All posts by Adam

Masters of the Universe Poster Coloring Book (1982)

In the first set of 1982 minicomics (really mini story books) that came packed with the first wave of MOTU figures, there were a few promotional pages at the end of the stories. One page featured a couple of products from Western Publishing (the publisher of Golden Books) – a MOTU Pop-Up Game and a MOTU Poster Coloring Book. I previously featured the pop-up game on the blog, so I thought it made sense to post about the coloring book as well. Many thanks to Øyvind Meisfjord for reaching out and sharing images of his copy, as I don’t own one myself.

Minicomic advertisement

As some background, Mattel filed a copyright related to this book, with the following information:

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1983-01-04
Title: Masters of the Universe : 10 posters to paint or color : [no.] 2110.
Notes: Cataloged from appl. only.
Date of Creation: 1982
Date of Publication: 1982-12-06
Variant title: Masters of the Universe : 10 posters to paint or color

Unfortunately we don’t get any information on the artist for the book, and it’s not listed on the page. But the cover has been attributed to R.L. Allen, who did a number of coloring book and puzzle images for Golden. He may have done the internal artwork as well – the faces seem to fit the style of the cover.

Many of the internal drawings are definitely very closely based on some some of Errol McCarthy’s licensing artwork as well as some panels from Alfredo Alcala’s work. I’ll call some of that out in the captions below:

It appears that Errol McCarthy’s Castle Grayskull art is used in this image.
In this images we see Skeletor is mainly based on his cross sell artwork, but he has five toes instead of three
This image is closely based on Errol McCarthy’s artwork, but Skeletor features shin guards and four-toed feet, which is closer to the original Mark Taylor concept. .
This image is an almost exact copy of Alfredo Alcala’s page 6 illustration in He-Man and the Power Sword
These images again are closely based on Errol McCarthy’s work as well as the cross sell artwork
This image is based on page 22 of He-Man and the Power Sword, illustrated by Alfredo Alcala
This image is based on the fight between He-Man and sea creature in The Vengeance of Skeletor, illustrated by Alfredo Alcala
An almost exact recreation of the cover of Battle in the Clouds, illustrated by Alfredo Alcala
This is somewhat reminiscent of a scene from King of Castle Grayskull illustrated by Alfredo Alcala

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Custom parts for MOTU Origins figures by Barbarossa

I’ve been a long time buyer of custom MOTU parts by Barbarossa Customs & Collectibles, and I thought it would be nice to feature a few of the pieces I’ve picked up recently.

Filmation Skeletor Head

Cast in vivid and cartoon-accurate purple and yellow, the Filmation-style Skeletor works with any male MOTU Origins figure (or Masterverse or even MOTU Classics, for that matter) It works best with the original bright purple armor of the standard Origins Skeletor figure, but I’ve paired it with the Keldor body to get some Filmation-esque boots.

Filmation He-Man Head

The Filmation He-Man head works for both He-Man and Prince Adam. I’ve given him Man-At-Arms’ boots to make him look a bit closer to the Filmation color scheme. This head and all the others are cast in a nice semi-flexible plastic. The quality of the paint and materials is comparable to Mattel’s factory output.

Roboto Right Hand

This is something a bit unique – Roboto normally comes with three arm attachment weapons, but he has no right hand. Barbarossa’s custom hand for Roboto gives you that option, so he can finally hold a weapon. It lacks the ball joint articulation of the usual MOTU Origins hands, but it does swivel at the point where it connects to the arm.

Alcala Skeletor Head and Feet

My favorites from this set are the bare five-toed feet and Alcala style Skeletor head, inspired by the original minicomics illustrated by Alfredo Alcala. The original feet pop off after they’ve been heated by a hair dryer or hot water, and the new feet, after they’ve also been heated, pop on in their place. The head (as with the other heads reviewed in this article) comes from the MOTU Classics line, although this version has much simpler colors to fit the MOTU Origins aesthetic. These feet would also go great with the upcoming 200x-style Origins Skeletor, which continues the trend of having incorrect three-toed bare feet (a problem shared by the Power-Con exclusive Lords of Power Skeletor)

Red Beast Man Feet

I have two sets of these feet, which are the same sculpt as the Skeletor feet, but cast in red. One of my biggest pet peeves of the MOTU origins line is the lack of proper bare feet for the prototype style Beast Man figures as well as for the minicomic version of Stratos. I’ve put these feet on both my “first appearance of Beast Man” custom (I painted the toenails white on that one) as well as the Mark Taylor prototype Beast Man.

Barbarossa offers a ton of different customs on his site for MOTU Origins, Masterverse, MOTU Classics and for the original 80s MOTU line. I also purchased his Laser Light Skeletor kit, which I hope to be able to put together and review soon. His stuff is consistently high quality and is among some of my favorite custom pieces for MOTU figures. Thanks for reading!

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Custom Battle Ram by Øyvind Johannes Meisfjord

Recently my good friend Øyvind Johannes Meisfjord created an extremely cool customized vintage Battle Ram, and I thought I would feature it here on the blog. Øyvind writes:

I had been fascinated by the Battle Ram ever since discovering the Battle Ram Blog and reading about the titular vehicle.

I decided it would be interesting to try to make my own custom of this iconic vehicle. I wanted to try to highlight the many details in the sculpt, without disturbing the original teal colour scheme too much. I wanted to add LEDs to the laser cannon and the eyes of the griffin’s head, and in an inspirational moment I got the idea of adding flickering lights to the exhaust pipes to mimic sparks and flames emanating from the engine. And, speaking of the engine, wouldn’t it be awesome to have a real engine sound complementing the flickering LED’s in the exhaust pipes?

I finally managed to incorporate the custom features I had planned for, and, in addition, I supercharged the ram part by adding a thicker and larger spring.

I think my custom Battle Ram is my favourite of the vintage customs I have tried my hands on.

Øyvind has put together a series of videos demonstrating the various features he has added, which makes me wish there was a production version that could do this! (FYI, the custom Castle Grayskull in the background is a custom by Guillermo Grande.)

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MOTU Vintage Toys Reference Guide by Zack Papadelias

Zack Papadelias was kind enough to send me a copy of his new unofficial Masters of the Universe Vintage Toys Reference Guide to review. Having worked on a small part of a large toy book myself (The Toys of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe) I have a notion of how much work must have gone into this book – especially since he did most of the work himself! James Eatock contributes some very nice illustrations, and Cristina DiGiacomo assisted with layout and editing, while Jake Cascarelli helped with the cover art.

In my own blog I haven’t gotten in too deep into variants. My one major effort was in covering “first release” variants from the initial 1982 release of MOTU. But that’s really just scratching the surface, and I wouldn’t consider myself an expert on international variants by any means. Zach dives in much deeper to give a comprehensive overview of the many international variant releases in the original vintage line, in addition of course to the “standard” figures widely available in the US in the 1980s. Included below are a few sample pages from the book:

The listing and description of variants provides just enough detail without getting so bogged down that it becomes hard to follow. I should note that there are a few missing variants, which shouldn’t be surprising given a book of this length and complexity. But the vast majority of notable variants are represented in this book, and the book also contains a broad summary of all of the major foreign MOTU manufacturers.

The book also includes a guide to the vintage minicomics, including foreign print comics. Also covered are gift sets and related modern lines, including the 2000 Commemorative line and the MOTU Giants line. There is also a collection of illustrations that appeared in Mattel copyright filings for the original MOTU line.

While there is a lot of online discussion of variants in forums across MOTU fandom, there really isn’t much in print about the topic, so it’s very nice to finally have something physical to refer to.

The book is available for purchase at Lulu Books, as well as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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