Accessories, Heroic Vehicles

Jet Sled: Heroic rocket sled & jetpack (1986)

Jet Sled was one of a few small accessories sold in 1986 to fill a lower price point in the lineup for the year, along with Megalaser and Stilt Stalkers. I don’t personally have a history with any of these accessories, but in my opinion, Jet Sled is the coolest of the three.

Image source: Nathalie NHT

Jet Sled was designed by Ted Mayer, who also designed the Battle Ram, Wind Raider, Talon Fighter, and the earliest versions of the Eternia playset. One Ted Mayer concept appears below, which has a somewhat similar look to the Jet Sled. I do not believe that it’s directly related to the Jet Sled.

Image source: The Power & The Honor Foundation Catalog. Artwork dated Sep 22, 1985.

The concept below, which shows He-Man riding on a green, shark-themed Jet sled, and carrying another white version of it on his back, looks much closer to the actual vehicle. It dates to July 8, 1984, which means it predates the larger vehicle shown above.

Image source: The Power & The Honor Foundation Catalog

The early prototype Jet Sled was white and quite diminutive. The shark theme was been removed from the design, which in many ways makes it seem much less “Masters of the Universe.” Zodac is seen sporting Stratos’ harness in the photo below.

Image courtesy of Ted Mayer

You can see in the cross sell artwork below the final look of the vehicle. It’s been made larger than the prototype, and more sleek looking. It’s been given an orange/red, silver and blue color scheme. It looks similar in overall style to some US military aircraft concepts from the 1960s and 1970s. There are some very subtle “eyes” on the front. The actual toy would also feature some subtle “teeth” which are not visible in the cross sell artwork.

Toy & Packaging

Jet Sled was first advertised in newspapers in July 18, 1986. It saw two separate releases – one as an individual carded accessory/vehicle, and one as more deluxe gift set with He-Man, which included painted packaging artwork. The latter is ultra rare and almost impossible to find.

Image courtesy of Deimos
Image source: Crazy Collectors

The Euro card included some artwork on the front of the singled carded vehicle that appears to be by Bruce Timm (thanks to Jukka Issakainen for the correction on the artist):

Image via Jukka Issakainen

The vehicle itself came with a new blue chest harness for He-Man, complete with the traditional He-Man cross symbol, which had otherwise at this point been mostly replaced by the stylized “HM” first seen on Battle Armor He-Man. The harness could be used to clip the vehicle onto a figure’s back. The two missiles or jets are supposed to be detachable, although they can be difficult to remove.


One interesting variant is the bootleg Yugo version, which had very different stickers and a much rougher appearance.

Image: eBay

The Jet Sled appeared in the 1986 and 1987 MOTU style guides, illustrated by Errol McCarthy, with a brief description of its capabilities:

Comic Appearances

Jet Sled appears in the minicomic story, Rock People to the Rescue. In it we learn the Jet Sled was invented by Man-At-Arms. Mid-way through the story, Skeletor steals it and uses it to attack the heroic warriors. The design in the story looks a bit closer to the original Ted Mayer concept art than the actual toy:

In Enter: Buzz-Saw Hordak King Randor uses the Jet Sled to crash into Hordak (thanks to Beedo Sookcool in the comments for pointing this out):

The Jet Sled appears in the Fall 1987 issues of the US MOTU Magazine. In Rescue King Randor we see it used as a vehicle for the King and for Prince Adam:

Jet Sled appears in the Star Comics story, The Coming of Hordak:

It also appears in issue 27 of the UK MOTU comics, in Attack of the Snakemen:

Image source:

Jet Sled makes appearances in several German Ehapa comic issues, both in poster art and within stories:

Other Artwork

The Jet Sled appears in a couple of major posters. We see Sy-Klone riding it in William George’s Eternia poster:

Snout Spout uses the Jet Sled as a water vehicle in this poster by Earl Norem that appeared in MOTU Magazine:

Jet Sled in Action

Øyvind Meisfjord has kindly contributed the following video of Jet Sled in action:

Thank you to the following individuals who are current Patreon supporters!

