Hey, remember how Nightstorm Predator was a “deluxe” review with more pictures? Well, here we go again!
Modulok is one of the most famous He-Man toys, even though it appeared near the end of the line’s life. The concept was fantastic – in a toy line defined by its gimmicks, Modulok just gave you a pile of spare parts and told you to run free. Resembling an ant, or a martian, or a demon, Modulok came with enough pieces to build two full creatures, or three tiny ones, or one gigantic megabeast. If you look around on the internet, you will find story after story of ’80s children begging for Modulok, coveting Modulok, and sometimes combining Moduloks into one big jumble. It’s just a stab in the dark, but sometimes I wonder if we owe Modulok a debt of thanks for all those modern toys with swappable parts, like the Glyos line.
MODULOK: Evil Beast of a Thousand Bodies
REAL NAME: Galen Nycoff
An evil scientist from the Tri-Solar system, Galen Nycoff was incarcerated in Prison Starr for scientific crimes against the galaxy. While awaiting execution, he constructed a device which allowed him to divide his body into pieces, with each part endowed with his own evil consciousness. Slipping out of prison in a series of crates, he was deliered to Horde World where he reassembled himself finding he could now mix and match his parts in a thousand different ways. His skills were observed by Horde leaders and Nycff became chief technician for Commander Kur, traveling with him to Eternia on their quest to vanquish He-Ro. Nycoff was later banished along with the rest of the invading Horde army to Despondos, serving his leader with his evil inventions.
“Galen Nycoff” is a strangely pedestrian name for our modular friend. But I love his backstory, especially the part where he mailed himself to freedom without even a single raised eyebrow from the prison staff at the severed body parts being shipped out.
Despite his awesomeness as a toy, Modulok never really saw much exposure in other media. He did make a few comic appearances, just like every other figure, but his status in the cartoon was fairly lacking. Because Filmation’s general policy was, “If we can’t do it for cheap, nuke the site from orbit,” Modulok presented them with a challenge. Rather than having to deal with a changing character model (that couldn’t be used for stock footage), they picked one configuration of some of his parts, and stuck with it. Filmation Modulok is pretty much just an ant. And yes, you can make Filmation Modulok using his regular parts (though an extra pair of blue legs would be fine). If all you knew was the cartoon, then your memory of Modulok would have been of a gravelly-voiced vaguely ant-like villain who at least wasn’t Skeletor. But if you knew the toy… well, fun! Funtime! Super fun!
Masters of the Universe Classics is known for two things: Re-using as many parts as possible, and never impementing action features. Recently, we have been spoiled with figures like Mantenna or Two Bad who have very little re-use, but somebody like Modulok just didn’t seem like a possibility. Believe it or not, toys with swappable parts present a tremendous logistical problem – as you are regularly putting lots of stress on each part’s pegs, these toys tend to break sooner rather than later. One full toy line based on this concept, Socket Poppers, was infamous for its horrible quality control. And since MOTUC has a hilarious track record with quality control… well! Lots of fans took the opinion that we were almost better off without a new Modulok.
But then Mattel revealed this guy last San Diego Comic-Con, and guaranteed that he would be AWESOME, with only one swappable joint missing from the original idea. His torso no longer separates from his hips, as Mattel could not find a way to do it without making the joint a potential breakage point. So… how well did they do with this daunting figure? Let’s find out!
Modulok is an oversized “deluxe” figure, and once you open up his brown mailer, he is encased in a big box! The back of the box shows off his bio and a few other figures, but the front is the awesome part – just like the vintage figure, Modulok’s packaging is covered with all sorts of potential creatures and combos that you can make from him! The one downside is that you cannot see the toy through this box, though.
Inside, Modulok is chained to his plastic tray with a new kind of fastener! Rther than the usual rubber bands or twisty ties, he has some of those little plastic threads much like the kinds that hold clothing tags on. They work well, but you will need scissors. Modulok’s display in the tray is fantastic enough to keep on display – just look at how overwhelming this is! The pieces, Duke! The pieces!
A fun note: Even though in his big mega-body, Modulok will always have one spare abdomen piece, you can use all of his parts to make three figures: One full-body “standard” monster:
One small-bodied goofy monster:
And one big-nosed beady-eyed, uh… thing:
You can also combine the latter two designs into one big figure, but this does prove that you can convincingly make three toys out of Modulok.
Modulok looks a lot like an ant…demon…martian thing. The ant influence is pretty obvious, and the Horsemen have taken it just a little further. Rather than just having an insect abdomen, Modulok’s torso also looks like a carapace.
