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!


Barbarossa Custom Creations Laser Power He-Man

Earlier this year I acquired the Barbarossa Custom Creations Laser Light Skeletor. I had become somewhat obsessed with the figure, and it was my best shot at getting a complete, working and nice-looking example of the rare, European release figure at a price that wouldn’t require the sale of an internal organ. At the time I was only planning on getting the one figure, but I was so impressed with it, I had get Laser Light Skeletor’s heroic counterpart, Laser Power He-Man.

If you’ve ever purchased a custom or replica action figure from any customizer/builder, you know they’re not cheap. That’s just a factor of economies of scale. It’s considerably more difficult for one person to create one figure at a time than it is for a fully equipped factory (with steel molds, paint masks, etc.) to pump out one figure among tens of thousands. It’s even more difficult with a complex toy like Laser Power He-Man, with his internal electronics. But as the original laser figures were produced in low numbers and only released oversees, they go for quite a lot of money on the secondary market. In this case, the replica is something like a third of the cost of the original.

Barbarossa offers the figure in both of its vintage configurations – with either the unique head sculpt that came with the Italian version of the figure, or the 1982 style head which came with the Spanish version of the figure. The Italian version is often called the “Dolph” head for its resemblance to Dolph Lundgren. In my opinion, no He-Man head sculpt will ever surpass the original 1982 version. However, I opted for the Italian “Dolph” version, as this was my one chance to get a figure with that particular head, and I’ve already got the original head on my other vintage He-Man figures.

Vintage 1988 Italian LP He-Man vs 1988 Spanish LP He-Man

Barbarossa has actually done something really interesting with this figure that adds to its durability. Rather than casting the figure in one or two colors and painting in the details (as was done in the vintage figure), Barbarossa casts the trunks and boots in the same teal as the armor. The belt and gloves are cast separately in silver. These pieces are glued together for a seamless look, and the there is no possibility of paint wear on the gloves or boots (an issue that plagues many vintage figures). The only painted parts, in fact, are the head (hair, eyebrows, and eyes) and the silver accents on the armor. The figure retains all of his vintage points of articulation. Another modification is that the belt lacks the “M” design of the original.

The plastic has a very realistic feel to it. I don’t know what the secret formula Barbarossa uses for his materials, but it feels very much like a factory figure. The cast is nice and crisp, with better paint details than many factory examples.  The figure also stands solidly without a tendency to fall over.

The light up action feature has been altered from the 1988 original. Instead of raising his arm to activate the sword, the light turns on with a switch hidden in the battery compartment. The light runs on a watch cell battery, rather than an AA battery as the original did.

If you happen to have a vintage LP He-Man without his accessories, Barbarossa also sells them separately for a reduced cost.

The sword glows quite brightly, especially in the dark. I took some shots with him next to the modern Masters of the Universe Classics Laser Power He-Man for comparison.

He looks great next to his arch nemesis, Laser Light Skeletor (also by Barbarossa):

Laser Power He-Man was quite a departure from the original He-Man design. In 1988 Mattel was heavily exploring different ideas for a more sci-fi take on He-Man. Laser Power He-Man represents an intermediate step in that direction, just before the “New Adventures” reboot:

Original 1982 He-Man and Barbarossa replica Laser Power He-Man
Left to right: 1992 Thunder Punch He-Man, 1990 Battle Punch He-Man, 1989 “New Adventures” He-Man, Barbarossa Laser Power He-Man.

You can see in the photos above that a big theme in Mattel’s sci-fi themed He-Man figures is translucent yellow swords. My understanding is that all of the above figures were designed by Martin Arriola, with the exception of Battle Punch He-Man, who originates from a design by Mark Taylor. Laser Power He-Man, to me, is much more recognizable as a He-Man figure than any of the New Adventures versions. I suspect if the rebooted line had been more in the style of the Laser figures, they might have had greater success.

I’ll explore the history of Laser Power He-Man in more depth in a future toy feature. In any case, I’ve been thoroughly pleased with Barbarossa’s customs so far, and would recommend his Laser figure replicas to anyone looking to add these hard to find figures to their collection.


Barbarossa Custom Creations Laser Light Skeletor

It’s often the case that when I write about a toy on my blog, I become much more interested in it the process of my research. That certainly happened when I covered Laser Light Skeletor (designed by David Wolfram). For several years I’d had some interest in the figure simmering in the back of my brain, but finally writing about it brought matters to a full boil.

The problem is, of course, that Laser Light Skeletor was only released in Europe, and in limited quantities. A vintage example, even a beat up one without accessories, is far outside of my price range. Enter Barbarossa Custom Creations.

If you’ve ever purchased a custom action figure from any customizer/builder, you know they’re not cheap. That’s just a factor of economies of scale. It’s considerably more difficult for one person to create one figure at a time than it is for a fully equipped factory (with steel molds, paint masks, etc.) to pump out one figure among tens of thousands. It’s even more difficult with a complex toy like Laser Light Skeletor, with its extensive paint applications, stitched cloth cape/hood, and internal electronics. Even accounting for all those factors, Barbarossa’s version still costs only a small fraction of the price of a vintage example, making it my best option for acquiring my own Laser Light figure without having to take out some kind of loan.

The Barbarossa version of the figure seems to be patterned after the Spanish release of Laser Light Skeletor, with its shorter cape and bolder colors. The figure comes standard with the original translucent havoc staff (in a slightly orangey shade, like the Spanish release), along with a somewhat simplified, translucent cast of Saurod’s gun:

A set of additional accessories are also available upon request, for $25 more:

Original Skeletor Havoc Staff, minus the ball the the bottom, in translucent red/orange:

A mashup of Laser Power He-Man’s sword with Spikor’s wrist cuff, with added handle, in translucent red/orange:

Skeletor power sword (with modified handle to allow him to hold it), in translucent red/orange:

He-Man battle axe, in translucent red/orange:

The plastic material has a good, realistic feel to it, and the figure stands without any issues. He retains his original ball and pivot joints in the legs. It probably would have been easier to have fashioned the legs with the older-style rubber connectors, and I appreciate the extra step here to keep the original joints.

The light-up mechanism has been modified. Instead of raising his right arm to activate it, there is a green push-button on/off switch on the figure’s backpack. The pack fits a bit loosely in its chamber – I’m not sure if that’s a result of the modification, or if the original was like that. As a result, it’s helpful to hold the pack steady while you push the button. The circuit runs on a button cell battery rather than the AA used in the vintage figure. I would imagine the reduced weight in the back also makes the figure easier to stand up.

The details on the body and head are nice and crisp – this is a good cast of the original figure, and the paint work is sharp too. The copper metallic paint has black base coat, which I think adds a bit of realism to the look.

Laser Light Skeletor is certainly a departure from the more traditional Skeletors produced by Mattel. He’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who love the design, Barbarossa’s offering is a great way to get your hands on a credible-looking replica at a price that makes it more realistically attainable for many (but certainly not all) collectors.

With the original release half boot Skeletor (Design by Mark Taylor), released in 1982.
With the Masters of the Universe Classics Laser Light Skeletor (2015)
With Battle Blade Skeletor (1992), also designed by David Wolfram
With “New Adventures” Skeletor, Disks of Doom Skeletor and Battle Blade Skeletor. All designed by David Wolfram or based off of designs by David Wolfram.