In the very earliest days of the Masters Of The Universe, by which I mean the first series of minicomics, there was no indication that either the forces of good or evil on Eternia were represented by great armies. Those stories suggested that the battles which took place were small scale skirmishes involving just a handful of warriors.
This began to change with the second series of minicomics. The tales were still part of the Mineternian, or pre-Filmation, era, but we began to gain a greater insight into the structure of Eternian society. The land was a kingdom, and at its heart was the royal palace.
In one of the best minicomics, The Power Of... Point Dread!, which you can read here, Skeletor's army of beastial humanoids attacked the palace. Their onslaught, under the leadership of Tri-Klops, was thwarted by Man-At-Arms. This story revealed the presence of large armies and changed the nature of conflict on Eternia.
While collecting Classics figures, I have thought about how the armies of Eternia might look. I have collected a few extra figures, because some designs have some intriguing possibilities! Building armies has obviously been considered by the team at Mattel, because several army builder two-packs are to be included in the line.
The first two-pack, appearing in 2011, is a set of royal guards. These figures are closer to the Filmation cartoon soldiers than any style seen in the minicomics, which is actually surprising as we have been told Mattel does not have the rights to any Filmation characters.
I have created some images for this page which do not represent anything official
about the Classics. These pictures are simply an indulgence on my part!
Maybe they will give you some ideas about displaying your Classics figures
or creating your own Eternian stories.
Not an army in the traditional sense, but He-Man and Battle Cat have been a force to be reckoned with since the earliest days of the Masters Of The Universe. Every incarnation of the MOTU has paired these characters. It began with a barbarian warrior and his half-wild steed roaming the great expanses of Eternia, but soon the story changed to a prince with a secret and his timid pet. Whichever version of the tales you like best, or whichever line of MOTU toys you prefer, He-Man and Battle Cat have been as constant in the stories as Castle Grayskull.
Count Marzo's first appearance as a toy figure was in the Classics line, but he has been connected with the MOTU since the days of the Filmation cartoons. Classics Marzo does not look much like Filmation Marzo though. He surfaced again in the Mike Young Productions cartoons which accompanied the 2002 incarnation of the Masters, and it is this design which was used for Classics Marzo. This is one non-original character I actually quite like, and I thought he deserved an army. As I wrote above, this is an indulgence, and the figures you see with Marzo are not Classics figures. Here you can see two Marvel Select Mephisto figures and two Mattel Undertaker figures. The swords are from the Four Horsemen's Ramathorr figure.
One of the original Masters, Mer-Man remains one of the best figures in
the Classics. He is a treat for vintage MOTU fans like me, because he was
supplied with a minicomic head and an original toy head. This creates an almost
impossible choice, because both heads are original! Mer-Man is the evil ocean
warlord, and that title suggests he has an army of loyal underlings. For this image,
I used the minicomic head on Mer-Man and original toy head on his soldiers.
Readers of my Grayskull Saga will
know how much I like the idea of Mer-Man commanding an aquatic army. I have never
considered Mer-Man to be a cowardly individual as he is sometimes represented.
Whiplash has always been one of my favourite Masters, and he featured in
the one post-Mineternian minicomic that I really enjoy reading: The Clash Of
Arms. Classics Whiplash came with two heads: the vintage toy head and
the 2002 toy head. While not a huge 2002 fan, I think the 2002 head actually works
fairly well on the Classics figure, and for this reason I decided to use
it on Whiplash's warriors, reserving the vintage head for Whiplash himself. I do
not know of any story where Whiplash has been given an army, but the two heads
supplied with the Classics figure gave me the chance to represent him as
a clan leader.
Despite concerns among some fans about women being under-represented in the Classics, I actually think women do rather well in the Eternian mythos. There have always been more men than women in the various toy lines, so the smaller number really should not be surprising. The role of the women who do appear parallels the King Arthur legends, because they are actually much more powerful than the men. In this image the Goddess is accompanied by the two Teelas: the original Sorceress of Grayskull on the left and the warrior woman on the right. Classics Teela was supplied with two heads, which was another treat for Mineternian era fans like me, even though the Classics mythology does not acknowledge Teela as a Grayskull sorceress. For me though, this image evokes the magical power possessed by the great women of Eternia.
Other than the various army builder packs which we will hopefully see
as the Classics line progresses, there may not be many opportunities
to create armies. The decision to stop supplying two heads with figures, which
was made after the release of Whiplash, has meant fans who may have bought extra
figures will no longer be inclined to do so. These variations were going to
happen to support the 2002 era fans who wanted to see something of their chosen
line incorporated into the Classics. Perhaps this page here on Vaults
might help persuade Mattel to reconsider.