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  • Ben M.
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2002 MOTU KMart Art Cards

During the 2002 relaunch of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, there were many promotional variants with the initial release of the figures. Some figures came packaged with a VHS cassette, starting with select Filmation episodes and as the new series by Mike Young Productions aired; episodes from the new cartoon.

One instance with variant releases was the Kmart-exclusive Art Cards (or as they are referred to in the packaging, Trading Cards). The following figures came packaged with their respective card:

  • He-Man
  • Skeletor
  • Man-At-Arms
  • Beast Man
  • Stratos
  • Mer-Man
Image from “The Toys of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” Guide book by Dan Eardley and Val Staples [Dark Horse 2021].

All the cards have a foil treatment, which sadly doesn’t translate well in the scans. According to the Toys of He-man and the Masters of the Universe guide, the cards were produced by MVCreations, and “it is speculated that a thousand of each existed”. Looking at the cards, the artwork was done by Emiliano Santalucia with colors by Val Staples.

The style on the cards is still a very early version that Santalucia used when illustrating the characters. The easiest example comes in the Skeletor trading card. The pose appears to be based on a page from the pack-in comic that MVCreations produced for the He-Man and Skeletor Target exclusive 2-pack, with some edits on hand poses and the added weapons. That comic was done in the span of just two weeks and it helped the studio to get the ongoing comic deal with Mattel. The “toony” art style here is based on the early Mattel presentation images by Ruben Martinez. (But for the ongoing comic, Santalucia established a less angular, yet more detailed style.)

Comparison image: Kmart Skeletor card and a comic page from Target 2-pack.

A Special thanks to member Cilman for these scans of the cards!


He-Man’s pose and the background of Castle Grayskull in the distance appear to be inspired by the promotional poster art by Mike Young Productions (which itself was based on the 2001 poster by Ken Kelly). The back of the card features the figure’s accessories Power Sword, Battle Axe and Battle Shield.


Man-At-Arms stands battle ready at his workshop. The back of the card features the figure’s accessories Battle Club, Hand Cannon and for some reason, they include Removable Chest Armor (when many figures had their armor as removable).


Stratos appears flying in the sky, possibly near the Mystic Mountains. The back of the card features the figure’s accessories Arm-mounted Wings and Sky Pack.


Skeletor stands in front of his throne inside Snake Mountain. The back of the card features the figure’s accessories, including his Double Blade Sword and his Havoc Staff, described here as Battle Staff.

Beast Man

Beast Man is ready with his whip inside one of the caverns at Snake Mountain. There are some nice little touches on the ground with small bones and a skull. The back of the card features the figure’s accessory, referred to as his Beast Whip.


Mer-Man is in his element underwater, looking up ready to strike. The back of the card features the figure’s sword and trident accessories.

Hope you enjoyed this little look at the 2002 Masters of the Universe exclusive Kmart Trading Cards!

Evil Horde

Mantisaur: Evil Insectoid Steed (1986)

I don’t have a specific memory of Mantisaur, but he was immediately familiar to me when I first encountered him as a grown up, so I must have bumped into the toy at some point. He’s a rather unique and sharp-looking creature, and a probably under-utilized mount for Hordak. Sadly he never caught on in the popular imagination like Battle Cat or Panthor or Swiftwind.

Image via Nathalie NHT
Image via Nathalie NHT

Mantisaur had the working name of Mantor in this July 13, 1984 illustration by Ed Watts, which was created just a few months after Hordak’s toy look was finalized by Ted Mayer. He is an apparently organic giant purple praying mantis outfitted with green armor.

Image source: The Power and the Honor Foundation

Another artist at Mattel did a treatment on a number of different variants of the concept. All of them are based around an actual organic praying mantis, outfitted with weapons, a saddle, and in some cases armor. Many versions of this concept have upturned attachments at the end of the creature’s arms, which seem to have been added with the toy’s feature in mind.

