Customs, Evil Warriors

Barbarossa Laser-Light Skeletor Kit

Image source: Barbarossa Customs

More than a year ago I purchased the Barbarossa Custom Creations Laser-Light Skeletor Kit. Life got in the way and I didn’t actually start working on it until a few months back. Now that I’ve finished it, I thought I’d post my thoughts.

First thing’s first, Toy Polloi has created a fantastic step-by-step video detailing how to paint, glue and wire this figure together. I found his video invaluable for each step of the process:

Barbarossa has made some tweaks to the kit since I purchased mine, changing the leg joints to the rubber band type and making the staff two-piece. Still, the basic principles haven’t really changed. Here is my set all laid out. Following the advice of Toy Polloi, I also bought a button cell battery holder to make life easier, which I think is included in the current kit. Your kit will probably have some mold “flash” that will need to be trimmed with an exacto knife.

The first step is to get it painted up, starting with painting the trunks black. The belt is left unpainted. I use the inexpensive acrylic paints found at craft and hobby stores, which seem to work just fine. In this case, because the black paint I used was flat, I went over it with a glossy acrylic clear coat later to simulate black molded plastic. Note: avoid enamel paints, they tend to be tacky and don’t dry well.

Next up I worked on the metallic costume parts integrated into the character’s flesh. I found that starting with a flat black base coat on these elements made life easier. Not only did it help metallic copper acrylic paint adhere better to the figure, it also made it look nicer. This requires time and patience – the lines are fairly delicate here, and you want to try to be precise. It required many passes to get it all filled out nicely, with time in between each coat for drying.

For the face, I started with a greenish base, then added yellow elements, and finally black for the eye sockets, nose, mouth and teeth. I also added a glossy clear coat over top after everything was dry. If you like you can also paint the inside of the head pieces, which will prevent light from the LED from glowing through the otherwise unpainted plastic. I didn’t do that on mine, but it’s an option.

The first section to glue together is the crotch piece and legs. It’s fairly simple – the legs go into the back of the crotch piece (the “butt”), and then the front piece is glued in place to keep everything together. I used Gorilla super glue for this task. The head can also be glued together at this time. Be sure to include the transparent red “eyes” piece, which will transmit the light from the LED out to the eye sockets. The last thing that can be glued before wiring the light feature is the the left hand to the left arm. You may need to file/trim the flat edges of the left arm pieces to ensure a nice even fit before gluing. Ensure even coverage for a strong connection.

Before any more gluing, you will need to first wire up the light-up feature. I recommend following the Toy Polloi video, but I’ll note that you’ll need a soldering iron, some solder, and some small craft wire cutters at minimum. I’ve done soldering before, but if you haven’t, you might practice adhering two pieces of scrap wire together with solder until you feel confident. Based on Toy Polloi’s video, I put together the following wiring diagram:

Red lines = positive wire. Blue lines = ground wire.

After wiring it up, I did a quick test to make sure everything was lighting up correctly:

My particular kit had some fairly long wire. Initially, I had left the wire too long, and it couldn’t be crammed in to the body. I had to go back and unsolder some of the wires running to the switch and battery holder, clip them shorter, and resolder them. You’ll want to protect bare soldered ends with heat shrink tubing or electrical tape to keep the circuit from shorting out.

Once the wiring is in good shape, it’s time to assemble the figure. The two halves of the chest come together like a clamshell, as do the two halves of the right arm. You have to make sure that the pelvis, right arm and head are in place before gluing together. The left arm can be put on after everything is set and dried. Again I recommend following Toi Polloi’s video closely. If you do what he does, you’ll probably get it right! The black battery pack is really just there to hold the switch in this version of the figure, and it fits into the back with no gluing necessary (and you’ll need to be able to take it out from time to time to change batteries). The button cell battery holder will end up in the figure’s belly, sitting there loosely.

Here it is, assembled, without cape:

Here it is with a cape I made using Toy Polloi’s cape pattern, and the light-up feature activated:

And here it is in the dark! The lights are very red in person, but they look almost white on video for some reason.

I hope you enjoyed this brief look at the Barbarossa Custom Creations Laser-Light Skeletor kit. It does require some time and patience to assemble, but it’s also the most economical way to get yourself a very nice looking Laser-Light Skeletor repro!

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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!


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.)