It’s interesting to observe the difference in current popularity between two beloved eighties properties: Masters of the Universe and Transformers. There have been efforts in the past decade to make Masters of the Universe relevent, and these attempts have generally run out of gas and fell back into being a memory. Hate or love how it has run, the Masters of the Universe Classics line has done something pretty remarkable in keeping a MOTU toy line that lasted more than a couple of years. Or course there is always the looming doom and gloom of the line ending, and the reminder that it is a tiny collector based line that lives off subscriptions. Regardless, it’s worked for what it is.
Transformers, on the other hand, keeps getting bigger and bigger. They have action figure lines for all ages, a thriving movie franchise, and an enormous fan base. Everything the MOTU community wishes it had. One of the more exciting aspects of being a Transformer collector is that there is now an entire third-party industry focused on making the toys that the fans wish Hasbro/Takara would. Transformers could theoretically go on without the official endorsement.
Could Masters of the Universe go on however?
I’m sure fans would love that to happen, but for now we are still at the mercy of Mattel. If the line ended tomorrow we would not end up with fan-favorites like Tung Lashor or Multi-Bot. In that respect Mattel does indeed have the collecting fanbase “by the balls.” This is, however, starting to change. Since the Classics line uses a default basic body system this makes the parts fairly easy to swap around. It also opens the door to pieces such as alternate heads and custom armor or accessories.
We used to get alternate heads in the MOTUC line. That seems to be getting more and more rare as I imagine the Mattel profit margin needs to meet the cost of making the figure. Heads are still an easy variant for a figure because no work is needed; you just pop it on their neck. Most third-party Masters of the Universe Classics items are in fact heads. There are a handful of very talented people mass producing third-party MOTUC heads. If you have the money there are some great characters to be had or made.
I previously did a review of a Filmation Mantenna conversion kit which I was very happy with because the Mattel mouth wasn’t doing it for me. The “Unmasked One” from Castle of Power was more of something I saw and HAD to have. I’m perfectly fine with the hooded head we got with The Unnamed One, but when I saw the unmasked version that COP had done I was smitten! It’s a great alternate head for Unnamed one, but it also works well with a good number of other figures. The figure I may actually end up keeping him on full-time is Lord Dactys; that is if he will actually stay standing for me.
The Unmasked One works really well with any blue or “Gar” creature from Masters of the Universe Classics. Castle of Power has their prices listed on their page; Unmasked one is a kit with both a scarf and head which will cost $45 painted or if you want to do it yourself $35. Have a look over their pictures because their founder, Mat, probably has some of the most detailed third-party MOTUC stuff currently in production. If you have the cash his work is well worth it.