I find that having a subscription service for my action figure really keeps me from what makes the hobby totally enjoyable: the hunt. There is no better feeling than visiting a bunch of Targets, Wal-Marts, and Toys ‘R’ Us stores only to come home with nothing but a half tank of gas. The masterminds over at Mattel thought that locking us into subscriptions was causing us (the consumer) to miss out on this wonderful aspect of toy collecting. Thus the “ONLINE CHASE FIGURE” was born.
Enter the Spirit of Hordak.
Masters of the Universe Classics – Spirit of Hordak
Release Date: 2013 Online Chase Variant (Randomly shows up on sale)
The Spirit of Grayskull figure was a huge hit that nobody actually owns since only about two were made. It’s been about five years since that initial ghost variant, and since then people still talk about wanting it. Mattel must have realized a “Spirit of” variant might sell well if publicly offered. To their credit NOBODY knew it was coming. I have to give them credit this thing was left completely under wraps and ended up being a huge surprise when it went up for sale. Like the Kennedy assassination or 9/11 (both comparable tragedies to the first Spirit of Hordak sale, obviously) I know exactly where I was when the news dropped.
I was sitting in the waiting room for my son’s dentist appointment back in May when I decided, like most parents in that room, to check my Facebook. I had recently followed Hoard World and they all of a sudden posted a phone screenshot of this “Spirit of Hordak” sale page! Not sure if he was kidding I clicked the link and found that Hordak had already escaped, another way of saying their short sale period ended. I would then go on to miss the early access sale (which much like Strobo lasted roughly one minute) and a couple random appearances on the site. The stars aligned at the end of May and I was able to order my usual set of figures, and thus ended the chase to get a Spirit of Hordak.
I think the important lesson we should take from this whole online chase figure promotion is that when Mattel thinks something is a good idea, they probably shouldn’t follow through with it. After the first couple sales and the unreasonably short early access window of opportunity people were a bit upset with this idea. It seems the emotions behind this figure have cooled a bit, but it always sucks when you can’t get a figure so I’m sure there are people out there wondering when he will pop up next. He hasn’t shown up much in June or July but this may have to do with upcoming San Diego Comic Convention preparation.
The other issue with doing an online chase figure is that it goes against what Mattel has been pushing us to do the past few years with the subscription. The original sell was that everyone needs to get a sub so you don’t have to worry about logging into the site on sale day. You also don’t really need to log into the site on any other day because besides the evergreen items there is nothing else worth buying. I’m curious if the “sub and forget it” model worked too well in that since most people who buy from Matty are subscribers so nobody hits the site anymore? That’s the only reason I can think of that they would all of a sudden want us checking out the site on non-sale days.
So how is this Spirit of Hordak? He’s cool if you like clear figures. The goal was to clearly go back and sell that four-year old Hordak mold without the all the paint applications. As a ghost (or spirit) he works pretty well because he is translucent with dark red paint on his eyes and Horde logo. I think if they were really committed to the ghost thing they would have given him some kind of stand so he can get a little elevation over the living. They didn’t include a stand, but what they did include is that white mystery crossbow we saw back at New York Comic Convention last year. While the bow looks great I was really hoping that it would come with a Filmation Hordak, but I guess that version wasn’t in the cards.
Back in May the Spirit of Hordak fetched a good sum on the secondary market, but as more people got him and the hype died down so did the prices. If you NEED him now just shop around but don’t pay too much. If it won’t kill you then just try to wait for the next sale. Eventually this guy will show up on a Matty sale day whenever Mattel is done playing the cat and mouse games.