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Thread: Why Mattel Produced Stratos in Two Alternate Variations: A Hypothesis

  1. #26
    Heroic Warrior jzguitars's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Springor Spanior;3922234]Thanks for posting this, jzguitars. This is really informative. In truth, this sort of information about the molds is what I’m really interested in, and not so much why Stratos came in two color combinations. In fact, my hypothesis was simply a byproduct of my imagination of how these things might have been produced from the molds. On a different thread, I posted a long treatise about the He-Man #17 axe and its evolution from USA to Taiwan to Malaysia to India. I am of the firm opinion that the molds were moved from location to location because that was cheaper than making a new mold. In fact, my new hypothesis is that the final resting place for many of the original molds was India. Whether they are still there is anyone’s guess.

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    You are correct that the molds were reused and shipped to other factories for later production. Which is why the COO stamps on some foreign releases are not from the country they were made in. (ie. Spanish figures marked "France" and Aurimat figures marked "Malaysia") And by your own statement of this you torpedoed your idea that Aurimat figures could be made elsewhere and packaged in Mexico. Aurimat did not produce the figures marked "Mexico", those were produced by Mattel in their Mexican factory and were either marked USA or Mexico. Aurimat typically did not mark their figures with Mexico.

    As far as where the molds ended up? My guess is the scrap yard. Mattel had to remake the molds for the Commemorative line, and if there were any around I'd have to think they'd save the tooling expense.
    The production and distribution of the original line is a veritable spiderweb of confusion. I've been working on a guide to it all for the past few years and hope to publish soon. Keep an eye out, it explains most of this.

  2. #27
    Heroic Warrior Springor Spanior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jzguitars View Post
    You are correct that the molds were reused and shipped to other factories for later production. Which is why the COO stamps on some foreign releases are not from the country they were made in. (ie. Spanish figures marked "France" and Aurimat figures marked "Malaysia") And by your own statement of this you torpedoed your idea that Aurimat figures could be made elsewhere and packaged in Mexico. Aurimat did not produce the figures marked "Mexico", those were produced by Mattel in their Mexican factory and were either marked USA or Mexico. Aurimat typically did not mark their figures with Mexico.
    When I was referring to the re-use of molds, I was thinking of situations where the mold is modified to indicate the new source of production. As an example, the stamping on the backs of many Malaysia produced torsos show traces of modification, such as soldering or the placement of a little name plate over the original COO etching.

    So, turning to Aurimat then, there we see some Aurimat figures stamped Mexico, while many others actually bear either no COO or COO labels from other countries. Because there are Mexico and non-Mexico stamped figures, I had previously concluded that the figures labeled Mexico came from either new or re-used (but modified) molds, while the other figures must have been manufactured from parts sourced from other countries. PetezorIII has emphatically corrected my thinking, and in fact, the two-part article on this blog seems to corroborate the assertion that the Aurimat figures were entirely made in Mexico, some using molds that were simply not modified. https://eternianos.org/donde-fueron-...primera-parte/.

    This then brings us back to the Aurimat figures and accessories that DO have the Mexico labels. Are you stating that Aurimat pieces labeled Mexico were in fact made by MABAMEX? Or are you stating something different?
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  3. #28
    Heroic Warrior jzguitars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Springor Spanior View Post
    When I was referring to the re-use of molds, I was thinking of situations where the mold is modified to indicate the new source of production. As an example, the stamping on the backs of many Malaysia produced torsos show traces of modification, such as soldering or the placement of a little name plate over the original COO etching.

    So, turning to Aurimat then, there we see some Aurimat figures stamped Mexico, while many others actually bear either no COO or COO labels from other countries. Because there are Mexico and non-Mexico stamped figures, I had previously concluded that the figures labeled Mexico came from either new or re-used (but modified) molds, while the other figures must have been manufactured from parts sourced from other countries. PetezorIII has emphatically corrected my thinking, and in fact, the two-part article on this blog seems to corroborate the assertion that the Aurimat figures were entirely made in Mexico, some using molds that were simply not modified. https://eternianos.org/donde-fueron-...primera-parte/.

