Heroic Warriors

Rokkon – Young heroic battling boulder (1986)

The last Masters of the Universe figures I would ever get as a kid were Rokkon, Stonedar and Modulok, for my birthday in 1986. All three were a surprise, and they were all a bit out in left field compared to the figures I had until that point, which mostly reused the same few basic muscular body types that originated with He-Man, Skeletor and Beast Man.

Image source: Orange Slime

Of the two rock/comet warriors, Stonedar was my favorite, mostly because I liked the cratered surface of his outer shell, as opposed to the quartz-like surface of Rokkon’s shell.

It seems that 1986 was the year of the transforming rock toys. That same year, Hasbro released their Inhumanoids toyline, with the heroic character Granok, who could transform from a pile of rocks into a tall rock creature. Tonka also released their Rock Lords toyline, a spinoff from the GoBots series:

These transforming rock toys seem to get regularly panned in articles about 80s toys today (particularly the Rock Lords), but I’ve always liked them. Granok was the only character I owned from the Inhumanoids line, and he was one of my favorite toys growing up. He didn’t make a very convincing pile of rocks, but he was a pretty great-looking rock warrior. Stonedar was kind of the opposite – he made for a very convincing comet or rock, but as a warrior he looked a bit awkward.

Design & Development

Rokkon emerged from a series of designs for transforming rock characters by Ted Mayer. None of the extant concepts below is identical to either Stonedar or Rokkon, but the basic idea is evident:

Image source: The Power and the Honor Foundation Catalog
Image source: Tomart’s Action Figure Digest

Both Ted Mayer and Roger Sweet are listed as inventors on the patent application, which was filed January 14, 1986.

Rokkon was sculpted by Eddy Mosqueda, a designer at Mattel. At the Lords of Power Facebook page, Eddy chimed in with the following information and picture:

I sculpted the “Rock-On” figure when I was working at Mattel. I still own a Tooling Copy of it.

Here is a photo of a Rokkon “Test-Shot” in beige that I still own. I’m still going to have to get the Tooling Copy and photograph it when I get it from a box, in a larger box, in a closet, in my basement!

Eddy Mosqueda
Image source: Eddy Mosqueda, shared at the Lords of Power Facebook page

Action Figure

The figure itself has an eye-catching blue, orange, silver and purple color scheme. The cross sell art and early catalog photos of the toy (below) show with without pupils and with a light purple gun:

Image source: Grayskull Museum
Image source: Grayskull Museum

The figure has a crystalline outer surface, suggestive of some exotic mineral or outer space rock. Rokkon’s transformation into a rock was achieved simply by posing him in the fetal position. For me the play pattern with Rokkon was to leave him as a boulder until an unsuspecting evil warrior walked by. Then Rokkon would leap into action, getting the best of the bad guy using the element of surprise.

Packaging

Rokkon was initially packaged on a card that proclaimed him a “Young heroic battling boulder.” The front of the card said, “Invincible boulder transforms into master of defense!” However, on subsequent versions, Rokkon was called a “Young heroic comet warrior” and “Invincible meteor transforms into mighty warrior.”

The change may have been made to capitalize on Halley’s Comet, which passed close to the earth in 1986 (thanks to Matthew Martin for pointing out that connection to me). The first version (below, left) features artwork by Errol McCarthy (I believe) on the front, while the second version features artwork by William George on the front.

Image courtesy of Jukka Issakainen

Comics & Characterization:

In the minicomic that accompanied the figure, Rock People to the Rescue, Stonedar and Rokkon would hurl themselves downhill in rock form at their enemies. In this issue they put the hurt on Kobra Khan and Webstor, which is in contrast to later stories that would paint the rock warriors as pacifists.

In Escape From The Slime Pit, the rock people are pacifists who hesitate even to defend themselves from the Evil Horde. In the end they defeat the Horde by dazzling them with their shiny armor – a feature that is also mentioned on the back of the packaging. It’s not the most compelling idea for an attack strategy. It perhaps doesn’t help that the armor on the toy isn’t particularly shiny, making the “feature” feel like something of a stretch.

