordak, but the paint apps seem lacking.

Beyond the details in the sculpt, the head is also too small.  If it was a little wider, not only do I think it would look better, but it would also fill the hood of his armor better.  As it is, with the right viewing angle and an adjustment of the head, you can’t mostly hide the top of the cape.  For mine, it was way tougher hiding this on the right side of his head.  This isn’t a deal-breaker for me, but a second, larger head sculpt would have been welcome, especially with this being a deluxe release.

Hordak has the standard articulation we’ve grown accustomed to.  Ball joints in shoulders, double jointed elbows and knees, wrist and ankle articulation, and his head pops on and off a ball socket.  The head can turn left and right fairly easily.  Unfortunately, there isn’t much room when positioning it up or down.  In the image above I show how the cape is attached/detached and how the cape is visible from the front on one side as well.

 

Features and Accessories

Hordak comes with his black and red armor that is surrounded by gray bones.  He also comes with an upgraded Crossbow, Shield, and alternate arm to swap out with his cannon arm.  For his cannon arm a large red blast effect is included along with a claw.  For his regular right arm he has two hands, and for his left arm he comes with one extra.

Hordak has two features: the ability to add/remove the cape to the action figure and the swappable right arm.

Quality

Hordak is the same high quality Mattel has set for the Masterverse line.  Paint applications could always be a little tighter (or even more paint).  Although I love the option to add/remove the cape, I do wish the hood/helmet piece fit a little tighter, as it tends to lift up pretty easily.  The action figure itself is high quality and articulation points can be positioned with little effort.  A few joints were tight, but all loosened up without the use of heat.  If you feel like you are going to break a figure’s joint, warm it up with a hair dryer, heater, or even in some really hot water to soften it up and loosen the joint.

The accessories all pass the quality test but I do have one complaint.  The red soft-goods cape that is included is secured in the packaging with two of those plastic fasteners we all know and hate.  I was very careful in cutting them loose, to not damage an area on the cape where they were attached, but the areas are still noticeable, especially up close.

Value

Hordak is a great value.  He’s loaded with articulation and very poseable, has a removable soft goods cape, extra arm and hands, armor, …you get the point.  Hordak retails in the 30 dollar range, and I feel you get that much value from this release.  I’m glad to see this figure added to the collection and I think Masters of the Universe collectors have a lot to like with this release.

Overall Score

8.5