A large percentage of people have labeled Stratos as one of their least favourite figures in the line so far, which is something I can’t help but echo entirely. The figure itself is based on its vintage namesake, which is where everything begins to unravel because the vintage figure is also somewhat ordinary.
As a figure that was part of the first wave of figures in the original line, it could be argued that Stratos does have an essential connection to the mythos, especially to the fans of the early mini comics. But I feel that doesn’t really help to make this figure any better and I always get the impression that it is just there for the sake of being there, if you can understand my meaning.
The base of the figure is simply a repainted Beast Man which follows suit with what was done with the vintage figure, except this one has newly tooled feet. However, I personally feel the Beast Man body works much better for Beast Man than it does for Stratos.
The head sculpt of Stratos captures his look suitably and is one of the very few highlights, a saving grace for an otherwise mundane figure.
Regardless of how unexciting the figure of Stratos is it cannot be said that it has no redeeming qualities, which is exactly the statement that I have previously used, and not only is the head sculpt one of those redeeming qualities but the wings are also, although just not as much.
The wings on Stratos have been done admirably. Every individual feather has been sculpted in glorious detail. As good as the wings have been done they are overshadowed by one glaring oversight to the design, they are glued in position and cannot be moved into a better position unless some modification is done to the figure.
Granted, this was eventually fixed on the Toys ‘R’ Us DC vs. MOTU 2 packs Stratos, albeit with reversed colours (and it could possibly be fixed on an eventual variant release of the character, maybe with the 200x look?) but that really impacts negatively on this figure even more.
Stratos also comes with a rocket jetpack harness. This is where I think some creative liberties could have been taken to make the jetpack a little more detailed. Instead, it was decided to once again follow the vintage style and that has simply supported the lackluster look of Stratos.
I don’t know if there would have been much outcry if there was more detail on the jetpack but I think the restrictions on the line at that time may be why the figure was designed in this way.
Stratos does not come with any accessories except for the already glued-in-position wings and the jetpack harness. Inexplicably, he was designed with two open hands so he is unable to hold any weapons/accessories anyway. However, there is the Falcon Sword from Spy Monkey Creations which has been designed with Stratos in mind. I will speak more about Spy Monkey Creations in future updates.
To me, Stratos screams cost saving. He was a means to release a figure with very little extra spending. During this time the line was still in its infancy and the budget was, and still somewhat is, very tight.
Writing this has been a real test for me. It is easy to write about something that you like but so much more challenging when writing about something you don’t like, all the while trying to put it in a positive perspective. Photographing it is just as hard because I don’t have any flight stands (I personally think they look like crap and don’t express to me the image of flying, but would have probably been better than the above picture) and there is nothing to really photograph the figure with.
Regardless how it may seem, I don’t despise the figure of Stratos. It is still a welcome addition in my collection and it could actually be the favourite figure for some people. Nostalgia is strange like that.
To me, this is the perfect figure to give a younger child as a gift. It does not come with any accessories that could be lost and, due to the design, it is perfect to be handled rigorously and "played with".
I can’t see Stratos being made available on Matty Collector again anytime soon but it should be pretty easy to pick up on the secondary market at a decent price if you are so inclined.