The New Adventures of He-Man gets a bad rap. Yes, it’s cheesy and cheap and weird and illogical, but have you seen the original He-Man cartoon? The main thing is, this one is just different it rips on Star Wars while barely even touching the fantasy tropes that MOTU has always been known for. And I admit, I barely remember it even existing back in the day. But the fact that He-Man abandoned Eternia forever for the distant future was probably most people’s biggest sticking point. The MOTUC writers (well, one dude) had a difficult task of adapting the property without ruining the whole franchise, so they chose to change it as such: Nobody travels through time, and it’s really a battle against Horde Prime rather than just Flogg and Skeletor. Also, everybody tags along. Although Masters of the Universe Classics has included a few of Flogg’s mutants here and there, it has taken until 2014 for us to get even two of the Galactic Protectors.
Hydron was the heroic team’s nominal leader in the cartoon – we all knew He-Man was the star of the show, but this guy got to be the Team Leonardo. Or Cyclops. Or something. Anyway, he’s a deep-sea soldier in a scuba suit, and is perfectly prepared for all of those oceans in deep space.
HYDRON: COURAGEOUS LEADER
REAL NAME: DANIEL RIPPER JR.
Hydron is a space sea commander from the domed undersea city of Orca, situated not far from Titus, a small island in the Guardian Sea on Primis. He was ordered by Darius to locate the legendary twin warriors
prophesized to defeat the Horde Empire. Arriving on Eternia shortly after Skeletor’s victory at the Second Ultimate Battleground, Hydron and his lietenant Icarius recruited not only He-Man and SHe-Ra, but several of the members of the Masters of the Universe who were eager to pursue Skeletor. Preferring the Triton Spear Gun, his weapon of choice is suitable for intergalactic as well as undersea fighting.
TYPO CORRECTIONS: *Primus, *Lieutenant.
To be honest, the Galactic Protectors were never really very interesting. You had Hydron, the generic scuba guy, Flipshot/Icarius, the generic flying guy, and Spinwit, the generic flying guy. And all the rest. But as bland as they are, they are still an important part of He-Man mythos, and it’s very good that we finally got the team leader. So let’s take a look!
This is the same as always. Allllwayyyys. It’s good.
Hydron, the space-travelling scuba diver! Let’s get this one out of the way first: This is not a space suit. it is a wet suit. Even with the dome, it really does not look insulated or sealed-off enough for space travel. Hydron is ready to go swimming, not floating.
Anyway, most of the NA He-Man characters were a lot slimmer than in the original series – even He-Man himself seemed to have lost some muscle mass. But since MOTUC is all about reusing parts (see also: Bow, Sea Hawk), Hydron is just as burly and bulky as all the rest. If you take off his scuba gear, you can really see those muscles bulging through his wet suit. He’s got a new head, forearms, crotch piece, right thigh, shins, and flippers. For what they are, the flippers are not half as goofy as they could be, and his other new pieces have some good details – note the loop on his belt, though it is hard to stow his weapon on it in any way that does not look awkward.
The head sculpt is… let’s talk about the head sculpt. For what it is, it’s fine, but it is also wrong. See, Hydron spent about 90% of his screen time in the cartoon unmasked. In case you’re wondering, he’s got red hair in a flattop and a narrow face with high cheekbones. When he isn’t in battle mode or scuba diving, he keeps it off like a normal human being. Not including a bonus head is a travesty. Flipshot/Icarius had one. Galactic Protector He-Man had one. But no, not this guy. It was probably a budgetary issue, though considering all the stuff that the other two came with, it’s a little hard to buy that. Not including an unmasked head really hurts this figure. That said, his regular head isn’t bad – the rebreather is good, especially.
The other big detail is his body armor. Hydron is wearing a massive rig over his wet suit with a built-in dome and oxygen supply. Apparently, he has these on top of his rebreather mask. The armor is both good and bad. Good in that it’s got a lot of detail and manages to update the old design in a typical MOTUC way, but bad in that it is insanely bulky and cumbersome, more than anything else in this line. Sure, his bulkiness makes sense (remember that one GI Joe?), but something about the armor looks wrong. It has a lot of empty space, too, and you could theoretically stuff the gaps in his armor if you wanted. It is not as bad as Sea Hawk’s bulky shirt, but the armor really isn’t the best thing around. An interesting detail is that his armor includes its own collar, and cannot be removed without first popping off his head.
Hydron’s paint is a gradient set of blue, turquoise, and green, with yellow, silver, and red for several of the details on his costume. The blue-turquoise contrast is nicely subtle, and many toylines would have just painted it all one color. The yellow looks toy-ish, but that is the fault of the original design. The only complaint I can think of is that his backpack is molded in plastic, but its attached hose is painted. Everything else is crisp, clean, and consistent.
Sea Hawk has a ball-jointed head, ball-and-socket shoulders and hips, swovel wrists, shins, and waist, hinged elbows nd ab crunch, and “rocker” ankles. His breathing dome is not hinged, though it is easily removable. Even with the bulky armor, his articulation is great. It also feels much sturdier than is usual for this line. The only problem I can see is that a lot of people have reported uneven ankles – one is set a little higher than the other. Mine seems fine, but this is apparently a recurring issue.
Hydron needed his bonus head. I will say it again: Hydron needed his bonus head. One more time: Hydron needed his bonus head. Okay, I’m done freaking out. Anyway, Hydron comes with his armor (already discussed), his backpack, his breathing dome, and his harpoon gun.
The harpoon gun matches his original weapon – you know, the weirdly cumbersome and confusing multi-spiked gun-thingy. You can stow it awkwardly on his belt, or have him hold it in his hand. It took me a while to figure this out, but Hydron should not hold the gun by its main handle. Have him clasp the smaller grip on the inside, and the wepon will fit over his forearm like a glove. Now it can work for melee or ranged combat, and considering that it has five barbs in a vague finger formation, that was probably the intention. I would hate to get punched by something like that.
Hydron’s clear plastic dome is functional, shaped well, and fits nicely into his armor. His yellow backpack is also decent, and although the hose is a little cumbersome, it plugs into the dome with ease.
As with any MOTUC figure, $37 with shipping is just too much. $25 hurts a little, but that’s only the gross charge.
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Be careful not to scratch or scrape Hydron’s big plastic dome, but other than that he is a durable figure.
WHERE TO BUY:
Since he’s not still available on Matty, just check out Big Bad Toy Store. They’re great for He-Man toys.
Overall, Hydron is kind of underwhelming. It’s a forgettable character with a forgettable design. He is missing the one accessory he truly needed, and without it he’s just a space man in a scuba suit. But the figure isn’t terrible – it certainly has a few good things going for it. It’s just that, in the grand scheme of things, Hydron is pretty forgettable.
This month has been interesting. Both figures appeal to niche audiences. The Unnamed One is there for people who want new characters and concepts, while Hydron is for fans of The New Adventures of He-Man. Rather than ask which one wins, I would like to point out something: He-Man may be the only franchise where these two characters can be in the same setting without any problems. Crazy, huh? But that’s what I like about He-Man.