Heroic Vehicles

Laser Bolt: Heroic Road Rocket (1986)

Laser Bolt is one the the smaller, less expensive vehicles released in the Masters of the Universe line, similar to Road Ripper. Stylistically it has more in common with the 1985 and earlier waves of toys, with its traditional Masters creature face design and rugged-looking body and wheels, in the vehicle style established early on by Ted Mayer and Ed Watts.

Design & Development

Laser Bolt as a concept was invented by Roger Sweet. The patent document explains its basic features – it’s essentially a three-wheeled vehicle with the front wheel on a strut that can pivot so that the vehicle can be operated either upright or low to the ground. The front face piece also pivots so it can face forward regardless of the attitude of the vehicle. The vehicle was spring-loaded, allowing it to pop into the upright position.

The visual design for the vehicle comes from Ed Watts. In the images below from the Power and the Honor Foundation Catalog, we can see that the early working name for Laser Bolt was actually “Dart.” The concept looks quite close to the final figure design, although of course it lacks the face design on the front. Watts illustrated the vehicle in both horizontal and vertical modes.

In terms of timeline for the development and release of Laser Bolt, here are the dates that I’ve been able to document:

  • 07/13/1984: Dart (Laser Bolt) concept, by Ed Watts
  • 05/30/1985: Laser Bolt first use in commerce
  • 06/14/1985: Laser Bolt trademarked
  • 09/13/1985: Laser Bolt patent filed
  • 11/25/1985: Laser Bolt copyright registered
  • 01/11/1986: First Laser Bolt Newspaper ad

The final design of the vehicle is represented in its cross sell artwork:

Toy & Packaging

The packaging artwork for Laser Bolt was done by William George, and features his usual indelible style, including one of his little creatures that he so-often inserted into his artwork:

The back of the packaging explained how the vehicle’s action figure worked:

Upright is called “battle position” while horizontal mode is called “chase position.”

The toy itself was primarily red, with a yellow front strut. It featured four user-applied decals (the eye decals were installed at the factory) and two removable guns (images via eBay):

Comic Appearances

Laser Bolt appears briefly in The Terror Claws Strike, and is shown in both “chase” and “battle” positions. It’s based on the original Ed Watts concept, as you can see by its lack of face on the front wedge-shaped section:

Image: Dark Horse Minicomic Collection

Laser Bolt appears in the UK Comics magazine, in The Eyes of the Serpent (Issue 30), where it is driven by Rio Blast:

It appears in an ad for the Masters of the Universe Club in the following issue as well:

Laser Bolt appears in issue 2 of the Star Comics series story, Falling Stars:

It also appears in the German Ehapa Verlag series, in issue 1, released in 1987:

Update: Laser Bolt also appears briefly in the newspaper comic strip story, The Day of the Comet. Thanks to Dušan Mitrović for the tip.

Image source: Darkhorse MOTU Newspaper Comic Strips collection

Animation

Laser Bolt makes a brief appearance near the beginning of the Filmation He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special. Despite the fact that Laser Bolt is supposed to be a land vehicle, He-Man flies it up to intercept the evil warriors in the Collector:

Art Appearances

Laser Bolt makes two appearances in the Spring 1986 issue of MOTU Magazine, in an introductory page, and in a poster by the great Earl Norem (magazine images courtesy of Ben Massa/Orko’s Keep):

The original version of Norem’s artwork appeared in a auction at Heritage Auctions:

Laser Bolt also appears within William George’s Eternia poster, driven by Roboto:

Image courtesy of Jukka Issakainen

Errol McCarthy illustrated the vehicle as well, and it appears in both a T-shirt design as well in Mattel’s Style Guide (images via He-Man.org):

Here is the text description from the Style Guide:

Name: Laser Bolt
Group Affiliation: Heroic Warriors
Role: Heroic road rocket.
Power: Speed cycle takes on Evil Warriors in two positions: It rides low to the ground for racing, and springs up into defensive battle position. Mounted laser guns blast barriers out of the way.
Year of Toy Intro: 1986

Other Advertising

Laser Bolt appears in Mattel’s 1986 dealer catalog:

The earliest newspaper ad I found for it is in The Post Star on Saturday, January 11, 1986:

Here it is in the Mattel France 1987 catalog, where it is called the Motosonic:

Image via Grayskull Museum

And here it is in another Mattel France catalog:

Image source: Queequed

Laser Bolt in Action

My friend Øyvind Meisfjord has kindly shared the following image and video of Laser Bolt in action!

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

  • Adam A.
  • Allison T.
  • Ben M.
  • Eric H.
  • João S.
  • Jon E.
  • Max I.
  • MotuOriginsCork
  • Orion W.
  • Øyvind M.
  • Philip O.
  • Robert B.
  • That Clyde Guy

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. Thank you!

Heroic Warriors, Powers of Grayskull

Tytus: Heroic Giant Warlord (1988)

Tytus was originally intended for the 1987 line of figures, within the “Powers of Grayskull” subline. However, due to the collapse in US sales for Masters of the Universe that year, it was scrapped for US release and only sold in limited quantities in Europe the following year.

Design & Development

Tytus was designed by Alan Tyler, the artist who also designed He-Ro and Eldor. An early version of his design featured white eyes and a very revealing costume, even by MOTU standards. We see two weapons options in the illustrations below: one with a strange, short club and the other with a clawed capturing weapon. His costume is silver, blue and yellow. The key elements of his metal headband, metal boots, long blond hair and grabbing weapon are in place.

Another take by Tyler gives him more human-looking eyes, and a slightly more substantial costume. This one features red rather than yellow gems.

Image source: The Power and The Honor Foundation

A heavily cropped final version of the concept was featured in Dark Horse’s 2015 book, The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. He is given a “G” emblem on his chest, representing Grayskull. At the time the name of the protagonist of the Powers of Grayskull series was Grayskull, later changed to He-Ro.

Image source: The Power and The Honor Foundation

In a piece of concept art to illustrate the idea of Preternia, we do see a heroic-looking giant figure, although this version lacks any chest harness and has brown hair:

Image source: The Power and the Honor Foundation

Tytus’s final weapon was completed redesigned by Mattel artist David Wolfram. He described the process to me below:

Regarding the Tytus weapon: A lot of the time, the preliminary design group would “hand wave” their way through presentations, leaving the more practical aspect of how something would work to the final design group. This was a classic example. At the product conference to get the approval to go ahead on the project, Larry Renger was demonstrating the feature for Tytus. He had something that resembled a claw, and said it would trap a figure. Of course, in its configuration he had to literally wrap the fingers around it while saying that in the final toy it would work differently. After it was dumped on me, it was pretty apparent that no claw-like accessory would work, due to the difference in configuration of the many figures, and also that anytime you tried to wrap something around a figure, it would just knock it over. For the most part, the one consistency was in the head area, which also coincided with the arc of the downward swing from the giant. I started thinking about ways of trapping things, and the “lobster trap” seemed like the best way to go, and it ended up working out pretty well.

David Wolfram interview with Adam McCombs for The Toys of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
Revised Tytus weapon designed by David Wolfram. Photo: He-Man.org

Below is image of an early factory sample of Tytus, which I believe was displayed at a Power-Con convention panel a number of years ago. You can see that the hair on this version is not quite right, and flairs outward in multicolored streaks. But you can also see the updated costume with more substantial harness with Grayskull insignia, furry trunks, and gold, silver and gray color scheme.

“Tytus would like to speak with your manager about the poor quality pumpkin spice latte he received.” Image shared by Mantisaur82

Figure & Packaging

The toy was featured in Mattel’s 1987 Catalog, as it had originally been planned for a release that year. Alas, with the cancellation of the toyline, it would only see limited release in Europe, and was delayed to 1988. You can see in the catalog photos the “Body Snatcher” weapon. The catalog text says he has had a spring-action arm feature, but I believe it was actually just a “swing-action arm.” There was a gear connecting the right arm to the head that would make Tytus’ head turn as the arm swung down.