The 1987 Style Guide described Rokkon this way:

Power: Transforms from mighty meteorite into warrior. As a meteor, he can roll into battle to surprise attackers. His rocky body can deflect laser blasts.

Character Profile: Member of the Comet Warriors, a race from another planet.

Artwork by Errol McCarthy

There was also a fact file published on both comet warriors in the 1989 UK MOTU Annual:

Image source: He-Man.org

Animation

Rokkon did not appear in the original Filmation He-Man series, but he did make a couple of appearances in She-Ra. As in the Slime Pit comic and style guide, the rock people are characterized as pacifists. They come to Etheria because the star of their home solar system is on the verge of exploding. The comet warriors immediately get into trouble with the Evil Horde.

In the model sheet below, we see that Rokkon’s early working name in the series was Flint. The name may have been changed because of the G.I. Joe character with the same name:

Other Artwork

Earl Norem illustrated both Stonedar and Rokkon for a poster for the winter 1986 Masters of the Universe Magazine, and, as Matthew Martin pointed out in my previous article about Stonedar, the scene is reminiscent of the illustration that Errol McCarthy did for the style guide (or perhaps, considering the dates, it’s actually vice versa).

Rokkon also appears in William George’s Eternia poster:

Image courtesy of Jukka Issakainen
Image source: Steve Macrocranios

Rokkon in Action

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

Special thanks to Larry Hubbard for providing the Rokkon figure photographed for this article.

Return to Table of Contents.

Artwork

Masters of the Universe Cross Sell Art – 1986

The artwork for this set comes from Axel Giménez, StarCrusader, Dark Horse’s Art of He-Man, He-Man World, eBay auctions, and my own photos and scans.

Unfortunately, I don’t know of any cross sell-style artwork for the Eternia playset other than the red line art featured on the back of the Eternia box.

Masters of the Universe Cross Sell Art:

Return to Table of Contents.

Heroic Warriors

Stonedar – Heroic leader of the rock people (1986)

stonedar-graphic

The last Masters of the Universe figures I would ever get as a kid were Rokkon, Stonedar and Modulok, for my birthday in 1986. All three were a surprise, and they were all a bit out in left field compared to the figures I had until that point, which mostly reused the same few basic muscular body types that originated with He-Man, Skeletor and Beast Man.

page_171
Image source: Orange Slime

Of the two rock/comet warriors (more on that distinction later), Stonedar was my favorite, mostly because I liked the cratered surface of his outer shell, as opposed to the quartz-like surface of Rokkon’s shell.

It seems that 1986 was the year of the transforming rock toys. That same year, Hasbro released their Inhumanoids toyline, with the heroic character Granok, who could transform from a pile of rocks into a tall rock creature. Tonka also released their Rock Lords toyline, a spinoff from the GoBots series:

These transforming rock toys seem to get regularly panned in articles about 80s toys today (particularly the Rock Lords and Mattel’s rock warriors), but I’ve always liked them. Granok was the only character I owned from the Inhumanoids line, and he was one of my favorite toys growing up. He didn’t make a very convincing pile of rocks, but he was a pretty great-looking rock warrior. Stonedar was kind of the opposite – he made for a very convincing comet or rock, but as a warrior he looked a bit awkward.

Stonedar emerged from a series of designs for transforming rock characters by Ted Mayer. None of the extant concepts below is identical to either Stonedar or Rokkon, but the basic idea is evident:

stonedar-ted-mayer-ph
Image source: The Power and the Honor Foundation Catalog
46990
Image source: Tomart’s Action Figure Digest

Both Ted Mayer and Roger Sweet are listed as inventors on the patent application, which was filed January 14, 1986.

