Heroic Warriors

Ram Man – Heroic human battering ram! (1983)

Ram Man Graphic2

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 feature worked like this:

Designed by Mark Taylor, Ram Man had a couple of unique looks in the early stages of his conception:

mark taylor ram man
Image via The Art of He-Man

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.

mark taylor dwarf
Source: The Power and the Honor Foundation

The prototype Ram Man figure looks pretty close to the final figure. Some differences include:

  • Orange shirt
  • Red pants
  • Brown boots
  • Closed eyes
  • Silver upper arm/shoulder armor incorporated into arm pieces
prototype-ramman_uk-annual84
From the ’84 UK Annual, via Jukka Issakainen
ram-man_full
Image source: He-Man.org

The cross sell art was based on the prototype, and includes all the same elements, down to the color scheme:

Ram Man Cross Sell Best
Ram Man cross sell artwork. Image courtesy of Axel Giménez.

Ram Man appears in the 1983 dealer catalog along with all the other new figures released that year:

ram man 83 catalog

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:

moc front

ram-man-card-back
Image via The Fwoosh
rammanback
Artwork by Errol McCarthy; image via Grayskull Museum

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-coloring-pages
Image source: Super Shogun

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).

filmation rammy2

bustatoons springs
Image source: Bustatoons

In the Filmation Series guide, Ram Man resembles the cross sell art more than the toy:

ram man series guide
Source: He-Man.org

Ram Man made fairly frequent appearances in mini comics, story books, and marketing materials:

secret liquid
From The Secret Liquid of Life
Demons of the Deep Ram Man
From the 1985 Demons of the Deep. Ram Man appears in his prototype colors. Illustrated by Fred Carillo.
back-cover_image_uk-annual84
From the 1984 UK Annual (image courtesy of Jukka Issakainen)
motu_sg1_23_full
From the 1982 Licensing Kit. Source: He-Man.org. Art by Errol McCarthy
motu_sg1_33_full
From the 1982 Licensing Kit. Source: He-Man.org. Art by Errol McCarthy.

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.

william george poster
Illustration by William George, 1984

Ram Man poster

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20 thoughts on “Ram Man – Heroic human battering ram! (1983)

  1. now, that concept art has another interesting point.. while I always felt the legs together along with very limited arms (that prototype figure would have had much better arms in my opinion, was a major down point on the figure. but I understood why the legs were together.. to make it strong enough to NOT brake then kids push the legs back in (oh sure, they were meant to have him on a flat surface and push the top down but, yeah.. like that is ALWAYS going to happen and no kid is going to just push the legs in), and to stop snapping then it springs back out, BUT the concept note ‘This space must remain open for engineering reasons’.. that is interesting.. and, it seams by the time he second concept was done, it was changed to the two legs together.. I wonder what that engineering reason for two legs apart would have been..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Manic Man,

      Good question, I’m not sure what the engineering reasons might have been. I’m not quite sure how that Dwarf concept would have worked either, with the flip action feature.

      Like

  2. I remember that back in the 80s I and my cousin went to buy our very first MOTU figures: I chose Man-E-Faces, while he chose Ram Man. Later he regretted, because Man-E-Faces looked way cooler than Ram Man, and asked me to swap our figures. Of course, I refused. Anyway, I also got Ram Man eventually… he may not look very cool, but he’s a beloved character.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. While I prefer the official red and green colors of Ram Man, I have always wondered why they didn’t go with the original prototype/cross-sell color scheme. I am guessing because the oranges, reds, and browns are not as visually striking as other colors in the toyline, but it’s strange they never corrected it on many of the other artwork.

    Like

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