Image source: Nathalie NHT

You can see a fairly nice example of Tytus in the images below, sourced from He-Man.org. The figure, like Megator, featured rooted hair and was about 17 inches tall, towering over standard Masters of the Universe figures.

Most Tytus figures were manufactured in Italy. However a very few were manufactured in Mexico. The latter have a Mexico stamp on the back of the belt, while Italian Tytuses don’t have a country name on the figure. A test-shot Mexican Tytus figure was featured in Tomart’s Action Figure digest, below:

You can seen the Mexico (left) vs Italy belts in the images below, originally posted by Matias Lonati:

You can see the details of the “Body Snatcher” weapon in the images below from John Baracani. The capture area featured a rubbery piece with four protrusions that would help to hold onto a standard figure’s head:

You can see a disassembled version of the figure below in a photo by customizer Jon English (MasterEnglish Customs). Note the gear mechanisms connecting the head and right arm.

Tytus was packaged in a large window box with an illustration on the front by William George:

William George box art. Image via He-Man.org/Masters Unbound. Originally scanned with window digitally removed by Emiliano Santalucia.

The back of the box gave a very little bit of information on Tytus while describing his action features. I’m not sure who did the art here:

Image via He-Man.org/Masters Unbound

There was apparently a Mexico Tytus in US Packaging that surfaced about 14 years ago. You can read about that here.

Background Information

Tytus and Megator were alluded to in some of the development documents for the Preternia/Powers of Grayskull concept. I’ll quote a few passages below:

He-Man was standing on a plain of tall grass. In the distance, he could see great creatures-dinosaurs!–lumbering across the land. On a nearby ridge, a band of giants peacefully prepared a meal. He-Man was in awe. “It is Eternia! It’s filled with all the things the legends had told me! Dinosaurs–and giant men–and… He-Man suddenly leaped back. “SNAKES!”

….

As the battle continued, giants raced down from their lairs in the mountains to join the fray–on both sides. Sorceress pointed to the strongest of them. “He is the leader of the giants who defend Grayskull. His people perform mighty feats that cannot be accomplished by magic. And over there– Sorceress pointed to gigantic robotic beasts that were stalking into the village. “There is King Hiss’s legion of evil giants.”

You can read the documents in their entirety here.

Artwork & Advertising

Errol McCarthy illustrated Tytus in one surviving drawing, below. It may have been done originally for the 1987 Style Guide, but Tytus doesn’t actually appear there, most likely due to his having been dropped from the roster that year.

Tytus and He-Ro. Image via He-Man.org

There were only a couple of print ads for Tytus published in Europe:

Unfortunately, to my knowledge Tytus never appeared in any comic stories or poster artwork. It’s a shame!

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

  • Adam A.
  • Allison T.
  • Ben M.
  • Eric H.
  • João S.
  • Jon E.
  • Max I.
  • MotuOriginsCork
  • Orion W.
  • Øyvind M.
  • Philip O.
  • Robert B.
  • That Clyde Guy

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 Vehicles

Blasterhawk: Heroic Land & Sky Disk Launcher (1986)

Blasterhawk is one of the more interesting vehicle concepts to show up toward the end of the Masters of the Universe line. In many ways it was similar in concept to the Battle Ram, with flying vehicle element that could detach from a ground-bound base vehicle. It also had the ability to integrate with the Eternia Playset, which increased its play value.

Design & Development

An early exploration of the concept of a disk-launching toy comes in the illustration below by Ted Mayer for a “Zap ‘n’ Go” vehicle. The illustration dates to September 22, 1983:

Another exploration on the disk-launching theme comes from Ed Watts, in this Disk Blaster illustration, dated September 16, 1984. This is a land vehicle and lacks the flying aspect of Blasterhawk, but the tank treads would find their way in into the toy.

Image source: The Power and the Honor Foundation Catalog.

