MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (MATTEL)
“Heroic Spy in the Sky!”
As a child of the decade post-80s (more commonly referred to as the ’90s, I suppose), I missed out on the initial run of a lot of the top ’80s toys. Fortunately for me, there was something of an ’80s resurgence that began right around 2002, and it was this wave of psuedo-nostalgia which gave me my first proper taste of things such as G.I. Joe and Masters of the Universe. For the Joes, it did eventually lead me to a proper appreciation for the true vintage stuff, but in the case of Masters, something about that early ’00s branch really stuck with me, thereby making it the 2002 line that I get nostalgic for, not the old ’80s stuff. As a matter of fact, there are a good number of Masters characters whose vintage designs do nothing for me. Good example? Today’s figure, Buzz-Off!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Buzz-Off was added to the re-launched Masters of the Universe toyline in 2003, as part of the fifth assortment of heroic warriors in the line, alongside three He-Man variants, Ram-Man, Man-E-Faces, and Roboto. The figure is roughly 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation, thanks to the inclusion of ball-joints on the wings and little arms on his back. That makes him one of this line’s most articulated figures. The vintage Buzz-Off figure was designed to share parts with the villainous Whiplash. I know, when I think of bees and reptiles, I see the similarities too. For the 2002 relaunch, both characters got starkly divergent treatments, which was probably for the best on both counts. While swollen and muscle bound was the only way to go for the vintage line, Buzz-Off’s recreation was now svelte and angular, easily one of the most slimmed down designs of this whole iteration of the brand. It’s a quite unique look, and much like Roboto from the same assortment, it takes a much goofier design and makes it a little bit more palatable in the context of the wider story and the type of character than Buzz-Off is supposed to be. When it came time to adapt the character to the new cartoon, Buzz-Off received a noticeably drab color scheme, drastically different from his old look. For the figure proper, he more meets in the middle. The basics of the old design are definitely still there, but he looks less like “wrestler in a bee” costume this time around. Buzz-Off was packed with an axe (with launching, because that’s how axes work) and a pair of goggles for protecting his eyes while flying, I guess.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
The thing about the 200x Masters line is that as cool as the redesigns were, and as much as I liked the look of the figures, they were our first real taste of how badly Mattel could screw up case packouts and distribution. Remember how I mentioned the three He-Man variants in this set? Well, they were heavier packed than the the three new heroes, and for Buzz-Off and Roboto in particular, that made them very, very hard to find when they were new. No Buzz-Off for me. In fact, since coming into that big GoodWill find several years ago, there have been just a few figures left to check off on my list of Masters I still really wanted. Buzz-Off was at the top of that list. Fortunately for me, All Time got in a whole bunch of 200x Masters figures a couple of months ago, and Buzz-Off was right there with them, meaning I was finally able to add him to my collection!