Spydor: Evil Stalker (1985)

I didn’t own Spydor as a kid and still haven’t owned the vehicle to this day. However, I remember very well seeing it advertised on TV and instantly wanting one. What kid wouldn’t want a giant motorized creepy crawly vehicle?

Design & Development

According to The Power and the Honor foundation, Spydor began as a Roger Sweet concept. Often Roger would start out with a single, brief idea noted on a piece of paper, and leave the visual design work to others on his team. In this case Ed Watts created this early illustration for a walking spider vehicle. The illustration is dated September 19, 1983:

Image source: The Power and the Honor Foundation Catalog

The final design, which featured six legs and ant-like pincers, was mocked up into a prototype by Otto Gabler, per the research of The Power and the Honor Foundation. On the patent documentation for the vehicle (filed July 8, 1985), Mike McKittrick and Nicholas DeAnda are listed as the inventors. In that context it means they created the mechanism that allowed the vehicle to walk.

Toy & Packaging

Image source: Nathalie NHT

The final Spydor vehicle looked something like a mashup between an ant and a spider. The legs have a definite spider shape, but there are only six of them. Rather than spider fangs it features pincers that could capture a heroic warrior.

The motor and gear module was visible through the bottom of the vehicle, allowing a child to observe the motor at work:

Image via
Image via

It can be difficult to find a Spydor with intact legs or with both guns. The legs are reportedly easy to break, and the guns are easy to lose. The motor isn’t always in working condition either.

Image via

A three-way switch on the back allows you to move the vehicle forward, backward, or turn it off:

Image via

The packaging artwork was done by William George. In the scene below, Battle Armor Skeletor looms large over Battle Armor He-Man as he uses Spydor to attack the most powerful man in the universe. In the background, tooth-like volcanoes belch smoke. Three moons hang in the Eternian sky.

A Spanish version of the instructions are shown below. The images come from Mundo Masters.

Comic Appearances

Spydor appears in the 1985 minicomic, Hordak – The Ruthless Leader’s Revenge! In the story, Skeletor and Hordak join forces in order to attack Grayskull. Mid-battle, Skeletor’s plan to double-cross Hordak is revealed, and the two evil factions fight each other. Skeletor rides Spydor throughout the battle.

In one panel, Skeletor commands Spydor to destroy the heroes, suggesting it might have some sentience:

In the 1985 Golden story, I Have The Power, Skeletor has Beast Man capture a giant living spider creature. Skeletor uses his “mechano-ray” to transform the creature into a living vehicle:

Spydor shows up fairly frequently in the UK comics, including issues 6, 15, 19, 24, 35, and 58. The first appearance in Issue 6 is in a story called “Machine Wars” which is an extended battle between the heroic and evil warriors using a number of vehicles. I’ve included sample pages from those six appearances (it may appear in later issues as well).

Spydor appears in the story Courage, in issue 10 of the Star Comics MOTU series, this time colored a uniform blue/gray:

Artwork Appearances

Spydor appears in the bottom right corner of the 1985 William George MOTU poster:

He’s also front and center in a poster by Earl Norem that was included in the Spring 1985 US Masters of the Universe Magazine, which also featured Skeletor, Moss Man and He-Man:


I’ve found a number of newspaper ads for Spydor. Many of the ad images are just based on the illustration on the back of the Spydor box.

The French color advertisements below come from the Super Shogun Blog and Nathalie NHT:

Other Appearances

Spydor made an appearance in the background of Big, starring Tom Hanks. Dinosaur Dracula outlines the various toy appearances in the movie here.

Spydor In Action

Øyvind Meisfjord has kindly contributed the following image and videos of Spydor in action:

Thank you to the following individuals who are current patrons of the blog!

  • Philip O.
  • MOTU Origins Cork
  • Bryce W.
  • Ben M.
  • Matthias K.


Gyrattacker: Attack Module Launcher (1987)

Image source: Pixel Dan

Gyrattacker was never actually released as a toy. Like He-Ro, Eldor and Gigantisaur, it was showcased in Mattel’s 1987 catalog, but was not released in stores. Unfortunately sales of Masters of the Universe cratered in 1987, and the line quickly ground to a halt. Like the Battle Ram, it was a two-part vehicle, and each part could function as independent vehicles, or they could work together.

Design & Development

An early concept for the Gyrattacker appears in The Power and the Honor Foundation Catalog. The illustration and visual design are by Ted Mayer, and I believe the initial idea behind the concept comes from Roger Sweet. The illustration is dated June 15, 1985. The styling for the vehicle was obviously much different from the final design in this iteration, with a more creature-like look to it. It was supposed to spin up and release a stylized top.

Mattel filed for a patent for the vehicle on July 13, 1986, shortly before the vehicle was to be released. In the patent illustrations, we can see the finalized look for the toy. The updated design was supposed to release a small vehicle, or either of the two 1987 spinning top figures, Rotar and Twistoid. The mechanism for the action feature was invented by Janos Beny and Toshio Yamasaki. Janos also co-invented the power module used in the Tower Tools accessory.

You can see the full patent document here. The included illustrations are below:

Essentially action feature part of the vehicle was an “ejectable flywheel seat” and “opening gates.” The description and illustrations show that there was supposed to be a launching lever, but in the photos of the finished prototype I’ve been unable to locate any such lever. Perhaps they didn’t get that far. It’s also unclear to me where the lever would be located that would get the flywheel to spin, but I’m not too mechanically minded. Perhaps some of you can decipher the patent terminology better than I can!

