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!
Ram Man, released in the second wave of Masters of the Universe Action figures, was a big favorite of mine as a kid. Sure, his legs were fused together and his articulation was rather limited, but his unique appearance and action feature made him a prominent protagonist in the battle against the forces of darkness (a battle that happened every day after school on the floor of my bedroom).
Ram Man’s action is demonstrated in this commercial:
Designed by Mark Taylor, Ram Man had several unique looks in the early stages of his conception:
In the left-most drawing he seems to have some technological elements in his helmet design. In the drawing on the right his face is entirely obscured by his helmet, and he looks more Lord of the Rings than Buck Rogers. The second image is ultimately closer to the final Ram Man design than the first.
Another Mark Taylor design for a dwarf figure named Hercule featured a similar action feature. Instead of simply ramming, the idea was that this figure’s spring-loaded legs would cause him to tumble forward in the air at his opponents. I’m not sure exactly how this would have worked in practice, but several elements from Hercule made it into Ram Man’s final design.
Update: This design was further developed into a similar character called Jumping Jack Flash (below). Aside from the helmet and facial hair, he looks very close to the final Ram Man figure. He carried a “mace grenade” that would fly loose when the character popped up from internal springs.
The prototype Ram Man figure (below) carries over the color scheme from Jumping Jack Flash. The face and helmet design have been greatly modified, however. The prototype looks very close to the final figure, color scheme aside. Some differences include the fact that his eyes are closed and that his silver upper arm/shoulder armor is incorporated into his arm pieces
The cross sell art was based on the prototype, and includes all the same elements, down to the color scheme:
Ram Man appears in the 1983 dealer catalog along with all the other new figures released that year, with a new red and green color scheme:
Ram Man was the first figure in the MOTU line whose parts were not reused for any other figure. He came packaged with his axe weapon and a comic book. His arm bracers were sculpted and covered with a silver sticker rather than a layer of paint. The sculpt of his arms is quite soft compared to most MOTU figures, but he has a lot of detail elsewhere. The color scheme of the toy is red and green; however, the packaging artwork portrays Ram Man in the prototype colors:
Aside from the single carded figure, Ram Man was available in the following gift sets:
Ram Man had his own mini comic dedicated to him called He-Man Meets Ram-Man(incorrectly hyphenating the character’s name). Rammy is portrayed from the start as a bit thick, which is appropriate for a character whose primary attack involves self-inflicted brain injury. There is an early misunderstanding where Ram Man gets in a fight with He-Man and loses. Skeletor is able to use that to trick Ram Man into bashing his head repeatedly against Castle Grayskull‘s doors.
Ram Man is essentially good-hearted, and in the end he turns on Skeletor and comes to He-Man’s aid:
Artwork similar to the Ram Man mini comic was used in this French coloring book:
Ram Man as portrayed in the Filmation cartoon was even slower than he was in the mini comics. In certain frames it’s also evident that the artists envisioned Ram Man’s legs as actual springs that propelled him toward enemies (or more often, walls).
In the Filmation Series guide, Ram Man resembles the cross sell art more than the toy:
Ram Man made fairly frequent appearances in mini comics, story books, and marketing materials:
For some reason Ram Man made no appearances in box art, and few appearances in posters, despite being one of a select number of figures that had a commercial dedicated just to him. Still, Ram Man frequently appeared on the Filmation cartoon and remains a popular character to this day.
Here is the 1981 Mattel Toys Dealer Catalog (or at least the sections focusing on action figures). Intended for retailers, Mattel’s dealer catalogs showcased all the latest and greatest releases, along with existing merchandise. Several pages are devoted to the Clash of the Titans toyline, which debuted to correspond with the movie released the same year.