Tag Archives: Fright Zone

Box Art From A-Z, Part Four: 1985

box-art-a-z-graphic-image-1985

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 Four: 1985

Name: Bashasaurus
Year: 1985
Artist: William George
Description: Battle Armor He-Man attacks Battle Armor Skeletor using the Bashasaurus’ “basher ball” as a small dragon-like creature looks on. In the distance,  Clawful and Trap Jaw run down the winding path from Snake Mountain.

bashasuarus

Name: Battle Bones
Year: 1985
Artist: William George
Description: Battle Armor He-Man, Teela, Fisto, Man-At-Arms, Man-E-Faces, Buzz-Off, Battle Armor Skeletor, Beast Man, Kobra Khan, Jitsu, Whiplash and Evil-Lyn pose next to Battle Bones. In a separate scene, Battle Armor He-Man, Fisto, Man-At-Arms, Man-E-Faces, and Mekaneck use Battle Bones to attack Battle Armor Skeletor, Tri-Klops, and Beast Man.

battle-bones-main
battle-bones-secondary


Name: Dragon Walker (Euro Edition)
Year: 1985
Artist: William George
Description: Battle Armor He-Man pilots the Dragon Walker over rocky, volcanic terrain. Beast Man and Tri-Klops are ready to attack but seem unsure how to proceed. In the foreground, a small pterodactyl-like creature seems ready to take flight. In a separate scene, Battle Armor Skeletor (riding in Land Shark) and Beast Man lurk in the background.

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dragon-walker-top-best


Name: Fright Zone
Year: 1985
Artist: William George
Description: In the fearsome Fright Zone, Battle Armor He-Man fights the dreadful dragon, while Hordak snares Battle Armor Skeletor with his tree trap. Buzz-Off is held captive in Hordak’s prison. Dead trees and craggy mountains surround the lair of the Evil Horde, and twin moons hang in the sky.

frightzone_box-edit
Image courtesy of Jukka Issakainen

Name: Hordak Grizzlor
Year: 1985
Artist: William George
Description: He-Man approaches Grizzlor and Hordak, his sword and shield at the ready. The sinister Fright Zone stands in the background.

02-hm-org
Image via He-Man.org

Name: Jitsu & Night Stalker
Year: 1985
Artist: William George
Description: in the middle of a desolate and rocky landscape, Jitsu and Night Stalker attack Fisto, who seems to have been caught without backup.

Image courtesy of Tokyonever

Name: Land Shark
Year: 1985
Artist: William George
Description: Skeletor drives Land Shark over a cracked and rocky desert. A vicious looking dragon-like creature looks on.

land-shark-best

Name: Land Shark & Battle Armor Skeletor
Year: 1985
Artist: William George
Description:  Battle Armor Skeletor, driving Land Shark, races across the cratered desert floor. From his vantage point on a rock, Man-At-Arms seems ready to leap into battle. A vicious-looking winged dragon creature watches from a gnarled tree branch.

land-shark-and-battle-armor-skeletor

Name: Modulok
Year: 1985
Artist: Unknown
Description: Modulok is shown in fifteen body configurations and poses.

modulok-axel
Image courtesy of Axel Giménez

Name: Night Stalker
Year: 1985
Artist: William Garland*
Description: Charging down the narrow path from Snake Mountain, Battle Armor Skeletor and Night Stalker attack Battle Armor He-Man and Mekaneck. A reddened sky and strange rocky formations are the prominent features of Skeletor’s domain. (*Artist name not confirmed for this particular piece, but the art seems to match the style of the Panthor illustrations.)

night-stalker-artwork-best

Name: Spydor
Year: 1985
Artist: William George
Description: Battle Armor Skeletor looms large over Battle Armor He-Man as he uses Spydor to attack the most powerful man in the universe. In the background, tooth-like volcanoes belch smoke. Three moons hang in the alien sky.

spydor-best

More in this series:

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Masters of the Universe Trademarks Timeline

Poster 1

I’ve often wondered about the exact dates that Masters of the Universe figures, vehicles and playsets were released. It’s quite difficult to suss out, and would probably require access to internal Mattel distribution documents that may no longer exist.

