I also think it is a hoax, at least the origin of it part. For a decade there has surfaced zero proof as to where the toy has come from. The toy itself has not appeared prior to the 1990s and there is zero evidence of any photographic evidence of it existing in 1981 from promotional materials to personal childhood photos.
There is zero evidence of Mattel having any record of its production. They may not have samples of all of their produced toys but they do have records of them and product numbers associated. With all the information that has been made available to us there is not any reference to this figure.
Is it possible that it is a legitimate figure? Maybe, but where is the pre-1990 evidence for its existence?
Is it a cool figure and intriguing? Definitely!
We know that it is not an offer from Wonderbread as we know they have no records of it and that the only offer with Mattel for the Masters of the Universe was the trading cards just like an offer they did with Star Wars cards and Kenner toys, both bread packages have surfaced, as well as the cards.
We know that it is not a Conan prototype toy for the 1982 film Conan the Barbarian regardless of the amount of inspiration "borrowed" from Conan, Marvel Comics, and pre-production film materials supplied by Conan Properties Inc. to Mattel in 1980, as Mattel would have quickly lost the 1984 lawsuit CPI v Mattel if there had been an agreed upon figure between Mattel and CPI or Universal Films and the Savage He-Man was that figure, regardless of rights owned by CPI to Howard's characters.
We know that if they did not want the figure itself copied that there would be references to the exact figure/character as different from the blonde He-Man if it existed, in the trademarks and copyrights owned by Mattel and filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and that no references to Savage He-Man by any name or description exist.
We know that there is no history of any mail-in promotional toy or figure offer from any company Mattel, Kenner, etc that included the original coupon sent in to redeem for the figure with the figure that was sent to the consumer. The consumer would turn around and request another free toy with the coupon! We also know that there are no examples of legitimate with product codes packaging from any Mattel mail away offer having been received by a consumer related to Savage He-Man, nor is there any documentation either on the consumer end or Mattel's of a thank you for redeeming said figure letter.
We know that the coupon in the Fowler example was a legitimate offer for a figure redemption by toy retailers at the consumer level available as a tear off to mail in offer in the toy aisle.
We know that the maroon weapons said to belong to this mystery toy originated with the limited offer Man-E-Faces figure with free weapons referred to commonly as Man-E-Weapons. And that they are the same mold as the Castle Grayskull weapons rack weapons in an alternate color.
We know that the black chest armor said to belong to this mystery toy originated in the Weapons Pak and is an alternate color of Zodac's armor.
We know there are multiple people who claim to remember having one as a child or even that they mailed in to get it. There are several conflicting stories about where (what company) the offer was from as well as time-lines etc. And still no photographic evidence from a childhood photo of the figure during the 1980s. I have several of my own childhood with figures and Masters of the Universe toys readily visible, it seems someone if they actually owned it at the time would have a photo of it.
We know that every example of a figure redemption offer through the mail from whatever company came in a factory sealed bag inside a box with product codes on it, not a taped shut bag. We also know that test shots and color samples were sent by Mattel employees for approval in bags that were taped and stapled shut (not to consumers that way). We know that there are existing Mattel mail in offers for different products (Hot Wheels, Barbie, Etc.) that have a Mattel logo printed on the plastic sealed bag the toy came in from the same time frame as the the supposed mail in Savage He-Man offer.
We know that multiple legitimate molds for the figure existed in various parts of the world Taiwan, Mexico and Argentina's Top Toys.
We know that it can be easily faked by customizers or produced from a legitimate mold in any color scheme one chooses.
What we don't know is how if it is faked did multiple people come up with similar paint tones/colors and schemes at the same time from various locations?
Could it be a Mattel test color variation that was a sample only and distributed without being a separate character or product never gaining any product code or paperwork reference? Could it have been tabled at the design stage because of the CPI v Mattel lawsuit after the Masters of the Universe line was already in production by executives or managers on a local production level so as not to open that can of worms again? Could it have been given away or stolen from Mattel by employees to get rid of a product that had incorrect colors and could not be sold under existing trademarks and copyrights?
We will probably never know.