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Thread: Toys R Us Price Stickers on Vintage MOTU Cards: An Under-Utilized Resource

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    Heroic Warrior Springor Spanior's Avatar
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    Toys R Us Price Stickers on Vintage MOTU Cards: An Under-Utilized Resource

    Many of us who have been looking at early MOTU advertisements and promos in light of the exciting discovery around Special Edition He-Man (formerly known as Wonder Bread He-Man) have also been trying to piece to together the order of issuance of many 2nd wave figures, to see if they might tie into one or more promotions of Special Edition He-Man.

    MEF has surfaced frequently as a potential connection to SE He-Man because of the maroon weapons commonly associated with both figures. Faker and Evil-Lyn also have been discussed heavily, as there exists some debate as to whether they were issued before, after or at the same time as MEF.

    With respect to MEF, one significant point of discussion has been whether or not the earliest carded figures came with the extra free weapons. We have found so-called G0 cards (i.e., cards without a G1, G2, etc - generally considered to be the earliest releases) with and without weapons. There is one G0 card that I call the 0810 card (as shown on the back of the card) which has no “New” on the front, nor any weapons burst. There is another G0 card that I call the 0910 card (again, as shown on the back) which generally does have a “New” on the front, and a weapons burst, clearly showing this figure came with extra weapons. So which came first? I think it likely 0810 came first, but could not rule out that they were released at the same time. So, to help find evidence on this problem, I started to examine price stickers. Toys R Us price stickers are helpful because (a) they are relatively plentiful, and (b) they contain more information than the average price sticker from the local toy store.

    The first thing one notices about a Toys R Us Price Sticker (other than that it is orange and rectangular in shape) is that the MOTU figure’s 4-digit SKU is shown prominently on the sticker. I have attached here an MEF 0910 card with a sticker. You can see it is prominently stamped with 5879, the number Mattel assigned to the figure. (I haven’t figured out yet what the -8 next next to it means.) To the far right there is a letter C. I believe that all of the figures received by Toys R Us in that year were assigned a C - including Faker, Evil-Lyn, etc. Later year figures have D, E, F and G. So, for example, if you find a Malaysia Faker card back, it will have an F or maybe even a G on it.

    Below the four-digit SKU is a another longer number. This is a unique number that Toys R Us assigns to each figure. The number doesn’t change from year to year. Rather, it seems to be constant to the figure. In the MEF card example, the Toys R Us number assigned to MEF is C110388X. Faker’s number is C110361X. Now, I suspect you are thinking I’m going to say Faker was first because 361 is lower than 388. Actually, I am still trying to work that out, but there is something more interesting to discuss.

    It appears to be the case that when a figure was first released, it took some time before Toys R Us was able to update the stickers with a unique code assigned to the figure. So, newly released figures are assigned a generic four-digit SKU of 5050 and a store number of C110876X. I have attached an MEF 0810 card (with no “new” and no free weapons) which bears this sticker. I believe this is evidence to confirm that the 0810 card preceded the 0910 card. I have found so many other early release cards with same 5050 SKU and store number. You can look on eBay now and see no warranty Man-At-Arms and Beast Man cards with the same numbers. You can also see a first release Sy-Klone and Stinkor with the same numbers.

    To make matters slightly more confusing, some figures like Evil-Lyn sometimes have a 5334 SKU on the sticker, which oddly corresponds to the same number on the bar code on the back. (For some reason, sometimes the bar code on the back does not use the 4-digit SKU assigned by Mattel to the character, but instead uses 5334 or 5050. This occurs with Ram-Man, for example.) I haven’t quite worked all of this out.

    So, what does all of this tell us. As for MEF, I think it does support the theory that there were early MEF cards without any maroon weapons. I’m not suggesting all 0810 cards lacked weapons. I’m just saying it seems to match up with my feeble memory that there were cards with and without weapons early on.

    Lastly, I would also like to mention an observation about the use of the “New” label in 2nd wave figures. There seems to be a general consensus that the use of the “New” started sometime during the 2nd wave in 1983. I have found early MEF, Ram Man and even a Tri-Klops card with no “New” on them. Interestingly, I have never found a single Evil-Lyn or Faker card with a new label. Faker is somewhat understandable because they re-used the 8-back. But they gave Evil-Lyn her own artwork early on, so I don’t know why they never used the new label. I also think this may support a theory that Evil-Lyn was released earlier in 1983 - so that perhaps MEF, Faker and Evil-Lyn were around the same time but Mattel never bothered to update her card with a new label. Not sure why I think that, exactly, but thought I would mention it.