However, there is one way of fixing a date to specific MOTU-related items – the date that a trademark claim was filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office. While trademarks would have usually been filed in advance of the actual release date of the item, they do give us a general sense of the order that these toys had reached a certain stage in their development.  There are probably exceptions to that, of course, but I think it should hold true in general.

There has long been a notion of “waves” in the world of MOTU collectors. Each wave corresponds to a year:

  • Wave 1: Items released in 1982
  • Wave 2: Items released in 1983
  • Wave 3: Items released in 1984
  • Wave 4: Items released in 1985
  • Wave 5: Items released in 1986
  • Wave 6: Items released in 1987
  • Wave 7: Items released in 1988

I’m accounting for the seven waves here, but I’m posting these strictly by order of trademark date. Sometimes that order contradicts fan notions about waves. When that happens, I’ll try to account for that too.

Wave 1

Most of the first wave items were trademarked on the same day – December 14, 1981. That also includes the name of the line, “Masters of the Universe”. Battle Cat was slightly behind, having been trademarked on December 21. Skeletor and Castle Grayskull didn’t get a trademark filed until January 15, 1982.

December 14, 1981:

HE-MAN, TEELA, MAN-AT-ARMS, STRATOS, WIND RAIDER, BATTLE RAM, BEAST MAN, MER-MAN, ZODAC, “MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE”

December 21, 1981:

BATTLE CAT

January 15, 1982:

CASTLE GRAYSKULL, SKELETOR

Wave 2

Wave 2 gets a little messier. The first seven of the items were trademarked in September of 1982. Evil-Lyn, Panthor and Screeech were trademarked in early 1983. Interestingly, Faker wasn’t trademarked until May of 1983, slightly after Prince Adam. It’s possible that Prince Adam was intended to be released as a late second wave figure. In fact, there is even a fan theory that the figure known as “Wonder Bread He-Man” was in reality an early version of Prince Adam that was scrapped after the look was changed by Filmation.

Point Dread & The Talon Fighter were trademarked early on, in September 1982, but the separate names, Point Dread and Talon Fighter were trademarked individually in May of 1983.

September 27, 1982:

ATTAK TRAK, MAN-E-FACES, POINT DREAD & THE TALON FIGHTER, RAM MAN, TRAP JAW, ZOAR

December 10, 1982:

TRI-KLOPS

January 21, 1983:

EVIL-LYN, “HEROIC WARRIORS”, “EVIL WARRIORS”

February 16, 1983:

PANTHOR, SCREEECH

May 23, 1983:

PRINCE ADAM (release probably delayed until 1984)

May 25, 1983:

FAKER, POINT DREAD, TALON FIGHTER

August 22, 1983:

“BATTLE FOR ETERNIA”

Wave 3

As mentioned earlier, Prince Adam was the first figure released in the third wave to get trademarked (May 1983). Most of the rest of that wave was trademarked in August of 1983, including Buzz-Off, Clawful, Mekaneck, Fisto, Jitsu, and others. Webstor, “Battle Armor” (presumably covering both He-Man and Skeletor variants) and Kobra Khan bring up the rear. I couldn’t locate a 1980s trademark date for either Orko or Dragon Walker.

Mekaneck is considered by many to be a second wave figure, but don’t think that’s right. He was of course trademarked the same day as many other third wave figures. Beyond that, Mekaneck also appears in the 1984 Dealer Catalog, but is absent from the 1983 Dealer Catalog. The figure itself is stamped with the same date as other third wave figures (1983 – figures were released the year after the date stamp). He has the clam shell armor that is distinctive to third wave and later figures, and he does not appear in mini comics until 1984. Because so many things about Mekaneck point to him being a third wave figure, in my books that’s what he is.

