Heroic Vehicles

Bashasaurus: Heroic Combat Vehicle (1985)

I’m sure I saw Bashasaurus at some point growing up, if only in a minicomic or in cross sell art, but it never really stuck with me. In retrospect, though, it’s a pretty great concept. A dinosaur vehicle whose primary weapon is a giant boulder attached to a stick? Yes, please.

Design & Development

The early working name for Bashasaurus was Ball Buster, a name which famously caused Filmation President Lou Scheimer to reject outright the idea of ever including it in the animated He-Man series. As evident in the concept below, the early incarnation of the vehicle (illustration by Ed Watts, Sept 19, 1983) would have had the ball mechanism come down from the center of the vehicle. This early concept is intended for the Evil Warriors, and bears little resemblance to the final toy:

Image source: The Power and the Honor Foundation/Dark Horse

According to the patent (Filed January 4, 1985), Bashasaurus was invented by Granville Crow, Larry Renger and Roger Sweet. The drawings from the patent application (below) show the finalized dinosaur design and modified bashing mechanism. According to The Power and the Honor Foundation, the mechanism was moved to the side to prevent pinch injury during play.

Several years back a Mattel employee sold off a number of molds and prototypes, among them one for the Bashasaurus (thanks to Manic Man in the comments for the reminder):

Production Toy

The production toy was produced in a bright red color with orange and blue highlights. The faceplate features a triceratops-like design, and the theme continues in the back with a spiked tail that looks a bit like a stegosaurus. The bashing boulder is activated via an orange push button, the the ball itself telescopes further out by means of centrifugal force.

The cross sell art for the vehicle is closely based on the production toy:

Ad sheet illustration, which seems to be an uncolored version of the cross sell artwork.

The vehicle includes a tab on the side, which can be used to hold He-Man’s sword and shield, as explained in the instructions that came with the vehicle:

1985 Mattel Dealer Catalog. Image source: Orange Slime
French advertisement, Bashasaurus vs Land Shark. Image source: Antieternia Facebook Page

Packaging

The main packaging artwork, as well as the cross sell artwork was done by William George:

Interestingly, the Venezuelan version of the toy features product photography on the front rather than William George’s box art. The photo that appears in Mattel’s 1985 dealer catalog is used here (images come from MOTU Argentina Blog) :

Other Artwork

Bashasaurus was the subject of a poster by William George, which also highlights Dragon Blaster Skeletor, Thunder Punch He-Man, Two Bad, Land Shark, Stinkor, Spikor, Roboto, Moss Man and Sy-Klone (in other words, all the heroic and evil warriors of 1985):

Image courtesy of Jukka Issakainen

Bashasaurus also appears in a 1985 poster that showcased all of the above, in addition to the Evil Horde and characters from previous years:

Image courtesy of Jukka Issakainen

Bashasaurus was also illustrated by Errol McCarthy for licensed MOTU-themed clothing:

Image source: He-Man.org

Minicomics

Bashasaurus appears in a number of the minicomics that came packed with the figures, including the following:

The Battle of Roboto

Hordak: The Ruthless Leader’s Revenge!

The Treachery of Modulok!

Other Stories

The Bashasaurus appeared in several other stories over the years, including the following:

Spring 1986 Masters of the Universe Magazine (US)

Image source: He-Man.org

1985 Golden Book: The River of Ruin

Image source: He-Man.org

Issue 20, 1986 Masters of the Universe Magazine (UK)

Image source: He-Man.org

Bashasaurus in Action

Øyvind Meisfjord has kindly contributed the following image and video of Bashasaurus in action:

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Artwork

Masters of the Universe Cross Sell Art: 1985

The artwork for this set comes from Axel Giménez, StarCrusader and my own photos and scans.

There are, unfortunately several subpar images in this set, including Roboto, Thunder Punch He-Man, Land Shark, and especially Night Stalker. If anyone out there has a Laser Bolt box, it should have Thunder Punch He-Man on the back. If you happen to have a scan or a high resolution picture of it in a nice natural lighting that you’d like to share, that would be appreciated.

