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Thread: getting back into (MOTUC) - summary from the field for outsiders looking to start

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2018

    getting back into (MOTUC) - summary from the field for outsiders looking to start

    Thought it might be useful for future folks interested in getting back into MOTU after decades away and need a point of reference in a single post.

    I grew up in the 1980's and was of the target age bracket for the line. During that era there wasn't the level of information available today, but it turns out I had quite an extensive MOTU collection from 1982 onwards, which basically must have dropped off around 1985 as I had nothing from the Hordak era onwards.

    I have only very vague recollections of the cartoon from that era, I do have memories of watching it, but no direct recollection at a per episode level, although on revisiting the show I am almost certain of having memories of the origin or the sorceress or teelas triumph episodes.

    Anyway, MOTU isn't something I have followed since then, its really only around 2018 where I found myself looking into it to facilitate play cycles with the next generation. About a year down the line of starting research and purchases, here is what I have found and can discuss in retrospect:

    • The Figures, branding and marketing online for MOTUC really hit the nostalgia between the eyes, which I think is what is driving the high prices. I started with my toe in the water with sourcing a fairly complete wave 1 of loyal subjects, kind of pricey for what they were but at that time I thought that would be it. They look awesome online and look awesome in person, lasted about 1 hour when played with by the next generation, broken waist joints, leg joints, they don't stand up to being thrown etc. definitely a collectable for an older demographic to place on the shelf and take Instagram shots of, instead of being any real serious toy.

    • Next step was to get the complete DVD of the series. I have to say the image quality on the DVD's are excellent and far superior to the YouTube channel, although the YouTube channel is much more convenient. There are definitely a handful of great episodes there, and a lot that are really fruity, even for back then - and definitely several that wouldn't really be appropriate for today's climate, however in terms of value for money it was well worth the spend and would purchase again. Although its unlikely we will ever have the time to watch every single episode, its more just a few now and then.

    Which leads into where the rubber hits the road, the MOTUC collection.

    As a collector of other things, I get the mindset of the collector, although I am not one for that with MOTUC, so the objective was to buy new on the secondary market but still of unopened stock with the purpose to open and actually use the items as toys, but did not have to be mint, and all of the items were purchase from collectors on the secondary market.

    • First couple of purchases were the Talon Fighter, Man at Arms and the Palace Guards. All arrived and are high quality items. The Talon Fighter is a nice item, definitely playable but the roof of the fighter will eventually break with real play. And really the thing is just too big in scale for the normal home, it really only needed to be big enough for one Figure. Point dread is cool, but again probably way bigger than it needed to be, but I understand they needed to fit it to the castle. All three purchases were fairly reasonable in cost but starting to leaning to the expensive side as there was lots of available quantity still available, but the demand is there. Would purchase Talon Fighter and Man at Arms again, but not the guards.

    • For space constraints I gave away one of the Palace Guards, but then also later found out that one of the heads was of the marketing brand ambassador, I didn't know this at the time, for me it was a bit too creepy having play cycles modelled on some marketing guys likeness so eventually that head got swapped out and thrown. The teela figure also got thrown as I felt it was just actual junk (head issues aside)

    • Next purchase was to round out the original MOTU 8-back figures. Beast-man was a bit too hardcore for play, although he was one of my favorite characters back in the day, the MOTUC version is just a bit too out there for a young toy. so wasn't purchased and swapped out with Clawful. But all the other figures, Zodac, Stratos, Mer-man all were good figures to receive and still reasonably priced, although leaning towards the expensive side. Stratos is definitely a must have. I will say this to the collectors and non-collectors, I don't get the obsession with the MIB for the green packaging, to me it looks kind of meh and it didn't bother me personally if it was nice or worn, I just viewed it as packaging. For some of the figures I received that must have been made in 2009 or that era, the white funk that they were covered with in the box easily came off with washing.

    • Next purchase was the Weapons Rack, this is a cool little item. Expensive for what it is, but I quite like it. the little nubs probably will break off like they did with the orange one back in the day. I will call out that some of the weapons in the weapon pack when opened were sticky and goopy as something has happened to the plastic being MIB for such a long time, so they got thrown.

