I previously wrote about the 1982 Mattel Wish List, in the context of juxtaposing some early MOTU product imagery and the presence of rare early variants and unfinished prototypes in those photographs.
The 1983 Wish List doesn’t seem to feature any prototypes or rare variants, but it’s still fun to flip through the pages and see 1983 through a child’s eyes again. To that end, here is the entire mini catalog, which features Barbie, Poochie, the Smurfs, Tuff Stuff, Hot Wheels and of course Masters of the Universe. Happy holidays!
Courtesy of Olmo (catone82), I’d like to share some images he scanned from a hard-to-find copy of the German version of Mattel’s 1984 dealer catalog. All of the images he shared feature hand-painted finalized prototypes with beautiful matte paint jobs.
In this image we can clearly see that Whiplash has been put together using some donor arms from Skeletor, as seen in the paint wear on his hand. The early Whiplash prototype is shown elsewhere with a purple spear (it was orange in the final toy). This one instead features the “Man-E-Weapons” brown sword.
On the Buzz-Off prototype below, we can see that Mattel cast his legs using a pink material, and his wings are cast in clear plastic with an uneven yellow paint job. His eyes are painted metallic blue rather than the metallic green used on the production figure. This photo appears to have been image flipped – Buzz-Off’s open claw should be on his left. Buzz-Off features the “Man-E-Weapons” axe, rather than the modified axe he would eventually come with.
On the Mekaneck prototype below, we can see that he has been hand painted with a combination of matte and metallic paints.
This is another beautiful hand-painted prototype. The fact that it’s hand-painted is most evident in the area around the leg joints. For some reason Webstor is holding one of Trap Jaw‘s attachments in his left hand.
You can see the paint coming off on Mer-Man‘s hands and sword, which were cast in a white material. His paint job appears more blue than green in the photo, although that could easily be the lighting distorting the color. Interestingly he lacks the green belt, which was present on first release Mer-Man figures, but not in later figures.
This early prototype Stratos features a chest from He-Man rather than Beast Man, and lacks the feathery detailing on his harness. He appears to have been cast in a gray material.
This early Teela prototype appears to be unarticulated, with a greater level of detail on her costume and shield than the production toy. She features white tops on her boots, and a golden spear and shield.
Thanks again to Olmo for sharing these images with me!
In collaboration with Club Masters del Universo and Yo Tengo El Poder, and in celebration of the 35th anniversary of Masters of the Universe in Spain, I’d like to present the first Mattel/Congost dealer catalog, dating from 1984. Images come courtesy of Dani Ramón Abril. All of the photos in the catalog were taken in Spain, with the exception of the Attak Trak photo, which was originally taken for the 1983 US Mattel catalog. The catalog largely focuses on first wave figures and vehicles. Although those toys were first released in the US in 1982, this was their debut in Spain, so Mattel/Congost started with that wave. The only exception is Attak Trak, which in the US was a “wave 2” vehicle
The photos themselves include lots of great rocky dioramas, with a bit of fog to give the scenes some extra mystery and drama, making the figures seem larger than life in their Spanish market debut.
He-Man.org poster R.M. Hart has graciously shared some high resolution scans of JCPenney catalogs from 1982 to 1986. Where there is a high resolution scan available, I’ve offered a link so that readers call see these images up close.
1982 JCPenney Christmas Catalog, page 517
This page has few rarer images, including the striped tail version of Battle Cat (an early version produced in very low numbers), a hand painted version of Teela with white boot tops and bracers, and an early Castle Grayskull with much finer paint work, also produced in very limited numbers. More discussion on this topic is available here.
There are also some interesting toy descriptions included as well. For instance, Castle Grayskull is described as a “sinister stronghold.” Teela is the “patroness of warriors”. Stratos is a “winged sky baron” and Beast Man is his henchman! Skeletor is the “master death-dealer” and Mer-Man is a “cunning sea lord.” The Wind Raider is described for “air or sea”, which is as it was intended originally, although it was almost always described as an air vehicle after it was released. (Thanks to Jukka Issakainen for pointing some of this out.)