The cross sell artwork for Land Shark appears on the back of the Jitsu/Night Stalker gift set. Land Shark cross sell art also appears on the back of the heroic warriors gift set (the one that included Buzz-Off, Moss Man and Mekaneck figures). If anyone happens to have nicer image of the cross sell art for Land Shark that they could share, I’d be really grateful.

Night Stalker is trickier. I have been unable to locate any cross sell art for Night Stalker, other than the red line art on the back of the Fright Zone box. If anyone knows of a full-color version that exists somewhere out there, I’d appreciate that information!

Update: somehow I overlooked Spydor. Spydor doesn’t seem to have had cross sell art per se, but the explanatory illustration on the back of his packaging is probably the closest analog, as far as I know. The same is true for toys like Battle Bones and Blasterhawk. Thanks to Matthew M. for letting me know!

Masters of the Universe Cross Sell Art:

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Resource

Parts Reuse in MOTU, Part Four: 1985

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 1985 that had (at the time) all new parts. For fun, I’m including one unproduced toy that made it into a 1985 catalog:

Sy-Klone

Modulok

Fright Zone

Bashasaurus

Battle Bones

Land Shark

Spydor

Evil Robot (unproduced)

These toys from 1985 reused some existing parts:

Thunder Punch He-Man

Roboto

Moss Man

Dragon Blaster Skeletor

Two Bad

Spikor

Stinkor

Hordak

Grizzlor

Leech

Mantenna

Night Stalker

A few additional notes:

All of the Horde crossbow share some sculpted areas in common – basically everything except the head and the butt of the weapons. I don’t know which of them was done first – I’m defaulting to Hordak’s weapon as the basis for the others, in the absence of other information.

The modified Thunder Punch He-Man legs (with their enlarged feet for greater stability) were used in some versions of the following figures: Faker II, Spikor, Man-At-Arms, He-Man, Fisto, Tri-Klops, Battle Armor He-Man, and Jitsu, especially in the French “rubber boot” variants.

The modified Dragon Blaster Skeletor legs (with their enlarged feet for greater stability) were used in some versions of the following figures: Skeletor (Hong Kong), Ninjor, and Scare Glow (more on the last two figures in the feature on parts reuse in 1987).

The information about the reuse of these legs was provided to me by Mantisaur82, who is extremely knowledgeable about production variants.

Update: Thanks to Emmanuel V. for reminding me about the made-in-France version of Stinkor, with its blue He-Man shield.

Parts Reuse series:

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Artwork

Creatures of William George

One of the defining characteristics of the packaging artwork of William George is the inclusion of small dinosaur or dragon-like creatures in the background and foreground of the illustration. They add a dimension to the illustration that goes beyond simply demonstrating the product – there is also some world-building going on. The Eternia of William George is a hostile, dangerous and often desolate place, where threats come in all sizes.

I’ll only be focusing on creatures that William George invented for his paintings, not creatures that were part of the products for sale.

Battle Armor He-Man and Road Ripper (1984)

A pint-sized dinosaur and sea serpent.

Dragon Walker (1984)

A miniature pterodactyl

Road Ripper (1984)

Two lizards.

Roton (1984)

Image cleaned up by Retroist
A lizard.
A tree-climbing demon.
A flying bird, with encampment in background.

Bashasaurus (1985)

A diminutive dragon.

Land Shark (1985)

A wicked-looking little dragon.

Land Shark & Battle Armor Skeletor

Part vulture, part pterodactyl.

Laser Bolt (1986)

A tiny, beaked dinosaur.

Scubattack Power Gear (1987)

Image courtesy of Axel Giménez
A vicious-looking eel.

Megator (1988)

An ordinary horse, frightened by the stampeding Megator.

Update: Axel Giménez pointed out to me that there is another William George creature, outside of the box art. In his Bashasaurus poster, he includes one of his familiar little creatures on the rocks near Dragon Blaster Skeletor. It looks a bit like the creature in the Land Shark box art:

Image source: Jukka Issakainen
A diminutive dragon.

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