August 15, 1983:

SNAKE MOUNTAIN

August 22, 1983:

BUZZ-OFF, CLAWFUL, FISTO, JITSU, MEKANECK, ROAD RIPPER, ROTON, STRIDOR, WHIPLASH

December 5, 1983:

WEBSTOR

January 27, 1984:

BATTLE ARMOR, KOBRA KHAN

Date Not Found:

ORKO, DRAGON WALKER, WEAPONS PAK

 Wave 4

“Fright Zone” was trademarked significantly sooner than the other fourth wave items, in January of 1984. Most of the others were trademarked later in the year, in September, November and December. Sy-Klone was the last to be trademarked, in the summer of 1985. He was actually trademarked on the same day as many figures released in 1986, although the figure is stamped 1984, indicating that he was released in 1985.He also appears with other fourth wave characters in the 1985 mini comics, so I believe this is a case of a delayed trademark filing but not a delayed release for the figure, if that makes sense.

I couldn’t locate a 1980s trademark date for Roboto.

January 27, 1984:

THE FRIGHT ZONE

September 10, 1984:

GRIZZLOR, HORDAK, “THE HORDE”, LAND SHARK, LEECH, MANTENNA, SPIKOR, SPYDOR, STINKOR, THUNDER PUNCH, TWO BAD

November 23, 1984:

BASHASAURUS, NIGHT STALKER, “THE EVIL HORDE”

December 19, 1984:

DRAGON BLASTER, MODULOK, MOSS MAN

December 28, 1984:

BATTLE BONES

Date Not Found:

ROBOTO, EVIL ROBOT (unproduced)

Wave 5

Most of the 1986 figures and other items were trademarked in the summer and winter of 1985. Many were trademarked in early 1986 though. Eternia was among the last of that wave to be trademarked, in June of 1986. I couldn’t locate a 1980s trademark date for either Hurricane Hordak or King Hiss.

June 14, 1985:

LASER BOLT, TERROR CLAWS

June 17, 1985:

FLYING FISTS, RATTLOR, ROKKON, STONEDAR, SY-KLONE, TUNG LASHOR

June 24, 1985:

SLIME PIT

November 12, 1985:

HORDE TROOPER, MANTISAUR, MULTI-BOT, SNAKE MEN, SNOUT SPOUT

December 2, 1985:

BLASTERHAWK

January 9, 1986:

EXTENDAR, RIO BLAST

March 17, 1986:

“COMET WARRIORS”

March 21, 1986:

BATTLE FOR ETERNIA (board game), FRIGHT FIGHTER

March 24, 1986

STILT STALKERS

June 23, 1986:

ETERNIA, GRAYSKULL (AKA He-Ro), JET SLED, MONSTROID

Date Not Found:

HURRICANE HORDAK, KING HISS, DRAGSTOR, MEGALASER

Wave 6/7

All of the 1987 items, save Saurod, were trademarked in 1986 – that is, those for which I could find a filed trademark.  I couldn’t locate one for almost half of the items released in 1987. That may be because the MOTU line was crashing and burning by then. Interestingly, I did find trademarks for Gigantisaur and Eldor, even though these items were never released.

Of the four figures released in 1988 (Tytus, Megator, Laser Power He-Man, Laser Power Skeletor), only the first two had 1980s trademarks on file. Tytus was trademarked in late 1986, while Megator was trademarked in the spring of 1987. Both Tytus and Megator were slated to come out in 1987, but they were delayed a year and released only in Europe.

June 23, 1986:

BUZZ-SAW, MOSQUITOR, SORCERESS, METEORBS, COMETROID, TY-GRRR, ASTRO LION, COMET CAT, TUSKOR, DINOSORB, CROCOBITE, RHINORB, ORBEAR, GORE-ILLA

September 22, 1986:

BIONATOPS, GIGANTISAUR (unproduced), POWERS OF GRAYSKULL, TYRANTISAURUS REX

October 6, 1986:

ELDOR (unproduced), ROTAR, TURBODACTYL, TWISTOID, TYTUS (release delayed until 1987)

October 7, 1986:

BLAST-ATTAK, GWILDOR

October 14, 1986:

CLIFF CLIMBER, SCUBATTACK

April 27, 1987:

SAUROD, MEGATOR

No Date Found:

ARTILLERAY, BEAM BLASTER, BLADE, CLAMP CHAMP, GYRATTACKER (unproduced), HE-RO (unproduced), KING RANDOR, NINJOR, SCARE GLOW, SNAKE FACE, SSSQUEEZE, TOWER TOOLS, LASER LIGHT SKELETOR, LASER POWER HE-MAN

The issue of trademarks doesn’t tell us everything about release dates, of course. I can’t say for sure how long after a trademark was filed that the figure was released (I would guess several months in most cases). But I think it does say something about the order of development of these figures, vehicles and playsets, at least in a broad way.

