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!

Return to Table of Contents.

13 thoughts on “The Toys of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

  1. The DC vs MOTU Classics He-Man write-up is the Galactic Protector write-up;)

    1. Oh no! You’re right. I didn’t edit that section or write that article, but there a few errors in the book, including in sections I did edit! Hopefully the mistakes that slipped past us will be ironed out in a future reprint.

  2. I ordered it with the Character Guide Compendium Addendum, which turend out pretty cool, too. This is a bloody impressive tome (it’s too big to be called a mere “book”), but I have noticed quite a few errors, and I haven’t even gotten out of the Vintage section yet. Lotta typos, Mantisaur’s legs are misassembled, some of the pictures are flipped along their vertical axis (Clawful and Megator, for example) . . . .

    It’s bloody impressive, but I think it’s definitely going to need a second edition at some point.

    1. Thanks Beedo, I appreciate the head’s up on the errors you found. I think if we had had more time we would have caught more of them, but deadlines were pretty tight. I’m reporting any errors you guys find to Val and Dan, so keep them coming!

      1. Okay then, mate, let’s see how this goes. First hundred pages . . . .

        PAGE 10
        Described as “First released in 1986,” while under Rokkon’s entry (Page 101), it says: “This action feature would be included again with the Meteorbs in 1987.” While he-man.org backs up the claim that the Meteorbs were released in 1987, all the individual Meteorb entries so far have stated “First released in 1986”.

        PAGE 20
        I would suggest:
        ¶2 L 2-4: “The Artilleray is a large, double-barrelled mobile laser cannon with a wheeled base for warriors to stand on.”
        Or “double-barreled,” depending on which version of English you use. 😉

        PAGE 21
        ¶1 L3: Admittedly nitpicky, but if Beast Man’s mould was used for Stratos and Moss Man, then it isn’t “completely unique.”

        PAGE 22
        I would suggest:

        Main Picture Box:
        “Accessory:
        * Horn-mounted laser weapons”

        ¶2 L2: Triceratops should be capitalised, as it is a genus name.

        ¶4 L2: “Mounted to his horns are large gray lasers that He-Man can hold onto while riding.”

        PAGE 31
        The photo of the “Skeletor Legs” Clawful Variant is flipped on its vertical axis, putting his crusher claw on the wrong side.

        PAGE 33
        Described as “First released in 1986,” while under Rokkon’s entry (Page 101), it says: “This action feature would be included again with the Meteorbs in 1987.” While he-man.org backs up the claim that the Meteorbs were released in 1987, all the individual Meteorb entries so far have stated “First released in 1986”.

        PAGE 34
        Described as “First released in 1986,” while under Rokkon’s entry (Page 101), it says: “This action feature would be included again with the Meteorbs in 1987.” While he-man.org backs up the claim that the Meteorbs were released in 1987, all the individual Meteorb entries so far have stated “First released in 1986”.

        Fun Factoid: “Earth” should be capitalised.

        PAGE 35
        Described as “First released in 1986,” while under Rokkon’s entry (Page 101), it says: “This action feature would be included again with the Meteorbs in 1987.” While he-man.org backs up the claim that the Meteorbs were released in 1987, all the individual Meteorb entries so far have stated “First released in 1986”.

        PAGE 36
        Described as “First released in 1986,” while under Rokkon’s entry (Page 101), it says: “This action feature would be included again with the Meteorbs in 1987.” While he-man.org backs up the claim that the Meteorbs were released in 1987, all the individual Meteorb entries so far have stated “First released in 1986”.

        PAGE 37
        ¶2 L9: The description of the Dragon Blaster Skeletor’s dragon spraying “a light mist” puzzles me. Mine sprayed a pretty strong jet, and the old TV ad found on YouTube shows the same thing. Are there perhaps variants on the spray nozzle in the dragon’s mouth, other than red / white colour variations? Does the colour of the spray nozzle determine the shape / strength of the spray that comes out? I am intrigued.

        Also, the carded Dragon Blaster Skeletor figure appears to show a “male half” purple Power Sword, while the loose sample shows a “female half” purple Power Sword. I had the “male half” version as a kid, and this appears to be the version depicted on the cross-sell art, too. Perhaps this variant might be worth mentioning, space permitting.

        PAGE 44
        ¶2 L1: “Concepted” would be better replaced with “conceived”.

        PAGE 45
        ¶4 L1: Extendar’s shield is a trapezoid shape, not a square.

        Also, I really don’t think his shield is supposed to open all the way out, as shown in the smaller supplementary picture below the main photo. I think it’s just the triangular sections that are meant to fold out. The section with the handle was likely just done that way for engineering purposes, and meant to be kept folded.

        PAGE 47
        ¶3 L6: “accesss’y” should be replaced with “accessory.”

        PAGE 49
        The accessory count in the main photo omits one of the guns, and should read something like:
        “Two cockpit cannons
        Tail gun
        Radar dish”

        PAGE 52
        Described as “First released in 1986,” while under Rokkon’s entry (Page 101), it says: “This action feature would be included again with the Meteorbs in 1987.” While he-man.org backs up the claim that the Meteorbs were released in 1987, all the individual Meteorb entries so far have stated “First released in 1986″.

        PAGE 59
        Unnecessary ” at the very end of the entry.

        PAGE 61
        Not an error, juts an observation: after decades of weather reports, how freakin’ disappointing is it that the World Meteorolgical Association has never named a hurricane “Hordak”?!

        PAGE 62
        ¶2 L1: The “hover-race” should be changed to “hover-racer.”

        PAGE 68
        ¶2 L4: I would replace “stationary” with “mobile”, especially as the box art depicts it moving while upright.

        Photos: Are there no surviving Laser Bolts that collapse all the way down that could be photographed?

        PAGE 69
        ¶2 L6: I would remove the “semi” from “semicyborg”. But that’s me.
        ¶3 L1: I would insert a comma between “black” and “removable”. But that’s me.
        Photo: The “Action Feature” photo is flipped on its vertical axis, putting his light-up gauntlet on the wrong side.

        PAGE 75
        In all of the pictures, Mantisaur’s back legs are misassembled; their “knees” should be pointing backwards, as shown on the box. Also, immersing the arms in some hot water for a bit might help un-warp them.

        PAGE 77
        The main product shot of Megator is flipped on its vertical axis.

        PAGE 78
        ¶2 L1: Mekaneck’s armour is not unique, as it was re-used for Stinkor.

        PAGE 79
        The main product shot of Mer-Man is flipped on its vertical axis, as is the “Unpainted Belt Variant” photo.

        ¶4 L3: I know all these sound overly critical, but I think definite praise should be heaped on for mentioning that Mer-Man’s sword is based on the rostrum of a sawfish.

        PAGE 85
        The main product shot of Moss Man is flipped on its vertical axis.

        PAGE 87
        The main product shot for Night Stalker is flipped on its vertical axis.

        PAGE 88
        ¶4 L2: A space should be inserted between “ninja sword” and “(reused from Jitsu)”. And a space should be taken OUT between “Jitsu)” and “and a pair”. This will balance out nicely.

        1. Thank you! Meteorbs were indeed released in 1986. Originally the assumption had been they came out in 1987 as per the org, but that was incorrect. I gave some feedback to correct that date but apparently either I missed some references or not all of them were corrected. Very helpful!

          “Mekaneck’s armour is not unique, as it was re-used for Stinkor.” What is meant here is that it was unique at the time – meaning it wasn’t a part he was borrowing from some other figure. In Stinkor’s entry it mentions he reuses Mekaneck’s armor. Ditto for Beast Man – Beast Man came out first, so his body and armor were unique pieces, even if they were reused later.

          1. Yeah, I thought the Meteorbs were 1986, because they had a 1985 trademark on the back of the card (pictured in each of their entries). Also, I remember having Comet Cat and Cometroid in hand when I saw Eternia for the only time at Children’s Palace, back in 1986.

            As for the “unique” issue, while “at the time” it might be implied, that’s not how it comes across in the wording. If “at the time” could be shoehorned into the text without typesetting issue, that would certainly help for Mekaneck’s entry, and also if specified that Stratos and Zodac would re-use his parts in the second wave later that year.

            Anywho, still plugging away at it . . . .

          2. Okay, second hundred pages:

            PAGE 101:
            Fun Factoid: “Earth” should be capitalised in the last line.

            ¶1 L 4-5: “This action feature would be included again with the Meteorbs in 1987.” While he-man.org backs up the claim that the Meteorbs were released in 1987, all the individual Meteorb entries so far have stated “First released in 1986”. Despite “The Org’s” claim that they came out in 1987, I definitely remember getting Comet Cat the first and only time I saw an Eternia in the stores, in 1986.

            PAGE 102
            In all the photos, Rotar’s Roto-Pod / Gear Grinder us upside-down.

            PAGE 103
            ¶3 L1: The vintage Roton only rolls on one wheel.

            PAGE 105
            The “Action Shot” of Scare Glow glowing in the dark is flipped on its vertical axis.

            PAGE 111
            ¶2 L 1-2: A snake doesn’t come out of Vintage Snake Face’s mouth; that’s a forked tongue.

            ¶4 L2: Might be worth mentioning Snake Face’s staff is a deep green colour, to differentiate from King Hiss’s light green staff.

            [ ADDENDUM — PAGE 64:
            ¶4 L2: Might be helpful to note that King Hiss’ staff is light green / lime green to differntiate from Snake Face’s deeper, darker green staff. ]

            PAGE 116
            Variant Box: The text is misleading. It talks about “four blue spikes down the center of his torso,” but the variation pictured shows four spikes either side of the center of his body, in the top row of armour spikes. I would suggest: “An uncommon variant has eight spikes on the top row of the front of his armour, instead of the more common six spikes.”

            PAGE 118
            Regarding the appearance of Sssqueeze’s head, he is modelled on the emerald tree boa, noted for having a bulging “cranium” (actually enormous jaw muscles) behind the eyes, and a snout that’s quite elongated for a snake. Even its scientific name, Corallus caninus, refers to its long, “doglike” snout.

            PAGE 121
            ¶1 L4: “This action feature would be included again with the Meteorbs in 1987.” As previously discussed, the Meteorbs came out later in 1986.

            ¶2 L1: Stonedar’s design itself isn’t “unique,” as Rokkon shares the same transformation scheme. His mould is unique, though.

            ¶3 L2: Again, the dish array on his gun isn’t exactly “unique,” as Rokkon has a similar dish on his gun. Its gold colour is unique, though. Instead of “unique, chromed”, I would suggest “golden vac-metal”.

            PAGE 123
            The main product shot for Stridor is flipped on its vertical axis.

            PAGE 124
            ¶1 L4: I’d also mention the red ring on his helmet, too, but that’s me.

            PAGE 125
            The main product shot for Teela is flipped on its vertical axis.

            PAGE 128
            ¶3 L4: Instead of “attach the Power Pak into the upper portion of the arm,” it would be clearer to say “plug the Power Pak into the pulley assembly”, as the pulley system has nothing to do with the actual arm.

            PAGE 131
            To keep stylistically consistent, I’d change his tagline at the top from “EVIL AND SEES EVERYTHING” to “EVIL & SEES EVERYTHING”.

            I’d also mention that his armour has a dedicated slot to hold his sword, but that’s me.

            PAGE 134
            ¶4 L1: If his “unique” characteristic in that his body is furry, Gore-illa is also furry, thereby cancelling out the “unique.”

            ¶4 L2: Mammoths aren’t mastodons. Mastodons, amongst other differences, have straighter tusks, so Tuskor certainly doesn’t have a “mastodon head.” And, yes, this is important.

            PAGE 143
            “Alligator”? Alligator skulls don’t have sagittal crests or beaks. That there is some kind of dragon or wyvern or phoenix skull on the prow of the Wind Raider.

            PAGE 145
            ¶3 L2: If his laser pistol was re-used for Kobra Khan (and also in the Weapons Pak), then it isn’t “unique”.

            PAGE 146
            “Gift Sets” ¶2 L9: The sets mentioned in this paragraph are two-packs, but on Line 9, they’re called “three-packs”.

            “Savage He-Man”: Scott Neitlich recently provided enough evidence since this was written in one of his videos ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ah4KAUdJV6Y ) to cement the “Buy 3 Get 1 Free” offer as the strongest and likeliest explanation of “Wun-Dar.”

            PAGE 147
            “Taiwan”, L2: While all the other sets of quotation marks on the page are standard English quotation marks, the ones on this line are the only Eastern European-style quotation marks.

            “Hong Kong / China,” L3: Intrusive comma needs to be taken out in “rel,eased”.

            “Japan,” L5: “This deal did not mint-on-card” needs to be clarified.

            PAGE 148
            “Spain,” L3: Intrusive comma needs to be taken out in “mar,ked”.

            “Spain,” L12: Delete the duplicated “Universo” in this line.

            PAGE 157
            Bow’s headband in the main product shot differs greatly from all the other photos. Is this a variant?

            PAGE 159
            The accessories checklist in the main product shot lists “Two xockets” — is this a misprint of “sockets,” or is this a patented / trademarked name of a special design of socket? Tried looking up the instruction sheet for the Butterflyer online, but the resolution was bad in all of them, and were illegible.

            PAGE 179
            The main product shot of Frosta is flipped on its vertical axis.

            ¶2 L4 – 5: If no parts of her mould were used on any other figure, then’s she’s not “quite unique,” she is, in fact, ACTUALLY unique! (Also, “unique” is a binary state. Something is either unique, or it isn’t. You can’t have “quite unique” or “very unique.” For reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ltb_14CWqDA )

            PAGE 185
            ¶3 L2: Personally, I’d change “flocking based” to “flocking, depending”.

            PAGE 191
            The main product shot of Peekablue is flipped on its vertical axis.

  3. Congratulations Adam. You must very feel proud to have contributed to such an important work for the MOTU community. This is a fabulous and long-awaited publication. Glad you finally got your copy through USPS. The postal service has been struggling of late!!

    How fortunate for Dan, Val, and the book’s creators to have your indispensable blog and working knowledge of MOTU toy lines to rely on. This book is a mammoth encyclopedia of MOTU products and I can’t imagine how much writing you must have done. Who knew that all those years, you were laying the groundwork for such a massive tome!?

    With this long-overdue publication now released, perhaps the door is open for a future deep dive into the vintage line’s prototypes, development, marketing/advertising campaigns, mail-away promotions, store displays, and even catalog photography (if the licensing allows). I would love to see another in-depth compilation in print or even help contribute to such a project.

    Anyway, congratulations on the book’s tremendous success and thank you for all your hard work over the years to make this blog the #1 stop for vintage MOTU collectors!

    Rob

    1. Thank you Rob, I really appreciate that! 🙂

      I would love to work on future projects, definitely would love to see something more on the line’s development too!

  4. Second hundred pages . . . .

    PAGE 101:
    Fun Factoid: “Earth” should be capitalised in the last line.

    ¶1 L 4-5: “This action feature would be included again with the Meteorbs in 1987.” While he-man.org backs up the claim that the Meteorbs were released in 1987, all the individual Meteorb entries so far have stated “First released in 1986”. Despite “The Org’s” claim that they came out in 1987, I definitely remember getting Comet Cat the first and only time I saw an Eternia in the stores, in 1986.

    PAGE 102
    In all the photos, Rotar’s Roto-Pod / Gear Grinder us upside-down.

    PAGE 103
    ¶3 L1: The vintage Roton only rolls on one wheel.

    PAGE 105
    The “Action Shot” of Scare Glow glowing in the dark is flipped on its vertical axis.

    PAGE 111
    ¶2 L 1-2: A snake doesn’t come out of Vintage Snake Face’s mouth; that’s a forked tongue.

    ¶4 L2: Might be worth mentioning Snake Face’s staff is a deep green colour, to differentiate from King Hiss’s light green staff.

    [ ADDENDUM — PAGE 64:
    ¶4 L2: Might be helpful to note that King Hiss’ staff is light green / lime green to differntiate from Snake Face’s deeper, darker green staff. ]

    PAGE 116
    Variant Box: The text is misleading. It talks about “four blue spikes down the center of his torso,” but the variation pictured shows four spikes either side of the center of his body, in the top row of armour spikes. I would suggest: “An uncommon variant has eight spikes on the top row of the front of his armour, instead of the more common six spikes.”

    PAGE 118
    Regarding the appearance of Sssqueeze’s head, he is modelled on the emerald tree boa, noted for having a bulging “cranium” (actually enormous jaw muscles) behind the eyes, and a snout that’s quite elongated for a snake. Even its scientific name, Corallus caninus, refers to its long, “doglike” snout.

    PAGE 121
    ¶1 L4: “This action feature would be included again with the Meteorbs in 1987.” As previously discussed, the Meteorbs came out later in 1986.

    ¶2 L1: Stonedar’s design itself isn’t “unique,” as Rokkon shares the same transformation scheme. His mould is unique, though.

    ¶3 L2: Again, the dish array on his gun isn’t exactly “unique,” as Rokkon has a similar dish on his gun. Its gold colour is unique, though. Instead of “unique, chromed”, I would suggest “golden vac-metal”.

    PAGE 123
    The main product shot for Stridor is flipped on its vertical axis.

    PAGE 124
    ¶1 L4: I’d also mention the red ring on his helmet, too, but that’s me.

    PAGE 125
    The main product shot for Teela is flipped on its vertical axis.

    PAGE 128
    ¶3 L4: Instead of “attach the Power Pak into the upper portion of the arm,” it would be clearer to say “plug the Power Pak into the pulley armature”, as the pulley system has nothing to do with the actual arm.

    PAGE 131
    To keep stylistically consistent, I’d change his tagline at the top from “EVIL AND SEES EVERYTHING” to “EVIL & SEES EVERYTHING”.

    I’d also mention that his armour has a dedicated slot to hold his sword, but that’s me.

    PAGE 134
    ¶4 L1: If his “unique” characteristic in that his body is furry, Gore-illa is also furry, thereby cancelling out the “unique.”

    ¶4 L2: Mammoths aren’t mastodons. Mastodons, amongst other differences, have straighter tusks, so Tuskor certainly doesn’t have a “mastodon head.” And, yes, this is important.

    PAGE 143
    “Alligator”? Alligator skulls don’t have sagittal crests or beaks. That there is some kind of dragon or wyvern or phoenix skull on the prow of the Wind Raider.

    PAGE 145
    ¶3 L2: If his laser pistol was re-used for Kobra Khan (and also in the Weapons Pak), then it isn’t “unique”.

    PAGE 146
    “Gift Sets” ¶2 L9: The sets mentioned in this paragraph are two-packs, but on Line 9, they’re called “three-packs”.

    “Savage He-Man”: Scott Neitlich recently provided enough evidence since this was written in one of his videos ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ah4KAUdJV6Y ) to cement the “Buy 3 Get 1 Free” offer as the strongest and likeliest explanation of “Wun-Dar.”

    PAGE 147
    “Taiwan”, L2: While all the other sets of quotation marks on the page are standard English quotation marks, the ones on this line are the only Eastern European-style quotation marks.

    “Hong Kong / China,” L3: Intrusive comma needs to be taken out in “rel,eased”.

    “Japan,” L5: “This deal did not mint-on-card” needs to be clarified.

    PAGE 148
    “Spain,” L3: Intrusive comma needs to be taken out in “mar,ked”.

    “Spain,” L12: Delete the duplicated “Universo” in this line.

    PAGE 157
    Bow’s headband in the main product shot differs greatly from all the other photos. Is this a variant?

    PAGE 159
    The accessories checklist in the main product shot lists “Two xockets” — is this a misprint of “sockets,” or is this a patented / trademarked name of a special design of socket? Tried looking up the instruction sheet for the Butterflyer online, but the resolution was bad in all of them, and were illegible.

    PAGE 179
    The main product shot of Frosta is flipped on its vertical axis.

    ¶2 L4 – 5: If no parts of her mould were used on any other figure, then’s she’s not “quite unique,” she is, in fact, ACTUALLY unique! (Also, “unique” is a binary state. Something is either unique, or it isn’t. You can’t have “quite unique” or “very unique.” For reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ltb_14CWqDA )

    PAGE 185
    ¶3 L2: Personally, I’d change “flocking based” to “flocking, depending”.

    PAGE 191
    The main product shot of Peekablue is flipped on its vertical axis.

    1. Thanks so much for doing this! Sorry, it got caught up in spam filters initially. I will share all this with the team!

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