    I invite and encourage others to examine Toys R Us stickers to add to or subtract from this.

    MEF 0910 G0 5879.jpg
    MEF 0810 G0 5050.jpg
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    Heroic Warrior Lich Leech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Springor Spanior View Post
    Many of us who have been looking at early MOTU advertisements and promos in light of the exciting discovery around Special Edition He-Man (formerly known as Wonder Bread He-Man) have also been trying to piece to together the order of issuance of many 2nd wave figures, to see if they might tie into one or more promotions of Special Edition He-Man.

    MEF has surfaced frequently as a potential connection to SE He-Man because of the maroon weapons commonly associated with both figures. Faker and Evil-Lyn also have been discussed heavily, as there exists some debate as to whether they were issued before, after or at the same time as MEF.

    With respect to MEF, one significant point of discussion has been whether or not the earliest carded figures came with the extra free weapons. We have found so-called G0 cards (i.e., cards without a G1, G2, etc - generally considered to be the earliest releases) with and without weapons. There is one G0 card that I call the 0810 card (as shown on the back of the card) which has no “New” on the front, nor any weapons burst. There is another G0 card that I call the 0910 card (again, as shown on the back) which generally does have a “New” on the front, and a weapons burst, clearly showing this figure came with extra weapons. So which came first? I think it likely 0810 came first, but could not rule out that they were released at the same time. So, to help find evidence on this problem, I started to examine price stickers. Toys R Us price stickers are helpful because (a) they are relatively plentiful, and (b) they contain more information than the average price sticker from the local toy store.

    The first thing one notices about a Toys R Us Price Sticker (other than that it is orange and rectangular in shape) is that the MOTU figure’s 4-digit SKU is shown prominently on the sticker. I have attached here an MEF 0910 card with a sticker. You can see it is prominently stamped with 5879, the number Mattel assigned to the figure. (I haven’t figured out yet what the -8 next next to it means.) To the far right there is a letter C. I believe that all of the figures received by Toys R Us in that year were assigned a C - including Faker, Evil-Lyn, etc. Later year figures have D, E, F and G. So, for example, if you find a Malaysia Faker card back, it will have an F or maybe even a G on it.

    Below the four-digit SKU is a another longer number. This is a unique number that Toys R Us assigns to each figure. The number doesn’t change from year to year. Rather, it seems to be constant to the figure. In the MEF card example, the Toys R Us number assigned to MEF is C110388X. Faker’s number is C110361X. Now, I suspect you are thinking I’m going to say Faker was first because 361 is lower than 388. Actually, I am still trying to work that out, but there is something more interesting to discuss.

    It appears to be the case that when a figure was first released, it took some time before Toys R Us was able to update the stickers with a unique code assigned to the figure. So, newly released figures are assigned a generic four-digit SKU of 5050 and a store number of C110876X. I have attached an MEF 0810 card (with no “new” and no free weapons) which bears this sticker. I believe this is evidence to confirm that the 0810 card preceded the 0910 card. I have found so many other early release cards with same 5050 SKU and store number. You can look on eBay now and see no warranty Man-At-Arms and Beast Man cards with the same numbers. You can also see a first release Sy-Klone and Stinkor with the same numbers.

    To make matters slightly more confusing, some figures like Evil-Lyn sometimes have a 5334 SKU on the sticker, which oddly corresponds to the same number on the bar code on the back. (For some reason, sometimes the bar code on the back does not use the 4-digit SKU assigned by Mattel to the character, but instead uses 5334 or 5050. This occurs with Ram-Man, for example.) I haven’t quite worked all of this out.

    So, what does all of this tell us. As for MEF, I think it does support the theory that there were early MEF cards without any maroon weapons. I’m not suggesting all 0810 cards lacked weapons. I’m just saying it seems to match up with my feeble memory that there were cards with and without weapons early on.

    Lastly, I would also like to mention an observation about the use of the “New” label in 2nd wave figures. There seems to be a general consensus that the use of the “New” started sometime during the 2nd wave in 1983. I have found early MEF, Ram Man and even a Tri-Klops card with no “New” on them. Interestingly, I have never found a single Evil-Lyn or Faker card with a new label. Faker is somewhat understandable because they re-used the 8-back. But they gave Evil-Lyn her own artwork early on, so I don’t know why they never used the new label. I also think this may support a theory that Evil-Lyn was released earlier in 1983 - so that perhaps MEF, Faker and Evil-Lyn were around the same time but Mattel never bothered to update her card with a new label. Not sure why I think that, exactly, but thought I would mention it.

    I invite and encourage others to examine Toys R Us stickers to add to or subtract from this.