A while back some crude wooden mockups for the vehicle appeared in an eBay auction. They look very preliminary, with no space for any of the gears and levers that would have gone into the vehicle. The main vehicle is represented, but not the Attack Module

Image source: Yo Tengo El Poder (Facebook)

Catalog & Box Art

As mentioned earlier, a prototype of the toy appeared in the 1987 Mattel Catalog. It shows the removable Attack Module (with removable guns) sitting within the larger vehicle, and just after launching. Also mentioned is the vehicle’s compatibility with Rotar and Twistoid, who were released in 1987.

Image source: Nathalie NHT
Image source: Nathalie NHT

William George did an illustration for the packaging, which was of course never used. However, Mattel still owns the painting, which Pixel Dan photographed when he visited Mattel HQ for the 40th anniversary of Masters of the Universe. I’ve modified the perspective of the photo so it looks as if it were taken from straight on:

Image source: Pixel Dan

I have a low resolution scan of the packaging proof, which shows what the entire box would have looked like from all sides. Unfortunately the text is mostly illegible:

Image source: Grayskull Museum

Update: I found a post by Frabrizio C. which shows some parts of the proof with additional clarity. From the second image, it’s clear that the rectangular piece on the left side of the vehicle functioned as a lever to open the gates at the front of the vehicle. Pushing the vehicle forward would spin the flywheel. So the play pattern was to push it forward to rev it up, and then open the gates to release the Attack Module, or Rotar or Twistoid (whatever had been placed there). You can also see the seatbelt that was included that would keep a figure in the attack module from flying out of it.

Image source: Frabrizio C.
Image source: Frabrizio C.
Image source: Frabrizio C.
Image source: Frabrizio C.
Image source: Frabrizio C.
Image source: Frabrizio C.

Minicomic Appearance

Gyrattacker appears in a few panels of the 1987 minicomic, Energy Zoids. The comic came with Rotar and Twistoid and tells their story. Gyrattacker (spelled with one T in the story) crashes into Snake Mountain (which oddly looks to have some kind of open air arena within it) and rescue Rotar, who had been kidnapped by Skeletor’s forces. Man-At-Arms launches He-Man out in the Attack-Module and it spins into the Snake Men warriors.

Comic images courtesy of Jukka Issakainen

That’s really it for Gyrattacker. It’s a shame it was never released! It’s an interesting looking vehicle. Like other vehicles created toward the end of the original line, it looks a bit more streamlined and modernized than the wonderfully brutish-looking vehicles that characterized the heyday of MOTU toy design from from 1982-1985.


Beam-Blaster & Artilleray (1987)

I wasn’t familiar with Beam Blaster & Artilleray until perhaps 10 years ago, when I reconnected with Masters of the Universe as an adult. It was released near the end of the original line and doesn’t quite have the same cache and familiarity as some of the early vehicles. I certainly don’t recall encountering it anywhere in the wild as a child.

Design & Development

Beam Blaster is a toy for which I am unaware of any previous prototypes or concept art having ever surfaced. Often Mattel’s Catalog images will show some kind of middle or late-stage prototype, but the only difference I see between the catalog version and the actual toy is the catalog Beam Blaster has a yellow button rather than the typical orange button.

1987 Mattel Catalog. Image source: Nathalie NHT

I will say, conceptually, the Beam Blaster reminds me a bit of the visual styles and themes that were developed around the abandoned live-action He-Man TV series and some of the early concepts around Laser Power He-Man. There were plans around “power crystal” themed toys. An early version of Laser-Power He-Man also looks like they may have been planning to put some kind of light sensor on the front of his belt. If I had to guess at a designer for Beam Blaster, my hunch would be James McElroy, who did a lot of design work for the live-action He-Man concept. But, like I said, I really don’t have any solid information here.

Toy & Packaging

While Beam Blaster shows up in the 1987 Mattel catalog, it was actually released just a bit ahead of schedule, as early as November 27, 1986.

The concept of the vehicle was pretty interesting. One figure would wear the blue Beam Blaster pack, which would “fire” a beam of light at the push of the button. The Artilleray portion had a sensor at the front. If you fired the beam directly at the sensor, the “ejection platform” would pop up and knock the vehicle’s rider off of it. The Beam Blaster and Artilleray set looks more Star Wars than Masters of the Universe. There are no animal figureheads to be found, which were typical of all the early classic vehicles.

The box art on the front was done by William George.

Image scan credit: Arto Paappanen
Beam Blaster box layout – image via Grayskull Museum


The only comic appearance for Beam-Blaster and the Artilleray occurs in the STAR / Marvel Comics issue number 7, “Long Live the King”.

In the story, Skeletor summons Blast-Attack and Ninjor from other worlds to boost his rankings, and Scare Glow and Faker appear. Skeletor plans to use his evil minions to infiltrate and attack the Royal Palace, and we see Faker and Blast-Attack use the Artilleray to ram through the palace walls.

And few pages later in the issue Clamp Champ is using the Beam-Blaster, while flying on the Jet Sled to aid King Randor. He is then grabbed by Blast-Attack.


Beam Blaster and Artilleray appear in William George’s Preternia poster. They are manned by Prince Adam and Beast Man respectively:

Similarly, they appear in the previous year’s Eternia poster, this time manned by Fisto and Faker, respectively:

Earl Norem illustrated them in two separate posters, only the first of which was published in Masters of the Universe Magazine:

Errol McCarthy illustrated the set for use in licensed apparel, below:


Aside from the television ads and Mattel Catalog at the beginning of the article, Beam Blaster and Artilleray were featured in a few print ads as well:

Spanish ad featuring Laser Power He-Man and Laser-Light Skeletor. Image via La Cueva del Terror
Image via Grayskull Museum
Image source: Yo Tengo El Poder
Official line art for use in newspaper ads. Image source: Grayskull Museum

Beam Blaster in Action

Øyvind Meisfjord has shared the following image and video of Beam Blaster & Artilleray in action:

Special thanks to Jukka Issakainen for the material from the Star Comics series.