Thursday, September 6, 2018

Removing The Mask of Giant Machine

Mattel has been cranking out so much product that it's become somewhat of a tradition to pause and have a "Mattel Month" here on the blog every so often. For some old school readers it's not as exciting as when we look at an old magazine or classic autographs. But even if figures aren't your thing, you have to admit that they're fun to look at. For this "Mattel Month," I guess we can go back to the old adage of "go big or go home." You don't get any bigger than Andre the Giant...err...Giant Machine.

This is not the first figure of the masked tag team wrestler. He made an appearance in the waning days of the Jakks Classic Superstars line. That figure was disappointing in its execution as it was merely a black one-strap singlet Andre figure with a Machine mask. Personally, I ended up passing on it. Even with the belief that the character would never again be seen in figure form, it just wasn't a final product that I felt like spending money on. Did Mattel change all of that?

The packaging is, as we'll see frequently throughout the month, in the current rectangular box that I'm a huge fan of. While I largely don't purchase modern figures to keep packaged unless there is an autograph opportunity, I could see why someone would with this years offerings. And even though there is a head floating in the package, the Machine just looks cool. There is one drawback to keeping this one boxed which we will address. As usual with the Mattel product, I don't care for the stands/backdrops included so I don't review them.

If you haven't already noticed, this is two figures in one. Remove the tights and masked head, pop the alternate head on, and you have Andre the Giant. It's a cool concept that seems to be something Mattel will be going forward with strongly in the foreseeable future.

The Andre body sculpt has been strong since its first use. Since the release of the "'70s Andre," it's gotten even better with the huge open hands. These hands were also used for the Fan Central figure of The Big Show featured here a number of months ago. They really do look just like the huge "paws" of The Giant and are perfect for "choking out" any of the other figures.

While Giant Machine was Andre's guise for a good chunk of 1986, he also appeared in, and won, the battle royal at WrestleMania 2. The "Andre side" of this figure represents his look there with yellow tights. Figures Toy Company debuted this look in action figure form a number of years ago and it hasn't been revisited since. With Andre rarely changing colored tights, especially in the WWF, it's nice to see a different look visited.

The two problems with the figure actually both revolve around the boots. The issue mentioned above, regarding keeping the figure in the package, is that it's hard to keep the tights from riding up at the top of boots as they are in the packaging. It should go straight from the boot to the tights. The other discrepancy is that yellow boots were worn with the yellow tights. I'm guessing that budgetary reasons kept them from including alternate boots. Honestly, I'd rarely have this figure assembled as Andre, anyway. This is Giant Machine all the way.

It'd be awesome to see a generic Machine figure produced in the future, even if they couldn't say "Big Machine" or "Super Machine." I don't think that it will happen, but Mattel has surprised me before. This is a great entry into the Andre collection, as was the long-awaited "dark blue" Andre that came with the Heenan Family set. There aren't too many versions left to do, aside from Andre in street clothes. The red and green outfits from late in his life in Mexico would be cool, but that won't happen.

"Mattel Month" is off to a big bang. Who's coming up next? Maybe a current talent? Or perhaps this whole month will be a retrofest...?

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