    MEF 0910 G0 5879.jpg
    MEF 0810 G0 5050.jpg

    As I recall 0910 is a country code, designating toys sold in the US. 0810 is for Canada. However, in the 1983 wave, several US figures got the 0810 code. My feeling is that this was a print error. It doesn't seem to show up again outside of a few US releases in 1983.

  3. #3
    Heroic Warrior Universe's Avatar
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    Sounds like an interesting investigation!

    What little I can add is mostly a few price sticker samples which may help you reverse engineer your way to the meaning of the codes.

    Attachment 124247motupricesticker (2).jpgmotupricesticker.jpgmotupricesticker02 (2).jpgAttachment 124251motupricesticker2.jpgmotupricesticker03 (2).jpgAttachment 124254im2313age.jpg

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    toysrussticker.jpgtoysrussticker2.jpgtoysrussticker3.jpg

    Canadian Ninjor with Toys R Us sticker:
    motuninjorcanadiantoysrussticker.jpg

    Quote Originally Posted by Springor Spanior View Post
    Lastly, I would also like to mention an observation about the use of the “New” label in 2nd wave figures. There seems to be a general consensus that the use of the “New” started sometime during the 2nd wave in 1983. I have found early MEF, Ram Man and even a Tri-Klops card with no “New” on them. Interestingly, I have never found a single Evil-Lyn or Faker card with a new label. Faker is somewhat understandable because they re-used the 8-back. But they gave Evil-Lyn her own artwork early on, so I don’t know why they never used the new label. I also think this may support a theory that Evil-Lyn was released earlier in 1983 - so that perhaps MEF, Faker and Evil-Lyn were around the same time but Mattel never bothered to update her card with a new label. Not sure why I think that, exactly, but thought I would mention it.
    Have a pic of the Tri-Klops? I've never seen an early comic Tri without New, and had assumed they don't exist.

    Unrelated: 1986 Faker also never has "New!" at the top of his card. I suspect that in Faker 2's case it's because he was technically not a new character, while the other 1986 figures were.

    I'm not sure what's going on with Evil-Lyn. I feel like Mattel just never decided to promote her at all. Did later release Evil-Lyns get an update to the cardback, with the red and blue lettering that standard figures received?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lich Leech View Post
    As I recall 0910 is a country code, designating toys sold in the US. 0810 is for Canada. However, in the 1983 wave, several US figures got the 0810 code. My feeling is that this was a print error. It doesn't seem to show up again outside of a few US releases in 1983.
    Perhaps 0910 and 0810 are factory codes. Perhaps figures produced at one factory were generally sent to the U.S., while Canada generally used a different source.

    Attached: "New!" release Hordak cardback with 0410 code. I think 0410 codes are Mexico manufacture.

    Attachment 124257

    Attached: Canadian Man-E-Faces cardback. Notice the horizontal action feature diagram along with the standard blue and red character fonts, marking it a hybrid of early and late U.S. cardback features. Also notice the 0710 code.

    manefacescanadiancardback.jpg
    Last edited by Universe; December 7, 2020 at 05:07pm.

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    Heroic Warrior Springor Spanior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lich Leech View Post
    As I recall 0910 is a country code, designating toys sold in the US. 0810 is for Canada. However, in the 1983 wave, several US figures got the 0810 code. My feeling is that this was a print error. It doesn't seem to show up again outside of a few US releases in 1983.
    Thanks so much for the response. You make a good point about 0810 being assigned to Canada. As you say, it could be that some card backs were incorrectly stamped with the 0810 number. However, I find it odd that every Trap Jaw card back I’ve seen carries the 0810 number, and that seems to hold true regardless of whether the card is G1, G2 or G3. Thus, if the use of 0810 were an error, then one would think that error would have been changed with later card back prints, as did occur with MEF. My other source of confusion is that I believe I’ve seen Canadian cards with 0610, so I just wasn’t sure if 0810 was exclusive to Canada or not.

