So last week, it was Ram Man in the spotlight. This week it’s a big one, a fan favourite, and quite probably my all-time favourite MOTU figure, even before I realised how many other people thought he was cool. It's He-Man's evil robot impostor... It's FAKER!!
As mentioned in last week's thread, my first three figures were He-Man, Skeletor and Man-E-Faces. Then one Bank Holiday, I went to a local market with my Mum. We came across a seller who had a load of second wave figures that had barely appeared in the shops, and at a slightly cheaper price - and I was allowed to choose not one, but two! So I snapped up both Ram Man and Faker.
When I first saw him, I didn't quite appreciate the whole 'robot clone' back-story. I picked him out and my Mum was like "oh look, it's a blue He-Man" and that was enough for me.
As a side note, nearly throughout my collection as a kid, I was very conscious of keeping both Heroic and Evil sides even. I had got the main two figures, He-Man and Skeletor, then I chose Man-E-Faces as he could be used as both a heroic and evil character. So here I picked out Ram Man, who was a good guy, and baddie Faker. ...actually, it's got little to do with what we're talking about, I don't know why I mentioned it actually!
Faker is in concept a direct cross between He-Man and Skeletor, with He-Man's body, but Skeletor's body colour and armor.
Despite there being little coverage of Faker in any MOTU material, I always loved Faker. He was also one of the least commonly owned figures of the first couple of waves by friends who also collected MOTU, but that just made him all the more special to me. I've always loved 'evil twins' (K.A.R.R. and Garthe Knight in 'Knight Rider', Redwolf in 'Airwolf', mirror-universe 'Star Trek', etc.), but even before I was concious of this love, I was just so hooked on Faker.
Faker was never mentioned in any of the surrounding material. Packaged with him was the "He-Man Meets Ram Man!" mini-comic (meaning that I got the same mini-comic twice on the same day), and there was no real coverage of what he was all about. Despite that, I instantly loved him.
There was little coverage about Faker and his origin in any MOTU media, but those that did mention him generally indicated him to be a robot clone of He-Man created by Skeletor to try and fool the Heroic Warriors. However, the clone came out wrong (most sources said that it was Beast Man's fault!). Other than this, Faker was pretty much forgotten, which I always felt was a real shame, as he had so much potential for so many great stories.
The figure originally had the tagline "Evil robot of Skeletor" (although on back of boxes, he was more fittingly tagged as "Evil robot imposter). When fans debate the origins of Scare Glow, who had the debatable tagline of "Evil ghost of Skeletor", people often point to Faker's tag of "Evil robot of Skeletor" to indicate that 'of Skeletor' can simply mean in the services of old bone face.
There are several versions of Faker. There is a scarce early version, with chest sticker that did not fit as neatly under the armor and darker boots; the common version with slightly smaller chest sticker and mid-coloured boots (the version that I first had), and the late re-released hard head version.
The hard-head release is very notable in that while many figures continued to be reproduced throughout the line's run, many even updated to hard head versions, Faker was unique in that the package openly promoted him as a re-release, with the tag "He's back!" (reflecting the fact that he had been absent from many previous waves re-releases) and used his image on many late box figure listings. He even featured in the late mini-comic "The Search for Keldor" (although he was used as a standard Evil Warrior, with no nods as to his origin).
Faker famously only appeared once in the Filmation cartoon series, in the early episode "The Shaping Staff". He was introduced almost as an afterthought in the mid-second act, where Skeletor conjured him up out of magic (with no hint as to his robotic construction), and where he was exactly like He-Man, except for glowing eyes and hollow voice.
For years I thought that I was the only one who really appreciated the greatness of Faker, so when I got onto the internet in the mid-late 1990s, I was pleased to see that I was not alone and the robotic imposter has a legion of fans, being one of the most discussed and customised figures.
There was a ToyFare limited edition 200x version of Faker, which I happily forked out for on e-bay, and was very good, if somehow lacking the coolness of the original.
It is persistently rumoured that if the Mike Young Productions cartoon had continued for a third season, that Faker would have featured prominently. As it was, the nearest there was to him was a brief mis-colouring of the robot He-Man in "The Courage of Adam" as an in-joke to vintage fans.
All-in-all... the vintage Faker is made up completely of existing parts (He-Man's entire body mold and sword, Skeletor's armor), with the basic twist-waist feature... but I just love him. Trap Jaw and Tri-Klops generally tie as my second all-time favourite figure, but Faker is my favourite.
I'm maybe a little over-critical on some vintage figure reviews, but I cannot give vintage Faker any less than a perfect 10.
So there are my recollections of Faker.
I'd love to hear your own thoughts, comments, criticisms, memories, and anything else Faker-related. And whether you post or not, don't forget to rate the vintage figure in the poll!