We play a game of Where’s Waldo by rounding up the remaining MOTU Origins Vehicles and Playsets that were teased in artwork but unreleased
In part 2 of a 3 part series, we take a look yet again at the amazing artwork by Axel Gimenez found on MOTU Origins packages, and find those hidden “Easter Eggs” in the artwork, which teases us as to what might be produced next. In today’s article we will focus on Vehicles and Playsets!
There have been a lot of scenes on MOTU package artwork that place our heroic characters in settings where a possible vehicle or playset can be lurking nearby. We know Mattel is known for placing these “Easter eggs”, then actually producing the products. For example, on one of the very first vehicles we got, the Sky Sled, there were images of the Wind Raider and Castle Grayskull, which Mattel later on produced both. Let’s dive into the current package artwork and see what we can find, shall we?
Heroic Warrior Vehicles & Playsets:
Our Heroic Warriors need some new fancy rides and also new digs where to park them! So let’s see what we can find for He-Man and his heroic buddies on the package artwork!
Talon Fighter and Point Dread:
Let’s start with the Talon Fighter and Point Dread, a fan favorite, and one of my personal favorites I must say! I always loved how you can seat He-man and one of his friends in the Eagle shaped plane and always loved the bright orange and blue color scheme that made it look so cool! I thought that the radar dish on top was a cool feature so that He-Man can communicate with his friends, because back then, they didn’t have cell phones! But besides looking cool, the Talon Fighter and Point Dread always had a mysterious feeling behind them, because of the mystical lore that is tied to their story.
According to the Masters of the Universe Character Compendium Volume 1:
Mysterious Point Dread was a stone structure of magical might. A mystical location appearing on the face of Eternia every twenty years. The powerful 2 man Talon Fighter, rests atop it’s outpost. Skeletor once endangered all of Eternia by tapping into Point Dread’s power, but the Goddess spirited the entire structure away to Castle Grayskull, merging it with the mystic strongholdMasters of the Universe Character Compendium Volume 1 pg 589
According to the Wiki Grayskull
The Toy was packaged as Frontier Outpost Point Dread and Flying Talon Fighter! Point Dread was a one-room base with the same gray-green, rocky exterior as Castle Grayskull and a “perch” on top for the Talon Fighter. Point Dread’s upper half could be removed and placed atop one of the towers of the Grayskull playset, allowing the Talon Fighter to rest atop Grayskull as shown in the minicomics. The Talon Fighter toy itself had a yellow-orange hull, a blue canopy and red-orange wings and “claw” landing gear. There was also a version of the toy on which a book-and record set was included, with one story on each side of a 7-inch vinyl record and a read-along storybook in comic format.Point Dread & Talon Fighter | Wiki Grayskull | Fandom
Below we can see the vintage Talon Fighter and Point Dread. The Falcon shaped fighter had a gorgeous color scheme and allowed 2 characters to sit inside. It was adorned with stickers on the interior to look like controls and had landing gear shaped like a bird’s talons, how cool is that? Complete with a perch to sit your Talon Fighter, it sat atop Point Dread, a green colored craggily rock formation that matched Castle Grayskull and attached perfectly to its tower.
The Talon Fighter and Point Dread were featured in several mini comics, as well as the 1980s He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Filmation cartoon. The most famous of the mini comics being “The Power of Point Dread”, which came with an accompanying record, so you can listen along to the story! That is a photo of my personal copy below and yes, I still have the vinyl record with it!
We first spotted the Talon Fighter and Point Dread on Zodak’s card back artwork. It was perched far in the distance atop a bed of clouds with the silhouette of an Eternian planet behind it. This was a subtle hint at the bird shaped fighter.
The next time we spot the Talon Fighter and Point Dread, is not so subtle, but totally in our face! It was featured ever so proudly sitting on top Castle Grayskull on the beautiful card back artwork for the 2021 Mattel Creations exclusive Mini Comic Tri-klops! Could this be a huge hint from Mattel? Oh pretty please!! I would love to get an Origins version of this regal bird fighter jet!
Eternian Royal Palace Playset:
One of the most famous settings of all Eternia during the 1980’s Filmation cartoon was the Eternian Royal Palace. This is where King Randor and Queen Marlena lived to rule over the kingdom, and Orko wreaked havoc with his always disastrous magic tricks.
This setting however was one of the main locations in all of He-Man lore to never get produced into a playset. There was a concept however by the MOTU classics team, that never came to fruition. Pictured below, you can see the elaborate playset with its multiple platforms with different areas of the exterior of the palace. A landing pad for the Wind Raider, grand staircase for Princess Adora to come down, multiple platforms to place your Royal Guards, a cave to park the Road Ripper and even a working elevator. Yes, this would have been so grand, had Mattel produced it.