Image source: Tomart’s Action Figure Digest

We can see the final version of the figure in the cross sell artwork. The final version looks almost entirely robotic, with hints of an organic creature underneath visible only in the head and perhaps along the underside of the body.

Toy Archive uploaded some interesting images of a hard copy pre-production prototype Mantisaur:

Figure & Packaging

Mantisaur was released as a single packaged figure, and as a gift set together with Hordak. The front artwork for both was done by Joe Chiodo. The artist for the action illustration on the back is unknown.

Hordak & Mantisaur gift set. Image source: “Buzz Saw Hordak”
Johnson City Press, May 11, 1986

Mantisaur was quite large, and stood on two legs with two “trapper arms.” His “action feature” was essentially that his arms could be used to manually pick up a figure in front of it. He features the same gray, black and red color scheme as his master Hordak.

Filmation Cartoon

Mantisaur appears in the She-Ra episode, A Talent For Trouble. His figure model is green, with an overall design based on the original Ed Watts concept art:

Comic Appearances

Mantisaur appears in the Between a Rock and Hard Place minicomic. He obeys verbal commands from Hordak, and in one page, it’s shown that he has the power to summon and control insect swarms, which he uses to attack the heroic warriors:

Mantisaur also appears in The Garden of Evil, a story in the third issue of the Star Comics series.

Hordak’s mount features heavily in the UK Comics Story The Power of the Mantisaur. Hordak (or actually a robot clone of Hordak) battle’s He-Man and Man-At-Arms while riding on Mantisaur (who is also, in this canon, 100% robotic) as part of a larger scheme to test He-Man’s limitations. You can read the full story in issue 32 here, courtesy of Danielle Gelehrter.

Mantisaur appeared in issue 3 of the 1987 run of German Ehapa comics:


A nice poster by Esteban Maroto featuring Mantisaur appeared in the German Ehapa MOTU Magazine, 1989, Issue 1/2, although the steed doesn’t appear in the actual stories of that issue:

A poster featuring Mantisaur appeared in the third issue of the 1987 German series:

Mantisaur appears along with Hurricane Hordak in William George’s 1986 Eternia poster:

Mantisaur in Action

Øyvind Meisfjord has kindly shared this video of Mantisaur in action!

Thank you to the following individuals who are current Patreon supporters!

  • Philip O.
  • MOTU Origins Cork
  • Bryce W.
  • Ben M.
  • Matthias K.
  • Max I.

Want to support the blog? Consider becoming a Patreon supporter. You’ll also gain access to exclusive content and early access to posts on the blog. Alternatively, you can do your toy shopping through my Entertainment Earth affiliate link, below. Thank you!

Heroic Warriors

Flying Fists He-Man: Heroic Leader with the Arm-Swinging Action! (1986)

I think I only encountered Flying Fists He-Man once as a kid. I don’t remember being all that impressed – I thought the transition between his neck and his head looked very strange, and the head itself looked off to me. Certainly the action feature was far less interesting to me than his immediate predecessor’s, Thunder Punch He-Man.

Image source: Nathalie NHT. From the 1986 Mattel dealer catalog. This appears to be a hand-painted hard copy/prototype

Design & Development

In terms of visual design, we get our basic look for Flying Fists He-Man from Ted Mayer. The illustration dates to December 8, 1983, and may be the genesis for both the Battle Armor and Flying Fists He-Man variants, in terms of their appearance.

The action feature itself seems to originate with Roger Sweet, who illustrates it in a concept using the standard He-Man look, and a swinging ball weapon (the page below comes from the Power and the Honor Foundation Catalog):

Update: You can see an early mockup for the figure on the side of the Eternia playset packaging, made using a regular He-Man figure – note the unpainted bracers from the original He-Man. In fact the armor almost looks like it was cropped into the photo somehow. Thanks to Nate for pointing this image out.

In the cross sell art below, we can see the finalized look for the figure, including gold and silver metallic armor, mace and shield. The mace and shield elements would spin as the figure was made to swing its arms back and forth, something that happened automatically was the waist was twisted.

