Books

The Toys of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

So I wanted to briefly write about The Toys of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Way back in 2018 Val Staples and Dan Eardley invited me to contribute to the project, and I was honored and thrilled to be a part of it.

Initially my contribution was to be somewhat limited, basically just taking several of the interviews already published on BattleRamBlog.com, and adding a few new ones based on some contacts that Val gave me. A big thank you to all the great, creative folks who took the time to answer my questions! The full list of people interviewed includes:

Another thing from the blog I thought might be a good inclusion was my Timeline article. Val agreed, and the arcane wizards working behind the scenes were able to create a fantastic layout for it!

Val also suggested that I throw in whatever factoids I could think of for the toy writeups that might help to spice them up. You can see a couple of examples below:

I also ended up writing roughly half of the entries for the Masters of the Universe Classics Section. I don’t often write about that line for the Battle Ram Blog, but despite that I think it’s an elegant and masterful toyline, and it was fun to revisit it for this book. Dan wrote about half of it, but found himself in a time crunch, which is why I came in to finish it.

Finally, I (along with many others!) helped out with some of the copy editing for the book. Having the book in hand, my contributions actually seem less significant. Not because I didn’t put a lot of time into it, but because it’s obvious Dan, Val, Darah, Peter and the rest contributed SO much by comparison! I can’t imagine how much time Dan and Val spent on this project, but I imagine it was many thousands of hours. I’m glad I got to come along for the ride. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, what are you waiting for?

Buying the exclusive combo pack (which includes a supplemental Character Guide) supports all the contributors to these books: http://toyguide.thepower-con.com. Alternatively, the combo is also available through Big Bad Toy Store.

You can also purchase the individual toy guide at Amazon or through Big Bad Toy Store.

I want to thank the readers of the Battle Ram Blog for all the time you’ve spent with me exploring He-Man lore. Without your support, I never would have had the chance to contribute to the toy guide. Many of you have been giving helpful comments on the blog and on social media since I started this in 2015, which I always read and always appreciate. So thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Evil Horde

Mosquitor: Evil Energy-Draining Insectoid (1987)

mosquitor-graphic

Mosquitor is one of the few late Masters of the Universe figures that I was aware of as a kid. The last figure I got was probably Rattlor (1986). At that point I was more interested in G.I. Joe (although I loved the Snake Men, and in my mind associated them with Cobra-La). Occasionally though I would wander the isles of the toy store and see what was new in the world of He-Man. The three I remember best from 1987 were the Sorceress, King Randor, and Mosquitor.

When the Evil Horde was introduced in 1985, it represented something of a revival for me in my interest in He-Man. The Horde was composed of some very creepy-looking villains, and they captured my imagination. I owned Grizzlor, Leech, Mantenna, and Modulok, and spent quite a bit of time playing with them, even long after I had stopped collecting Masters of the Universe toys. In my opinion, Mosquitor fits right in  with the original Horde lineup.

Mosquitor had quite a striking design and a bold black and red color scheme befitting his membership in the Evil Horde. In fact, his head and especially his eyes bear a striking resemblance to Mantisaur, released the year before.

Image via The Art of He-Man

Mosquitor had a blood-pumping action feature that circulated blood inside his chest, causing the blood to drip down the clear screen on the front of his chest, only to be collected at the bottom and pushed around again to the top. An early incarnation of this action feature appeared in Mattel’s 1980 Gre-Gory vampire bat.

Another early concept that would have implemented a similar action feature was Ted Mayer’s Braniac, which would have pumped fluid around the giant brain had it been produced:

Image courtesy of Ted Mayer

The Mosquitor concept drawing below was done by David Wolfram, although he says that the character was designed by Pat Dunn. In terms of shape, this concept is quite close to the final toy design, with the exception of the feet, which have individual “toes”. However, the color scheme is quite different from the toy, with a blue body and black and purple accents, rather than his final black body with brown and purple accents. At this point in his design, his eyes are completely black:

Image source: The Art of He-Man

Mosquitor was sculpted by Pat Dunn (special thanks to Pixel Dan for the tip!). As noted earlier, his sculpted design is quite close to the original concept drawing, and is one of the nicer sculpts to come out of the tail end of the Masters of the Universe line:

From the 1987 Mattel catalog.

Some Top Toys-produced versions of Mosquitor have black “blood”. This was due to the factory making use of different pigments when they had run out of the standard red.

Image via He-Man.org

Other versions, like this Spanish Mosquitor, came with a blue gun rather than a purple one:

Image source: Arkangel

The front of Mosquitor’s card features a great illustration of the character. Given that Bruce Tim did several pieces like this for other characters released that year, I would guess he did this one as well.

The back of the card features a great scene (artwork by Errol McCarthy) of Mosquitor assaulting Rattlor (somehow without directly contacting him), as well as some artwork demonstrating how his action feature works. Given Mosquitor’s design, it’s obvious that he’s a blood sucker (like Leech before him), but I would guess that Mattel’s marketing department wanted to soften the gore factor and he is depicted as sucking “energy” instead. Notice that his “Roto-Laser Blaster” on the illustration below is silver rather than purple.

Artwork by Errol McCarthy. Image via He-Man.org

Mosquitor’s cross sell artwork is very faithful to the final toy:

Errol McCarthy also created a couple of other pieces depicting Mosquitor in a battle-ready pose (images via He-Man.org):

Mosquitor also appears in William George’s Eternia and Preternia Posters (thanks to Jukka Issakainen for pointing that out and for the Eternia poster image):

Image via Monster Brains
Image courtesy of Jukka Issakainen

He also shows up, in the clutches of Turbodactyl, in this 1988 poster by Earl Norem:

Image source: He-Man.org

Mosquitor was composed of 100% new parts, and it shows. None of his parts were ever reused in another toy, but there were plans to do so. His legs would have been used in this unproduced mashup character that featured parts from Trap Jaw, Rattlor and Whiplash:

Image via He-Man.org

Mosquitor made his mini comic debut in Enter … Buzz-Saw Hordak!  In the comic, Mosquitor proves to be a quite a menace for friend and foe alike. He nearly defeats He-Man by sucking out his life force:

He also makes an appearance in Star Comics issue number 8:

Mosquitor came out too late to make an appearance in Filmation’s She-Ra cartoon, but if he had, he might have looked something like this:

Artwork by Dr. Omega

For more about Mosquitor, check out this video from Pixel Dan, who is possibly the world’s biggest Mosquitor fan:

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