1983 JCPenney Catalog, page 316
The tent and sleeping back in this collection feature artwork by Errol McCarthy.
1983 JCPenney Catalog, page 487
1983 JCPenney Catalog, page 502
1983 JCPenney Catalog, page 522
Point Dread and Attak Trak appear to be hand painted. Trap Jaw is missing his chest armor and his attachments.
1983 JCPenney Catalog, page 523
This page contains some text describing the images on the previous page. Items 7-9 are describing two-pack giftsets. Interestingly I have never seen an example of a Ram Man/Skeletor giftset or a He-Man/Trap Jaw giftset. Either these existed and just haven’t turned up yet, or the sets were planned but not released, or the catalog copy writers were simply mistaken.
1983 JCPenney Catalog, page 545
This page features the Genadier lead model set. The models come unpainted, but in the picture Ram Man features his concept colors, as does Panthor. The Monogram Attak Trak and Talon Fighter kits are also shown.
1984 JCPenney Catalog, page 474
He-Man is pictured here along with the Trundaxx Battle Transporter, which looks like a cousin to the Attak Trak, but was not a part of the Masters of the Universe line.
1984 JCPenney Catalog, page 486
This page features the JCPenney two-packs, which came packaged in brown boxes with simple line art representing the included characters. Webstor in this image features his blue rifle, a rare accessory included in only the first run of the figure.
1984 JCPenney Catalog, page 487
This page contains a selection of new for 1984 toys (Snake Mountain, Whiplash, Battle Armor He-Man and Skeletor, Roton, Stridor, Prince Adam, Buzz-Off, and Dragon Walker) as well as some older favorites.
1985 JCPenney Catalog, page 57
Masters of the Universe rain slicker and long-sleeve shirt, perfect for fall weather.
1985 JCPenney Catalog, page 348
1985 JCPenney Catalog, page 387
1985 JCPenney Catalog, page 406
Two different Masters of the Universe toy chests are presented, along with the Battle Cat Spring Ride. A MOTU table and chairs set is also included, something I’ve never seen posted anywhere online before.
1985 JCPenney Catalog, page 414
This page again features a number of MOTU JCPenney exclusive two-packs. Webstor again includes his rare blue blaster. Some interesting product descriptions are here as well. Dragon Blaster Skeletor is “wrapped in treacherous magical metal chains.” Snake Mountain apparently includes a “scalping ladder” (a typo – it’s supposed to be scaling ladder).
1985 JCPenney Catalog, page 415
Featuring some of the new for 1985 vehicles, including Night Stalker, Land Shark, Spydor and Bashasaurus.
1985 JCPenney Catalog, page 416
This page features the rare, first release “black belt” version of Leech. This page also features the Infaceables, a rather bizarre, short lived action figure line with characters that could change their faces in an unusual way.
1985 JCPenney Catalog, page 471
This pages features the Road Ripper Mighty Cycle, which has a handlebar section sculpted and decorated to resemble the Road Ripper vehicle.
1985 JCPenney Catalog, page 490
This page features a Kidstuff MOTU story book with cassette or record, as well as a couple of Golden stories with cassette or record.
1986 JCPenney Catalog, page 353
1986 JCPenney Catalog, page 428
This page features a large selection of new for 1986 toys, most notably Eternia, Monstroid, Mantisaur, Blasterhawk, Fright Fighter, Laserbolt, the Snake Men, the Slime pit, and others.
1986 JCPenney Catalog, page 429
Descriptions for the toys shown on the previous page, as well as a closer look at some of the new 1986 figures. Thunder Punch He-Man, Dragon Blasters Skeletor, Flying Fists He-Man, Terror Claws Skeletor and Hurricane Hordak are considered “deluxe” figures and cost a dollar more than other MOTU figures.
1986 JCPenney Catalog, page 482
Featuring the amazing Masters of the Universe Pop-Up Alarm Clock, as well as He-Man and She-Ra watches.