This was a fairly complicated project. If you think I’ve missed something important, please do let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

Special thanks to Larry Hubbard for reminding me about the Weapons Pak and Aaron Johnson for reminding me about the Meteorbs! Also thanks to Mike Beezer for letting me know I’d forgotten about Webstor!

Thanks also to Axel Giménez for sharing several high quality pieces of art with me that were used in this post. Many (but not all) of the other images came from the excellent MOTU Portugal site. Others were cobbled together from my snap shots of the back of vintage packaging. 

Image via Battle Grip

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Masters of the Universe patent illustrations

Over the years Mattel filed for patents on a number of Masters of the Universe-related ideas. The language employed is rather difficult to get through, but the illustrations are a lot of fun. I’ve collected some of them here. Special thanks to Manic Man for locating several of these patents, including Blast Attak, Rotar/Twistoid and Gyrattacker!

Included patents and illustrations:

  • Castle Grayskull (trap door mechanism)
  • Attak Trak
  • Bashasaurus
  • Battle Armor He-Man
  • Battle Bones
  • Blast Attak
  • Dragon Walker
  • Fright Zone
  • Fright Zone (puppet)
  • Gyrattacker (unreleased vehicle)
  • Horde Trooper
  • Hurricane Hordak
  • King Hiss
  • Land Shark
  • Laser Bolt
  • Mantenna
  • Megalaser
  • Mekaneck
  • Roboto
  • Rokkon & Stonedar
  • Rotar & Twistoid
  • Spydor
  • Sy-Klone
  • Thunder Punch He-Man
  • Tower Tools/Cliff Climber/Scubattack
  • Two Bad

Castle Grayskull trap door patent:

Attak Trak:

Bashasaurus:

Battle Armor He-Man:

Battle Bones:

Blast Attak:

Dragon Walker:

The Fright Zone:

Fright Zone (puppet):

Gyrattacker (unreleased vehicle):

Horde Trooper:

Hurricane Hordak:

King Hiss:

Land Shark:

Laser Bolt:

Mantenna:

Megalaser:

Mekaneck:

Roboto:

Rokkon & Stonedar:

Rotar & Twistoid:

Spydor:

Sy-Klone:

Thunder Punch He-Man:

Tower Tools/Cliff Climber/Scubattack:

Two Bad:

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1985 Mattel Toys Dealer Catalog

Here is the 1985 Mattel Toys Dealer Catalog. Intended for retailers, Mattel’s dealer catalogs showcased all the latest and greatest releases, along with existing products within its various current (at the time) toy lines. New products are highlighted here with a “New 85” graphic. New releases included:

  • Thunder Punch He-Man
  • Dragon Blaster Skeletor
  • Moss Man
  • Sy-Klone
  • Roboto
  • Stinkor
  • Spikor
  • Two Bad
  • Battle Bones
  • Land Shark
  • Bashasaurus
  • Night Stalker
  • Spydor
  • Hordak
  • Leech
  • Grizzlor
  • Mantenna
  • Modulok
  • Fright Zone
  • Adventure Books

Interestingly, Night Stalker is not marked as “New For 85”, but he also doesn’t appear in the 1984 catalog. He seems to have been an in-between figure.

If you look closely, you’ll see that the Evil Horde figures are hand-painted casts. In the case of Modulok and Mantenna, there is a noticeable deviation from what would be the final color scheme.

(Source: Orange Slime)

The production Skeletor came without the skirt piece shown

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