    But, playing off of your observation, I have thought of an elaborate theory that I wish I could prove true. It seems that Mattel did not do the maroon weapon promotion in Canada. The earliest Canadian advertisements I found with MEF were run in May, 1983 by Eatons. The syndicated advertisements contain MEF and Ram Man among others but no maroon weapons. This is in stark contrast to the early advertisements run in the US, which virtually always included the weapons. (Perhaps because there are different provincial laws around the ability to promote free stuff in Canada, but who knows.) So, then, Mattel may have packaged some figures on a plain card under the 0810 SKU that were originally intended for distribution in Ontario, for example. Maybe some of those cards ended up being distributed in the US. However, I would think that toy packaging intended for Canada must be bilingual under Canadian federal law, so that kind of shoots down my theory, unless the real error was a failure to print in dual language, so Mattel simply re-directed a bunch of 0810 cards down to the US, without weapons. It’s a far-fetched theory, I know. It also doesn’t explain why Trap Jaw bears the 0810 number.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Universe View Post
    Have a pic of the Tri-Klops? I've never seen an early comic Tri without New, and had assumed they don't exist.
    Yes, sir. Here: https://www.worthpoint.com/worthoped...ers-1868813535

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    Quote Originally Posted by Universe View Post
    Unrelated: 1986 Faker also never has "New!" at the top of his card. I suspect that in Faker 2's case it's because he was technically not a new character, while the other 1986 figures were.
    Perhaps they went with "He's Back!" instead. Semi-related side note: When I was perusing through card backs with Toys R Us stickers, I came across one for "The Original" He-Man re-issue, and I noticed that Toys R Us stamped that one not with He-Man's original 5040 SKU but rather with the 5050 store code for new items, as if it were a new issue. Kind of an oddity I thought I would mention.
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    Heroic Warrior Universe's Avatar
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    How common is it to have a card with no 4 digit suffix at all? Here's an early Canadian Ram Man with only the first 4 digits of the figure code on the card.

    earlyrammancanadian1.jpg earlyrammancanadian2.jpg
    Last edited by Universe; December 1, 2020 at 01:23am.

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    Heroic Warrior Springor Spanior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Universe View Post
    What little I can add is mostly a few price sticker samples which may help you reverse engineer your way to the meaning of the codes.
    Thanks for posting these, Universe. You can see that a lot of these cards bear the 3060 code, which I believe is the code Toys R Us may have used when the item went on clearance. A lot of these clearance stickers contain the letters G or H on the far right, which I believe is indicating the cards are from 1987 and 1988, respectively. That would be the timeframe MOTU was going into the tank, so not surprising to see all of these clearance items from that timeframe.

    The Ram Man has the new item code of 5050 followed by a C, which I believe is 1983. The Mer-Man sticker is marked with 5334 (not 5046, his Mattel SKU), so this one is still a puzzle for me. 5334 shows up on several cards I've seen, and sometimes that number also appears on the bar code on the back of the card. However, the sticker for that Mer-Man card also has a C, which I believe means that is a 1983 card as well.
    Last edited by Springor Spanior; December 1, 2020 at 08:42pm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Springor Spanior View Post
    the 3060 code, which I believe is the code Toys R Us may have used when the item went on clearance.
    That sounds very plausible.

    The Ram Man has the new item code of 5050 followed by a C, which I believe is 1983.
    It seems plausible that the letter corresponds to a year, but I feel like we'd find examples pretty quickly that contradict that narrative (the Roton sticker above, for example). You might be able to test the idea by looking at other toylines' price tags and seeing if hypothesized patterns hold. Ninja Turtles, for example.

    I haven't read this yet, but there might be some clues in this article.

    https://thekrazycouponlady.com/tips/...-of-price-tags

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    Heroic Warrior Springor Spanior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Universe View Post
    Attached: "New!" release Hordak cardback with 0410 code. I think 0410 codes are Mexico manufacture.
    Here is my theory about 0410. I've noticed the use of the 0410 started with the 4th wave in 1985. This is also when Mattel released the Evil Horde and POP, which also contained the 0410 at least initially. In the case of the Evil Horde and POP, those figures also contained a supplemental four digit number preceded by "Asst". In the Horde's case, this number is 9391. I believe that "Asst" likely stands for something like "Assortment", which informs the retailer that Mattel wants these Horde figures stocked as a separate assortment. By my own recollection, the Evil Horde and POP were stocked separate and apart from other regular MOTU figures. And in fact, if you look at Toys R Us MOTU cards of the Evil Horde, look at the ones from 1985, which are marked on the edge of the sticker with an E (which I believe connotes 1985). Those stickers use the four digit Asst 9391 number instead of the individual figure's SKU. Thus, I believe this was intended to tell the stockers to stock the Evil Horde in their own sections. I suspect the same was true of POP, but I haven't verified.

