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!