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
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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2 thoughts on “Gyrattacker: Attack Module Launcher (1987)”
I really enjoy the concept art with the creepy hands. That seems much more MOTU than the space ship.
Excellent article and scans! Thank you!
I was so looking forward to this. Shame it never got a release. Maybe with Origins . . . ?