    Back to the 0410 - I believe this was sort of used like an assortment number. From the 4th wave onward, I believe that all newly released figures were assigned 0410, which sort of informed the retailer that these were new figures to be stocked in in a certain way, perhaps. But by the time we get to G2 or perhaps even G3 cards of those figures, we see Mattel reverts to 0910, indicated standard figure, so no prominent display.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Universe View Post
    It seems plausible that the letter corresponds to a year, but I feel like we'd find examples pretty quickly that contradict that narrative (the Roton sticker above, for example)
    The Roton box sticker is marked with an F, which to me suggests we are looking at a toy that was received and stocked in a Toys R Us in 1986. To run the through the progression: C = 1983, D= 1984, E= 1985, etc. etc. I am not suggesting that Roton was first produced by Mattel in 1986. I am saying that this particular Roton landed at Toys R Us in 1986. You will see card backs, like for Faker for example, that have a C on them, and that suggests to me we are looking at a package that was on the shelves in 1983. And the ones with a G would be 1987, and they are the ones that are likely Malaysia/He's Back re-issue. The Mer-Man card that you found - it has a C on it (suggesting we are looking at a 1983 package), and the 2nd wave comic inside supports that.

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    Update:

    With regard to the 12-back card of Mer-Man packaged with the 2nd wave comic, as shown to us by Universe, I have been trying to figure out why the Toys R Us sticker shows a four digit code of 5334 instead of Mer-Man’s assigned SKU of 5046. To understand why this is the case, one has to look at the bar code on the back of the card. There we see the standard MOTU bar code of 74299 followed by 5334, instead of the usual 5046. As I started to look at early packages of 1st wave MOTU figures on 12-back cards (these come with a 2nd wave comic), I noticed that all of the evil warriors carry the 5334 in the bar code. This is true even for Zodac. The first wave heroic warriors carry the number 5050 in the bar code. These two codes - 5334 and 5050. I think we see here that Mattel is either providing some sort of assortment to retailers for stocking purposes, or simply tracking sales of evil vs. heroic. This probably explains now why this 12-back Mer-Man has a 5334 SKU on the sticker.

    Here is where it gets slightly more interesting. In the case of Faker and Evil-Lyn, by the time we get to their G1 cards, their bar codes are already switched from their individual SKUS to 5334 status. And then there is Ram Man. Right out of the gate on G0 cards, we see the 5050 used in his bar code. In contrast, with MEF, we initially see his individual SKU in the bar code, and not until we get to G2 cards do we start to see the 5050 heroic warrior assignment. Similar with case with Tri-Klops - by the G2 card he is assigned to 5334 evil warrior status. I didn’t check Trap Jaw.

    So, now, if my analysis is correct that Mattel assigned 5050 to heroic warriors and 5334 to evil warriors, does that invalidate my earlier conclusion about Toys R Us and its use of the 5050 sticker SKU. I had initially suggested that Toys R Us puts 5050 on the stickers to denote brand new arrivals. Well, I have found numerous G0 cards, and Toys R Us seems to put 5050 on both heroic and evil warrior G0 cards. For example, I found a no warranty Beast Man with a Toys R Us sticker of 5050, as well as a new G0 Stinkor card with 5050 denotation as well, along with several other heroic warriors. So, for now, I’m sticking to my initial conclusion that Toys R Us used the 5050 do denote new arrival, but would not be upset if proven wrong.

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    And here is the G0 Stinkor card I was referring to. 0410. If my theory about Toys R Us Stickers is correct, the letter D would suggest that this Stinkor actually hit the shelves in 1984. This means my theory is up against conventional wisdom, as I think most experts would say Stinkor was released in 1985. I'm going to suggest he may have come out in late 1984.

    Attachment 124280
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    Nice work. It would make sense that Stinkor and Moss Man were the first of Wave 4 to hit stores: like Faker, they required no new tooling.

    How about playsets?

    toysrussticker.jpg beamblaster2.jpg

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    This one is extra strange: Instructions printed in Korea, 3139-0910 code; Stickers 3139-0310 code. From the same box (U.S. box with "New!", no suffix code)

    Attachment 124282

    Quote Originally Posted by Springor Spanior View Post
    Here is where it gets slightly more interesting. In the case of Faker and Evil-Lyn, by the time we get to their G1 cards, their bar codes are already switched from their individual SKUS to 5334 status.
    I need to go to bed lol. G1 Faker cardback.

    toysrussticker.jpg


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    toysrussticker4.jpgtoysrussticker5.jpgtoysrussticker6.jpgAttachment 124319toysrussticker8.jpgtoysrussticker9.jpgtoysrusstickertestmarketbeastman.jpgtoysrusstickertestmarketmanatarms.jpgtestmarketmanatarmssticker.jpgAttachment 124329

    With enough samples you may be able to glean data from other price stickers, as well.

    pricesticker12backteelag4.jpg
    Last edited by Universe; December 8, 2020 at 02:17am.