Not all hope is lost, because the MOTU Origins line did give us an army builder set with the Royal Eternian Guard deluxe figure package. And you need somewhere for your guard to watch over, so with that we get a hint at what looks like the Eternian Royal Palace on the package artwork. If you looked quickly, you would have missed it, but there it is, in all its glory! The palace stands as a backdrop to the battle scene going on in the foreground. Let’s hope this is a sign that we might get a Palace some day!
And now we get to the Heroic Warriors grand-daddy of them all! The largest Masters of the Universe playsets to ever be made and one of the second largest playsets to come out of the 1980’s second only to the G.I. Joe U.S.S Flagg, yes folks it’s Eternia!! Those 3 grand towers connected by that awesome monorail we all wish we had as kids! ( and some as adults too!)
Was Mattel hinting at something when they debuted Eterina in all its glory in one of the main scenes on the Netflix Revelation cartoon? Presented to the audience as Preternia, it looked like something straight out of Eden, with flowing green grasses, beautiful trees, and majestic mountains in the background that lead to the Acropolis… yes that mystical location of Eternia!
Used as the ultimate battle ground, Eternia was featured in prominent MOTU artwork posters like the vintage one shown below for Mattel to proudly display the vast universe of products available for kids to spend their not so hard earned allowance on, or beg their parents to buy them for their for birthday or Christmas!
In the 1986 mini comic; the Ultimate Battle Ground, Eternia arose on the land that used to separate Castle Grayskull from Snake Mountain. The Sorceress explained that eons ago, before Castle Grayskull, there stood Grayskull Tower, symbol of goodness. But then there stood another tower, a tower of evil known as Viper Tower. And between these two towers was Central Tower, which held the power of both good and evil, but all 3 towers were forever connected. The towers were buried by the ancients to keep them from falling into the hands of King Hiss, only to return from deep within Eternia, and so begins this epic battle for the towers!
The Mattel Eternia playset debuted in 1986, with its 3 large towers connected by a monorail system. The Central tower, was the largest of the 3 measuring over 30″, representing the power of good and evil. It had 4 floors inside, a command console, red laser cannon, and a working elevator to take you to the top. The base had stickers on it to represent a moat with some amazing artwork. The main entrance of the Central Tower was shaped like the face of a lion with working arms and claws that could reach out and grab unsuspecting visitors. The working mouth on the lion opened and closed the drawbridge feature.
The other two towers were representations of Grayskull Tower and Viper Tower. Grayskull Tower was made of the same green colored craggily stone looking plastic as Castle Grayskull, forming a tall turret. It had a long winding staircase leading to a dungeon below. Viper Tower on the other hand had a cool red snake wrapping around it and a neat landing platform perched on a rock. All connected by a freaking real working monorail!!! It came with countless accessories and provided hours and hours of fun for kids of all ages! I mean this thing was screamy cool all over the place! If you owned one of these as a kid, you were king of the neighborhood!
We got our first glimpse at Eternia on the MOTU Origins Stratos card back artwork. You can barely make it out, but way in the background amongst the clouds, you can see the silhouette of the 3 Towers.
But where Mattel stopped making subtle hints and really put Eternia front and center so to speak was in their brilliant use of 2 deluxe figure card backs to make a giant scene! The Flying Fist He-Man card back when placed next to the Terror Claw Skeletor card back come together to make a huge panoramic gorgeous battle scene. The 3 Towers of Eternia are shown, Grayskull Tower and Central Tower on the Flying First card back and Viper Tower on the Terror Claw card back. Wow, if Mattel were making this playset, I’m sure the kid in all of us would be jumping for joy! Hint, hint Mattel, we really, really, I mean really want you to make this playset!!
Princess of Power:
She-Ra, Princess of Power was one of my own personal favorite cartoons growing up. The fact that the worlds of both She-Ra and He-Man could intermingle like that in my favorite cartoons blew my mind as a kid!
Princess Adora, defender of the Crystal Castle, whereby uttering the magical words ” For the Honor of Grayskull” transformed into She-ra, the Princess of Power! The Crystal Castle was always in the background, just like Castle Grayskull was for He-man and was center stage to She-Ra’s magical powers. Shown below as seen in the 1980’s Filmation cartoon.
