He-Man and the Masters of the Universe might not be the greatest toyline of all time [Ed.'s note: they are, actually] but you cannot deny they had the greatest variety of action features. Each new hero and villain had their own crazy gimmick that set them apart from all the other characters, ranging all the way from three rotating eyes to a massive suction cup mouth to a guy who could split in two, even though that didn't seem like that would be particularly useful in a fight. In Master of the Universe, toymaker Mattel created some of the most fun figures known to man (or He-Man, for that matter) and a toyline that was, in its day, even more popular than G.I. Joe and Transformers -- no small feat. Here are the 12 most awesome, innovative action features that made He-Man toys the masters of the 1980s playroom.
The first wave of Masters of the Universe figures were just figures, such as He-Man, Skeletor and Man-at-Arms. In 1983, the second wave arrived, and no figure epitomized the action feature-heavy future of the toy line more than Ram-Man. Sure, his feature was pretty simple -- press his torso down, then hit a button to have him ram his enemies -- but it was so intrinsically awesome no one noticed what a shitty figure he was for years. Plus, his name was the source of much bemusement on the playgrounds of the '80s.
While Skeletor was busy making He-Man robots that were blue, Man-at-Arms was busy creating Roboto -- a robot with swappable arm weapons (much like Trap-Jaw) but more importantly, with gears inside that actually moved when Roboto did! Sure, there were maybe four gears in him tops, but they were cunningly placed to make it him look incredibly detailed and technical. And it was the '80s, so we were pretty easily satisfied.
Man-E-Faces' action feature might not have been as dramatic as spinning punches and the like, but it was certainly cool. With the twist of a knob, his face would change between a human, a green monsters and a robot, essentially giving kids three different toys with different personalities and powers (at least according to the back of the packaging and our fertile imaginations). Now that's value.
This member of the Evil Horde had an action feature that was awesomely horrid and vivid. He had a giant, metal proboscis that allowed him to refuel by jabbing it into our unfortunate heroes. And you could watch in disgust and dark amusement as his chest filled up with the blood of his victims, thanks to pumping action activated by a button on his back! A vampiric robot that ran on blood was a pretty original, frightening concept even today.
8) Rio Blast
You can mock his Chuck Norris-esque mustache all you want, but the fact of the matter is Rio Blast was a badass. Well before Robocop, Rio Blast had turned his body into the ultimate weapon, and had guns implanted in both arms, both shins and his chest, and then had a another gun just in case. Sure, he looked kind of like BraveStarr, but none of Skeletor's henchmen ever carried firepower like this.
What made Stinkor so awesome was that his secret weapon was something less tangible, but more powerful than the biggest spring-powered battle axe. True to his name and nature as a skunk, Stinkor STUNK. It was so bad that he had to wear a mask since even he couldn't stank his own foul odor. Stinkor's magical scent was created by mixing patchouli oil into the plastic and, almost 25 years later, most Stinkor figures still retain their toxic aroma. Alas, the same isn't true of Stinkor's heroic counterpart Moss Man, whose fresh pine scent disappeared somewhere in the early '90s.