Evil Horde

Dragstor: Transforming evil warrior vehicle (1986)

I don’t recall ever encountering Dragstor growing up, but the concept is familiar – a figure that “transforms” simply by flipping himself over. In 1986 Transformers ruled the toy world, but Dragstor’s “transformation” barely qualifies.

Design & Development

Dragstor was designed by Ed Watts, who also designed Dragon Walker. In the concept art below (dated December 1, 1984, from The Power and the Honor Foundation Catalog), we see the character with a section reptilian “face” when flipped over, and a number of reptilian fits on his arms and legs. There is no indication that he was an Evil Horde character at this point.

The character idea was actually invented by Derek Gable (Director of Preliminary Design) after he left Mattel, and sold back to Mattel via his startup, West Coast Innovations.

The design went through some changes and refinements. Eventually the reptile theme was dropped everywhere except for his face, which had large reptilian eyes. The fins where dropped and he was given orange boots and gloves. The exhaust pipes were toned down as well, presumably to make it easier to manufacture.

Cross sell art, image courtesy of Axel Giménez
1986 dealer catalog. Image source: Nathalie NHT

Figure & Packaging

The final figure had only the single wheel on the torso, not the wheels on the elbows and knees of the original design, although he did have smooth pads on the elbows that could drag across the floor with little friction. He came with a ripcord and a re-release of Mantenna’s crossbow.

Image source: WheelJack’s Lab (eBay auction)

The cardback scene on the packaging was illustrated by Errol McCarthy, while William George did the cross sell artwork. On the front, Dragstor is called a “transforming evil warrior vehicle,” which is a little confusing since generally the term “Evil Warrior” is used to refer to Skeletor’s faction, as opposed to the Evil Horde.

Image Source: KMKA
Image source: He-Man.org

Characterization & Comic Appearances

In Mattel’s 1987 Style Guide, Dragstor is listed as an Evile Horde affiliated warrior with the following powers:

Power: In a burst of speed, Dragstor chases after enemies of the Evil Horde.

Character Profile: The victim of a terrible experiement in the lab of Hordak, the Evile Horde crony is how half-man, half-machine. Dragstor is a vicious mechanical speed domen. He is able to move faster than any other warrior, and he even outpaces some of their vehicles! Dragstor loves to chase down helpless victims and drag them back to Hordak.

Dragstor is also given a bio in the 1989 UK MOTU Annual, which expands on the above story. In this version, Dragstor was an Eternian sprinter named Theydon, who was captured by the Horde along with Doodon (Extendar).

Image source: He-Man.org

Dragstor was showcased in The Warrior Machine

Image source: Dark Horse

Interestingly, on the first page of the story, Dragstor features the reptile helmet design from the Ed Watts concept (which is also noted in The Power and the Honor Foundation Catalog), although his design follows the production feature everywhere else:

For an in-depth look at this story, check out Jukka Issakainen’s excellent video on the topic:

Dragstor also appears alongside Mosquitor in Enter … Buzz-Saw Hordak! In the story, Hordak is creating yet another minion in his laboratory. When Dragstor expresses skepticism about Mosquitor’s toughness, Mosquitor teaches Dragstor a hard lesson:

In issue 31 of the UK MOTU Magazine (1987), we get more on the backstory of Theydon and Doodon (Dragstor and Extendar). The friends are captured by the Evil Horde and transformed. However of the two, only Extendar is able to retain his own will, and he manages to escape from the Horde (images via He-Man.org).

Unlike the other 1986 Evil Horde figures Horde Trooper and Multi-Bot, Dragstor never appeared in the Filmation She-Ra cartoon, and generally speaking was a fairly sparsely used character in comics and books. He did make an appearance in William George’s 1986 Eternia poster, however:

Image courtesy of Jukka Issakainen
Italian ad

Dragstor in Action

Øyvind Meisfjord has shared the following of video of Dragstor in action:

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6 thoughts on “Dragstor: Transforming evil warrior vehicle (1986)

  1. Great article, as always! Shame he wasn’t used very much, even for a late-run character. His vintage figure was pretty fun. Funny thing was, mine didn’t come with a crossbow. I wrote to Mattel to complain, and they sent me a Grizzlor one, instead. Heh.

    I was disappointed with the MOTU Classics release, not just because they messed up some of the colours, but because of the lack of a rolling wheel. I wasn’t expecting a ripcord, but as the Wind Raider, Roton, and Battle Ram ended up having rolling wheels, and a number of other figures later in the line had features built into them (like the Laser Leaders, Modulok, Multi-Bot, Buzz-Saw Hordak, and the three smelly figures), I’d hoped he’d at least get a rolling wheel. Oh, well.

  2. Great write-up, as usual! 🙂 My childhood Dragstor came from a garage sale, and was missing the ripcord. He was never a particular favorite of mine, and usually served as punching fodder for characters I liked more, heh. I really dig that concept version, though! Ed Watts really produced some fantastic MOTU art and designs.

  3. I always had mixed feelings about Dragstor. His design is cool and his closed sculpted fists looks menacing but on the other hands I never liked very much ripcord toys and his way to travel always seemed to me as very uncomfortable and painful (rocks, branches, small cactuses… the poor bastard will catch them all)
    Is a good looking figure and the idea interesting, but I’ll put him on the line between low and mid tier.

  4. I always think of Dragstor as being a final wave character (maybe due to him being fairly sparsely used), though of course he was the from the penultimate wave.
    He’s a strange one to sum up – as a concept, I like him, but he’s maybe a(nother) case of “gimmick over character”. The figure is kinda a fun one to play with, but maybe feels like more detail could have been added – is pose is a little awkward and limited due to his action feature, and kinda feels a bit like a block of plastic toy more than a much of an action figure.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t HATE Dragstor, but I’ve always felt that the line got too “throw in the latest gimmick then move on” in it’s direction in the last few waves and too far away from it’s original origins and more “anything goes”, and I kind of put Dragstor into that rank. Also I have to confess that I was (or am) maybe a bit of a snob, as in my own MOTU world, Skeletor was always the Big Bad, and I didn’t care too much for the Horde and the Snakemen taking up too much space in that world!! 🙂

    When I collected a complete set of the line (now sadly long sold) I did have fun with Dragstor, but he’s not really enough to be a favourite. Other late ‘gimmick’ characters, such as Mosquitor for example, feel awesome on their own merits, but Draggy just never fully nailed it… I do think he sculpt didn’t help. As a concept though, he is pretty cool… just doesn’t feel very MOTU.

    One more thing (and I may have missed it in this write-up), but I recall one or two bios mentioning Dragstor’s “evil fumes” that he would emit as he raced along… trying to think where I’ve seen this (or if I just imagined it!)

  5. Dragstor’s action figure is a little eh, but the concept is golden. Or maybe I just have an intense fondness for forced roboticization/cyborgation as a theme. If they collabed with Hasbro, a Dragstor that turned into a motorbike could be pretty hella!

  6. I don’t have very many strong memories of Dragstor. Somehow my brother and I had two of him. We ended up using him as Horde Troopers.

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