Man, I wanted to review this guy before Halloween.
Lord Dactus (original spelling: Dactys) is one of the He-Man characters created for the 2002 cartoon. I was going to say “the new cartoon,” but it’s been over a decade now, and the 2002 cartoon has been around for 1/3 the time as the original. Man, I feel old. Darn kids get off my lawn.
Dactys… okay, Dactus (why was he renamed? Copyright issues?) was a recurring character in the series, and one of my favorite design archetypes: The scary-looking monster who’s really a cool dude. Dactus is the king of the Speleans, a subterranean race of bat-like people. He knows how scary he looks, and his people use that to avoid trouble from outsiders. But in person, Dactus acts like a king and sounds like a normal middle-aged guy. He’s an old friend of King Randor’s, and helps out Eternia, soon joining their new Council of the Elders. Although you never really see him do much, Dactus is a fairly intimidating warrior. Of course, I have said all of this before. So, let’s look at the figure!
Lord Dactus has the exact same packaging as every other MOTUC figure. White mailer, yellow and green blister pack, cool info. He’s a big guy, so he kind of crowds the blister pack, but he looks fine in it.
Masters of the Universe Classics very rarely dips into the 2002 well, and usually only mildly. But Lord Dactus is 100% his design from that cartoon, which might make him clash a little with other Classics figures. After close inspection, he really does fit on the shelf just as much as the ultra-cartoony Filmation figures do, but he does seem a little different from the rest, including other 2002 figures such as Chief Carnivus and Count Marzo.
Dactus has a lot of new tooling, though some of his re-used parts look unique. He’s got a new head, torso armor, biceps, hands, a loincloth, ankles and feet. A lot of the re-used parts like his shoulders and wrists seem new just because they fit in pretty well with the rest of him.
The figure Dactus has the most in common with stylistically is Draego-Man. It’s not just the wings, it’s his general shape and level of detail. And it’s true, the giant bat and giant dragon do look pretty good next to each other! His wings actually plug into his armor, and his tail attaches to the loincloth.
The wings connecting to his armor are the same as with Draego-Man, though Draego’s armor was unremovable, and you can take off Dactus’s to reveal his hilariously ordinary torso underneath. Dactus’s wings are re-used from Draego-Man, which does produce an odd contrast – this bat-man suddenly has scales! You’ll notice them when you look at him from the back.
Dactus is taller than the average MOTUC figure, but just by a smidge – his shins are longer and his ankles have an extra joint. He can stand digitigrade and lower himself to the average figure height by bending at the knee, but you’ll find he stands sturdier when his legs are straightened.
Lord Dactus’s paint manages to be simple despite appearing complex. He really has very few colors – blue, maroon, charcoal gray, and a little bit of light blue on his face. The lines are nice and clean without any slop, and even the parts that look like they could be gloppy – his teeth, for example – are fine. They fit how he should look – the colors match his appearance on the show, but on their own they are a nice, cool scheme. I can’t really speak very much to them because there’s nothing missing, nothing added. He isn’t as bright as Fang-Man or Shokoti, though, which might help him fit in a little bit better.
Dactus has a couple of other paint apps here and there, particularly on his face, but mostly he sticks to blue and maroon, giving him kind of a muted, underworld-y look. This fits, since he does live in a cave.
Lord Dactus has a few more joints than the average MOTUC figure. He’s got a ball-jointed head, swivel wrists, waist, and boot tops, hinged elbows, knees, ankles, and torso, and ball-and-socket wings, shoulders, and hips. The major addition is in his ankles – instead of simple rocker ankles, the extra hinge lets you reposition Dactus’s legs to make him stand much differently than the other figures – as previously said, digitigrade.
He looks awesome with his knees bent, but then you have the first real flaw in this figure’s articulation: with his huge armor and wings, Dactus is very top-heavy, and posing him with his knees bent is an easy way to make him tilt and collapse under his own weight. Either I hunch him over, or I leave his legs straightened to keep him from falling.
Dactus’s armor also restricts his arms something fierce. They’re worse than Predator arms! The armor widens his torso so you can’t reach across, and the shoulder spikes – although rubbery and flexible – restrict up and down motion. Most of the expressiveness in Dactus’s articulation comes from his wings, though you have to be careful to keep him evenly balanced when you pose those. So while his articulation is pretty good on paper, it’s got some nasty restrictions above and beyond other figures with the same body type, like Draego-Man.
Lord Dactus technically comes with only one item: His sword. It’s a unique blade, and came straight out of his first episode – Dactus’s personal weapon, which he loaned to King Randor. It’s clearly built for stabbing rather than chopping or slashing, and has a great gothic theme on the hilt. The “CHINA” stamp is visible on the blade, but there’s no helping that – there are actual laws and regulations about where and how large the manufacturer stamp is, so Mattel has no control, apparently.
Dactus’s armor is also clearly an accessory. Yes, his wings attach to it so he isn’t complete without it, but sans wings it looks great on a variety of figures. The exaggerrated, pointy 200X style is a decent look in the He-Man universe, even on some other figures.
The grand total ordered from Mattel is nearly $40, depending on tax and shipping. Considering that many other companies – such as NECA – put out work of roughly the same or better quality at about half of the price point, this stings. At least Dactus is a pretty big, solid figure for your dollar.
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Nothing about Lord Dactus is fragile. His parts are either solid PVC, or flexible, non-breaky rubber. Watch his knee joints, though, as they are likely to become loose thanks to his weight.
WHERE TO BUY:
Lord Dactus is kind of a divisive figure. His style does fit in with MOTUC, but his angular, spiky design does stand out on the shelf. He is a very cool giant bat man, but the figure has trouble standing, and he can’t move his arms worth anything. If you already dislike the design, then having it in-hand will not change your opinion. But if you like him in pictures, then you will like him in person.
He’s big, solid, scary, and fits in very well with Draego-Man. Just on his own, he’s a great bat-monster, fitting in somewhat with most of the Draculas and Orloks you might have sitting around.