The Crystal Castle playset was the Princess of Power equivalent to what Castle Grayskull was for Masters of the Universe. A place for She-Ra and all her Princess of Power friends to carry out their adventures. First released in 1985, the Crystal Castle was the first playset for the Princess of Power line. Although it didn’t resemble the one in the cartoon, this playset came equipped with 4 main rooms for your Princess of Power dolls to play in. Made of a similar clamshell design as Castle Grayskull, it came filled with furniture and accessories to provided young kids with hours of fun!
Although Mattel has yet to build out the Princess of Power sub-line in Origins, they sure did get a great start with the 2020 Power Con Exclusive She-Ra action figure that was later followed by a standard release. As covered in our part 1 of this 3-part series article, the art for the 2020 Power Con exclusive She-Ra provided some great teases for some PoP characters, including Bow, Glimmer, Kowl, and Loo-Kee. But more importantly than that, they were all posed in front of the Crystal Castle, illustrated in the 1985 Mattel product release style!! We will see what Mattel has up its sleeve!
The Evil Horde:
Lead by the evil Hordak, nemesis to She-Ra and her band of rebels on the planet of Etheria, the Evil Horde is an interstellar empire, bent on dominating the Universe. There were 2 main locations where the Horde congregated, one was the Slime Pit and the second was the Fright Zone. We will explore both below.
The Slime Pit:
The Slime Pit playset was released in 1986 and jumped on that 1980’s slime craze band wagon, like so many other toys back then! It was the Lair of the Evil Horde to torture their unsuspecting victims. It was a fairly simple playset; a dinosaur claw would come out of a pit and hold your figure in place to lay wait for the oncoming slime that fed from a dinosaur skull above.
Mattel had also sold separate containers of Horde branded slime, so that you could constantly keep your slime pit well stocked.
The Slime Pit has only been pictured once in MOTU Origins artwork. As see below, it was prominently displayed on the exterior of the Masters of the Universe Origins 2021 Power Con Exclusive Horde 4 Pack.
The Fright Zone:
Known for being the main headquarters for the Evil Horde, the Fright Zone was the prominent location featured for Hordak and his evil minions on the Filmation She-Ra Princess of Power Cartoon. Ah, the Fright Zone, where Hordak sat in his throne room, many a time sending poor Grizzlor thru the famous trap door, ruling over the Evil Horde!
The Fright Zone playset was released by Mattel in 1985. More of a diorama piece, the Fright Zone was a simple looking playset that consisted of that famous green colored craggily stone, a rustic dungeon door, a tunnel for a puppet snake to come thru and a scary looking tree complete with scarecrows. This playset was a huge departure for the vast environments that Castle Grayskull and Snake Mountain brought, but I think it holds a special place in the hearts of Evil Horde fans. It didn’t resemble the techno-future location depicted in the Filmation cartoon at all, but it was still cool!
First illustrated on the 2020 Power Con exclusive She-Ra figure card back artwork, the Fright zone was featured on both the front and rear of the card back art. Shown below, you can see Hordak attacking Adora at the fright zone. It is also pictured on the front of the fold out artwork in stunning color showing Hordak’s minions Mantenna, Grizzlor and Catra atop Clawdeen her evil pink lion at the steps of the Fright Zone near the evil tree.
The Fright Zone shown for a second time on the Origins Hordak card back artwork. Again with a bevy of his minions by his side. This time a pair of Horde Trooper, Grizzlor, Leech, Mantenna and Modulock join him.
We see the Fright Zone for the third time featured center stage in all its 1980’s style glory on the 2021 Masters of the Universe Origins Power Con Exclusive Horde 4 Pack – lamp shade box, as I like to call it. This time depicted in stunning wrap around artwork by the great Axel Gimenez. In all 3 cases, your will notice that the Fright Zone is depicted as it was in 1985 Mattel playset release and not what the Filmation cartoon location looked like. Again, giving us a hint that perhaps Mattel in classic Origins style has its sights set for a Fright Zone Origins release?! Only time will tell…..
Last but certainly not least, let’s take a look at Skeltor and the Evil Warriors. The Evil Warriors all share a healthy fear of Skeletor and a lust for the power, but every time they try to pursue their own agenda, they end up in a bumbling mess, and come crawling back to Skeletor.
The Storm Raider was never a produced vehicle and was really a new concept dreamed up by Axel Gimenez and Mattel, as artist’s license so to speak. Pictured on the Wind Raider package artwork, a set of 3 purple, bat winged Storm Raiders can be spotted swopping in toward He-Man in the sky. Now this one is purely speculation since it’s never been a vehicle before, but it would be pretty cool if it got produced.
