REVIEW: Four Horsemen Power Lords
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It was just less than a year ago that we reported on the Four Horsemenís major New York Toy Fair event featuring the first reveal of their Power Lords prototypes (read all about Toypocalypse 3 - ExtraTOYrrestrial HERE), and now the first figures are here and in the hands of fans everywhere! If youíre not familiar with the early 1980ís phenomenon, Power Lords was one of the first true ďaction figureĒ lines with incredibly unique heroes and villains designed by sci-fi icon himself Wayne Barlowe. Adam Power led the forces of good with a Janus-like figure featuring both his standard incarnation and that of Lord Power while the enemies included all sorts of fantastic alien designs like the four-armed Ggripptogg and the insectoid Arkus. Ended too soon and lost to time, the Power Lords would be revived and resuscitated by the Four Horsemen and redesigned into fully modern 4 inch scale action figures with the groupís standard attention to detail in sculpt and articulation. Today weíll be taking a look at three of the first Power Lords figures: Power Con/Store Horsemen Exclusive Power Soldier and Elite Power Soldier, and NYCC Exclusive Ggrapptikk Grunt!
Iíve been following the Four Horsemenís 3 ĺ / 4 inch scale offerings for a while now, greatly enjoying their cool retro sci-fi Outer Space Men that have really raised the bar when it comes to quality in that scale. As a collector of that scale I was really excited for the new Power Lords, and the Horsemen have really knocked it out of the park with these guys. The first few figures were offered as exclusives to build awareness and excitement for the project, and in order to get them out quicker they lack any sort of sophisticated packaging (not a problem if youíre going to open and display them anyway!). Starting with 2013ís Power Con the Horsemen released shared exclusives of the Power Soldier in black with red highlights and the Elite Power Soldier in white and black. The duo was followed closely by the first alien figure in the New York Comic Con exclusive Ggrapptikk Grunt (offered in two different color variations). These three, and all other current and upcoming figures thus far announced, share the 4 inch scale and Glyos joints for articulation and interchangeability with any other figures or accessories in that system.
In keeping with the Four Horsemenís traditions, the Power Lords make liberal use of highly detailed sculpted parts. The two Soldiers are 4 inch tall humanoids that share the same body but feature unique heads. Futuristic sci-fi warriors rather than hulking fantasy heroes, these men have athletic physiques without being over-muscled. The standard body wears a completely sealed environmental suit with lots of accessories on top of a deeply lined body glove. There are thicker ridges running down the arms and legs, as well as circling the soles of the feet and the collar at the neck. The suit includes a minimalist belt, kneepads, thigh pouches, some sort of electronics extending over the backs of the hands, and a complex collar/chest plate with segments, a triangular center, and its own set of lines running down to the belt. The standard body features two open fists for holding or wielding the included accessories. As noted the men differ in their helmets; the standard Power Soldier has a huge dome-like plate while the Elite leader has a more enclosed model with a smaller face shield, low fin, and nodules at the ears and mouth.
Of course, you canít have cool spacemen without crazy, monstrous aliens and thatís where the Ggrapptikk Grunt comes into play! The NYCC exclusive figure is over 5 inches of inhuman menace with a distinctive profile and unique textures. The alien is barely humanoid with a barrel chest, reverse articulated legs ending in three-toed feet, long arms with two forearms extending from each elbow, and a vaguely insectoid head. The Ggrapptikk is as varied sculpturally as the Soldiers are uniform, with major differences between its uncovered flesh and the equipment it wears. The skin of its arms is reminiscent of raw muscle with thick sinews and meandering veins, while odd protrusions appear at the shoulders and lower arms. Each of the Gruntís four hands is a four-fingered affair, with the top two grasping and the lower two open. Meanwhile, the creatureís lower legs share some of the same appearance but add thick pads on their back sides and fleshy, flabby toes. Ready to wade into battle, the alien wears a unique outfit consisting of ďshortsĒ with a cross-hatched texture, groin and thigh armor (a separate piece of plastic), a thick belt with interlocking design, and a mighty war shirt with scalloped chest piece and collar. The latter especially has a great sculpt with lots of broken up texture as well as a cool harness piece consisting of two straps and a control box. Of course, you canít forget the Ggrapptikkís head; itís hard to describe but it looks awesome!
As unnamed members of military forces (and the first releases in the new line), these figures are relatively light on paint applications while still looking fresh and cool. The Ggrapptikk Grunt came in two versions with reversed colors; this one has a purple main body and pink extremities while the other was switched. Black is the only added element appearing on the Gruntís belt, beady eyes, and elements on his sash-mounted control unit. Each soldier has two colors, one for the uniform and the other accenting him on the belt, faceplate, and upper chest. The standard Power Soldier is black with red details (and looks really damn cool) while his Elite fellow is white with black. Again, itís worth noting that while there may not be a lot of paint apps, whatís there is very clean and looks striking due to excellent placement and visibility.
For the Power Lords figures, the Four Horsemen have continued to utilize Onell Designís Glyos System in part while adding additional articulation in the form of more standardized joints. This means that the figures have a nice range of joints and poseability while also including some swap out ability with other Glyos items. The Power Soldier body has articulation at the ball-jointed head, neck, ball-jointed shoulders, ball-jointed elbows, wrists, waist, thighs, ball-jointed knees, and ball-jointed ankles. For figures this size thatís a perfectly solid articulation scheme, though I do wish they had some sort of ball joint at the thighs for more dynamic leg posing options. Notably they also have holes in their feet and at the center of their back. Meanwhile the Ggrapptikk Grunt has a ball-jointed head, neck, ball-jointed shoulders, ball-jointed elbows, wrists, waist, thighs, and ball-jointed reverse-articulated knees. For its body shape and size that articulation is pretty perfect, retaining full stability in the small legs and offering lots of movement up top.
You canít have cool spacemen and aliens without ray guns and melee weapons, so the Horsemen provide the Power Lords and their foes with the accessories you need! The Ggrapptikk Grunt comes with a huge Mega-Mace, a Glyos articulated staff-like weapon with a ball at one end and a huge bladed head at the other. The different versions of the Grunt came with the same weapon, though the heads differed in color with pink or purple. Each Power Soldier comes with the same two accessories, a staff and rifle in silver plastic. The staff is straightforward with a long shaft and small conical head, while the rifle is a nicely complex weapon with a very detailed sculpt. It has two handles that the figures can utilize as well as a carrying handle at the top. Check out the photos for examples of how the figures can interact with them!
One of the most interesting things about the original Power Lords was that there was no larger overall story behind them like a cartoon series, etc. Kids and collectors had only the information that was on their card backs while the rest was left to the imagination. This continues into the current Power Lords, and really opens up the world into a free for all for collectors to build their forces or add the figures to their other displays. The Power Soldier and Elite Power Soldier are fantastic 4 inch troopers that look badass individually or in groups. Meanwhile the Ggrapptikk Grunt is a dynamic, eye-catching alien with just the right amount of size and style to menace the other same scale figures on your shelf or desk. As noted, you can also customize and alter your Power Lords figures with their Glyos joint attachments, though I prefer to keep them in their original configurations. Currently these three figures are sold out, but the sculpts will be returning in more color variations so youíll definitely be able to get them. In fact, it was just announced that theyíll be returning next with blue Power Soldiers, red Elite Power Soldiers, and Ggripptogg variants in black and green (see them HERE)! To get the full scoop on the Power Lords check out their official site with the Four Horsemen HERE.
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Review Samples Courtesy of Four Horsemen