I’m sure I saw Bashasaurus at some point growing up, if only in a minicomic or in cross sell art, but it never really stuck with me. In retrospect, though, it’s a pretty great concept. A dinosaur vehicle whose primary weapon is a giant boulder attached to a stick? Yes, please.
Design & Development
The early working name for Bashasaurus was Ball Buster, a name which famously caused Filmation President Lou Scheimer to reject outright the idea of ever including it in the animated He-Man series. As evident in the concept below, the early incarnation of the vehicle (illustration by Ed Watts, Sept 19, 1983) would have had the ball mechanism come down from the center of the vehicle. This early concept is intended for the Evil Warriors, and bears little resemblance to the final toy:
According to the patent (Filed January 4, 1985), Bashasaurus was invented by Granville Crow, Larry Renger and Roger Sweet. The drawings from the patent application (below) show the finalized dinosaur design and modified bashing mechanism. According to The Power and the Honor Foundation, the mechanism was moved to the side to prevent pinch injury during play.
Several years back a Mattel employee sold off a number of molds and prototypes, among them one for the Bashasaurus (thanks to Manic Man in the comments for the reminder):
The production toy was produced in a bright red color with orange and blue highlights. The faceplate features a triceratops-like design, and the theme continues in the back with a spiked tail that looks a bit like a stegosaurus. The bashing boulder is activated via an orange push button, the the ball itself telescopes further out by means of centrifugal force.
The cross sell art for the vehicle is closely based on the production toy:
The vehicle includes a tab on the side, which can be used to hold He-Man’s sword and shield, as explained in the instructions that came with the vehicle:
The main packaging artwork, as well as the cross sell artwork was done by William George:
Interestingly, the Venezuelan version of the toy features product photography on the front rather than William George’s box art. The photo that appears in Mattel’s 1985 dealer catalog is used here (images come from MOTU Argentina Blog) :
Bashasaurus was the subject of a poster by William George, which also highlights Dragon Blaster Skeletor, Thunder Punch He-Man, Two Bad, Land Shark, Stinkor, Spikor, Roboto, Moss Man and Sy-Klone (in other words, all the heroic and evil warriors of 1985):
Bashasaurus also appears in a 1985 poster that showcased all of the above, in addition to the Evil Horde and characters from previous years:
Bashasaurus was also illustrated by Errol McCarthy for licensed MOTU-themed clothing:
Bashasaurus appears in a number of the minicomics that came packed with the figures, including the following:
The Battle of Roboto
Hordak: The Ruthless Leader’s Revenge!
The Treachery of Modulok!
The Bashasaurus appeared in several other stories over the years, including the following:
Spring 1986 Masters of the Universe Magazine (US)
1985 Golden Book: The River of Ruin
Issue 20, 1986 Masters of the Universe Magazine (UK)
Bashasaurus in Action
Øyvind Meisfjord has kindly contributed the following image and video of Bashasaurus in action:
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10 thoughts on “Bashasaurus: Heroic Combat Vehicle (1985)”
That illustration by Ed Watts is fantastic.
I admire your articles.
I thought to share a feature of the Bashasaurus i noticed when playing with it, that I think is worth noting.
Its canopy is designed so that Ram Man can fit in the vehicle.
It is one of the very few vehicles (if any) that can be carried by Ram Man.
Okay, this is a top three favorite vehicle for me. I loved it instantly. As a kid who was both a MOTU nut and a dinosaur fanatic, and who was definitely not averse to the idea of smashing shit, this seemed like they had designed with me in mind! It instantly went to the top of my Xmas wish list after I first saw the commercial for it, and I was lucky enough to find it waiting for me under the tree on Xmas morning. (A funny story that also involved my parents hiding Snake Mountain at the end of the couch– I hadn’t asked for it because I knew it was expensive, but they knew how badly I wanted it– and I ran right past it and had the Bashasaurus out of the package before I even noticed Snake Mountain lurking behind me!)
Like the thoroughly awesome Land Shark, I considered the Bashasaurus one of the Cadillacs of MOTU vehicles, a luxury ride with great features that were lacking on most other MOTU vehicles. Its large size, very fun action feature, and weapon storage gave it a deluxe feel. I quickly discovered that I could slide the boulder further up the arm a bit, where it would click into place and stay put, giving the arm a greater reach. I have no idea if this was unique to mine, but I doubt that it was, as it seems to be a natural consequence of the arm’s design. I’ve never heard of anyone else doing that, though. The one issue that I’ve seen consistently with this toy is the fragility of the clips that held the head in place. One of mine broke after a few months of heavy play, and I knew a couple of other kids who had one or both of the clips break on theirs. I often see vintage Bashasaurs for sale with broken clips, or the head missing entirely. I count myself fortunate to have one now that is completely intact.
The only prototype images I’ve seen show the blue ‘tech detail’ on the side being silver, which can be seen in a bit in the catalogue images, and I’ve seen a prototype part with a darker red, more maroon colour, but that might be due to age.
Very interesting. Would you happen to remember were you saw the version with silver tech detail?
can’t remember, sorry.. thought it’s interesting that the French ‘Bashasaurus vs Land Shark’ picture has the bashasurus’ eyes unpainted (looked closely and it doesn’t seam to just be the light making the orange harder to still) apart from the whites, which makes it look a bit more like the painting BUT here is a link to a website (I don’t fully recommend) which kinda archives old eBay lots and the like, including a prototype lot with a badly bashed up bashasaurus protortype, an old unpainted rought of part of it, , a VERY early Gyraattacker prototype parts and the Fright fighter..
sadly, the URL for the photo gallery which shows more.. is damaged.. the domain is missing and I’ve been unable to get a hold of what it probably is.. also, can’t find the original
Oh right! I had actually saved those images back when it was an ebay auction, but I forgot I still had them. Thank you!
Iam sorry if I am missing anything, but where can I find the link you are referring to (archived e-bay lots)?