One interesting note on his design – the lower edge of his chest armor features a mirror image of the standard male belt design. This was also something that showed up in an early incarnation of Tri-Klops, as captured in the cross sell artwork:

Figure & Packaging

The first First Flying Fists He-Man newspaper ad appears on February 12, 1986, and he was probably available in stores shortly before then. The packaging of the figure announces him as the “5th Anniversary” He-Man figure, which isn’t quite true. He-Man was originally released in 1982. Maybe their reasoning was that it was the “fifth year” of the line.

Flying Fists He-Man was released on an extra-large, deluxe card. As with the previous year’s Thunder Punch He-Man, the instructional panels are right below the artwork, and then the 12 characters in cross sell art are squeezed in at the bottom. The artwork at the front of the card is by William George, and the scene on the back is by Errol McCarthy:

Subsequent releases of the figure featured a color change to the font on “Flying Fists” on the front:

The figure featured modified arms that were similar to the original He-Man, but subtly different. He also featured greatly enlarged feet for greater stability. He had a lot of vac metal on his costume and accessories, which in toy language is the universal signifier of a “deluxe” figure. He also featured a removable clip on his back that functioned both as a way to store his weapon, and as a handle to help kids get a better grip when using his twisting waist/arm swinging feature. He also had a hard, solid head, which in my opinion reduces the quality of his face compared to the original hollow polyvinyl head. The images below come from eBay, as I don’t have one of these on hand to photograph.

One notable international variant is the Leo India version, as shown by spiritofsnakemountain on Instagram:

Flying Fists He-Man was also released in a gift set with Terror Claws Skeletor (images via LCG Auctions):


Below are a selection of Flying Fist He-Man ad appearances:

French catalog featuring Flying Fists He-Man

Flying Fists He-Man was featured the trade ad below, which was originally unearthed at the excellent MOTUC Figures site.

He also appears in the Mattel rebate ad below, which was originally posted on the Battle Grip site:


Flying Fists He-Man is featured in a few posters by the following artists:

Earl Norem, Motu Magazine
Earl Norem, Motu Magazine
William George Eternia Poster

There was also an unreleased piece by William George that features Flying Fists He-Man and Terror Claws Skeletor fighting over the cosmic key, which was shared some years ago by Roger Mahafy:


The primary minicomic for this variant is The Flying Fists of Power. Interestingly it features Roger Sweet’s rather minimalist concept for the figure, which just looked like a standard He-Man with a spinning mace weapon (updated to three ball ends) and an updated shield. In the story the Sorceress awards He-Man with an additional gift of “energy and spirit.” When He-Man summons the Flying Fists, he will get have additional punching abilities and his spinning mace and shield will appear in his hands. (All minicomic images come from the Dark Horse minicomic book.) (Update: Matthew Martin and Øyvind Meisford note that Flying Fists He-Man also appears in King of the Snake Men and Enter: Buzz-Saw Hordak.)

In The Terror Claws Strike he get a rather amusing visual depiction of He-Man’s flying fists power. In this comic the ability isn’t necessarily tied to the weapons. It’s really unclear how this is a new ability for He-Man, because he did similar things in the Filmation cartoon all the time. It doesn’t make a lot of sense narratively, although it does get the action feature across.

Flying Fists He-Man, still in his concept look, also appears in the unpublished Return From Terror Island Comic:

Flying Fists He-Man in Action

Øyvind Meisfjord has shared the following image, and video of Flying Fists He-Man in action. Enjoy!

Thank you to the following individuals who are current Patreon supporters!

  • Philip O.
  • MOTU Origins Cork
  • Bryce W.
  • Ben M.
  • Matthias K.
  • Max I.

Want to support the blog? Consider becoming a Patreon supporter. You’ll also gain access to exclusive content and early access to posts on the blog. Alternatively, you can do your toy shopping through my Entertainment Earth affiliate link, below. Thank you!