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    Heroic Warrior Springor Spanior's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of this. I really do think these stickers corroborate my theory that the letter on the far right of the sticker denotes the year. BA He-Man is a D, for 1984. The Fright Zone, Mantenna and Grizzlor you've got there are E, which is 1985. The Beam Blaster is an F, so 1986. I checked some cards for GI Joe figures as well, and discovered the same thing. Same coding corresponding to year. I believe the letters are not specific to one toy line, rather they correspond to the decade - starting with A for 1981, B for 1982 and so forth. Thus, we should expect that the far right letter on any MOTU card should never be below B.

    I found a few old 8 back examples with a B, for 1982, but they are hard to come by. The Beast Man and MAA ones you have there are partially torn off so you can't see the year. A lot of the 8 back cards with a 2nd wave comic tend to be C for 1983, which makes sense.

    I think this sticker thing would have useful application for some of the He-Man and Skeletor cards that fall into the middle of the production period. There's this period from 1983 to 1985 where we have G4-G7 cards for Taiwan, Mexico and Hong Kong, and it would be nice to see some stickers to clearly identify the year(s) they were on the shelves.
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    It doesn't tell us the earliest that a figure hit stores, but it does tell us that a figure hit the stores *at least as early as* the year you've determined. That's useful.

    I'm wondering if there's more information to be had from those tags. For instance, what is the 11 for on many (but not all) of the price stickers?

    What does the lower code signify? I notice many of the 1983 cards have a lower code that's similar to "...110867." Those codes seem to change pretty drastically the next year, but the early ones are often very close to each other.

    It looks like Toys R Us stickers tell us the year that an item was inventoried. I wonder if we keep digging if we'll be able to find a month, either from from Toys R Us or from other store tags.

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    I thought this was interesting. Stinkor and Moss Man were presumably released at the same time. Even if we don't have evidence, we can presume that Stinkor and Moss Man were released at about the same time for marketing reasons. They both share similar features, they're both featured in the same mini comic which was packaged with both.



    Here we have a "New!" Stinkor and "New!" Moss Man. Both 0410 codes, both Made in Malaysia. Yet for some reason, the Stinkor is a G0 card, while the Moss Man is a G1 (P.I.) card. Why do you suppose that is?

    EDIT: Well, I suppose you'll have to take my word for it. Apparently I've exceeded my image quota and can't post images anymore.
    Last edited by Universe; December 12, 2020 at 01:45am.

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    Heroic Warrior Springor Spanior's Avatar
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    Mekaneck MOC 1983.jpg

    For those who subscribe to my theory that the letter C denotes 1983 on Toys R Us Stickers, then this is further evidence to buttress the argument that Mekaneck hit the shelves in 1983, most likely around Christmas.
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    Keep an eye out for Prince Adam with a similar sticker. Prince Adam was also packaged with the Trap Jaw comic early on. It makes me think there might be a MOC Prince Adam sample out there somewhere with a "Terror of Tri-Klops" comic, but I've yet to seen one.
    Last edited by Universe; December 19, 2020 at 11:09pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Universe View Post

    I'm wondering if there's more information to be had from those tags. For instance, what is the 11 for on many (but not all) of the price stickers?

    What does the lower code signify? I notice many of the 1983 cards have a lower code that's similar to "...110867." Those codes seem to change pretty drastically the next year, but the early ones are often very close to each other.
    I think I have deciphered a little more information on the sticker. If you would, go back and look at the early ads that Lich Leech posted on his blog. As early as August, 1982, we see some of the ads refer to A5050 and A5334 when referring to the collection as a whole. Thus, in addition to individual SKUs assigned to each figure, I believe Mattel also created these "assortment" numbers for the Heroic Warriors and the Evil Warriors. The "A" is not an official part of the SKU - rather, I think it stands for assortment or something like that, just like when I explained that the Evil Horde has its own assortment number a ways back in the thread. (When you see a bar code on the back of the card with 5050 or 5334, the A is dropped). Whenever Toys R US uses the 5050 or 5334 on the sticker, the letter A is on the left, preceding the number, thus indicating that this is an assortment, presumably to be stocked together with like-kind figures also having the same 5050 or 5334, as the case may be. In contrast, when the figure's four digit individual number is on the sticker, there is no A that precedes the four digit number.

    As for the longer number that is on the bottom of the sticker, I believe this is a code that is unique to Toys R Us tracking its inventory. Notice that when the sticker has the figure's individual SKU, there is a corresponding unique longer code on the bottom - meaning the code is unique to that figure. When the sticker has 5050 or 5334, the longer code on the bottom corresponds to the four-digit number on the sticker.