We get a look at concept art for the flying portion of Blasterhawk in an illustration for the Eternia Playset by Ted Mayer. The image below dates to February 5, 1985:

Image courtesy of Ted Mayer
Close up view of Blasterhawk concept art

We also see a very simple foam mockup of Blasterhawk on top of an early Eternia clay model:

Image source: Sean Lehmkuhl 

I’m sure there was another more finalized piece of concept art for the vehicle, perhaps by another artist not represented here. Unfortunately it has not surfaced yet. You can see the final version of Blasterhawk in this image from Mattel’s 1986 catalog.

Image source: Nathalie NHT

The earliest newspaper ad I’ve found for Blasterhawk dates to June 6, 1986, indicating it probably started appearing in stores around that time:

Toy & Packaging

The packaging artwork for Blasterhawk comes from William George, and features Battle Armor He-Man at the controls:

Blasterhawk came with a removable radar dish and eight battle disks. Like the Talon Fighter, it could be held with a handle on the underside. The trigger was in reach from the handle as well, allowing it be fired like a toy gun as it was maneuvered through the air. The attitude of the top section could be adjusted by pivoting it forward or backward within the curved slot, allowing the user to make adjustments to the angle of fire.

Blasterhawk could be docked onto the turret base that came with the Eternia playset, like so:

Image courtesy of Øyvind Meisfjord

In order to dock Blasterhawk, the red Laser Blaster normally connected to the turret base would need to be removed:

Image courtesy of Øyvind Meisfjord

Update: Rik from Twitter pointed out that it should also be possible to reverse the above configuration, pairing the Eternia playset red Laser Blaster with the tank portion of the Blasterhawk. Øyvind was kind enough to provide a picture what that looks like (note that he’s customized his Laser Blaster with some additional paint applications):

Comic Appearances

Blasterhawk made a number of comic appearances. In The Hordes of Hordak, Prince Adam makes a big show of introducing the brand new vehicle, which of course works to introduce the toy to children reading the comic. Later on Teela uses Blasterhawk to defeat Horde Troopers, which would be an ideal play pattern.

In The Ultimate Battleground, Blasterhawk is piloted by Snout Spout, who rescues He-Man at one point in the story. We also see Blasterhawk take off from the central tower in the last page of the comic.

Blasterhawk appears in the Fall 1986 issues of the US Masters of the Universe Magazine. It appears briefly in a single panel, piloted by He-Man. The issue also featured poster art of Blasterhawk by Earl Norem, which I will show later in the article.

Issue 60 of the UK MOTU Magazine featured a Secret Files: Vehicles section narrated by Scrollos. There was a full-page section on Blasterhawk, where we learn the vehicle was designed by Man-At-Arms. The disks are described as “energy discs” and it’s described as having great speed and firing accuracy:

Issue 13 of the UK Adventure Magazine featured a very brief appearance of the vehicle:

There was also a Masters of the Universe Club advertisement featuring Blasterhawk firing on a Horde Trooper:

Image source: He-Man.org

Blasterhawk appears in the German Ehapa Verlag series, in issue 8 from 1988:

Image source: He-Man.org

It also appears in issue 2 of the 1988 Magic Boy series, in an air battle against Fright Fighter. The vehicle’s handle isn’t illustrated here:

Blasterhawk appears in issue 6 of the MOTU Star Comics series:

Artwork Appearances

Blasterhawk appeared in the 1987 Mattel Style Guide on the same page with Fright Fighter, with illustrations by Errol McCarthy:

Image source: The Power and the Honor Foundation

It also appears in an Earl Norem poster included in the US Masters of the Universe Magazine:

Blasterhawk also appears in William George’s 1986 Eternia poster, and on the Eternia box art by the same artist:

Other Advertising

Here are a few other ads for Blasterhawk from publications around the world:

Blasterhawk in Action

The following image and videos of Blasterhawk in action come courtesy of Øyvind Meisfjord:

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

  • Allison T.
  • Ben M.
  • Eric H.
  • João S.
  • Jon E.
  • Max I.
  • MotuOriginsCork
  • Orion W.
  • Øyvind M.
  • Philip O.
  • Robert B.
  • That Clyde Guy

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!