Below are five of the most interesting Masters of the Universe collectibles currently on eBay. I can afford none of them.
Argentinian Modulok Figure!
Asking Price: $1200
The Argentinian version of the Masters of the Universe line — produced by Top Toys but still officially licensed — took many of our favorite heroes and villains and tried to recreate the original Mattel versions as faithfully as possible.
These figures were cruder but generally on-point, looking reasonably similar to the Mattel originals. One the few major aberrations was Modulok (or “Modulock,” in this case), which was such a departure from Mattel’s version that it’s arguably now the most sought-after piece from the whole series.
Mattel never intended Modulok to be sold on a standard blister card, so Top Toys needed to cut a few corners to make the beast fit. Look close and you’ll notice some spare body parts behind the figure. There were enough of them to recreate the original figure’s mutant Lego gimmick, but still far less than Mattel’s version.
The most striking difference is the figure’s coloring. The original’s body parts were completely red, but this one mixes in a huge dose of green. It’s the special Christmas edition of Modulok, and that’s all kinds of awesome. Maybe not 1200 dollars’ worth of awesome, but hey, it’s not like you’re gonna easily find another for sale.
100% Complete Eternia Playset!
Asking Price: $2000
The pièce de résistance for many Masters of the Universe collectors, Mattel’s giant Eternia playset was also the line’s most ambitious offering. In its day, the playset was not a retail success, and given how much money was sunk into producing it, you could even argue that it was MOTU’s biggest failure.
…but only if we’re talking about profits.
In my view, the playset — high price aside — simply came out too late. Masters of the Universe had already peaked by its arrival, but its popularity didn’t so much “dwindle” as “just stop.” The downward trends didn’t give much warning. If they had, I doubt that Mattel would’ve thrown out something so elaborate as a last gasp.
Regardless, the playset is incredibly famous among MOTU fans, with the prices to match. Eternia was a little cumbersome, sure, but as a showpiece, it’s amazing. Kind of like a marriage between Castle Grayskull and a really expensive model train set.
(PS: Buying a boxed version is sometimes a necessity if you want a 100% complete Eternia. This playset had tons of parts, to the point where it’s often more difficult to find loose-and-complete versions than specimens with the box. Of course, the box still manages to add several hundred dollars to the price. There are just no easy roads to Eternia.)
MOTU Vending Machine Prizes!
Asking Price: $249.95
I would’ve loved to buy this for Vintage Vending, but my brain ain’t gonna let me spend $250 on He-Man erasers even during its most manic highs. The price sounds crazy, but when you have something this obscure, you kind of just write your own check and then wait two years for the bank to open.
In a departure from the 1980s vending machine norm, everything in this prize set was officially licensed. The erasers were assuredly more common, but any kid who fed quarters to this machine was obviously after those killer pencil toppers, which replicated the heads of the Mattel action figures in a 1:1 scale!
Speclatron Action Figure!
Asking Price: $300
OH WOW, I CAN’T BELIEVE THESE WERE REAL. I thought I just made ’em up!
Speclatron was a line of action figures clearly inspired by Masters of the Universe, but with an amazing twist: The torso of each figure doubled as a pseudo snow globe, filled with liquid and multicolored sparkles!
I’ve spent decades believing that I either dreamed these up or somehow confused them with Roboto. It feels so good to find out that my memories of climbing a dirt hill with one of these dudes are legit. I grew up surrounded by so many He-Man knockoffs, but Speclatron was by far the best of them. Every figure felt like some magical wizard boss. What a cool concept!
For the record, the one I had wasn’t the guy pictured above, but rather a different character who aped He-Man’s appearance more closely. (As a kid, I considered him He-Man’s robot brother, which makes much less sense to me in 2016.) I’m also not sure that the one I owned was even released under the “Speclatron” umbrella — these figures seem to have been sold under several different titles.
Sealed “Slime” Canister!
Asking Price: $70
This isn’t nearly as impressive as the store display from one of my earlier eBay features, but a sealed can of Masters of the Universe “Slime” is always worth ten paragraphs.
People mostly remember Slime as “that stuff that came with the Slime Pit,” but the cans were sold individually, too. To me, they represent the original Masters of the Universe line at its absolute peak. The cans were priced low enough, but Mattel more famously used them as bait to get kids to buy extra He-Man figures. (Read the promo sticker on that can. If you bought Hordak and Moss Man, you got it for free!)
I distinctly remember being at a Kay-Bee Toys during the promotion’s small window. They’d stacked dozens of the cans right by the registers, and brought their entire stock of MOTU toys close to the front of the store. It was pure pandemonium, with kids who’d already collected the hell out of He-Man struggling to find two figures that they didn’t already have, all while impatient parents wondered if free cans of carpet-staining sludge were really worth the brownie points.
PS: Buying a sealed can is just about your only hope of finding the original Slime in still-usable condition. (And that’s still not guaranteed!) The stuff was made to last, but unlike Kenner’s Real Ghostbusters Ecto-Plazm, it wasn’t made to last for over 30 years. More often than not, “used” cans will only contain hardened crud cakes.
If you enjoyed this feature, here are some of my previous eBay romps:
I feel like I’m getting sick, so if you picture me under ten blankets struggling to watch Candyman, it’s an hour away from accuracy.