    • Next up was the Roton, this toy is ultra cool. I had no interest in the Skelcon figure, so it got thrown. It situations like this, yes maybe could get 40 bucks or whatever on ebay, but the effort isn't worth it at that point. The Roton toy is the real deal. Never had one in the 1980's, but this one is definitely a must have, don't recall specifically what it cost, but was worth the purchase. would purchase again.

    • The next consideration was battle cat, it proved to be too expensive versus the motivation to buy it at its price point. Definitely one I would like to have, but give the room all this stuff takes up, and that it seems like the legs will be problematic, I passed it in at the current time. Would be something for completion much later, but way down on the list of priorities. Had no interest in Panthor, although this is likely a function of not having Panthor in the 1980's.

    • Then it was a stridor purchase, stridor is also quite good, but only lasted a couple of days play - the legs are easily snapped off in play cycles, however easily fixed with superglue. Traditionally, a Fisto should go with a stridor, I personally wouldn't pay 300 for that character, even though I quite liked the clash of arms mini comic back in the day. but even at RRP, I don't particularly think its a character that is contemporary, it was innocent back in the day, but its way too loaded with imagery to be a kids toy in 2019. Also wanted a Night Stalker, but resisted the urge to purchase although it is a cool item, more down to storage of the toy and that it is a near duplicate of stridor. Probably the same situation with Jitsu, was a character I had back in the day, but not really one I would pursue in modern times. I eventually will buy another stridor to replace the broken one.

    So at this point, although lots of money has been spent, I am still feeling good about the line. It is at this point of course you realised you have to take it to its natural conclusion with He-man and Skeletor and the Castle Grayskull:

    • I went ahead and bought the Ultimates He-man and Skeletor, specifically for a couple of reasons. First as someone not following the whole history, I couldn't get enough information about the reverse shoulders situation from the initial 2008 runs, nor had the motivation for the research in the forum. Secondly, the Red card back really appealed to me and drew me in.

    • In purchasing both of these, they ran over $200 each which was basically extortion, especially since they were really only manufactured a year or two ago. It was one of those times where I knew it was a ridiculous purchase, but it was was it was. I must admit when both items arrived, they are the real deal. The red card back and the modern interpretations of the MOTUC design, I did get goofy for these two characters specifically when I opened them, they are excellent in every way, the only comment being that there is no purple axe included with Skeletor and the Skeletor head is a little gonzo (both versions).

    • Then obviously one must order Castle Grayskull. There isn't much to say, it was stupendously overpriced, by a multiplier of 2x, possibly 3x. Just really something I didn't want to spend that amount of money on, I did it anyway as it rounded out the scope of what I wanted in the line, I was never interested in 150 characters, it was more about having enough characters to round out play value with the castle.
    • It arrived and it is everything you need it to be, a well made item with great play value and works well with the figures. I feel bad for all the guys keeping the outer box mint, once you open it and get into it, it truly is just a toy. It is true though that at original RRP the thing was overpriced, the discounted price is a more appropriate price for what it actually is when it is in front of you. However accepting supply and demand, the prices are what they are. Glad I have it, not comfortable with what I paid for it, it exceeded the scope of a sound purchase, but still a cool toy.

    I was never into Snake Mountain even in the 1980's, so I personally wouldn't follow up on it myself, but can see why others would, even though it seems not to be scaled for use in a normal home. However I will go on to say a couple of things:

    Finding information out about the MOTUC on YouTube is really tedious. There are no integrated play videos, only informative individual character toy videos. PixelDan's reviews are the most popular, however it gets really tedious for an outsider when really all people are saying are words like "buck" "sculpt" and "four horsemen" we get it of course, but they are terms often regurgitated with no real value or insight.

    It was interested to come across information around that on a per figure basis, some figures went out with 6,000 made, other up to just over 10,000 per figure, its wild to realise just how small and super niche the market is.

    The other thing was really confirming how the world has moved on. At time when the scope of the collection was complete and setup in the loungeroom floor, it really only holds the interest of the way the next generation plays for a couple of hours, even myself as someone that was tripping on nostalgia found myself handling the toys as part of play and really thinking, yes these things are really only worth about 20 or 30 bucks in hand and eventually drifting back to smart phone for entertainment. Really we found ourselves on the floor eventually rolling back into hotwheels as the day progressed and then as night time comes, its really an iPad world. This generation doesn't really seem to play in the same that we did after dinner back in the day.