    This then brings us back to the Aurimat figures and accessories that DO have the Mexico labels. Are you stating that Aurimat pieces labeled Mexico were in fact made by MABAMEX? Or are you stating something different?
    MOST Aurimat figures weren't stamped "Mexico"...but like most things at Mattel, there really is no rhyme or reason to any of it. You'd have to know the difference between an Aurimat and MABAMEX figure both stamped MEXICO...usually color differences, when loose. There are obvious packaging differences. Just like any other variant that has a mis-marked COO. Like Battle Armor He-Man from Spain marked "FRANCE", it's lighter than the actual French version. Or the Spanish DB Skeletor that was marked "FRANCE", but there were no DB Skeletors produced in France.

    And you are correct about the molds, most times the COO was just filled in and used by the next factory, sometimes they didn't bother. Sometimes they made whole new molds for a simple change...it's all mind-boggling.

    You are delving into an endless pursuit with these questions my friend...
    I have a list with HUNDREDS of variants and just found out I came up short next to a colleague I just started collaborating with. There is no end to color, COO, mold differences...it goes on and on.

  4. #29
    Heroic Warrior PetezorII's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jzguitars View Post
    Or the Spanish DB Skeletor that was marked "FRANCE", but there were no DB Skeletors produced in France.
    There is indeed a DB Skeletor produced in France. It's a lot harder to find than the Spain DB and I've managed to get hold of them in the last few years.
    They exist.

  5. #30
    Heroic Warrior Springor Spanior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jzguitars View Post
    And you are correct about the molds, most times the COO was just filled in and used by the next factory, sometimes they didn't bother. Sometimes they made whole new molds for a simple change...it's all mind-boggling.

    You are delving into an endless pursuit with these questions my friend...
    I have a list with HUNDREDS of variants and just found out I came up short next to a colleague I just started collaborating with. There is no end to color, COO, mold differences...it goes on and on.
    I'm not so much pursuing all the different variations, although that is interesting no doubt. I'm pursuing molds, because I feel that if I can "follow the molds," I have a better understanding of the history of production of these toys. So, if I may ask a new set of questions, I'd like to see if you or anyone else agrees or disagrees with the following sentiments.

    I own a number of Hong Kong Skeletors that were sold in the US. They are stamped either 1981 or 1983, and I think they were sold in the US in 1984. They all come with accessories that have the same batch sequence: staff (21), belt (22), sword (23) and harness (24). It is my opinion that these batch numbers are mold identifiers. In other words, the numbers are there to identify the mold upon which the specific accessory was made, and is utilized when there are other molds making the same accessory - would you agree with that or no?

    If yes, then let's keep going. It is my understanding that Aurimat started production in late 1984. It would appear that Mattel sent some molds to Mexico to get things going, including the molds mentioned above to be used for Aurimat Skeletor and Faker accessories. It is my opinion that when that happened, then from that point forward, no more accessories with that batch sequence (21-24) were made in Hong Kong. Would you agree with that or no? I believe that in 1985, Skeletors sold in the US likely came from Taiwan. In Europe, there was still another Hong Kong Skeletor (the one with the enlarged feet), but that Skeletor utilizes accessories that were molded from the very first Taiwan batch mold set from 1982 (and seemingly re-purposed for use in Hong Kong). My main point is, when the 21-24 mold set was moved to facilitate production by Aurimat, then that explains why production and distribution of Skeletors in the US changed as well. This is what I'm most interested in - the movement of the molds resulting in changes in production globally.
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  6. #31
    Heroic Warrior Night Stalker's Avatar
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    Another variable is the fact that there were always molds in circulation and recirculation.

    For example, lets say Mold #132A starts life out, as they usually do, in a North American factory. Once it's reached its useful lifespan, it's sent back to Cleveland for retooling. North America gets a replacement, #132D.

    Then #132A, after retooling, gets sent out to Malaysia. Once it approaches its end of life, Malaysia says "hey, we need a replacement for #132A," so Mattel sends them #132B. Malaysia sends 132A back to Cleveland for retooling.