    And lastly, as for the number 11, I haven't figured that out. My guess is it means Aisle 11. I guess that means all Toys R Us stores would have put MOTU in Aisle 11. Still working on that one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Universe View Post
    Here we have a "New!" Stinkor and "New!" Moss Man. Both 0410 codes, both Made in Malaysia. Yet for some reason, the Stinkor is a G0 card, while the Moss Man is a G1 (P.I.) card. Why do you suppose that is?
    I don't know. I have seen both G0 0410 Stinkor and G1 0410 Stinkor (both with "New" label) but only G1 0410 Moss Man. Maybe Mattel released Stinkor first, and then Moss Man shortly thereafter and put him on the same G1 card as Stinkor. They were both manufactured in Malaysia, so it would be easy to use the same card.

    For what it is worth, I can also say I have never seen a Mekaneck card below G2, so go figure.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Springor Spanior View Post
    I have seen both G0 0410 Stinkor and G1 0410 Stinkor (both with "New" label) but only G1 0410 Moss Man. Maybe Mattel released Stinkor first, and then Moss Man shortly thereafter and put him on the same G1 card as Stinkor. They were both manufactured in Malaysia, so it would be easy to use the same card.

    For what it is worth, I can also say I have never seen a Mekaneck card below G2, so go figure.
    Just found a Moss Man with "New!" and a "D" on the Toys R Us label, so that gives a pretty good indication that he was released very close to Stinkor. I'll keep an eye out for Mekaneck.

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    Hey, that's great! Was the Moss Man card a G0 or G1?

    Regarding Prince Adam and your comment about Terror of Tri-Klops, keep in mind that the printing of Menace of Trap Jaw that came with Prince Adam is a Taiwan print. The printing of Menace of Trap Jaw that came with Mexico Trap Jaw and Mexico Mekanack was a USA print, consistent with the usual Mexico/USA figure and accessory pairing. I have never ever come across a Taiwan print of Terror of Tri-Klops so I'm skeptical there was such a pairing, but that would be awesome if I am wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Springor Spanior View Post
    Hey, that's great! Was the Moss Man card a G0 or G1?
    Couldn't tell, damaged corners.

    Regarding Prince Adam and your comment about Terror of Tri-Klops, keep in mind that the printing of Menace of Trap Jaw that came with Prince Adam is a Taiwan print. The printing of Menace of Trap Jaw that came with Mexico Trap Jaw and Mexico Mekanack was a USA print, consistent with the usual Mexico/USA figure and accessory pairing. I have never ever come across a Taiwan print of Terror of Tri-Klops so I'm skeptical there was such a pairing, but that would be awesome if I am wrong.
    Wow, good thinking. I'll keep an eye out for Taiwan Tri-Klops minis, as well.

    I'm probably too lazy to do this, but it might be smart to make a spreadsheet regarding cardbacks and price tags. Maybe a Google Doc.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Unrelated, but an interesting card.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/he-man-mast...0AAOSwEOhf4ZO2

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    Here's a good one. Tri-Klops G1 with no "New."

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Mattel-MOTU...p2047675.l2557

    And here, an interesting store display. If you look at picture three, it shows what appears to be... release dates?

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/1986-HE-MAN...p2047675.l2557

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lich Leech View Post
    As I recall 0910 is a country code, designating toys sold in the US. 0810 is for Canada. However, in the 1983 wave, several US figures got the 0810 code. My feeling is that this was a print error. It doesn't seem to show up again outside of a few US releases in 1983.
    I'm back on 0810 vs. 0910 Man-E-Faces. To recap, we have all seen so-called G0 cards with 0810 and 0910 product numbers on the back of MEF cards. Lich Leech pointed out that 0810 is mainly used for Canada cards, and that the appearance of this number on some US cards in 1983 was perhaps an error. I am suggesting here that the appearance of 0810 was not an error. To understand my position, one needs to read this fascinating summary of the packaging of Intellivision games from the early 1980s. https://history.blueskyrangers.com/m...nghistory.html.

    In that summary, we see that Mattel used many of the same package numbers such as 0910, 0810, 0710 and so forth. However, with the exception of 0910 which connotes standard US release, the numbers all have different applications. Thus, for example, 0810 is mainly used for British releases of Intellivision games but also for a few US releases.

    The summary further tells us that the number itself is the product number for the box. Just like the game has a product number, so does the box. And thus the same is true with MOTU. The figure has a uniquely assigned number (e.g.5040), and then the the packaging has a general number (0910), as do instructions (0920). In fact, after the first test release figures, even the mini-comic has a product number.