    So ultimately for the outsider looking to get back into MOTUC, the summary is, yes it is worth it if you can afford it and the purchases are fueled by nostalgia, definitely the ROI on the items as a pure toy are not there, so be mindful of that. but in todays world MOTUC seems its primarily geared for Instagram moments and collector accumulation rather than hard core play.

  2. #2
    Heroic Warrior Razzerian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Antwerpen, Belgium
    I dig this topic, but every time I read “it got thrown”, I cringe!

    Just put all that stuff in a box please and send it to me

    - - - Updated - - -

    As for the iPad generation... it’s definitely true that this generation of children are going to gravitate toward electronics. But my experience with my son is that action figures still very much appeal to him, he loves his Batman, Transformers and He-Man figures and I think you can encourage playing with physical toys a lot as a parent. Plus it’s a wonderful way of bonding with your child to play and share an interest starting at a very young age. I gather from your post that’s something you put a lot of stock in too!

  3. #3
    Heroic Warrior
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Hellbourne, Australia
    Great post, posternia!
    Wanted in MOTUC: 1) Masks of Power Demons 2) Mini-Comics Tri-Klops 3) Hoove 4) Vintage Attack Trak 5) Leech (Club Grayskull)
    Like Shock Rock? Check out my band:

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Quote Originally Posted by Razzerian View Post
    I dig this topic, but every time I read “it got thrown”, I cringe!

    - - - Updated - - -
    Yes, it is a consideration, but also in the efforts to keep clutter at a minimum and move on with life, you can't be afraid of throwing out what is effectively made in china plastic. In my opinion and when in hand, the Skelcon, Point Dread Teela and some degraded plastic weapons, did cross over to junk status in my mind, so the collection is better off without them. Plus there is the problem that once you get into the really obscure characters, the next generation can't relate to their friends about it - kids of today have no idea about the B or C list characters and their parents probably don't have the desire to buy the equivalent A list characters for mutual play. Its really a solitary play line now.

    Even as someone that had all the characters from the 1983 & 1984 wave back in the day too, I found little desire to get the MOTUC versions of Man E Faces, Ram Man, Trap Jaw, Whiplash, Webstor etc etc, possibly would have gotten Tri Klops if it was more reasonably priced.

    Sure, they would have been nice to haves but due to the size of the characters, I still felt 8 to 10 characters is convenient for play, once you get up around 16 or more the expense and room for display makes it cross over from toy to collectable, in my opinion. Certainly the other 130 characters available I can appreciate the effort and expense that went into their creation, but my eyes just kinda glazed over when looking through them all, they are useful artifacts for those that want to be indoctrinated into the lore, but as casual play items, if the window for interest is about 3 years, its way to many characters to collect and play with before moving on to the next play brand.

  5. #5
    Heroic Warrior Palazzolor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Detroit, MI
    Great thread, posternia. Many good things to take away from here.

    Here's the two cents from someone who's been collecting for 30 years to the person who wants to start collecting now...

    I have many figures from the 80's, 90's, 2000's and today and I can say that although action figures are made better for adult collectors, they're made more poorly for kids and yet both are ridiculously expensive for what you get. Make a decision on what you want to collect and stick with that but YOU WILL NEED TO HAVE MONEY. Anyone who says these figures are affordable is either clinically crazy or has more money than they know what to do with. For me, these days, it's only 6-inch action figures and I don't plan on ever completing any collection. I won't pay any more than $50 for any MOTUC action figure and that price range drops when it comes to Star Wars or Marvel Legends. I don't have an interest anymore in the 3.75 or the new MOTU 5.5. I choose to collect MOTUC, Marvel Legends, Multi-verse, Star Wars Black Series and DC Universe Classics but I'll pick up other collections that are of interest as long as it's an extremely good deal.

    For example, out of the many figures I collected as a kid, one of the toy lines was **** Tracy. Well, all my **** Tracy figures got tossed out when I was younger along with my MOTU, Ninja Turtles, Return of the Jedi, etc. figures. So a few years ago I found 10 out of the 14 figure collection MOC on eBay for $35. That was a good day.

    Unfortunately, I started collecting MOTUC pretty late (2013) so I know I'll never have a completed collection. Most of those figures are only available on the secondary market and most of the prices are astronomical. Look up MOTUC Fisto, Sorceress, Ram Man or even the original He-man or Skeletor...absolutely horrible prices and with no "good" reason as to why. Castle Grayskull too...holy crap. I'm not even giving the upcoming Snake Mountain a second thought. Awesome design but way overpriced like everything else. So, if you're just starting out, you really have to live on eBay and try to find the best deal possible. Just giving in to scalpers or people on the secondary market just to complete your collection doesn't make sense to me and I'm a pretty avid action figure collector. Online sales have ruined this industry for the collector in my opinion and it'll never change. That's why some people like to hunt for figures that they sell in stores like Star Wars Black Series or Marvel Legends. MOTU should be in stores but apparently that'll never happen (shrugs shoulders).

    Lastly, find a way to always keep up with when the figures you collect are coming out. Watch Toy Fairs on YouTube and know when pre-orders of your collections are happening. DO NOT WAIT and think you'll get them for a better deal later on.


  6. #6
    Heroic Warrior
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Great thread! It is great to hear from others that use MOTUC for play. Posternia, it was really great to read your observations and experiences. I collect the line and have since its inception but I also use the figures, vehicles, and playsets for play with my 3 and 6 year old boys. Part of my motivation for doing so is selfish. My collection means a lot to me and it would be nice if it meant something to them. It is worth the risk of my collectibles becoming slightly less mint. Additionally, I think I am a better play partner for them when the toys are related to something I have an emotional attachment to. I find myself getting into the play scenarios more when it is MOTU versus something like Ben 10 or PJ Masks.

    To add to what Posternia said, here are some observations I have made using MOTUC as actual toys to engage children.

    • The classics Castle Grayskull is by far the best actual toy in the line for play. There is so much play value with it. It really surpasses the original castle with options. The secret doors, option to use Scare Glow's secret key, use of the sword as a key, trapdoor, actual dungeon, and orb room all adds to the play value. The line would be much less appealing to my kids without the castle.

    • The vintage figures are sometimes better for play than the classics versions. My kids get enjoyment out of using the gimmicks in the vintage figures more than the better sculpting and larger size of the classics figures. Also the limited articulation makes it easier to manipulate, especially for my youngest son. This is especially true for the mounts as both panthor and battle cat have joints that are too loose to really enjoy in a play scenario. A great thing about the vintage figures is that they are a lot cheaper when bought loose compared to the classics versions, causing me less anxiety about my kids getting them dinged up. We usually mix the classics figures in with our vintage versions for play.

    • Of the classics figures, my children have gotten the most enjoyment out of Orko and the other three trollans. My oldest usually gets to play with Orko. My youngest loves villains in general and has really taken to the Unnamed One. This affinity for the trollans began even before being exposed to the filmation show. I think a large part of it is that they can tell that the characters would fly and they don't have to worry as much about posing and articulation.

    • My oldest son loves video games and is more attracted to goal directed play as opposed to free form play. As such, I have enhanced his interest in playing with toys by adding in goals to accomplish. With MOTUC this has best been accomplished by sometimes using the old Battle of Eternia Board Game. You can use the figures and can be set up with the other playsets so all of the toys are utilized.

    • I agree with posternia that you really don't need an abundance of characters to maximize play value. I think that 6-8 members on each team seems optimal. In fact, since i have so many characters by now I sometimes will regret introducing a new character too soon. I think constantly cycling through characters can prevent the kids from developing the stories of each figure.

    Overall, I have really enjoyed seeing my kids experience wonder and excitement playing with castle grayskull and the figures. They honestly prefer Transformers and cars a little more than MOTU but I think they come up with the best play scenarios with MOTU. I honestly believe that the Castle is thus far the most memorable toy they have had. I feel some real anxiety when I am afraid they are going to chip some paint or break a joint on a figure that is worth a lot but I think the payoff is worth it.

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