Heroic Warriors

Flying Fists He-Man: Heroic Leader with the Arm-Swinging Action! (1986)

I think I only encountered Flying Fists He-Man once as a kid. I don’t remember being all that impressed – I thought the transition between his neck and his head looked very strange, and the head itself looked off to me. Certainly the action feature was far less interesting to me than his immediate predecessor’s, Thunder Punch He-Man.

Image source: Nathalie NHT. From the 1986 Mattel dealer catalog. This appears to be a hand-painted hard copy/prototype

Design & Development

In terms of visual design, we get our basic look for Flying Fists He-Man from Ted Mayer. The illustration dates to December 8, 1983, and may be the genesis for both the Battle Armor and Flying Fists He-Man variants, in terms of their appearance.

The action feature itself seems to originate with Roger Sweet, who illustrates it in a concept using the standard He-Man look, and a swinging ball weapon (the page below comes from the Power and the Honor Foundation Catalog):

Update: You can see an early mockup for the figure on the side of the Eternia playset packaging, made using a regular He-Man figure – note the unpainted bracers from the original He-Man. In fact the armor almost looks like it was cropped into the photo somehow. Thanks to Nate for pointing this image out.

In the cross sell art below, we can see the finalized look for the figure, including gold and silver metallic armor, mace and shield. The mace and shield elements would spin as the figure was made to swing its arms back and forth, something that happened automatically was the waist was twisted.

One interesting note on his design – the lower edge of his chest armor features a mirror image of the standard male belt design. This was also something that showed up in an early incarnation of Tri-Klops, as captured in the cross sell artwork:

Figure & Packaging

The first First Flying Fists He-Man newspaper ad appears on February 12, 1986, and he was probably available in stores shortly before then. The packaging of the figure announces him as the “5th Anniversary” He-Man figure, which isn’t quite true. He-Man was originally released in 1982. Maybe their reasoning was that it was the “fifth year” of the line.

Flying Fists He-Man was released on an extra-large, deluxe card. As with the previous year’s Thunder Punch He-Man, the instructional panels are right below the artwork, and then the 12 characters in cross sell art are squeezed in at the bottom. The artwork at the front of the card is by William George, and the scene on the back is by Errol McCarthy:

Subsequent releases of the figure featured a color change to the font on “Flying Fists” on the front:

The figure featured modified arms that were similar to the original He-Man, but subtly different. He also featured greatly enlarged feet for greater stability. He had a lot of vac metal on his costume and accessories, which in toy language is the universal signifier of a “deluxe” figure. He also featured a removable clip on his back that functioned both as a way to store his weapon, and as a handle to help kids get a better grip when using his twisting waist/arm swinging feature. He also had a hard, solid head, which in my opinion reduces the quality of his face compared to the original hollow polyvinyl head. The images below come from eBay, as I don’t have one of these on hand to photograph.

One notable international variant is the Leo India version, as shown by spiritofsnakemountain on Instagram:

Flying Fists He-Man was also released in a gift set with Terror Claws Skeletor (images via LCG Auctions):


Below are a selection of Flying Fist He-Man ad appearances:

French catalog featuring Flying Fists He-Man

Flying Fists He-Man was featured the trade ad below, which was originally unearthed at the excellent MOTUC Figures site.

He also appears in the Mattel rebate ad below, which was originally posted on the Battle Grip site:


Flying Fists He-Man is featured in a few posters by the following artists:

Earl Norem, Motu Magazine
Earl Norem, Motu Magazine
William George Eternia Poster

There was also an unreleased piece by William George that features Flying Fists He-Man and Terror Claws Skeletor fighting over the cosmic key, which was shared some years ago by Roger Mahafy:


The primary minicomic for this variant is The Flying Fists of Power. Interestingly it features Roger Sweet’s rather minimalist concept for the figure, which just looked like a standard He-Man with a spinning mace weapon (updated to three ball ends) and an updated shield. In the story the Sorceress awards He-Man with an additional gift of “energy and spirit.” When He-Man summons the Flying Fists, he will get have additional punching abilities and his spinning mace and shield will appear in his hands. (All minicomic images come from the Dark Horse minicomic book.) (Update: Matthew Martin and Øyvind Meisford note that Flying Fists He-Man also appears in King of the Snake Men and Enter: Buzz-Saw Hordak.)

In The Terror Claws Strike he get a rather amusing visual depiction of He-Man’s flying fists power. In this comic the ability isn’t necessarily tied to the weapons. It’s really unclear how this is a new ability for He-Man, because he did similar things in the Filmation cartoon all the time. It doesn’t make a lot of sense narratively, although it does get the action feature across.

Flying Fists He-Man, still in his concept look, also appears in the unpublished Return From Terror Island Comic:

Flying Fists He-Man in Action

Øyvind Meisfjord has shared the following image, and video of Flying Fists He-Man in action. Enjoy!

