It’s hard to believe it’s already been three years since He-Ro was released!
He-Ro was to be part of the ill-fated Powers of Grayskull line, an idea to expand MOTU, which never really took off. The figure appeared in product catalogues and for a long while was only known to a small few, eating away at them as it was a mere glimpse at what could have been quite an awesome spin-off line.
Myself, like many others had never even heard of He-Ro until we found ourselves online. I remember stumbling upon He-Man.org — not only was I amazed to find that there was an entire fan base of people who still loved the property — but also to find out tons of stuff I never even knew about MOTU — one such nugget of information I gleaned was He-Ro. But, admittedly I had forgotten about him until this figure was announced.
He-Ro was sold at SDCC in 2009 as a convention exclusive. Later he was sold on MattyCollector.com. The only notable difference between the two is that the He-Ro sold at SDCC had a logo tamographed on his chest underneath the armor. This was a great way to sell the same figure but still give Con attendees something unique.
Design & Sculpt: As with most MOTUC figures He-Ro shares the same basic buck, but we also saw a lot of new tooling that closely modeled his prototype. They have gotten their mileage out of the boots as we’ve seen them again with Zodak, Carnivus, and Draego-Man. He definitely looks like a “comic sorcerer”.
Plastic & Paint: He-Ro comes with some great paint details. The prototype for He-Ro showed us a figure with vac-metal on his armor. I’m glad they didn’t go with that though; I think the flat painted gold they used here was the best option. A lot of people noted He-Ro’s derpy, cross-eyed look. I don’t think it looks that bad. He does have a solemn, contemplative solemn gaze — and from afar you really can’t tell all that much. Plus, in hindsight, he’s not as bad as say, Queen Marlena! One detail I think I like the most is the “Grayskull” logo on the back of his cape.
Articulation: He-Ro features ball joints at the shoulders and hips, hinge joints at the elbows, knees, ankles and abdomen, and swivels at the biceps, wrists, waist and calves. The ankles also have “rocker” side-to-side motion.
Accessories: He-Ro comes with two accessories. First up is the “Sword of He”, which eventually becomes Adam of the House of Randor’s sword (and is the same power sword we’ve seen over & over again with various releases of He-Man and Skeletor). According to Scott “Toy Guru” Neitlich, “He” is the Trollan word for “Power”. The sword is cast in translucent blue and had a silvery painted “star field” — similar to the orb that was included with the re-release of King Grayskull. The concept for the power sword was nice, but it disappoints in execution. It would have looked much nicer to have the sparkly “star field” glitter mixed in and on the inside rather than spackled with silver paint. It still looks fine from afar though.
He-Ro’s other accessory, and perhaps the one I was most excited for was his Power Staff. I think I liked it mostly because it was the accessory that he was initially pictured with in product catalogues, but also because I liked the design and the magic “spell stone”. The paint and trim match He-Ro’s armor and definitely had a vintage feel to it. He-Ro did have three variants, but in a very small way (which kind of refutes what we were recently told, that they aren’t able to do chase figures because the lawyers claimed it amounted to an internet “lottery”) — each figure comes with one of three colored stones inside the staff — green stone of protection, red stone of defense, or purple stone of healing.
There was no way to tell what color jewel the figure had since the staff came closed. It wasn’t until you got the figure out of the package and opened the clasps that the color of the jewel would be revealed. Though I remember holding the package up to the sun so the light would shine through and possibly see what color the stone was.
Overall: He-Ro really was the first concept figure in the line. You could argue that King Grayskull has that distinction, but at least he was seen in previous media (the MYP series) and for all intents and purposes could have been displayed with your 200x collection.
He-Ro really was the first big step forward and was a sign of things to come. Since then we have seen other abandoned concepts come to life, including Gygor, Vikor, and Demo-Man. I think at the time He-Ro was kind of a gamble since he was such an obscure character. He really was a big departure from the norm at the time as up to that point we had only seen original vintage characters. They made the right choice by including him as a Con exclusive. I think today we would see He-Ro as a Club Eternia sub exclusive or a quarterly bonus figure.
While I did not have any nostalgia driving me to pick up this figure, I still wanted him. I saw it as getting a larger piece of the MOTU mythos and I thought it was really cool to be getting an un-produced prototype figure (ask me how I felt about the Star Sisters). He-Ro is a solid figure and after a little creative retconning, his connection to King Grayskull, He-Man, the Trollan Overlords, and Eternia’s past make him worthy of owning — however he is not a must-have.