    Prior to 1985, almost all US MOTU cards were assigned 0910. However, MEF is an exception. As noted above, there are G0 cards marked 0810 and 0910. However, only the 0910 cards carry the free weapons burst. When the promotion for the free weapons ended, the burst was removed, and thereafter on all G1 and G2 cards, the product number reverts to 0810. The point I’m trying to make here is this: the very fact that there are are two numbers is in fact the evidence that suggests 0810 cards and 0910 cards were issued at the same time. If they were not issued at the same time, Mattel would not have needed to use two different numbers - they would have just added a G1 or G2 after the number. Furthermore, although I am disputing Lich Leech’s sentiment that the 0810 is an error, I am also disputing my earlier assertion that the 0810 came first (which I assumed to be the case because it is a lower number than 0910). I now believe two different G0 packages went out at the same time, each with a different number because of the different labeling. Why Mattel chose 0810 for the “standard” packaging rather than 0910 is a riddle, but I believe that is simply what they did. When the promotion for free maroon weapons, they stuck with 0810 (no burst) but added G1 and G2 for successive production runs.

    I also know that some of us have found 0810 cards that may have even included free weapons. I am not suggesting that the free weapons were never included in an 0810 card. But what I am suggesting is that no 0810 card has the free weapons burst, and that difference in labeling is the reason for the two different numbers. And that is the same reason why a Canadian card has its own number, because the language, and licensing and other labeling is different. But in this particular instance, the difference is the weapons burst.

    Now, some of you are likely thinking that I have conveniently ignored Trap Jaw, which is the only other US release that came with a card stamped 0810 on the back. There were not two different Trap Jaw cards issued at the same time, so why would Mattel have used 0810 there? I acknowledge that don’t fully understand why 0810 appears on Trap Jaw, but I believe it likely has something to do with the free warrior’s ring label. I wonder if the warrior’s ring was conceived to be a temporary promotion like the maroon weapons, but the decision was made to just make it a permanent fixture, and so Mattel just continued to use 0810 as standard packaging for Trap Jaw. Although Tri-Klops comes with the same ring and label, perhaps by the time he was released, the thinking was that the warrior’s ring was standard and so there was no reason to assign a number other than 0910. More research to be done on that front.
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    Interesting Stinkor here. The minicomic is He-Man vs. Geldor, and the back code is "0410G1 C." Since it's a G1 I figure it's a later release than the G0 Stinkors, but I wonder what the C. is all about?

    motustinkornew0410g1cfront.jpg motustinkornew0410g1cback.jpg

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    I don't know, either. I've seen the C on both 0410 cards (New label) and 0910 cards (no new label), but generally on G1 or later. Occasionally, I also see the card with a bold RI instead of a C, and sometimes that RI is placed by the Filmation copyright stamp rather than after the production/package number. The RI is more prevalent with Moss Man, but it does appear on Stinkor and other cards too.
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    I wonder if the "C." is for copyright. The full copyright on the left side of the card has a an asterisk* next to it, meaning it was supposedly referenced from somewhere else on the card. I'm guessing that's what the C. is about. I've got no good ideas on what the R.I. stands for. https://acronyms.thefreedictionary.com/RI

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    I've noticed that the C also appears on the Malaysia Fisto cards. And further, what I thought was RI is actually P.I. These markings, whether they be P.I. or C seem to show up only on Malaysia carded figures. I haven't found them on other cards yet. Oddly, I found a Dragstor (also Malaysia) with CIP. I have no idea what they mean. They could have something to do with copyright, as you say, or maybe Mattel had multiple manufacturing facilities in Malaysia.
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    For those who just cannot get enough Toys R Us stickers, here's a fantastic example of an 8-back warranty He-Man with a Toys R Us sticker slapped on the card. The B on the far right denotes 1982. The A 5050 is Mattel's heroic warrior assortment number. The item is currently for sale (not mine), and it appears to be a late 1982 figure without the Free rebate, has short strap armor but honestly I cannot tell if the boots are painted or dipped. Here is a link with more pictures: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Masters-of-...kAAOSwtfRgFwCz.


    s-l1600-1.jpg


    As an aside, there is also a phenomenal example of a carded no warranty Stratos (gray beard) with a Toys R Us sticker on Lich Leech's Battle Ram Blog, under the First Production Run, Part 2 segment. As we would expect, the sticker is marked B for 1982, although it carries the A 5334 assortment number which is for evil warriors. I've now seen numerous test release figures with a Toys R Us sticker that carries the wrong assortment number.
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