Masters of the Universe, for all its diversity and creativity, was quite an economical toyline, creatively (and sometimes uncreatively) using and reusing the same molds over and over again throughout its run. Sometimes this was done fairly invisibly, and other times it was as plain as the nose on Faker‘s face.
In this series I’ll be cataloging the reuse of existing molds, in context of what is known and what is likely about which figures were created in what order. For example, He-Man’s prototype was almost certainly finished before Man-At-Arms, so Man-At-Arms reused He-Man’s legs, rather than vice versa. I’ll also include parts that were reused from other toylines.
Sometimes existing parts were modified for use in new toys. For example, Beast Man’s chest seems to have been based on He-Man’s chest sculpt, albeit with a great deal of hair added to it. This didn’t save money on tooling, but it did save some time and effort for the sculptor. I’ll point this out whenever I see it. Whenever a modified part is used again, however, I’ll refer to it as belonging to the toy that used it first (for example, Stratos and Zodac reuse Beast Man’s chest).
I won’t comment on “invisible” parts, such as neck pegs or waist springs that are normally not seen.
First, the toys from 1988 that had (at the time) all new parts. For fun, I’m including unproduced toys as well.
Laser Power He-man
“Ambush” Playset (unproduced)
These 1988 designs reused some existing parts:
Laser Power He-Man (Spanish version)
Laser Light Skeletor
There were at least six additional figures planned as part of the 1988 line, but they were never released. These were to be entirely constructed from existing parts, no doubt as a way to inject some quick cash into the dying line at minimal cost. We only know the original name of one of them (Strobo), so I’ll make up names for the others:
Note: The above artwork is by Errol McCarthy, sourced from He-Man.org. I’m assuming “Sumuran’s” arms and legs would reuse He-Man’s, although the artist draws them without gauntlets or boots, so it’s possible they might have been new parts.
Parts Reuse series: