Artwork

Masters of the Universe Cross Sell Art – US Variants

The artwork for this set comes from Axel Giménez, Tokyonever, Plaid Stallions (for the Monogram Talon Fighter), and my own scans and photos. This is not meant to be exhaustive – it merely represents the variants in US cross-sell art that I am aware of.

Teela

Teela shows up with brown boots and armor in the early 8-back cardbacks, but she can also be found with red armor/boots on some of the early vehicle packaging. It’s possible that this is just a variation in the way the print was set up, but the change may have been deliberate, in order to more accurately reflect the colors of her action figure.

Mer-Man

Mer-Man shows up with blue skin in early 8-back cardbacks, but he can be found with green skin on much of the vehicle packaging as well as later figure cardbacks. I believe the change was deliberate, in order to reflect the skin tone of his action figure. Of course the cross sell art still looks quite a bit different from the toy, regardless.

Trap Jaw

Trap Jaw’s cross sell art is something of a curiosity. It’s very common to find a version of it where he is missing not only his jaw but also his chest armor. On the other hand, only the jawless version features the skull and crossbones design on his belt. There was actually a catalog that featured a jawless version of the figure itself, making me wonder if the art wasn’t based on an incomplete sample, and the artist wasn’t aware of that fact.

Evil-Lyn

I found the flesh tone version of Evil-Lyn on the back of Dragon Walker packaging, and the yellow version on Fisto’s cardback. I don’t know for sure whether or not the change was deliberate or a printer artifact, but the flesh tone version recalls the character’s animated appearance.

Zoar

Zoar typically shows up with a two-tone orange color scheme and green armor on the backs of minicomics. Conversely, he appears in the toy-accurate orange and blue color scheme with red armor on the back of vehicle packaging. I believe the version with green armor represents and early, abandoned color scheme for the figure.

Attak Trak

The Attak Trak variants are the most subtle of this group. The cross sell artwork appears in both orange and red. There are also some orange versions of the toy, although most are red. I believe the earliest releases are orange.

Talon Fighter

The Monogram model kit Talon Fighter looks much different than its Mattel counterpart, and so of course does its cross sell art. The Monogram version represents, I believe, an earlier Mattel design for the toy.

Masters of the Universe Cross Sell Art:

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Resource

Parts Reuse in MOTU, Part Two: 1983

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 1983 that had (at the time) all new parts:

Ram Man

Man-E-Faces

Point Dread & Talon Fighter

These toys from 1983 reused some existing parts:

Man-E-Faces – free weapons offer

Trap Jaw

Tri-Klops

Evil-Lyn

Faker

Savage He-Man

Panthor

Zoar

Screeech

Attak Trak

Parts Reuse series:

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Artwork

Box Art From A-Z, Part Two: 1983

box-art-a-z-graphic-1983

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 Two: 1983

Name: Attak Trak
Year: 1983
Artist: Rudy Obrero
Description: He-Man pilots the Attak Trak over rough terrain. Skeletor and Mer-Man are ready to attack, while Man-At-Arms and Teela stand in defense of Castle Grayskull.

attak-trak-restored

Name: Battle for Eternia
Year: 1983
Artist: William Garland
Description: Panthor swipes his claws at Man-E-Faces, as Man-E-Faces takes aim with his blaster at Skeletor, who is riding atop the savage cat. Twin moons hang in the smokey sky.

BFE
Artwork courtesy of Tokyonever
battle-for-eternia-original

Name: Panthor
Year: 1983
Artist: William Garland
Description: Skeletor and Panthor navigate alien terrain. A pterodactyl-like creature swoops in the air and two alien moons set on the smokey horizon. Castle Grayskull stands in the background, shrouded by mists and blowing sand.

panthor-best-quality

Name: Point Dread & Talon Fighter
Year: 1983
Artist: William Garland*
Description: He-Man and Teela sit inside the Talon Fighter’s cockpit, as its jet engines flair. Skeletor, Tri-Klops and Mer-Man race toward Point Dread, which is defended by Man-At-Arms. Twin alien moons hang in the night sky. Castle Grayskull looms in the foggy distance. (*Artist name not confirmed for this particular piece, but the art seems to match the style of the Panthor illustrations.)

point-dread-talon-fighter-logos-removed

Name: Screeech
Year: 1983
Artist: Rudy Obrero
Description: Screeech is depicted both soaring through the smokey skies of Eternia and standing on his perch, which sits on top of a castle turret.

screeech

Name: Skeletor and Panthor
Year: 1983
Artist: William Garland
Description: He-Man clashes swords with Skeletor, who sits astride the savage Panthor. A tiny gargoyle-like creature leaps from harm’s way. Man-At-Arms swings his club at Beast Man in front of the ominous Castle Grayskull.

skeletor-panthor-hi-res

Name: Skeletor and Screeech
Year: 1983
Artist: Rudy Obrero
Description: Skeletor stands at the edge of a lava-filled crevasse with Screeech perched on his arm. Two rodents run away in terror.

skeletor-screeech-largest

Name: Teela and Zoar
Year: 1983
Artist: Unknown
Description: Teela stands atop a rocky mountain peak as Zoar swoops through the skies at sunset. A snowy mountain range is visible in the distance.

teela-zoar-largest

Name: Zoar
Year: 1983
Artist: Rudy Obrero
Description: Zoar swoops through the skies as He-Man and Skeletor do battle on a rocky, volcanic landscape. Castle Grayskull looms in the distance.

zoar-no-logo3

More articles in this series:

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