Stonedar was sculpted by Steve Varner, a former business partner of Eddy Mosqueda and an outside vendor at the time. The prototype (or at least one version of it) seems to be nearly identical to the final toy, with the exception of the pupils, which are unpainted. It is possible to find production examples like this as well, although they are uncommon:

stonedarproto
Image source: Grayskull Museum

The cross sell artwork for Stonedar is quite faithful to the toy design, as you can see below:

stonedar-cross-sell
Image courtesy of Axel Giménez

Stonedar was initially packaged on a card that proclaimed him the “Heroic leader of the rock people.” Moreover, the front of the card said, “Invincible boulder transforms into mighty warrior!” However, on subsequent versions, Stonedar was called the “Heroic leader of the comet warriors” and “Invincible meteor transforms into mighty warrior.” The change may have been made to capitalize on Halley’s Comet, which passed close to the earth in 1986 (thanks to Matthew Martin for pointing out that connection to me). The first version features artwork by Errol McCarthy on the front, while the second version features (I believe) artwork by William George on the front.

stonedar
Image courtesy of Jukka Issakainen
stonedar_instructions-44363
stonedar
William George Rock Warriors

Stonedar’s transformation into a rock was achieved simply by posing him in the fetal position. For me the play pattern with Stonedar was to leave him as a boulder until an unsuspecting evil warrior walked by. Then Stonedar would leap into action, getting the best of the bad guy using the element of surprise.

Some releases of the figure had lighter blue skin. I have found both versions from the Malaysia factory. Interestingly, the plugs on their weapons are a different size and cannot be interchanged:

In the minicomic that accompanied the figure, Rock People to the Rescue, Stonedar and Rokkon would hurl themselves downhill in rock form at their enemies. In this issue they put the hurt on Kobra Khan and Webstor, which is in contrast to later stories that would paint the rock warriors as pacifists.

In Escape From The Slime Pit, the rock people are pacifists who hesitate even to defend themselves from the Evil Horde. In the end they defeat the Horde by dazzling them with their shiny armor – a feature that is also mentioned on the back of the packaging. It’s not the most compelling idea for an attack strategy. It perhaps doesn’t help that the armor on the toy isn’t particularly shiny, making the “feature” feel like something of a stretch.

The 1987 style guide, illustrated by Errol McCarthy, describes Stonedar and his people in much the the same way as the Slime Pit minicomic:

rokkon_and_stonedar_m118_full

One day, a spectacular meteor shower was seen in the night sky over Eternia. This shower was actually the arrival of the Comet Warriors. Stonedar is the leader of this peaceful clan. Though his race tends to shy away from conflict of any kind, Stonedar has offered to help He-Man in the great struggle against the forces of evil. Stonedar is an exceptionally wise old man.

Stonedar can use his “blazing” armor to temporarily blind attackers in battle. He can also use his rocky arms and legs to deflect blows.

Aside from the style guide illustration, Errol illustrated Stonedar in a few other contexts for use in T-shirts and possibly other licensed products:

There is also a fact file for both Stonedar and Rokkon in the 1989 UK MOTU Annual:

Image source: He-Man.org

Stonedar did not appear in the original Filmation He-Man series, but he did make a couple of appearances in She-Ra. As in the Slime Pit comic and style guide, the rock people are characterized as pacifists. They come to Etheria because the star of their home solar system is on the verge of exploding. The comet warriors immediately get into trouble with the Evil Horde.

stonedar-filmation
stonedar-and-flint

Earl Norem illustrated both Stonedar and Rokkon for a poster for the winter 1986 Masters of the Universe Magazine, and, as Matthew Martin points out in the comments, the scene is reminiscent of the illustration that Errol McCarthy did for the style guide (or perhaps, considering the dates, it’s actually vice versa).

earl-norem-poster-comets

Stonedar also appears in William George’s Eternia and Preternia posters:

Stonedar, incorrectly labeled Rokkon

Stonedar, like many other figures released late in the He-Man line, was rather gimmicky, but he was still a a lot of fun to play with. Even if you don’t like the figure itself, he also works great when in rock mode as background scenery for a diorama.

Special thanks to Larry Hubbard for providing the Stonedar figure photographed for this article.

Return to Table of Contents.

Technical Drawings & Patents

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:

US4580991-1

Megalaser:

Mekaneck:

Roboto:

Rokkon & Stonedar:

Rotar & Twistoid:

Spydor:

Sy-Klone:

Thunder Punch He-Man:

Tower Tools/Cliff Climber/Scubattack:

Two Bad:

Return to Table of Contents.