    Now France needs a new 132 mold, and 132A is fresh from retooling, and goes out to France. That same mold has gone from NA, to Malaysia, to France. It may go to Spain next, or Argentina, etc.

    Unless you had access to company archives, it's doubtful, if not impossible, for one to even begin to extrapolate the path these molds travelled. COO stamps may have been fitted in Cleveland, or an engineer at that particular factory may have fitted it. (Some countries didn't allow importation of molds stamped with their country's name, as it violated some arcane anti-counterfeiting laws.)

    The figure or playset itself may have been manufactured in Malaysia and stamped with a Spain COO because it was "assembled" in Spain and therefore met the legal definition of "Manufactured in Spain" during that time period. (Hard to do so now; most countries have caught on to companies avoiding "finished good" importation taxes by skirting the definition of "raw goods.") Dragon Blaster Skeletor is a great example; none were manufactured in France, they were made in Spain and "assembled" in France (likely something simple like putting the dragon's head on its body or running the chain through the armor) because the French raw goods importation tax was around 5% of the wholesale value, compared to 16% for finished goods, and Spanish labor was more productive, and cheaper, than the "give me a 28 hour workweek or give me death (or overtime)" French.

    There's just so many variables and too little publicly accessed documentation.
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  7. #32
    Heroic Warrior jzguitars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetezorII View Post
    There is indeed a DB Skeletor produced in France. It's a lot harder to find than the Spain DB and I've managed to get hold of them in the last few years.
    They exist.
    Did you actually find a carded French DB? Is it different than the Spanish version? Can I see it? lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by Springor Spanior View Post
    I'm not so much pursuing all the different variations, although that is interesting no doubt. I'm pursuing molds, because I feel that if I can "follow the molds," I have a better understanding of the history of production of these toys. So, if I may ask a new set of questions, I'd like to see if you or anyone else agrees or disagrees with the following sentiments.

    I own a number of Hong Kong Skeletors that were sold in the US. They are stamped either 1981 or 1983, and I think they were sold in the US in 1984. They all come with accessories that have the same batch sequence: staff (21), belt (22), sword (23) and harness (24). It is my opinion that these batch numbers are mold identifiers. In other words, the numbers are there to identify the mold upon which the specific accessory was made, and is utilized when there are other molds making the same accessory - would you agree with that or no?

    If yes, then let's keep going. It is my understanding that Aurimat started production in late 1984. It would appear that Mattel sent some molds to Mexico to get things going, including the molds mentioned above to be used for Aurimat Skeletor and Faker accessories. It is my opinion that when that happened, then from that point forward, no more accessories with that batch sequence (21-24) were made in Hong Kong. Would you agree with that or no? I believe that in 1985, Skeletors sold in the US likely came from Taiwan. In Europe, there was still another Hong Kong Skeletor (the one with the enlarged feet), but that Skeletor utilizes accessories that were molded from the very first Taiwan batch mold set from 1982 (and seemingly re-purposed for use in Hong Kong). My main point is, when the 21-24 mold set was moved to facilitate production by Aurimat, then that explains why production and distribution of Skeletors in the US changed as well. This is what I'm most interested in - the movement of the molds resulting in changes in production globally.
    If logic dictated the toy industry then I'd say you are correct in your assessment. But it doesn't, I think Night Stalker explains it best in his last post. There is no way to accurately extrapolate when, where, or how these molds were used. And the mold numbers do indeed indicate which mold was used, but you are missing half the story. The casting numbers on accessories used an 8 digit code plus a mold number plus a COO in most cases. We don't know if there was a #5 mold associated with a 5040-2239 AND a 5040-2259 sword (just an example, I don't recall the exact numbers offhand). So the mold numbers alone don't tell the whole story, they are only an indication of an early or late mold, unless it was re-used later.
    It's a very interesting pursuit but like Night Stalker said, without any official information from Mattel, it's impossible to accurately track production for that line. But I'm open to any info or ideas you have on the subject...I'm a data JUNKIE lol

  8. #33
    Heroic Warrior Springor Spanior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Night Stalker View Post
    There's just so many variables and too little publicly accessed documentation.
    The batch mold numbers are constants, my friend. (Insert bad joke emoji here )

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzguitars View Post
    It's a very interesting pursuit but like Night Stalker said, without any official information from Mattel, it's impossible to accurately track production for that line. But I'm open to any info or ideas you have on the subject...I'm a data JUNKIE lol
    OK. . .you asked for it.

    It seems to me that newly commissioned molds were given new numbers, and those numbers were a continuation of a sequence. Yes, each part generally has it’s own part number, and it often starts with a figure’s SKU (e.g., 5040) followed by the four digit part number. And you are right that there are different batch numbers assigned to different figures, which may overlap. For example, I referred to the Skeletor sword mold that is marked 23, used for Hong Kong production and then re-used for Aurimat, but there is also a BA Skeletor Taiwan sword marked 23 as well. BUT, that Taiwan mold is unique to BA Skeletor (it has extra dimples and thus is not as flush on the backside), and it is part of an entirely different sequence of molds commissioned for BA Skeletor accessories. BTW, I am using accessories as illustrative examples because the batch mold numbers are readily visible. In contrast, with the figures, in particular the torsos, the numbers are inside the cavity, so one has to take the figure’s torso apart to identify the numbers.

    But if you want data, let’s just start with standard He-Man’s accessories produced for the US market (get ready for a nap after this, He-Bro):

    He-Man (5040)

    Taiwan 1-5: shield back (1), axe (2), shield front (3), sword (4), harness (5). This mold set was later moved to the USA as part of MABAMEX production. Why do I think that? Hold the back side of any 4 USA sword up to the light, and you can see where they scraped off the Taiwan stamp and replaced with USA. I don’t believe Mattel added a new 1-5 Taiwan set because the new molds were being added elsewhere, and a new mold would have some new font or other distinction, but I would welcome evidence to the contrary. This means, in theory, there would not be any more Taiwan 1-5 accessories after 1982 / early 1983.

    IMG_1646.jpg

    Taiwan 6-10: exact same five-part order as the 1-5 set. This mold was seemingly put into place at or around the same time as the 1-5 set. But unlike the 1-5 set, the 6-10 set continued in production in Taiwan until it was moved to Malaysia.

    Taiwan 13-15: I have never found an 11/12 shield front/back, so I think this is kind of an odd “auxiliary” set. This set also continued in production in Taiwan until it was moved to Malaysia. The 13 sword was used for Prince Adam, too.

    USA 17-20: follows the same five-part sequence as sets 1-5 and 6-10. This set was seemingly first introduced as part of the MABAMEX production but later moved to Taiwan. Again, look at Taiwan axes and swords with this sequence, and you can discern these molds were recycled from USA production.

    USA 21-25: Another set commissioned for MABAMEX production. I have not found a 22/24 shield, so this set could be another unusual “auxiliary” set. The 23 axe itself is a modified re-use of the BA He-Man USA axe mold. This 21-25 mold set was later moved to Malaysia.

    Point in fact, sets 6-10, 13-15, 17-20 and 21-25 were all moved to Malaysia, and one can readily see the modifications on the COO of the accessories. I’m not aware that any new molds of these accessories were commissioned for Malaysia production.

    Now, you might say that you have seen lots of other He-Man swords and axes with lots of other numbers on them, and I’d say you’re right, but those are in all likelihood BA He-Man axes and swords and Weapons Pack axes and swords. BA Taiwan swords and axes were made on the same molds as Weapons Pack swords and axes, and they made a crap ton of them. As such, their sequence can only be understood when examined together, and it goes like this:

    1st sequence axe: 9, 10, 11, 12
    1st sequence sword: 13, 14, 15, 16
    2nd sequence axe: 25, 27, 28, 29
    2nd sequence sword: 30, 31, 32

    My sense is that I haven’t yet found all of the axes and swords, but you should see a pattern there. Some of these swords were recycled for use with Prince Adam and Thunder Punch He-Man made in Taiwan. I suspect they were deployed elsewhere as well. Why did they start with a 9, and why is there a gap in the sequences? I haven’t a clue. Perhaps I’ve missed some.

    As for BA Mexico/USA He-Man, the sequence is rather simple, but different. The axes are either marked 1 or 2 and the swords are either marked 1 or 2. Most are marked USA, but I have some marked Mexico, and I’ve never quite been certain whether they are Aurimat re-using USA molds or MABAMEX. It appears that some USA accessory productions didn’t utilize a sequential ordering of the batch numbers. For example, Trap Jaw’s weapon accessory molds are 1-1-1, or 2-2-2 rather than 1-2-3. Same is true, I think for BA He-Man and BA Skeletor. I think the swords and axe came 1-1 and 2-2, while BA Skeletor’s was 30-30 and 31-31.

    Is it possible that BA weapon molds were at some point re-deployed to produce weapons for standard He-Man? Sure, that seems plausible. In fact, I have some examples that make me think this happened. Here's an illustration of an array of swords. First two are the USA sword molds 1 and 2 for BA Mexico He-Man. Then we have a Mexico stamped identical 1 mold, which could be it's own mold or a re-use of the USA 1 mold. Then we have a Taiwan BA sword mold re-purposed for USA. I've included a blue Taiwan WP sword so you can see how the font and mold ejection marks match up. This sword mold was scraped of its Taiwan COO and USA was etched into it upside down. And lastly we have a BA USA sword 2 sword produced with standard gray plastic, suggesting the mold was ultimately used for standard He-Man swords as well.

    IMG_1642.jpg

    But my overall assertion is, there is in fact a finite set of standard He-Man accessory molds that were commissioned for standard He-Man, and we can trace the deployment and re-deployment of them.

    UPDATE: Here is an illustration of various axes for standard He-Man and their evolution.

    IMG_1648.jpg
    Last edited by Springor Spanior; April 20, 2021 at 11:13pm. Reason: Illustrations added
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  9. #34
    Heroic Warrior PetezorII's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jzguitars View Post
    Did you actually find a carded French DB? Is it different than the Spanish version? Can I see it? lol
    Not carded, only loose figure. I did buy a Spain DB Skeletor MOC but they were easier to find. France DB is different to Spain DB and highly sought after by COO variant collectors.

  10. #35
    Heroic Warrior jzguitars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetezorII View Post
    Not carded, only loose figure. I did buy a Spain DB Skeletor MOC but they were easier to find. France DB is different to Spain DB and highly sought after by COO variant collectors.
    What's different about it? I'd love to see a pic so I can add it to my data.

  11. #36
    Heroic Warrior PetezorII's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jzguitars View Post
    What's different about it? I'd love to see a pic so I can add it to my data.
    Not wanting to hijack Springor's thread even though it has already gone off on a tangent from the original topic, I'll post a pic in the " My Collection Database".

  12. #37
    Heroic Warrior jzguitars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetezorII View Post
    Not wanting to hijack Springor's thread even though it has already gone off on a tangent from the original topic, I'll post a pic in the " My Collection Database".
    You could always just message me privately with the image too...just sayin'. And I'm sure Springor is just as interested to see a variant too

  13. #38
    Heroic Warrior Springor Spanior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jzguitars View Post
    You could always just message me privately with the image too...just sayin'. And I'm sure Springor is just as interested to see a variant too
    I am under no illusion that the original topic of the thread (or the tangent) is more interesting than this. So, please hijack away. And if you have a Leo DB Skeletor, show that one too, just for fun.
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  14. #39
    Heroic Warrior PetezorII's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jzguitars View Post
    You could always just message me privately with the image too...just sayin'. And I'm sure Springor is just as interested to see a variant too
    Quote Originally Posted by Springor Spanior View Post
    please hijack away.
    Pic added to database but I'll add it it here too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Springor Spanior View Post
    And if you have a Leo DB Skeletor, show that one too, just for fun.
    Unfortunately there is no Leo DB.

    IMG_E2450.jpg

  15. #40
    Heroic Warrior Springor Spanior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetezorII View Post
    Pic added to database but I'll add it it here too.



    Unfortunately there is no Leo DB.

    IMG_E2450.jpg
    Doh!! I meant to say Leo BA Skeletor. Sorry
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  16. #41
    LittleSpinny TOKYONEVER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jzguitars View Post
    Did you actually find a carded French DB? Is it different than the Spanish version? Can I see it? lol
    French carded DB Skeletor never surfaced on the collector market as I know but I already got one in hand 100% complete with the card opened.
    At the front of the card You can find the word "SUPER" added in the french name (last series of french figures made, year 1986).
    I have no idea why exactly but it is one of the rarest made in France figures to find, specially complete it is a nightmare.

  17. #42
    Heroic Warrior jzguitars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOKYONEVER View Post
    French carded DB Skeletor never surfaced on the collector market as I know but I already got one in hand 100% complete with the card opened.
    At the front of the card You can find the word "SUPER" added in the french name (last series of french figures made, year 1986).
    I have no idea why exactly but it is one of the rarest made in France figures to find, specially complete it is a nightmare.
    But do we know it was actually produced in France, and not a Spanish production packaged in France? Are the figures themselves different?

  18. #43
    Heroic Warrior Springor Spanior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jzguitars View Post
    But do we know it was actually produced in France, and not a Spanish production packaged in France? Are the figures themselves different?
    If I could just briefly interrupt this fascinating discussion with some very basic questions (from someone who doesn't own either a Spain DB or France DB Skeletor):

    1. Where is the France COO stamp? On the the neckline? On the back of the torso? Both? I assume on the neckline at least, but what what about the back of the torso?
    2. Do all Spain DB Skeletors have standard (rather than enlarged) feet, like the one shown in the picture?
    3. What is written on the back of the swords?
    4. What is written on the inside of the armor?
    4. Do the locks and cuffs have any numbers on them? (Like, for example, the Mexico DB Skeletor variants.)

    Thanks!
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  19. #44
    LittleSpinny TOKYONEVER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jzguitars View Post
    But do we know it was actually produced in France, and not a Spanish production packaged in France? Are the figures themselves different?
    France was producing Motu toys from 1983 to 1986, Spain started to produce at the end of the year 1986 (I don't count "Congost" from 1985).

    Mattel France produced the DB Skeletor and after They sent the molds to Spain to be reused, as all of the french molds reusables for other MOTU toys.

    By this way, Yes, DB Skeletor from France and DB Skeletor from Spain (with french molds) are differents.

  20. #45
    Heroic Warrior jzguitars's Avatar
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    Found a fascinating video about toy production...getting back to the original topic somewhat

    https://youtu.be/bCXj2icgcPQ

  21. #46
    Heroic Warrior Springor Spanior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jzguitars View Post
    Found a fascinating video about toy production...getting back to the original topic somewhat

    https://youtu.be/bCXj2icgcPQ
    Thanks for posting! Very interesting! I noticed that the process for putting the toy into a mask and then spray painting was done manually. I wonder if that is how it was done with MOTU. Perhaps that explains why they switched from sprayed boots to dipped, in order to automate that particular process.

    Here's an interesting little snippet from the Power and Honor Foundation's feature on MABAMEX, giving us an idea as to the number of molding machines utilized at a facility:

    With the launch of production on the Masters of the Universe line in 1982, Mattel USA decided to include MABAMEX as part of this new project. During the first few months, the company only handled painting, assembly, and packaging of the product since the injection process was being done in China and then sent to MABAMEX as MABAMEX did not have the molds for the plastic injection process.
    After making some adjustments to manufacture their own molds (tooling), MABAMEX invested in over 100 plastic injection machines for mass manufacturing, thus completing the toy-making process in house from the injection to packaging and delivery. However, the printing for the packages and the comics was still being done in the United States.
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  22. #47
    Heroic Warrior Universe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jzguitars View Post
    Found a fascinating video about toy production...getting back to the original topic somewhat

    https://youtu.be/bCXj2icgcPQ
    It's worth pointing out that the video you linked shows workers manually removing injection-molded parts from the mold sprue (1:33 mark). I'm not going to sit here and say I was right all along, because I don't know and was only making an assumption about the way things worked, but unless you have some reason to believe that Mattel had more capable automation processes in 1982 than these workers did when this video was filmed in 2004, I have to believe that your argument from earlier in the thread is based on a similar assumption.

    motuspydorsprue.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Springor Spanior View Post
    I noticed that the process for putting the toy into a mask and then spray painting was done manually. I wonder if that is how it was done with MOTU.
    There are some collectors who have ahold of a few of the old painting masks. I specifically recall a Hordak mask, I believe sourced from Top Toys. I also remember seeing a He-Man face spraying mask on eBay a long time ago. It would be really cool if someone out there has retained a classic He-Man head mold.
    Last edited by Universe; May 1, 2021 at 07:45am.

  23. #48
    Heroic Warrior jzguitars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Universe View Post
    It's worth pointing out that the video you linked shows workers manually removing injection-molded parts from the mold sprue (1:33 mark). I'm not going to sit here and say I was right all along, because I don't know and was only making an assumption about the way things worked, but unless you have some reason to believe that Mattel had more capable automation processes in 1982 than these workers did when this video was filmed in 2004, I have to believe that your argument from earlier in the thread is based on a similar assumption.

    motuspydorsprue.jpg

    - - - Updated - - -

    Yes, actually injection molding operations were highly advanced in the 80's. The image you present is for a boxed vehicle that the consumer is meant to remove the items from the sprue, like castle grayskull, and I said earlier that the figures were produced differently. The video I showed was just an example of the process, it's not meant to be taken as how it's done for every situation. There were many different molding techniques used back then, for instance, France molded the legs without boots, then they molded over the boots and leg bands in brown rubber. Why? Because it was a technique they were using at the time. But the equipment to pop parts off the sprue were absolutely available and in use in the 80's.
    The bottom line is that Stratos' wings and jetpacks were never produced in the same mold. The jetpacks and wings do not share the same mold numbers. If they were all produced in the same mold they would have the identical mold numbers, which they do not. But not surprisingly, red packs and blue packs actually do have identical mold numbers, which means they were produced by the same molds just using different color plastic on different occasions. It just didn't happen that way and I'm not going to continue to debate that fact, take from it what you will. No company would create an extremely expensive mold with built in wasted parts.
    The simple explanation for why we have both color combinations is because that's how it was done. One day they did red wings and blue packs and another they did the opposite.

    Screenshot_2021-05-03 Iconic Injection Molded Products of the 80s.png


    437734bb628ffc0333ee331df0168572.jpg


    86810603_1688563817934754_4805401314198552576_n.jpg
    Last edited by jzguitars; May 3, 2021 at 08:53am.

  24. #49
    Heroic Warrior Universe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jzguitars
    It just didn't happen that way and I'm not going to continue to debate that fact
    At no point have I claimed that my theory of what happened is certain, but you have and are continuing to do so. If we are to believe that your theory reflects what actually happened - or even likely happened - then your theory should stand up to the scrutiny of basic questions. If it does not, then as objective historians we must reevaluate our narratives.

    The jetpacks and wings do not share the same mold numbers. If they were all produced in the same mold they would have the identical mold numbers, which they do not.
    This seems like a good argument - one that I think we can test by looking at the items on the mold sprues for Castle Grayskull and Spydor to verify that they indeed have the same numbers. We can then test that against the Stratos wings and jetpack to see if they, by contrast, have different numbers.

    My initial investigation poses a problem for your theory. The Stratos I'm looking at (a Malaysia figure) does not have separate numbers on the wings. Only the jetpack is numbered, 5047-2239C (the wings are only marked "MALAYSIA" on the armband). If your theory about part numbers being reflected by the mold sprues they were produced on is correct, then it would seem that the wings did not warrant a separate number from the jetpack, likely because they were produced on the same mold sprue as the jetpacks.

    However, more research is needed to confirm this. It would be smart to look at some of the items that we know were produced on the same sprue (such as Grayskull weapons and Spydor guns/eyes) to see if they have part numbers listed anywhere, and we should also look at other Stratos samples to see if they follow the same pattern as the one sample I've examined. (I have a Taiwan Stratos in front of me with 5047-2239B on the jetpack, but this Stratos does not have wings so I can't post any further data at this time.)
    Last edited by Universe; May 3, 2021 at 02:35pm.

  25. #50
    Heroic Warrior Springor Spanior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Universe View Post
    My initial investigation poses a problem for your theory. The Stratos I'm looking at (a Malaysia figure) does not have separate numbers on the wings. Only the jetpack is numbered, 5047-2239C (the wings are only marked "MALAYSIA" on the armband). If your theory about part numbers being reflected by the mold sprues they were produced on is correct, then it would seem that the wings did not warrant a separate number from the jetpack, likely because they were produced on the same mold sprue as the jetpacks.

    However, more research is needed to confirm this. It would be smart to look at some of the items that we know were produced on the same sprue (such as Grayskull weapons and Spydor guns/eyes) to see if they have part numbers listed anywhere, and we should also look at other Stratos samples to see if they follow the same pattern as the one sample I've examined. (I have a Taiwan Stratos in front of me with 5047-2239B on the jetpack, but this Stratos does not have wings so I can't post any further data at this time.)
    I would like to interject here to make sure we are all talking about the same numbers. The numbers 2239B and 2239C are, I believe, numbers assigned to the jetpack part itself. In fact, 2239 is used frequently on other accessories - e.g., 5040-2239 is He-Man’s axe. But I think the so-called “batch” numbers are what jzguitars is referring to here, not the part numbers.

    I myself believe that the batch number is essentially the mold number. So, then, Universe is asking some fantastic questions here, and I am going to try to answer the best I can with illustrations from my own collection. And I will use Stratos as the primary example, in tune with the topic of the thread.

    First question: do Stratos’ accessories carry batch numbers? Answer: only the arm bands have batch numbers. Neither the jetpack nor the wings have batch numbers.

    Second question: why would just the arm bands have batch numbers and nothing else? Because, as I’ve been preaching for some time now, batch numbers are only necessary when there is more than one mold producing the same accessory. In the first production run of MOTU, very few accessories have batch numbers. He-Man is the main exception, and it could be that He-Man was initially produced in greater numbers than the other figures. Arm bands were also produced in greater numbers because they were used for both Stratos and Beast Man.

    If you pick up any early release Stratos, the arm bands are going to be either 3 or 4. And if you pick up any early release Beast Man, the arm bands are going to be 1 or 2. See the sequence: 1-2-3-4? If you don’t look at these figures together, you wouldn’t understand why Stratos’ arm bands are 3 or 4 and why there are no batch numbers on any other part. That’s because the wings and the jetpack were specific to Stratos, and there was only one mold each for the jet pack, left wing and right wing in the early production runs.

    Pictured below are two gray beard Taiwan Stratos figures. One has a 3 tab jetpack, while the other is a 4 tab short strap, but both carry the same part number 5047-2239B, and no batch number. The arm bands for both figures are 3 and 4 batch.

    IMG_1711.jpg

    Here is another picture of a blue beard Stratos. Again, 3 tab jetpack with no batch number and the same 5047-2239B part number, and the arm bands are 3 and 4 batch. Next to the Stratos are two early release Beast Man figures. The one I am holding up to the camera is a white dot eye, and you can see the 1 marked on the band. The other band is a 2 batch. The other figure in the background is 2 and 2 batch for both arm bands.

    IMG_1712.jpg

    Because arm bands molds are “fungible” - used for multiple figures, it does stand to reason that the arm bands were produced on their own separate mold units, and not part of the same mold machine with jet pack or wings. Thus, I am right now sinking the theory I floated to start this thread. But it doesn’t matter, because this is really about getting to the truth, and truth is a process.
    I'm losing my edge, but I was there. LCD Soundsystem

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