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Thread: Production variants

  1. #126
    Heroic Warrior Lich Leech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Springor Spanior View Post
    Wow. Great job. I can definitely corroborate some of this hard work on the Wave 1 production runs. For example, I received Mer-Man for my birthday in October, 1982, and I'm pretty sure he was newly released. Thus, he has the green belt and short tabs, of course. I received Skeletor for Christmas, 1982, which is late in the year for first four figures in Wave 1, so not surprisingly, he is the second release with the black trunks, half boot, elongated back straps version. Same with Battle Cat. I received him for Christmas, 1982 and he is the 2nd release 1978 textured version with no stripe on the tail. I purchased Stratos with extra Christmas money at end of December, 1982 or first week of January and he is the gray beard with short straps version.

    This brings me to a thought about the timing of the release of figures. This is slightly off topic of the variant discussion, but it is interesting to me. The concept of Wave 1, Wave 2, etc. is organized around the calendar year. Yet, having lived through the period of the actual releases, to me they are slightly more blurred. For example:

    1. Faker. He appeared on the shelves in spring of 1983. I want to say March or April. Although he is technically Wave 2, to me he was really a prelude to the release of the other Wave 2 figures. He was clearly rushed to market. He didn't have his own comic, and my version has factory gunk on him and looks hastily banged together. But the cross-selling artwork on the back of his mini comic (He-Man Meets Ram-Man) served to introduce all of us to what was coming. . .which was pure awesomeness - MEF, Trap Jaw, etc.

    2. Tri-Klops. I remember Tri-Klops being the last release of Wave 2 and most challenging to find, at least in my neck of the woods. I asked for him for my birthday in October 1983 but had to settle for Ram-Man because TK wasn't available. I thought for sure he would be out for Christmas but he wasn't. I remember I had to travel 30 miles to a large mall to search him out at KB Toys, where I finally found him. I think that wasn't until early 1984!

    3. Mekaneck. Although he is technically part of Wave 3, to me he was sort of in between. He showed up on the shelves like around February or March 1984, and again he sort of clued us in on what was coming. Then in late spring we were inundated with Whiplash, Buzz-Off, Fisto and Jitsu. Webstor and Kobra Khan were later in the summer. Clawful came in the late summer or early fall.

    4. Prince Adam and Orko. To me, Clawful was really the end of Wave 3. I considered Prince Adam and Orko, which I think were released in the fall of 1984, to be distinct.

    Anyway, this is off topic.
    Thanks for sharing! Yes, there were waves within waves. For example, I think Evil-Lyn and Screech came out later in 1983. I also found an advertisement that suggested Mekaneck would be available Christmas 1983 - right before 1984 which is the group I would associate him with. But the lines get blurry, and everything was not released at once at the start of each year.

    I have tracked down various filing dates for these figures, including copyright, trademark, and use in commerce. They help fill in the picture, although I think some of the dates that were filed were generalized a bit. For example first use in commerce gives the entire first 8 figures the same "first use in commerce" date, although we know Stratos and Mer-Man came later and Teela and Zodac probably a bit later still.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by motogp_fanatic View Post
    I love reading and visiting the site. Very informative and entertaining.I hope i can finish more article while I'm on the last week(?) of our stay home/ lockdown/ quarantine in our country.

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    Thanks very much!
    Last edited by Lich Leech; May 11, 2020 at 12:41pm.

  2. #127
    Widget Springor Spanior's Avatar
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    I would like to resurrect a discussion about Battle Armor (BA) He-Man and Skeletor variants released in the U.S. I never had these two figures as a kid, but my good friend did, so I recall some characteristics of the early release versions. There has been several discussions on this thread about BA releases in the US, and now I am trying to piece it all together as I try to sort out loose figures and weapons that I have accumulated as an adult collector.

    UPDATE: I am editing my original post because I realize that I was confused, mixing Mexico BA He-Man and Taiwan BA He-Man. I decided to take a step back and focus on one thing at a time, starting with Mexico BA He-Man with USA weapons. I am referring to US Patent/Mexico BA He-Man (lighter shade of yellow on the belt). As a collector of loose vintage He-Man and BA He-Man, it is challenging find accessories that all match precisely in color. I used to think that the early production runs of BA Mexico He-Man USA-made weapons were a deep silver, and the later a lighter silver. But I have attached a photo showing that there is seemingly no pattern to the color variation. In this photo, we see a line of silver BA He-Man USA axes and swords that are stamped 1 or 2, and we see they come in light and dark color, regardless of the number stamped on the weapon. (The dark gray axe and sword adjoining the silver row are USA weapons that go with the standard Mexico He-Man, and are included for illustration.) I should also factor age into the equation, as perhaps some weapons have changed color with age. But my ultimate conclusion is that there is no pattern to the color variation. In this endeavor to find matching silver weapons, I did however discover a few things I thought I would share for posterity. The BA He-Man axes made in USA have two distinguishing characteristics.

