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 1987 that had (at the time) all new parts. For fun, I’m including toys that were advertised as part of the 1987 line, but never released:
Beam-Blaster & Artilleray
Image source: He-Man.org
These toys from 1987 reused some existing parts – some of those parts were first created in the same year, however:
Image source: He-Man.org
Cliff Climber/Scubattack/Tower Tools
As with 1986, there was quite a bit of new tooling used in the 1987 line, sprinkled with some liberal reuse of parts in selected figures like Scare Glow and Ninjor. The Powers of Grayskull line saw a partial release with several of the dinosaur figures, but unfortunately its main protagonists (He-Ro and Eldor) were never sold in stores.
Update: Øyvind and an anonymous person in the comments pointed out that Buzz Saw Hordak doesn’t have the original Hordak legs. It looks like he has different leg musculature and enlarged feet. I believe some versions of Hurricane Hordak also have these legs. Thanks for the correction!
More in this series:
- Parts Reuse in MOTU, Part One: 1982
- Parts Reuse in MOTU, Part Two: 1983
- Parts Reuse in MOTU, Part Three: 1984
- Parts Reuse in MOTU, Part Four: 1985
- Parts Reuse in MOTU, Part Five: 1986
- Parts Reuse in MOTU, Part Six: 1987
- Parts Reuse in MOTU, Part Seven: 1988