1983 Masters of the Universe Annual

The 1983 Masters of the Universe Annual, published by UK-based World International Publishing Ltd., is a treasure trove in many ways. Besides containing a number of fascinating illustrated stories, it also includes quite a few photographs of early to late-stage MOTU prototypes. We’re also treated to quite satisfactory bios (somewhat based on the 1982 Masters of the Universe Bible by Michael Halperin, but with some changes to reflect the evolution of these characters) of many of the primary characters in the MOTU mythos, as well as a description of some of the capabilities of the early vehicles.

I’ve scanned the pages that contain prototype and toy photographs, as it’s really toys that tend to be the emphasis of Battle Ram: A He-Man Blog. I hope you enjoy!

Inside cover, featuring prototype early (and highly detailed) Teela prototype and late prototype Skeletor
First page, featuring an early release He-Man figure and a late prototype Castle Grayskull (interior)
Early prototype Teela and late prototype Man-At-Arms
Prototype Zoar and Stratos depicted. Note that Zoar has fairly realistic coloring. Stratos has a non-hairy chest and lacks the details on his harness that would appear on the final toy.
Early Ram Man, Man-E-Faces and Zodac prototypes. Ram Man and Man-E-Faces would undergo significant revision before production.
Late Skeletor and Beast Man prototypes
Late Mer-Man and Evil-Lyn prototypes
Trap Jaw, Faker and Tri-Klops prototypes. Note Faker’s red-colored eyes. Trap Jaw features a repaint of He-Man’s left arm, although the final version would have a unique left arm.
Wind Raider Prototype with narrower engines and simpler wings compared to the final version.
Finalized Battle Ram and Attak Trak prototypes
Back cover, featuring mostly final figures. Note the progression in design for Zoar, Teela, Ram Man and Man-E-Faces. Tri-Klops is still somewhat unfinalized. A rare Teela with green-eyed snake armor is shown.

Further Reading:

3 thoughts on “1983 Masters of the Universe Annual

  1. Absolutely wonderful images. We always had annuals bought for us each Christmas throughout the late 70s and 80s but I never had any MOTU ones. So cool they put so many toy images in that annual. Many thanks for sharing.

  2. I think this is actually the 1984 annual. UK annuals are traditionally numbered for the following year as the market is focused on Christmas gifts and it can get confusing when individual books don’t carry a date. The four later annuals were all published the year before that shown on the cover.

    World clearly continued to use the same early reference files for some of the later books – the 1986 annual has a section introducing the early characters that’s trimmed down from this one but still contains some of the same details such as Faker being a duplicate attempt gone wrong, along with a picture of Beastman clearly descended from the earlier designs.

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