Axel Gimenez posted this Storm Raider Custom on his Instagram page and this is most likely what this vehicle could look like if they ever produced it:
The Roton, evil flying assault vehicle, was prominently used throughout the 1980’s He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Filmation cartoon. Beastman and Trap Jaw were frequently spotted sporting around in it. And Skeletor and Whiplash even took it for a nose-dive into a tarry swamp once!
First released in 1984, the Roton flying assault vehicle with its monstrous red eyes, red laser cannons and red turning sawblade was so much fun to play with. Sitting Skelly in the seat and pushing the Roton forward, making that clickity clack sound and starting that sawblade spinning just brings me right back to childhood! I could play with that thing all day!
The Roton was first pictured way back on the Masters of the Universe Origins Sky Sled package. You can see Skeletor piloting the Roton firing his laser cannons at Prince Adam on the Sky Sled.
The second time we see the Roton is on the Origins Ram Man card back art, this time with a huge view of the Faker piloting the Roton and Ram Man slamming into it! It’s huge and you can’t miss it!
Finally, we have the Roton yet again, this time very discreetly on the Stridor package artwork. This time it’s Dragon Blaster Skeletor flying in for the attack. Given that this is a fairly inexpensive vehicle, and seemingly easy to produce, I think this one can be a given by Mattel with time.
Home to Skeletor and his bumbling henchman, Snake Mountain is the pinnacle of the Evil Warriors home when it comes to the world of Masters of the Universe. The famous Snake wrapped mountain with it’s glistening eye, as seen on the Filmation cartoon is the main location where Skeletor cooks up all evil plans to get He-Man once and for all.
Skeletor seen here with Evil Lyn and Beastman spent most of his time ordering his evil warriors around from the comfort of his Bone Throne.
Kids used to come home after school every day and looked forward to watching He-Man battle it out with Skeletor. I’m sure that Castle Grayskull was on the top of every kids wish list in 1982. Well after watching the cartoons, everykid wanted a place for Skelly and his friends to hang out in, so they were all expecting the Snake Mountain we all knew and loved from the Filmation cartoon. Well when Mattel’s Snake mountain debuted in 1984, it was nothing like that cartoon. Rather than designing Snake Mountain to resemble the Filmation cartoon, Mattel opted to use a design they had for an unreleased jungle playset instead.
Mattel tried to make the best of the design by adding a snake face to the mountain and a green snake that popped out from the side, but it wasn’t the Filmation pointy mountain peak, lava waterfall, snake structure we all knew; I’ll tell you that much! Yes, it had a ladder, hand cuffs, a suspension bridge, and even some stairs that were too narrow for your figure to climb up; but it was the Snake Mountain that we got, and we all learned to love it over time.
Where Castle Grayskull had a whole world going on in the inside, Snake Mountain had little to be desired; a sticker, a ladder and a net…. not much going on in there. I mean, Snake Mountain on the cartoon never had a wolf’s head, so where they got the idea for a wolf’s head for the scarry voice microphone, I will never know?! All in all, we MOTU fans still hold the vintage Mattel Snake Mountain near and dear our hearts. With that being said, I know we are all hoping for Mattel to produce one for Origins. So, let’s take a deep dive into where this mountain has popped up so far!
We first saw Snake Mountain on the package art for the Landshark… Landshark.. chomp .. chomp….Ok, don’t tell me that every time you hear someone say Landshark, that darn deep voice from the 80’s commercial doesn’t pop up in your head repeating Landshark… Landshark…. But I digress, Snake Mountain was pictured with Trap Jaw and Clawful running down the mountain side. And yes the Snake Mountain was depicted just as the 1984 Mattel version looked, wolf speaker and all!
We next saw Snake Mountain on the 2021 Power-Con exclusive Leo Faker & Duplicat 2 Pack artwork, back and front! Again, depicted in classic 1984 Mattel style.
Seeing as we have seen the 1984 Mattel Style Snake Mountain now on 3 packages, this has to be a forgone conclusion that we will eventually get one! Come on Mattel, you know you want to!
Thanks for joining us in part 2 of this 3-part article series on what is Mattel Teasing through their Package artwork. Again, this is all speculation on Toy Habits part, but it’s been a blast so far! Be sure to be on the lookout for part 3: Creatures, because it’s already in the works!
If you missed part 1- Teased Characters thru Artwork click on the following link: Masters of the Universe Origins Teased Figures From Card Art
UPDATE: We just published our Part 3 Teased Creatures through Artwork: What Creatures are Next in the MOTU Origins Line?
You can watch the YouTube Video on part 1 on Characters down below:
Also, you can watch the YouTube Video on part 2 Teased Vehicles and Playsets down below: