Meet my friend Emu. Not the easiest pal to have around; he can be a little temperamental, to say the least. Sometimes friendly, just watch out for that beak to curl – it’s a sure sign that things are going to go downhill fast…
Masters of the Universe exploded into popular culture – and my young, impressionable mind – to become one of the greatest toy lines of all time. The characters and mythology of Eternia – built through toys, comics and an unforgettable cartoon series – has become a classic of popular culture.
The genesis of these toys has been documented elsewhere: I can thoroughly recommend the excellent documentary “The Power of Grayskull”, which you can watch on Netflix.
So here, I’ll take the opportunity to reminisce about the MOTU toys that I have in my collection – most of which have been with me since they were first released.
Prepare for full on, raw and dirty NERD MODE.
Let’s make things a little easier, and focus on just one selection of MOTU figures for now – the Heroic Warriors.
It all began with my purchase of the lead character: He-Man. He looked so cool, very detailed for the time and a totally new size and type of design. I was a dedicated Star Wars collector as a kid, so decided I’d buy just one MOTU figure, and that would be He-Man, of course.
But things never work out that way, and the main man would soon be followed by many friends and enemies.
The He-Man figure shown here is my original from the early eighties, complete with weapons (axe not shown) and in pretty good nick.
I never got any of the toy lines vehicles or playsets. But I did buy He-Man’s trusty comrade, Battle Cat. My young mind was blown by a hero who rode around on a giant green tiger!
The Battle Cat in the picture is not my original. That one mysteriously went AWOL whilst these toys were stored in my parents’ loft. This is a decent replacement that I picked up on eBay for an affordable price.
There are still no suspects for the theft of my original toy(s), other than the blokes who fitted some flooring in their loft a few years back. Bastards.
Anyway, I mentioned He-Man’s buddies – and in the next pic you can see some of the earliest heroic figures to join He-Man’s quest. Here we have Man-At-Arms, another original and complete.
There’s also Teela, who is complete though I forgot to photo her with accessories. Teela was actually my sisters figure, who has found a home in my collection (sorry, Sian).
The next photo of Heroic Warriors includes Man-E-Faces, Ram Man, Zodac and Orko.
Zodac was the earliest release of these, though I only bought him recently (2019) at a Comic Con. To be honest, I thought I already had him. Zodac is only in fair condition; he’s a bit grubby and has no weapon.
I loved Man-E-Faces as soon as I saw him – a mild mannered actor, he was cursed by Skeletor to become a monster or robot at random. Or something like that, anyway. Turning the button on his head revolved Man-E-Faces to one of the three less desirable versions of himself. Great character with loads of playability! Bought him when he came out.
Ram Man was very familiar to viewers of the cartoon as he appeared regularly. Portrayed as a non-PC in the modern age dimwit, he never the less had power as well as comedy value. The figure came with a spring loaded leg feature to enable Ram Man to become a human battering ram. Another I’ve owned since the dawn of time.
Orko was a figure I picked up much later, only a few years ago. As the comedy side kick of He-man, and one of the major recurring characters in the cartoon, Orko was a necessary purchase – but one I didn’t get round to back in the eighties.
Finally, the remaining heroic characters in my collection are all ones I’ve purchased in later years – Moss Man, Sy-Klone, Fisto and Buzz Off. I picked them up cheap and added them to my collection.
Whilst Buzz Off and Fisto are decent figures, Moss Man takes the Mattel staple of re-using existing parts to a new low: he’s just Beast Man painted green and given a furry flock effect.
There is one more pic: I couldn’t forget Prince Adam, could I? My Adam figure was bought in more modern times, I never had him as a kid. Unfortunately he’s missing his attractive waistcoat, but never mind – you can’t really re-enact the MOTU cartoon without this guy, can you?
Plus, removing Battle Cat’s armour gives us his fearless friend, Cringer!
Not a bad collection of Heroic Warriors – though the biggest gap is Stratos, who I thought I actually owned till I did a stock take recently. I’ll keep an eye out for him…
I still love these toys, and they’re still played with – my daughter and I have been known to have a battle or two.
Next time, I’ll share pictures of the Evil Warriors – including everyone’s favourite skull faced villain, Skeletor!
Self released, Dewar PR
Release Date: 17/08/2018
Running Time: 51 mins
Review by: Alun Jones
“Have a listen to Spacetrucker! I think you’ll like them,” came the recommendation from Rick at Ever Metal HQ. So I did. And he was right – the “Smooth Orbit” album is one of the most exciting listens I’ve had for a long, long time.
These psychedelic space monkeys have created a superb stoner rock classic that’s right up my space lane. Throw in some fuzzy grunge and classic rock and Spacetrucker have achieved the almost impossible: put a huge, acid-warped grin on my ancient, grumbly mug.
First track “Sample of a Sample” warms the jets up nicely for take-off with a trippy lead and some bongos. Yes, bongos! Past the two-minute mark it erupts into a face-melter of a riff that had my cranium nodding like an Easter Island statue after some herbal refreshment.
Mike Owen (guitar/vocals), Rob Wagoner (bass/vocals) and Del Toro (drums) seem to be able to magically conjure up the grooves with uncanny ease. “Meat Wagon” is another brilliant track with a pulsating, infectious riff.
In true lazy journo style (hey, I’ve had a few), Spacetrucker combine the stoner slouch of Fu Manchu and early QOTSA with classic Sabbath and Purple, mixing in some Mudhoney and Melvins fuzzy sludge on the way. Perfect, in other words. If any of those bands get your hyper drive firing, this is for you.
There are some Iommi-esque shorter numbers and experimental sounds that add a further dimension to the proceedings, constantly keeping the listener on their toes. “Vanishing Point, Science of Us” has an almost Nirvana Unplugged vibe before bursting into a crushing rocker. This is followed by another monster riff with “Pulling Teeth”.
Plus the final track, “Lost in the Sauce”, is over ten minutes long! An extended jam floats in and builds beautifully, never rushing but enticing the listener along on every step.
This might not be the most critical review I’ve composed, but I don’t care. “Smooth Orbit” is a triumph of an album and I love it. The only reason it didn’t get ten out of ten is it needs more references to skateboards and 1970s muscle cars. Other than that, I need a vinyl version, please.
If any of the above references to sub-genre labels and other bands resonates with you, I urge you do a Boba Fett and track this album down now.
All of this “space trucking” talk reminds me my days working with Deep Purple back in the early seventies. I was working as the band’s roadie/driver when one time, in the middle of the night in the Arizona desert, we got a flat. I left the Purps partying in the back whilst I went out in to the freezing, dusty highway to change the tire. I was distracted for a moment, and I swear bling that I saw several lights zipping about in the sky at unbelievable speeds. “UFOs!” I thought.
I rushed back onto the bus and dragged the band out to take look (all except Roger Glover, who was busy knitting). Except when we got outside, the lights had vanished. The Purps weren’t amused and blamed it on me overindulging in peyote. Gillan was very gentlemanly about it all and even gave me a hand with the tyre. Blackmore had a tantrum about the delay and docked me a day’s pay. The bastard.
This review appeared on the Ever Metal website and is reproduced here for your enjoyment. Click here to visit the Ever Metal website.
OK, so Singles Night at the Virtual Hot Tub is not a dating service. What it is, is me spending an evening playing through my ever growing stack of 45 rpm vinyl singles and having a drink or three.
Here’s the latest batch of 7 inch goodness:
- Elvis Presley – “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” / “Patch It Up”
- Siouxsie & The Banshees – “Song From the Edge of the World” / “The Whole Price of Blood”
- The Rolling Stones – “Undercover of the Night” / “All the Way Down”
- Queen – “Headlong” / “All God’s People”
- Ozzy Osbourne – “Shot in the Dark” / “Rock’n’Roll Rebel”
- The KLF – “What Time is Love? (Live at Transcentral)” / “What Time is Love? (Techno Gate Mix)”
- Linda Lusardi – “Eye Contact” / “Eye Contact (Club Mix)”
- Philip Bailey – “Easy Lover (with Phil Collins)” / “Woman”
- Albert King – “Born Under a Bad Sign” / “I Got the Blues”
- Isaac Hayes – “Do Your Thing” / “Ellie’s Love Theme (Instrumental)”
- Billy Idol – “Rebel Yell” / “(Do Not) Stand in the Shadows”
- Kim Wilde – “Love Blonde” / “Can You Hear It”
- Aerosmith – “Love in an Elevator” / “Young Lust”
- Talking Heads – “And She Was” / “Perfect World”
- Shakin’ Stevens – “Because I Love You” / “Tell Me One More Time”
- Samantha Fox – “Do Ya Do Ya (Wanna Please Me)” / “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again”
- Can – “I Want More” / “More”
- ABBA – “Knowing Me, Knowing You” / “Happy Hawaii”
- KC & The Sunshine Band – “That’s the Way (I Like It)” / “Queen of Clubs”
- Madonna – “Into the Groove” / “Shoo-Bee-Doo”
- Dean Martin – “Return to Me” / “Forgetting You”
- Roxy Music – “Pyjamarama” / “The Pride and the Pain”
- Steve Winwood – “Valerie” / “Talking Back to the Night (Instrumental Version)”
- Glen Campbell – “Why Don’t We Just Sleep on it Tonight (with Tanya Tucker)” / A Daisy a Day”
The selection above was, as always, determined by whatever was next on the pile. There’s no choosing songs involved, it’s just playing the records in order.
But what a great selection that was! Not one, but two 1980’s Page 3 legends; plus a load of tunes from classic rock to pop, country and soul.
By the way: What’s Madonna and a piece of toilet paper got in common?
They both get into the groove! HAHA!
I had a great time spinning these tunes, more soon.