Modulok has two sets of arms – one “normal,” and one clawed. The clawed one has an exoskeleton, while the regular set is a lot more plain. Interestingly, the normal arms are slender, much more so than your average He-Man figure. He can hold stuff in the normal arms, and in one of his claws.
Modulok has two abdomens. Hes’s got two butts and he cannot lie. He has a pair of ant asses. One has leg sockets, and one does not. Generally, when you make the big four-armed six-legged megabody, he will have one leftover bug butt.
He also has one kindasorta thorax, which can be used to extend his abdomen back more for another pair of legs. Also, you can make him a literal butthead, which coincidentally turns him into a horrific leech monster.
Modulok has two heads! One, clearly his “main” head (it’s the one he used in the cartoon), is a bald, big-eyed, fanged demon face. He looks utterly devious and vicious, as well he should! The other, the “martian” face, has green eyes, an upturned nose, and two knobbly antennae. This one looks so different from the regular head that it is almost possible to buy Modulok as two totally separate guys fused together! Both heads have identical neck pieces.
And finally, Modulok has three pairs of legs. One is plain, wears shoes, and has green knee pads. Another is covered in blue and red armor (and may be shoed… or hooved). The third is knobbly and spiky and clawed. Depending on which legs you choose, Modulok can become a futuristic space alien or a thorny beast!
Modulok’s paint scheme is much like the original – mostly red. But he’s got a slightly darker red wash all over his body which helps bring out the details pretty nicely.
Aside from all the red, his other paint applications – the green, dark blue, and white for his eyes, teeth, and claws – are spot on. Modulok has been appropriately updated to modern-day toy standards without sacrificing anything from the original.
It goes without saying that Modulok has ton of articulation. He’s got ball-joints on his heads, necks, abdomens, and connector pieces, swivel wrists, hinged rocker ankles, hinged knees and elbows, ball-and-socket shoulders and hips, a swivel waist, and an ab crunch in his torso.
Now, considering just how many arms and legs he has, Modulok has a ton of articulation. His joints also have an incredible range of motion with nothing to block them – no armor, hair, loincloths, or anything. You can pose Modulok doing deep squats or high kicks or whatever other Cirque du Soleil thing you want.
And now’s the time to address the elephant in the room: What keeps Modulok’s joints sturdy? They are all a fairly secure fit, and take some effort to remove and plug in, but Mattel seems to have found a solution: The sockets are all soft rubber. The pegs are also anchored deeper inside the body rather than just sticking out from a surface. Even if it takes effort to pop an arm in or out, the actual peg looks like it sees almost no stress on the plastic. Ultimately, only time will tell, but I have not seen any of the telltale signs of wear and tear yet, and I have really been messing around with this toy. This is such a total turnaround from the quality control nightmare that Mattel is usually known for that it’s like a miracle!
Let’s be honest here: Modulok is the accessory. His pieces provide the play value. But even then, he has weapons! Modulok comes with two black guns, one double-barreled and one single. They fit easily into his normal hands, and precariously in one of his claws. But even the guns can be modded – they fit together! You can plug one gun into the other to give Modulok either an oversized laser rifle, or a fancy-schmancy club! Oh, the humanity!
But hey, his body is kind of like an accessory… and nothing proves this more than the three modular joints included. Modulok comes with three adapters that turn one joint into two – excellent for his arms, legs, or heads. You can also turn them into kind of a scorpion’s tail with some work, if you feel like it. Individually, they look like carapace double shoulders, but they work just fine pretty much anywhere you place them.
As an oversized deluxe figure, Modulok costs $40. For some strange reason, this stings less than the $25 for normal figures. Maybe it’s because the shipping charge is a smaller percentage of the whole (paying $40 for a small one, $50 for him), or because Modulok is a lot more like a $50 figure than your average MOTUC toy is to a $40 one. Just a thought. But you do get a lot of bang for your buck.
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Even though Mattel made his joints really durable, I would still advise watching out in case any stress points form.
WHERE TO BUY:
Modulok sold out from Matty pretty much immediately, so your guess is as good as mine! Chances are, though, he will be available pretty much everywhere before long.
Modulok rules! My personal opinion is that Mer-Man is the greatest MOTUC figure in how it is an excellent update of the original toy while taking advantage of parts re-use, but… well, it’s the best in principle. Mantenna is fantastic. Draego-Man is fantastic. But really, Modulok is the fantasticest. He is built entirely around a gimmick, but it is an awesome gimmick, and implemented extremely well.
I can’t imagine the engineering craziness that went into producing Modulok – a figure with no re-used parts and a gimmick that threatens disaster at every turn – but it worked! I can’t get enough of this guy or the many, many ways to swap him around. In fact, I had to restrain myself on photos, as I kept thinking of newer configurations for the crazy red guy!