Thank you to the following individuals who are current Patreon supporters!

  • Philip O.
  • MOTU Origins Cork
  • Bryce W.
  • Ben M.
  • Matthias K.
  • Max I.

Want to support the blog? Consider becoming a Patreon supporter. You’ll also gain access to exclusive content and early access to posts on the blog. Alternatively, you can do your toy shopping through my Entertainment Earth affiliate link, below. Thank you!


Box Art From A-Z, Part Five: 1986

One of the best things about getting new He-Man toys as a kid was the box art. The toys were of course amazing and fun, but personally I spent almost as much time staring at the boxes as playing with the toys. I remember being pretty heartbroken when my mother made me throw away my Castle Grayskull and Battle Ram boxes. She saw them as clutter, but for me they were almost stories in and of themselves. You could see whole adventures unfolding in a single painted scene.

Unfortunately, good photographs or scans of the original art are not available for every piece. If you happen to have a nicer images than I do (higher resolution, better composition, etc), please do feel free to share, and I’ll make an update! For pictures of the packaging itself, a neutral (white or black) background is preferred. High resolution scans of the artwork, where it appears without logos, would be ideal. Bottom line – if you have better images than I do, please share them!

One final note: I’m defining box art as the front-facing painted artwork that appeared on boxed Masters of the Universe toys. The illustrations on blister card packaging, then, are outside the scope of this series.

Part Five: 1986

Name: Blasterhawk
Year: 1986
Artist: William George
Description: Battle Armor He-Man launches a flying disk from the cockpit of the Blasterhawk.

Name: Eternia
Year: 1986
Artist: William George
Description: The three towers of Eternia stand between Castle Grayskull and Snake Mountain. Beast Man scales the central tower and Rattlor and Tung Lashor head toward the lion’s head entrance. Man-At-Arms fires the cannon at the top of the tower. Flying Fists He-Man and Terror Claws Skeletor do battle off to the side. A volcano erupts in the distance.

Battle Cat corners Stinkor at the Grayskull Tower, while several horde troopers rush up the outer stairs toward Snout Spout, who is dodging laser blasts from the Battle Tram. Rio Blast and Extendar stand at the top of Grayskull Tower, as the Fright Fighter flies by. Meanwhile, Moss Man drives Bashasaurus down the road from Castle Grayskull to Grayskull Tower.

Sy-Klone flies Blasterhawk near the summit of Viper Tower, and Megabeast rounds the corner at the base.


Name: Flying Fists He-Man & Terror Claws Skeletor
Year: 1986
Artist: William George
Description: Flying Fists He-Man raises his shield as Terror Claws Skeletor approaches. Castle Grayskull looms ominously in the distance.

Image Source: MOTU Art Facebook Page

Name: Fright Fighter
Year: 1986
Artist: William George
Description: Battle Armor Skeletor pilots Fright Fighter, firing canons at unseen enemies. Down below on the crater-covered ground, Man-At-Arms, Battle Armor He-Man, and Roboto look skyward, weapons raised.

Name: Hordak and Mantisaur
Year: 1986
Artist: Joe Chiodo
Description: By Hordak’s hand, Mantisaur captures Thunder Punch He-Man in thick jungle area. In a separate scene, Hordak, mounted on Mantisaur, surveys a giant crater in the middle of a vast desert.

Name: Jet Sled & He-Man
Year: 1986
Artist: Unknown
Description: He-Man pilots the Jet Sled over a volcanic desert. A small dragon flees from the approaching aircraft.

Image courtesy of Deimos

Image source: Crazy Collectors

Name: Laser Bolt
Year: 1986
Artist: William George
Description: Battle Armor He-Man guides the Laser Bolt over difficult desert terrain as he fires on unseen enemies. A small dinosaur scurries out of the way.

Name: Mantisaur
Year: 1986
Artist: Joe Chiodo
Description: By Hordak’s hand, Mantisaur captures Thunder Punch He-Man in thick jungle area. In a separate scene, Hordak, mounted on Mantisaur, surveys a giant crater in the middle of a vast desert.

Name: Monstroid
Year: 1986
Artist: Unknown
Description: Monstroid spins in circles with Sy-Klone and Man-At-Arms captured in its claws. Thunder Punch He-Man and Roboto try to find a way to rescue their friends.

Name: Multi-Bot
Year: 1986
Artist: Unknown
Description: Multi-Bot is shown in 10 body configurations and poses.

Image source: Axel Giménez
Image source: Grayskull Museum

Name: Slime Pit
Year: 1986
Artist: William George
Description: Beast Man is trapped in the Slime Pit. Hordak pours ooze all over the hapless minion of Skeletor. In the background are the ruins of an ancient civilization.

More in this series: