Friday, April 28, 2017

Masters of the Universe Day 2017 [Finale]!



Welcome to what will be The Toy Box's final post for the day in celebration of Masters of the Universe Day. For fun, I thought we could all take a look at the majority of all the vintage He-Man figures from the 80's. Though my loose collection isn't 100% complete, it is as complete as I plan on making it (for now).

Editor's Note: If you hate reading, this post is going to be a downer for you.

Any He-Man collector has to have the man himself. With the help of a little Sticky Tack*, I was able to showcase the man of the hour holding up his Power Sword.

* Editor's Note: Sticky Tack (or any adhesive putty) is great for photo ops, but I don't recommend using it as a permanent (or long time) solution for posing or standing your figures up. The tack adheres itself incredibly well over time, and can leave residue behind. If that weren't bad enough, it can also absorb the paint, causing fading or loss of paint altogether. If you're currently using it for your figures, reconsider this.

He-Man came packed with the Power Sword, an axe, shield and harness. It was initially released in 1982, but in 1984 was repackaged with a yellow banner which read "The Original". With the exception of the comic book, I am not sure if there are any differences in the figure.

Early releases of the figure can be found with a soft head, while later releases featured a hard one. This variation was common for many of the figures in the line, and, neither versions appears to be anymore rarer than the other.

Of course, you can't have He-Man all by his lonesome can you? If you're going to have He-Man, then you've also got to ensure you have a Battlecat for him to ride on.

Battlecat featured a removable saddle and mask which would allow to give somewhat of an impression of him being his alter ego, Cringer. However, because his mouth cannot be closed, the illusion is somewhat lost as Cringer was certainly never gnashing his teeth at anyone. More so hiding somewhere, or cowering behind someone.

While the "figure" is great for display, its lack of articulation leaves limited play options available. Then again, do you really need mass articulation? Look at it here in the photo. With He-Man atop, it's shear awesomeness.

Where would He-Man be without his trusty companions? They helped him throughout every episode, either via moral support, physical strength, or intellect.

Man-At-Arms and Teela were not only the most common of He-Man's comrades in the animated show, but his only ones in the feature film released in 1987 (as well as the new character Gwildor).

Teela came packed with a staff, shield and helmet. Man-At Arms featured a mace, leg guard and chest piece. The figure can also be found with dark brown boots or redish brown ones making Teela the first figure available with a variant version.

The most interesting aspect of these two characters is their overall design. The characters are based off of their original concept material, which clearly got shifted around a bit by the time the cartoon aired. Teela obviously never went around brandishing a cobra headed staff, nor did she wear any snake garb.

This is not so detrimental to fans as the lack of mustache for Man-At-Arms. For years kids scratched their heads in bewilderment wondering why the figure didn't look like his cartoon counterpart. We didn't understand the whole 1982 figure development / release vs. 1983 television series debut. With that said, Mattel certainly missed many an opportunity to release the figure with facial hair for the vintage line.

The figures Stratos and Zodac also made their plastic debut in 1982.

Statos becomes the second official figure in the series to have a variant. He can be found with red wings and a blue harness as well as blue wings with a red harness. The blue winged version appears to be the first release.

Zodac came with a gun and harness, and while the figure may seem a little boring, his description certainly isn't. "Zodak attacks the Heroic Warriors using all the evil power at his command." Yes, Zodac was initially intended to be on Skeletor's side. It wouldn't be until the cartoon and comics that Zodac became a neutral character. The figure is even sculpted in the vain of one of the villains. He has skeletor's arms and legs, and Beast Man's chest.

Speaking of villains, the 1982 wave (AKA first series) of figures rounded out with three fantastic characters; Skeletor, Beast Man and Mer-Man.

The original release of Skeletor is unique in regards to his boots. For whatever the reason was (most likely cost savings), the first production of figures only had the front side of the boots painted. Future released versions had the entire pair of boots painted. Much like He-Man, Skeletor was also re-released in 1984 with the yellow banner, "The Original". Skeletor came packed with his goat head staff, and a purple variation of the Power Sword.

A fun aspect regarding the Power Swords released throughout the series was that they could be combined with each other to create a full sword. This concept was derived from the original mini comic, "Power Sword" which came packed in with certain figures. The premise was that the Power Sword was actually split in two, and both Skeletor and He-Man each had a half. Their whole "beef" with each other was that Skeletor wanted the other half.

Beast Man and Mer-Man were fantastic cronies of Skeletor to pick as figures. The figures are visually stunning, and overall set the imagination on fire with ideas.

Beast Man came packed with a harness, and whip. Buyer beware - The whip is actually nothing more than a thick black weaved string. If you're not careful, you may end up with one that has been "repaired" with newer material.

Mer-Man gets to be the first figure with an accessory that is often missing, and most people don't notice until it's too late. His giant belt buckle can easily separate from the figure as it is only held in place with a small peg. Make sure you look for this if you plan on picking one up. The figure came packaged with a harness, the aforementioned belt buckle, and a sword.

Then we come to series 2, which debuted in 1983.

Skeletor got his own beast this year in the form of Panthor. However, the 'figure" is nothing more than Battlecat with a purple flock covering it from head to toe. Panthor comes with a saddle, but nothing else.

Let's talk about the flock coating for a moment - It's a dust and dirt magnet. Not only that, but it's prone to tearing and rubbing off if treated roughly. I've seen some Panthors that are in really disgusting and awful states. If you're going to buy this "figure" be ready to store it properly. I also recommend very minimal handling. Otherwise you too will have a gross Panthor with bald spots and caked on dirt / dust.

Because the sculpt is the exact same as Battlecat, much like the other animal, play options are limited due to the lack of articulation. However, much like He-Man and Battlecat, it's hard to frown at how cool Skeletor looks atop Panthor. Put all four of them side by side in a display case, and see if you can find any fault. I'm guessing you won't do anything but smile.

Panthor was certainly not the last beast to be released in the Masters of the Universe world. Series two saw four more, one of which was Night Stalker.

Apparently Mattel had an aversion to beasts that actually moved as this horse's legs and head were securely sculpted in place. As I've said before, and will probably say a few more times - Great for display, terrible for actually playing with it.

Despite being released with series two, I actual favor pairing Night Stalker with Jitsu. The character's "style" matches more in line with the animal - Granted that's not who is in the picture.

Instead, you'll find one of my favorite figures - Faker. Yeah, okay, Faker is nothing more than He-Man painted blue with Skeletor's sword and harness painted oranage, but I love him nonetheless. Buyers of this figure should be aware that Faker has a robotic sticker on his chest, which you can't see with the harness in place. If you're buying one that you want complete, make sure you ask the question of if it is there or not. More importantly, find a trusted seller that can guarantee it's not a reproduction sticker.

Faker wasn't the only Evil Warrior to be released in series two. Mattel also released kid favorites; Trap Jaw, Evil-Lyn and Tri-Klops.

Trap Jaw was always a figure I wanted as a kid, but my parents would never buy him. Readers of The Toy Box will remember a tale I told a while ago about a short lived trade with another kid where I finally got the figure. I won't go into the story again, suffice to say that our parents made us give each other our toys back by the next day. However, now I do have my own, and he (like so many of them) is one of my favorites. He comes with three different "arm" accessories that can be switched out as well as a green belt which has hooks on it for latching the pieces on that you aren't using. This was such a cool feature, and sadly one that Mattel never revisited.

Then there was the second female character released in the line - Evil-Lyn. With the exception of the head, Evil-Lyn was sadly nothing more than a repainted Teela - Yeah, I know, most of the figures comprised of reused parts, but this one was just disappointing.

Tri-Klops is straight up a fun figure. He's got that rotating eye, the bright green color, and was one of the few characters to have a sword sheath on his back - Let's not forget that giant sword that slides in it. He was also one of the few characters to come with an independent accessory - A glow in the dark ring that kids could wear.

The last beast released for the Evil Warriors in series two was Screeech. What's interesting to note about the "character" is that it was actually a robot in the Filmation series. As a "figure" it appears to be an actual bird, and includes a feature that allows its wings to flap. Screeech came with a perch to sit atop, and works really well as a display piece when "sitting" on it.

The Heroic Warriors weren't shy of beasts and figures in series two either. Mattel released Stridor and Zoar which are essentially the same molds as the aforementioned Night Stalker and Screeech - Just different colors. On a personal note, I tend to pair Stridor up with Fisto. Much like Jitsu and Night Stalker, the two just go well together - In my opinion.

Do any of you remember the name (or have even heard of) Jamie Moakes? He was the guy back in 2011 who announced he was going to corner the market by purchasing every Ram Man figure in existence. Did he succeed in his quest? Not so much. Ram Man can still be found in abundance from numerous sources, and for as low as $5.00 (mint and complete).

Ram Man was not only the shortest figure released at the time in the Masters of the Universe line, but also incorporated an all new action feature. While all the prior figures had a "power punch" feature, Ram Man had a button on his back that when released would pop the leg spring, lunging him forward as he did in the cartoon to smash things with his head. Granted, it didn't work as well as shown in the TV series.

Series two wrapped up with the final figure, Man-E-Faces. Man-E didn't get much screen time in the show, but he still became a fan favorite. The figure didn't disappoint with its rotating multi face feature.

Series three was actually released the same year as series 2 (1984). With it came not only a massive amount of new characters, but also brand new versions of He-Man and Skeletor.

Battle Armor He-Man and Battle Armor Skeletor took everything that kids loved about the original figures, and made them better. Each figure featured a rotating emblem on their chest that when hit would flip to show more and more damage. It was a simple feature, but a great one. To this day, these remain my favorite versions of the two characters.

Mattel would proceed throughout the remainder of the line releasing updated versions of the characters (for the most part) consecutively with each wave. Speaking from a personal standpoint, unlike your many Batman and Superman lines that featured so many variations of the main characters that they got cumbersome and boring, Mattel released just enough, and with such widespread variety in play features that it works well for the line. The updated versions weren't just a lazy cash grab. They were actually fun, and well thought out (cash grabs).

In addition to the two main heroes, each side received five new figures. The Heroic Warriors got Mekaneck, Buzz-Off, Fisto, Prince Adam, and the highly anticipated Orko.

Buyers of Buzz-Off should be mindful when picking one out for themselves. The head piece / helmet is often times missing, and often times sellers aren't even aware of it, noting the character as "complete" in their sale.

Mekaneck and Fisto also introduced two new action features for the figures. Mekaneck's neck would stretch out a good 3/4 to one inch, and Fisto featured what can only be described as a straight up guy punch by pulling his arm back, and releasing it. Buyers of Mekaneck should pay close attention to his eyepiece. Make sure when buying one that the reflective stickers are still intact / in place. They scratch easily, and are often times in poor condition.

Prince Adam and Orko are the stand out figures in the wave for me. They're two figures that I really loved as a kid, and to this day still consider be some of (my many) favorites.

Buyers of the two figures should be cognizant of a couple things. First off with Adam, make sure that if you buy one that you not only get the belt, but that the little yellow dot of a belt buckle is still attached. Additionally, make sure that the pink coat isn't split. For some reason, many of us kids loved to slide his sword down the back of the coat (to sheath it), and tore the thing in the process.

Back to the belt, though it's relatively impossible to find one that isn't stretched out be sure that the one you get isn't so far stretched out that it's torn or worse useful only as a bandoleer to the character. Even on mine you can see that it's sliding a bit down his back side.

With Orko, make sure you get all the accessories if your buy him "complete" Orko not only has a zip cord that slides through the character's side, but also a black circular disc the character "stands" on (which is also crucial for the spinning feature). Additionally, the figure was released with a magic trick. This was a stack of discs (with characters stickers on them) that fit inside of a large circular "tray" which had an Orko sticker on it. Much like the ring released with Tri-Klops, the magic trick was essentially for kids to play with separately, and not incorporate with the figures - Though you could.

Each one of the Evil Warriors released in this new wave brought with them a unique style of play as well.

Webstor included a chestplate that had a thin "string" running through it. On one end was a hook, and on the other end was a "stopper" of sorts so that the string didn't need to be constantly threaded. What made this figure one of the best was that if you attached the hook to something, and then pulled the other end, Webstor would begin to climb all on his own.

Jitsu featured a karate chopping action - In the vein of Fisto's pound action. This makes the two the perfect nemeses of each other.

Clawful had a massive claw that had a lever underneath for pinching action. The downside to this was that it made holding his weapon a little awkward. Sure, you can loop it on his left (smaller) claw, but this would add stress marks to the weapon over time, and potentially rub paint off the claw.

Kobra Khan would be one of only three figures that featured a water squirting action. If you remove his head, you can fill the body with liquid. With the head in place, it acts as nothing short of an action figure squirt bottle. Finding one with this feature that still works is not difficult, but you should definitely ask the question when buying. If you have one, and it is already broken you can easily find videos showing how to fix it with replacement parts. Not the best solution, but a solution if you absolutely need a working Kobra Khan without buying a new one.

Whiplash was the final figure in the series. Though his action feature was nothing short of the traditional "power punch" which most of the figures had / have, his was made unique by the giant tail on his back. Just be careful when handling said tail as the soft rubber is prone to ripping if handled too roughly or too frequently.

Series four (1985) not only brought us all new Heroic and Evil Warriors, but also the first of many figures from The Evil Horde. The Horde first appeared in the full length animated film The Secret of the Sword, and would be staples in the soon to be aired She-Ra: Princess of Power TV series.

If I were to caption this photo, it would say something to the tune of;

Moss Man relishes in his third consecutive day of winning at a round of hide and go seek.

Kids got an awesome version of He-Man (Thunder Punch He-Man) which was the only figure in the vintage line to incorporate the use of 8 peg caps. Most of the kids of today will of course have no clue what a cap is due to stringent policing of toy isles by nut jobs activists (most of which don't even have children - speculation). Incorporated with the "power punch" action, when you pulled back on He-Man's arm, and let go, it would "ignite" one of the caps, producing a bang sound with it. So sweet.

If Thunder Punch He-Man wasn't enough, we also got Roboto, Moss Man and Sy-Klone - Each with their own unique features.

Roboto had three interchangeable accessories that could be swapped out on his right arm - An axe, a laser and a claw. If that weren't cool enough, his jaw also opened and closed as you twisted his waist, and the gears inside of him spun around. To say that the figure is awesome is an understatement.

Sy-Klone had a spinning lever on his back which when used would spin the upper portion of his body around in a circle. In the process this would also raise the character's arms. While it's a cool feature, it does mean that posing the character's arms is out of the question as they are on hinges as opposed to joints.

The last of the Heroic Warriors in the wave was Moss Man. While he only featured the traditional "power punch" action, he did get a cool flocked feature. Like Panthor, you do need to be gentle with your handling of the figure as too much use will cause fading or tearing. If you buy this figure make sure you look at all sides of him to ensure a good coating of the flocked material. One final feature sadly didn't stand the test of time, leaving many people not knowing about it. When Moss Man was first released, the figure actually had a pine scent to it. Sadly this seems to have worn off for the majority (if not all of the figures) by the early 90's.

The Evil Horde launched with a strong presence in the Masters of the Universe line. A total of five figures were produced, and each a masterpiece unto itself.

You can't have The Evil Horde, and not produce the leader himself, Hordak. In terms of MotU figures, Hordak is fairly simplistic. He has the traditional "power punch" feature, and beyond that not a whole lot. There are two accessories for this character that buyers should be mindful of. First is the cape. The vinyl "straps" are prone to tearing (as is the entire cape). The second piece is the bat which can be strapped around his wrist. More so than not this accessory is broken either on the wings or on the strap itself.

Next we had Mantenna with his eye popping feature via the lever on his back. Another buyer's note would be to make sure you critique the eyes thoroughly before picking this one up. The bloodshot feature is a very detail oriented paint job that often times has worn or been scratched off.

Mantenna can actually be found in a couple combination of variants. He has been found with a red lever on his back as well as a black one. In addition to these, he has also been found with and without the red bats on his boots in both combinations.

Leech was also available with a variant version. He can be found with both a burgundy and bright red crossbow. The figure itself features suction cups on all of his appendages, and a "pump" button his back for the one around his mouth. Unfortunately getting the suction cups to actually hold this massive bulk of plastic up is often times futile.

Grizzlor was the third figure in The Evil Horde that could be found in two different versions. He is available with both a light brown and dark brown skin tone (the plastic, not fur). I've always wanted to get one of these and shave it to see what exactly is hiding underneath all of that fur.

Then there was the ultimate figure - Modulok. With twenty-two pieces, the package boasted that there were 1,000 different combinations the "monster" could be crafted. If you're like me, you just transfigured him in the way he was shown on the box (for display purposes). This of course does leave a small pile of additional parts.

The final figures in series four were the Evil Warriors. Yup, I'm going to say it again - This has one of my favorites in it, Stinkor...And yes, he still stinks.

When Stinkor was produced, Mattel had the foresight to not just spray the figure with a coating to scent it. Rather, they mixed patchouli oil into the plastic. This would ensure it would stink forever (or for years to come anyway).

While the concept of Two-Bad was great for a figure, the execution was unfortunately lacking. Because his arms are sculpted on the top of his body, and spring loaded to boot, the figure's one head is not only blocked by his large shield, but it looks like he's punching himself in the face(s). Not only that, but the torso is too top heavy, meaning getting the figure to stand is relatively futile without the aid of an action figure stand. Two-Bad was also produced in two different versions. The first has spiky bumps on its back, while a second version removes the spikes, and simply has engravings.

Dragon Blast Skeletor takes us back to the premise of Kobra Khan, but with a twist. Rather than having a squirt bottle head, Skeletor features a dragon on his back which does the squirting for him. Much like Kobra Khan, ensure this feature works before buying one.

Let's not forget Spikor (who I did in the original write up). Spikor was covered from the waist up with large purple spikes which were surprising flexible to avoid any safety issues. He also featured a claw type arm that sprung out from the wrist of his left hand.

It wouldn't be for a whole year that a new wave of figures were produced. Wave five (1986) seemed like the beginning of the end for the Masters of the Universe line - At least for me. Though I had quite a few from this wave (and a few from wave six), my interest (as a kid) was dwindling in the series in lieu of G.I. Joe figures. I of course rectified this in my adult years when I revisited my love for MotU.

For those of us who didn't live in European countries, Flying Fists He-Man and Terror Claws Skeletor were the last iterations of these two characters. Both of the figures feature arms that move up and down when the figure is twisted at the waist. This works well with Terror Claws Skeletor, but not so much Flying Fists He-Man.

We also saw the release of Snout Spout, a mechanized elephant with a water feature, and Rio Blast who featured numerous blasters and cannons as well as hidden compartments for said weapons. While a great figure, Rio Blast was so top heavy he's prone to falling over without the aid of an action figure stand.

Mattel also introduced the only two Cosmic Warrior figures in the series, Rokkon and Stondar. Though the molds were slightly different, the premise for the figures was the same.

Each figure could be "folded" up into a rock ala a He-Man version of Transformers. The end result were a couple of rather bland and boring figures - Personal opinion of course. Don't get me wrong. The concept of the figures was awesome. It just didn't work in the physical execution.

Mattel does get a thumbs up for the peg hole they incorporated into the chest of each figure. This made storing their weapons while in rock form easy. It also ensured you wouldn't lose the accessory.

Despite She-Ra: Princess of Power being not only an established cartoon, but also its own action figure line, Mattel released more Evil Horde figures under the Masters of the Universe banner. Mind you, I'm not complaining about that. The figures were really cool.

Multi-Bot was the same premise of Modulok. He featured twenty-two pieces, and boasted 1,000 different variations of possible "creatures". In looking at my photograph here, I see that I need to make some alterations to mine as it's not in the fashion of the one displayed on the package - Which I want it to be.

Horak was updated with the all new Hurricane Hordak. This particular version featured a dial on the back, which when turned would make the attachable accessory on his right wrist spin. Speaking of those accessories, buyers should be mindful of the version they're buying. There are three separate accessories that the figure came with; a bat propeller, a 3 ball mace, and a shield.

Though basic in design, the Horde Trooper is actually a really cool figure with an awesome feature. Push the button on his chest, and watch the character "explode". Okay, so parts didn't really go flying everywhere. More so the front and back dropped down, and the head fell in.

Then there was Dragstor with his giant rubber wheel in his chest - activated by the zip cord which you thread through the character's back. Couple this unique feature with a dark Stormtrooper like look, and you get one awesome figure. Just be careful "driving" him too many times as his face actually rubs across the ground causing paint wear / scratching.

1986 was also the introduction of the Snake Men.

Quite a bit of retconning had to be done in order to incorporate this new affiliation into the series. As it came to be, apparently Skeletor's house (Snake Mountain) used to belong to the Snake Men who were banished into another dimension (think Phantom Zone from Superman) by the Elders of Eternity. Skeletor eventually frees them, and the two groups become somewhat allies against the Heroic Warriors.

I already talked about Terror Claws Skeletor, so I'll jump right into Rattlor. Rattlor features a head popping action with the press of a button on his back. The original figure featured a yellow neck, while later releases were brick red - Like the majority of his body. Additionally, the figure has something inside of it that when shaken produces a sound to mimic that of a rattlesnake. What exactly is inside? I'm not sure. I've never taken one apart. Nor do I intend to. That's a waste of a perfectly good action figure.

The second Snake Men figure produced in 1986 was King Hiss - The leader of the group. On the surface, King Hiss looks like a rather bland and boring figure. That is until you remove his arms, and torso / head to reveal his true form - A snake body and head with snake arms.

The last two figures produced for wave five were actually not on the same teams. Twistoid was an Evil Warrior, and Rotar was a Heroic Warrior. The two were essentially very heavy plastic tops - In other words, they had no legs. Sadly, this feature did not work well.

Mattel fortunately released a stand of sorts for Twistoid which made it so the figure could at least stand on its own. Unfortunately (for whatever reason), Mattel didn't feel like it was a good idea to do the same for Rotar. I was able to get mine to stand by attaching an action figure stand to each of his arms.

Much like the Cosmic Warriors, it was an interesting concept, but the execution failed. Figures that can't stand on their own kinda stink - Another opinion of mine.

To date, Rotar and Twistoid are two of the most expensive figures on secondary markets. You're going to spend upwards of $150.00 to $250.00 for each one - Mind you, that's loose with all the accessories.

Wave six was the last official wave released (with the exception of European countries). It was also the largest. Fifteen figures in total were released in 1987. If that wasn't bad enough, this wave also features some of the more expensive figures to date on secondary markets, ranging between $60.00 and $90.00 for some of them.

I'm not sure if Mattel saw the writing on the wall, and did one final push for the series, or if the demise actually came from over saturation. The line went in all sorts of directions, and at the same time seemed to have no focal point. We got basic figures, transforming animals, dinosaurs, and oversized figures. None of which seemed to incorporate into each other. That's not to say that these items were bad. Far from it. In fact, I really like a lot of the figures that come from this wave.

For the Heroic Warriors, the two that stand out for me are The Sorceress and King Randor. The Sorceress features a neat wing feature which pops open with the push of a button, and "clicks" closed by pushing them back into place. Unfortunately she also suffers from wide stance syndrome - Meaning her legs are too far apart, making it difficult to stand the figure up.

King Randor doesn't have much going for him, but it was cool to get his royal majesty of Eternia. A piece often missing from loose versions of the figure is his crown, so be mindful when buying one. Perhaps if the series would have continued we would have gotten Queen Marlena.

Then there was Extendar with his extending body, and Clamp Champ with his massive claw (or clamp I suppose) weapon - Which made it difficult to stand the figure up.

Mantisaur was actually released in 1986, but I like posing him with Buzz-Saw Hordak who was released in 1987. Mantisaur is not only the largest beast released in the series, but also features moving legs, and head that rotates.

It's really interesting that Skeletor and He-Man got such well thought out variations, but everything Hordak related ended up being rather bland. This version is no different from the original Hordak with the exception that now his chest opens to reveal a buzz saw inside. It didn't even launch out. It just sat in there, and fell out.

Still, coupled with Mantisaur and that killer background - Taken from the TV show no less (as are all of them), this is a great figure for displaying along the rest of your Masters of the Universe figures. It's not a bad figure. It's just not that interesting as compared to others, but that's just me giving my opinion again.

Four Evil Warriors were released which included Blast-Attak, Mosquitor (oops, actually an Evil Horde affiliate), Ninjor and Scare Glow. Each one of them encompassed either a unique feature or accessories (or both) which made this group a lot of fun.

Blast-Attak had a tube with a plunger on it that when inserted into the back of the figure and pressed would blow him in two pieces. Okay, more so just split in half.

Mosquitor featured a push button on his back than when repeatedly pressed would pump the red blood on his chest around. It was gross, yet so cool at the same time.

Ninjor was the man of accessories. He featured a cloth mask, cloth chest piece, and three weapons; a tech-bow, sword and nunchucks. Unfortunately the chain on the nunchucks is prone to rusting. Additionally, the clothing tears easily. Be mindful of this when buying one to ensure you get one with clothing that is still intact.

Scare Glow is the only character in the vintage line of Masters of the Universe figures that glows in the dark. He was also released with a variation. He can be found with both a green halberd as well as a white glow in the dark one. The weapon alone can set you back $40.00 for the green one, and $55.00 for the glow in the dark one. You may as well just buy the complete figure at that rate - Which will set you back around $100.00 - $150.00 (depending on which halberd the character comes with).

I'll say it one final time - We're back to some of my favorite figures in the line. As many of you may know, I'm a big fan of the Masters of the Universe movie. I don't care what other MotU fans say, or even the cast and crew who profess how much they hated it. I love the film, and still watch it to this day.

Which makes it surprising I never had these figures as a kid. In fact, I think I only had four figures from this final wave (until adulthood). Saurod, Gwildor and Blade all got the chance to be produced in plastic - Which makes me sad that these were the only ones. The movie based figures are actually the only ones I'm considering getting from the Masters of the Universe Classics line.

What I like about Saurod (besides the character and design) is the feature you would not in a million years find on any new action figures. With the pull of a lever on his back, Saurod spits out sparks. Can you hear the activist groups shouting now? Yes, there was definitely the potential for fire here. I'm honestly surprised the figure wasn't recalled. The lever on the back is incredibly fragile / flimsy, and prone to breaking, so you might not want to mess with it too much if you have one.

The Cosmic Key packaged with Gwildor is definitely not to proportion or matching in overall design to the movie version. When I first looked at it, I didn't even recognize what it was. The figure however is fairly spot on to that of the character in the movie.

Admittedly Blade isn't as cool as he could have been. Is that a Sylvester Stallone face sculpt? I'll give him a pass though because, well, it's Blade! He was awesome in the movie, and the driving force behind my wanting the Classics line of movie versions.

The last of the figures I own are the final Snake Men figures from 1987.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Mattel gets much respect for attempting to make each figure unique in its own right. These final figures from wave seven are no different in that regard. Each one is so different from each other.

Tung Lashor has a dial on his back that when spun will whip his tongue in and out of his mouth. The figure can also be found in two different variations. The original release featured a purple painted design on its back. Later releases were only pink with no design.

Sssqueeze featured long bendable arms that make for a fun grabbing feature - Or group hugs as seen in the photo.

Snake Face was a grotesque (awesome) figure with a feature that made snakes pop out of his eyes, mouth and chest.

Though this was the end of my Masters of the Universe collection (with the exception of Castle Grayskull and Snake Mountain), it certainly wasn't the end of the line. Series seven featured numerous other creatures, and two giant figures. Also, every wave had a multitude of vehicles and playsets.

There's also the elusive European released Laser Power He-Man and Laser Light Skeletor which will set you back about $600.00 to $1,000.00 a piece, and the Wonder Bread exclusive He-Man figure dubbed Wundar by fans. He will equally set you back several hundreds of dollars.

Would I like the three figures I just mentioned above? Sure. Will I buy them for that price? Not today. Maybe tomorrow.

On a side note, if you're going to collect vintage He-Man figures, I can't stress enough that you verse yourself in repairing them, and even make yourself a **repair kit. As collectors of the series know, the rubber holding the legs in place is prone to rot out, leaving you with very loose legs, or worse, broken off ones. It's inevitable that it's going to happen. You just have to be ready to play doctor.

**Editor's Note: Your repair kit should contain the following; #212 Eye Screws, #11 O-Rings, Fine Gauge Wire (thin, yet flexible / bendable), 1 Pair of Needle Nose Pliers and 1 Pair of Slip Joint Pliers. Of course a (small) tool case to hold all of these in one central location is also a good idea.

As for figure stands, I use chrome based adjustable waist stands. These are fairly commonly used by collectors, and can be found via numerous outlets on the internet. If you buy in bulk (50 - 100+ stands) you shouldn't expect to pay more than $1.25 to $1.50 a piece for them. If you are paying more than that, you're being ripped off.

For the standard figures I use the stands that can accommodate 4 inch to 5 1/2 inch figures. For the smaller and female figures, I use the ones that can accommodate 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 inch figures. With that said, they're not compatible with all the figures - Such as Leech or Gwildor who have too much girth to fit a stand around. Other than that, I couldn't be happier with my choice for displaying my vintage He-Man collection.

Happy Masters of the Universe Day! That wraps it up for The Toy Box.

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Masters of the Universe Day 2017 [2nd Stage]!



Hello, hello, and welcome to the 2nd post featured at The Toy Box in celebration of Masters of the Universe Day.

Okay, so this one isn't necessarily merchandise related...Or well, related at all unless you're the kind of person that appreciates the creative imagination of others. What I'd like to share with you are the characters I created quite some time ago when playing Diablo III on pretty much a daily basis.

First and foremost, when playing any game, it's great if you can relate to the character(s). This not only draws you into the story, but makes you actually care about what's happening to them. It's even better when you can create and develop said character from start to finish, fine tuning minute details from facial features to clothing to weapons, etc., making the character 100% your own.

When I began playing through Diablo III, I wanted to do just that - Make characters I cared about. What better way than to pick a concept I was already very familiar with, and cared deeply for. If you haven't guessed it, that would be Masters of the Universe.

I created six different characters, utilizing the customization available for all six types of classes.

HE-MAN

I actually named the character Grayskull as opposed to He-Man, and went with a much older looking model. Of course, Barbarian was the best choice for this because it allowed me the very best clothing type for He-Man - Which let's be honest, isn't much.

Yes, I know that He-Man's only weapon in the show was his Power Sword, buy I wanted to go with the large battle axe look - As sort of a nod towards that long lost accessory that came packed in with the vintage figure.

Of course you can't have an aged He-Man, and not put a crown on his head - The ultimate nod to the Masters of the Universe Classics figure, King Grayskull.

MAN-AT ARMS

The Crusader was the perfect starting point for a Man-At-Arms character. It allowed the bulky armor that the character is iconic for wearing, while also giving me the traditional mace style weapon that the vintage figure came with.

Did he need a giant shield? Probably not, but man does it look awesome in his hand.

One of the best aspects about creating a character in Diablo III is that there are many different types of dyes available for you to use (at a cost of course). This made nailing the vibrant green and yellow colors that make Man-At-Arms really easy to accomplish.

This character was definitely one of the ones I was pleased with the most.

 TEELA

You can't make Man-At-Arms, and then snub Teela. She was a clear presence in the show, and I wanted to make sure she got her equal chance at being a character in my game.

Teela got a bit of an update in terms of the style that the character traditionally is seen. I went with a nice gold color, and subtle armor. The Demon Hunter was the perfect overlay for all of this.

Unfortunately the down side to using the Demon Hunter as the "shell" is that you're limited to crossbows or bow and arrows. At the end of the day while it doesn't match any weapon we've seen Teela using before, it works in conjunction with my version of her.

Out of all the characters I created, Teela is actually the one I play with the most.

ORKO

Orko was actually the first character I created in the style of He-Man, and the Wizard was the only obvious choice to use for the model. Though I initially started with a male version, he looked....well....not so masculine. Especially when the pink was brought into play. Yes I know, Orko typically wears red, but this was so "loud" when the character was decked out from head to toe that I had to pull it back a bit. Pink ended up working really well for this.

I love how the clothing options left mystery to the character - You can't see all of her face, and overall the character looks mystical. It also just looks really cool. The wand in her right hand, and the floating book in the left was perfection in my eyes. This was Orko in human form - Granted a rather deadly and destructive Orko what with the fire, ice and lightning spells that obliterate everyone in a five mile radius.

SKELETOR

When I saw the skull helmet for the Monk, it was so obvious that this was the perfect match for Skeletor - Or as I ended up calling him, Keldor, a nod to the character's real name.

Coupled with the staff, the deep purple clothing, and overall evil presence, there is no mistaking who this character was intended to be - Ask any of the people I played on line with randomly who said, "Whoa, is that Skeletor?"

I gave the character a long black beard because it helped to showcase the illusion of a floating skull head. Without it, you could see the bottom part of the face, and this really detracted from the look I wanted to achieve.

Unfortunately spell casting for the Monk class is incredibly limited, and he's more so geared towards hand to hand combat. This is where the illusion of him being Skeletor dissipates quite substantially. Still, if you're going purely for aesthetics, the end result works well.

EVIL-LYN

Evil-Lyn was the last character I created, and the one that out of all of them I'm most unhappy with. Does the Witch Doctor class make for a good evil sorceress? Yeah, sure...But it still doesn't capture Evil-Lyn. It still just looks like a random Witch Doctor.

I may revisit her design in the future, but for now since I don't use the character all that much it's easy to ignore her.

Truth be told, I was a little disappointed when I completed her to find I had used up all the slots available for making more characters (I already had six characters, and this was my maximum of twelve). I'm not sure why the game limits you on how many characters you have. It's my hard drive - I should be able to fill it up with as many as I want. I suppose since there are no "beast" type characters this wasn't necessarily a bad thing because there really was no way to make the likes of Beast Man, Merman, etc. Still, I wanted to try!

I don't play Diablo III much these days, but I did just recently start again. If you're up for an online run, let me know. I get a lot of enjoyment out of power leveling new players / characters, so if you have one, hit me up for a game session.

Either way, I hope you have enjoyed this look at my characters. I know they're not official MOTU characters, but I hope you still enjoyed looking at them on this, Masters of the Universe Day 2017! Drop by later this evening for a final post, which I promise will be official merchandise related.

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Masters of the Universe Day 2017!



Here we are again. Masters of the Universe Day is upon us. Good ol' April 28th! Today we (like many other Bloggers) are celebrating the day by posting about....Well, Masters of the Universe of course.

Fans of He-Man will want to visit The Toy Box periodically today because we're going to be posting a few MOTU related topics today. One in the morning (this one), one in the afternoon, and one in the evening.

We'll start the day off with a look at Masters of the Universe Golden Coloring and Activity Books.

Chances are pretty high that if you were a kid in the 80's that you had a Golden Books book. They pretty much covered every license you can think of, and produced just about any kind of activity book a kid would have to have - Stickers, coloring, drawing, educational, etc.

Masters of the Universe is no exception to this rule. Starting in 1982 GB produced all sorts of varieties of the aforementioned book types - To and include ones on She-Ra (which we won't be looking at today). With so many to chose from, the hardest choice would be deciding which one you wanted.











Even today we enjoy cracking open a coloring book, and spreading our color pencils across the floor as we color to our heart's content during a movie or two. There's just something to be said about entertaining oneself in a relatively easy way that is both relaxing and enjoyable - Sure, even a little nostalgic. Besides, who doesn't like to color? We've all been doing it since the first day we picked up a crayon.

Admittedly we don't know if this is all of the books that were every produced by Golden Books for He-Man. Regardless, these are certainly enough to keep you busy while you continue the hunt for them.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Tomorrow...


Monday, April 24, 2017

Skeleton Warriors (Playmates Toys)



Skeleton Warriors
Playmates Toys
1994

Skeleton Warriors is one of those series we've been trying to get around to for the longest time...Well, that and Bionic Six, AD&D, Tiger Sharks, the last few years of vintage TMNT....Sorry, this list could go on for a while. Needless to say, we have a lot of toy lines left to cover to keep us busy for a while. Vintage Transformers (which we've only looked at 1984 so far), Batman Forever / Batman and Robin...Sorry. Again, this list could go on and on.

Skeleton Warriors began their brief impact on the world with the 1994 to 1995 CBS cartoon which ran for just thirteen episodes (aka one season). Though it overall wouldn't pan out to be widely popular, many companies lined up to invest in it via products.

Marvel produced a four issue comic book mini series and Neversoft created a console game for the Sega Saturn and Playstation. Of course, the biggest support the series got was the 1994 Playmates Toys action figure line.

There were eight figures in total released, and two creature / vehicles. Overall, it's not a bad series - Despite the lack of major popularity. Playmates definitely brought their "A" game (as they so often do), developing a very well put together line featuring both quality figures and fun accessories. Not only that, but check out that awesome packaging! They don't make them like that anymore.

Grimskull*Prince Lightstar*Ursak: The Guardian

Aracula*Baron Dark*Dagger

Dr. Cyborn*Shriek

Skeleton Legion Skullcycle*Skeleton Legion Warhorse

For now, these are not difficult figures to track down, nor are they all that expensive. You can pick them up here and there for as little as $5.00, mint in the package. While the vehicles go for a little more, at $30.00 each they're not necessarily bank breaking. If you're looking for a cheap line to add to your collection, check them out.

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Collectibles Expo This Weekend



If you're in the Chesterfield, Virginia area, or are simply down for a road trip, why not make your way to The Collectibles Expo this weekend (April 22 and 23)! Tickets will cost you about $10.00 per person (per day), and the event will run from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday.

It's noted as being a brand new show, so unfortunately I don't have any details on whether or not the event is worth your while. I'm looking to get someone to go with me, so if you're in the Northern Virginia area, drop me a comment with your e-mail address (which I won't publish). Perhaps we can do a car pool. Unfortunately I'm only able to attend Sunday though as I have a prior commitment on Saturday.

***UPDATE***

Between the bad weather, and the long drive, I scrapped the whole idea of hitting Collectibles Expo. On a good day the trip was a two and a half hour trek one way. I can only imagine what it would have been in the pouring rain.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Devo (NECA)



Devo
NECA
2005

Good grief. Who would have thought that tracking down a Devo figure would not only prove to be incredibly difficult, but also expensive?

Today we visit another NECA music based line, and if you couldn't deduce at this point that it is Devo...Well, it's Devo.

Many people of course know of Devo for their 1980 chart topper Whip It, which was featured on their third album, Freedom of Choice. Unfortunately for the band, not many people know them for any other songs beyond that with the exception of Working In A Coal Mine - Which was included as a 7 inch bonus single in their 1981 New Traditionalists album, and later used in the film Heavy Metal, released that same year.

Though many would consider the band a one hit wonder, the fact is that much like so many "odd" bands of the 80's, they have a strong cult following. Devo has released nine studio albums since 1978, with their latest being 2010's Something for Everybody.

In 2005, NECA produced a unique Devo figure that featured five heads - One for each band member. One could of course buy five figures to ensure a head for each member was always attached to the body - and of course have twenty additional heads in the process. Or, you could purchase the (below) five pack which featured one of each member, body and all. The added perk to going this route was the inclusion of an autographed mini poster.


Of course if you missed the boat on getting these when they were initially released you're not going to find yourself in a very good spot. These days the single packed figure will cost you upwards of $60.00 with the five pack ranging between $150.00 and $200.00. Do any of you see these prices a problem? If so, then you must whip it!

If you'd rather skip on the plastic, and see the real deal, Devo has you covered. The band still tours, and yes, they even continue to wear the yellow jump suits and red energy dome hats.

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