    1. First, they are stamped either with a 1 or a 2, and that number is placed in the center of the blade toward the shoulder. In contrast, the USA axe that goes with regular He-Man is stamped on the edge of the blade.

    2. The BA He-Man axes have a distinctive gap at the top of the grip and again at the bottom of the grip. It's possible this gap exists on other axes, but it is not present on any standard He-Man USA axe, Taiwan axe or Malaysia axe that I own.

    That gap and the placement of the production number stamp help me identify a BA USA axe immediately on sight. That's all for now.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Springor Spanior; June 9, 2020 at 07:55pm.
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  3. #128
    Widget Springor Spanior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lich Leech View Post
    Thanks for sharing! Yes, there were waves within waves. For example, I think Evil-Lyn and Screech came out later in 1983. I also found an advertisement that suggested Mekaneck would be available Christmas 1983 - right before 1984 which is the group I would associate him with. But the lines get blurry, and everything was not released at once at the start of each year.

    I have tracked down various filing dates for these figures, including copyright, trademark, and use in commerce. They help fill in the picture, although I think some of the dates that were filed were generalized a bit. For example first use in commerce gives the entire first 8 figures the same "first use in commerce" date, although we know Stratos and Mer-Man came later and Teela and Zodac probably a bit later still.

    - - - Updated - - -



    Thanks very much!
    I have been reading through your blog (in particular your timelines) and then going back and examining the 4-digit production numbers of the original MOTU line. There are some interesting patterns that may be of interest:

    1. The 4-digit production codes of Wave 1 toys generally start with a 5. The two exceptions being Battle Ram and Castle Grayskull (3990 and 3991), but the remaining toys in wave are 5040 (HE-MAN) through 5117 (WIND RAIDER) - actually 5118 if you count the He-Man/WR two-pack. In any event, as we move into Wave 2, here are the relevant production codes: ATTAK TRAK (5740) MAN-E-FACES (5879) RAM-MAN (5896) ZOAR (4014) EVIL-LYN (4172) TRI-KLOPS (4301) TRAP JAW (4302) POINT DREAD (4306) FAKER (4482) SCREEECH (4713) PANTHOR (4714). Based on your timeline and profiles of each toy, Attak Trak, MEF and Ram-Man are really part of the initial concept group that we can perhaps call the Mark Taylor / Ted Mayer concept group. The switch to codes starting with a 4 seems to represent the end of the initial concept line. (Or perhaps Mattel just ran out of suitable numbers that start with 5, but I think there's something more there.)

    2. It's also apparent based on the numbers assigned to Faker, Screeech and Panthor, that they were "throw ins" into Wave 2 intended make some cash re-using parts. They are not really part of a character bible, I don't think.

    3. As we progress into Wave 3, we see continued use of 4 digit codes start with 4 that include characters from the MOTU bible /Roger Sweet/ Colin Bailey. Here are some relevant codes in sequence: WEBSTOR (4895) MEKANECK (4919) BUZZ-OFF (4923), JITSU (4924) WHIPLASH (4935). I am calling attention to Jitsu in particular. I had always assumed that Fisto was the original "heroic" concept, and that Jitsu was "evil" parts re-use. But in fact, Jitsu was the concept (aka Chopper) in the Motu bible. In the middle of Wave 3, the codes switch from 4 to 7, and there we see FISTO (7016), CLAWFUL (7017), KOBRA KHAN (7098) followed by the Battle Armor variants, Orko and Prince Adam. My point is, Fisto appears, to a certain degree, to have been the parts re-use.

    4. Oddly, NIGHT STALKER (4965) precedes STRIDOR (4966) in production code, even though Stridor was released as part of Wave 3 and Night Stalker part of Wave 4. This suggests perhaps the the initial concept of a cyborg horse could have been either "evil" or "heroic".

    5. In your profile on Modulok, you speculate that Modulok was possibly a last minute addition to the Evil Horde, as he does not carry the typical Horde insignia. And indeed here is an interesting sequence of production codes: MANTENNA (9168) LEECH (9169) GRIZZLOR (9171) HORDAK (9172) BATTLE BONES (9173) MODULOK (9174). The interruption of the sequence with Battle Bones suggests that Modulok was not part of the initial Horde concept but rather an add-in. The cardbacks for the figures Mantenna, Leech, Grizzlor and Hordak also all carry the same supplemental code "Asst 9391", while Modulok does not.

    I suppose I could go on and on that is enough for now.
    I'm losing my edge, but I was there. LCD Soundsystem

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