Masters of the Universe is probably the one franchise that would have been right up my alley, but for which I was just too young. While the legendary action figures were produced by Mattel from 1982-1988, the no less legendary Filiation animated series ran only rather short-lived from 1983-1984. At least in Germany, the radio play series was also very popular, which was produced until the end of the 80s. Being born in ’86, I was too young for all that. When I started watching cartoons, the Turtles and Batman were already there. Nobody talked about He-Man in the schoolyard anymore.
Some older neighborhood kids had the action figures, of course, and I got to play with them a few times – probably the first action figures I ever had in my hands. I always knew that MotU had a special status, but I couldn’t really get into it. There was no Internet and Batman was much more important anyway. As a kid, I loved action figures. Certainly, for a long time I wasn’t aware of the groundbreaking influence of the MotU figures. That only came with time as I became more interested in pop cultural phenomena and their history. The immense influence that He-Man and co had on the toy sector has always fascinated me. I would have liked to collect matching tabletop models, even though I never had the action figures.
MotU and Tabletop
Until today there was no tabletop implementation of the Motu franchise, only a few board game adaptations, which had nothing to do with our hobby. In the 80s, however, there were tabletop miniatures from Grenadier Models, which have long been oop and are now real collector’s items. Of course, they were modeled according to the standards of that time and were rather 25mm in size, but they still have their enthusiasts today. You can find an overview here in the Lost Minis Wiki.
The tabletop gap is finally closed twice. For a while now, two officially licensed games have been in development, with distribution strictly limited to North America and Europe respectively. For Europe, Archon Studios is developing a board game with tabletop miniatures (32mm). The Kickstarter for financing will be launched in August 2021. You can be curious about the campaign, the hype seems to be huge. Here’s more info. For a real tabletop you still have to take the miniatures and adapt any suitable skirmish system so that it works.
After the discontinuation of the Grenadier series, there had been no suitable MotU miniatures for many years, until the small Canadian forge Quest Miniatures commissioned some unofficial figures from none other than Boris Woloszyn (I guess he was easier to hire back then). They produced two sets of 6 miniatures each, all of which turned out spectacularly great.
A third set and two single miniatures followed, but unfortunately they were no longer kneaded by Boris. Unfortunately, you can see that clearly. As a Woloszyn fan, I had to get the first two sets immediately, but then gave preference to other projects first. After painting the ThunderCats, the nostalgia has broken loose and the MoTu are now also the turn.
Fall 2021 Quest Miniatures Update: Apparently Quest Miniatures have discontinued the store. The miniatures are no longer available at the moment. It coincides conspicuously with the two official MotU tabletop kickstarters. Possibly Quest had to take the unlicensed figures off the market. Richly “unfortunate”, however, is that there is no communication and accessibility anymore and customers were left sitting on already paid orders. Through Paypal customer protection, the money could be recovered, but the Quest operators now have a tarnished image. Let’s see if we hear from them again.
The miniature of He-Man has been modeled in dynamic fighting pose by Boris. He-Man came separately with sword in hand, battle axe, sword sheath and shield. Apparently, this corresponds to the equipment that the original action figure came with at the time. I converted him slightly and put the battle axe in his hand. Actually, the sword hilt should still be modeled into the sword scabbard, but it has not yet worked out as desired. Currently, the back remains free. Let’s see how I will succeed.
I decided to use the battle axe according to Whyte Knight’s example. I did not want to glue the battle axe somewhere and also did not want to do without it. That’s why the conversion seemed to make sense to me. I also have a Prince Adam and a He-Man miniature each in legendary “I have the Power” pose, which I will paint later, so the sword will make it’s appearance.
I painted He-Man based on the classic design, but I wanted to make him a little more realistic in color. I also decided to paint all MotU models with NMM. The figures are not painted with metallic colors, but the metallic effect is simulated using gray, white and blue tones. Quite elaborate and I’m not skilled at it, but I hope that this way the figures will look similar to the plastic elements of the original action figures. I’m very happy with the result so far – the start of the collection is done.
Teela is one of He-Man’s most capable companions. In particular, the new Netflix series “Masters of the Universe: Revelations” gives her a lot of space and further elaborates the character, partially redefining it. Not every viewer likes the changes or generally the strong presence of the character. Since I’ve only seen a little of the original series and have no nostalgic connection to it, I won’t allow myself a comparison. They weren’t particularly fleshed-out characters, but don’t kid yourself – selling toys was always in the foreground of MotU – good stories and exciting characters were rarely the point. I am satisfied with the new interpretation.
Teela also comes from the first MotU set by Quest Miniatures. She is nicely shot, however I only moderately like her pose. I assume Boris wanted to hit a dynamic pose that he is so masterful at these days. I see this Teela miniature as a work of his on the way to the top. No doubt he would hit it better today. Again, I like that fact. Having an older work by a favorite artist that symbolizes a process of development is somehow quite nice to me.
Man at Arms
With Man at Arms, all three Heroic Warriors of the first set are now painted. It was a worthy conclusion: I still really like Boris’ figure design. The figures are all insanely full of character, clearly recognizable, and yet with the dynamics so perfectly mastered by Boris. The painting was also a lot of fun, as I don’t often paint both green and orange.
When I look at the hero squad in the overall picture, I especially like the pop colors. Of course, this was not my own decision, I just followed the design of the templates. Still, I’m happy with the attempt to make them a bit more realistic. Already with the Thundercats I liked the three-dimensional depth. Now it can go on like this. The second set is already on the table, so after the Evil Warriors it can go on with the hero power. I have the power and all that!