Quote Originally Posted by jzguitars View Post
I've been speculating that the Special Edition He-Man was produced during the re-release of He-Man and Skeletor which hit shelves in 1983 as "The Original".
I'd like to add some observations about "The Original He-Man" and then try to tie it back to the topic of the thread.

By my observation, Mattel switched production of He-Man from Taiwan to Mexico sometime in either late 1982 or early 1983. As early as with the G3 8-back cards, we see He-Man made in Mexico. For those who subscribe to my Toys R Us sticker theory, we see stickers indicating these cards were on the shelves in 1983. These are the carded figures usually with the Magic Stealer comic printed in USA, but there is not yet "The Original" on the card. Mattel was also at that time producing Trap Jaw and Tri-Klops in Mexico, so not surprising I suppose that they would produce He-Man there, but I've always wondered why they bothered to change a good thing. And then it occurred to me that this was also the time when they were manufacturing Faker figures in Taiwan, and I wonder if they concluded there would be less interruption if they simply moved He-Man to Mexico while cranking out Fakers in Taiwan.

And then we move to the G4 12-back cards. Again, many of these are Mexico manufactures but I believe I may have seen a G4 Taiwan and it was in fact stamped "The Original". I think this is probably still in 1983. But it's not really until you get to G6 cards (which is 1984/1985) where we see production of He-Man has now returned entirely to Taiwan, and all of these cards are marked "The Original". So, my thinking is, the "Original" burst was denoting a return to the original Taiwan manufacture. This also happens to coincide with the discontinued manufacture of Faker in Taiwan. Of course, I think that "The Original" burst appears consistently from G6 on through the final Malaysia years, but nevertheless, I think it was initially intended to denote the return to Taiwan, which may have been made possible by the discontinuance of Faker.

I think we have a similar phenomenon with Skeletor, but the timeline is a bit different. Mattel continued to produce Skeletor in Taiwan through the G4 cards, and then we start to see Hong Kong Skeletors on G4 cards as well. By the time we get to G7, production switched back to Taiwan and there again we see "The Original" burst. So, once again, I have always thought the initial use of the "Original" burst denoted a return to Taiwan. But I'm not sure if I've seen a large enough sample size of Skeletor cards for that to be definitive.

OK, so what does this have to do with SE He-Man? Not much, really, except that I find it interesting that I've never, ever seen a standard He-Man figure with a belt gap. Nor have I seen a Faker figure with a belt gap, and I'd love for someone to find one.