ORIGINAL TOY DESIGNS
With the exception of He-Man, Skeletor and Hordak, there were few character variations among the original toys. Where they existed, the differences were fairly minor, for example the colour of the paint used on a character's shorts might have varied a little. Probably the widest known variant was that of Stratos - he was available with red wings and blue back pack, or blue wings and red back pack.
The He-Man variants were Faker, Battle Armor He-Man, Prince Adam, Thunder Punch He-Man, Flying Fists He-Man and Laser Power He-Man. I believe Laser Power He-Man was a European release only.
There was also a special version of He-Man created on behalf of the Wonder Bread Company. This was a promotional figure with very limited circulation. Wonder Bread He-Man was supplied with Zodac's black armour (the Weapons Pak version) and had darker hair and shorts than the original figure. He is sometimes referred to as Savage He-Man.
Note: This rare character has been resurrected for the Classics line, and will be released during February 2010 to Club Eternia members (those with a subscription on the Matty Collector website). The 2010 figure will be called Wun-Dar the Savage He-Man.
The Skeletor variants were Battle Armor Skeletor, Dragon Blaster Skeletor, Terror Claws Skeletor and Laser Light Skeletor. I believe Laser Light Skeletor was a European release only.
The Hordak variants were Hurricane Hordak and Buzz-Saw Hordak. All these figures were obvious variations on the main characters, and I'm not going to look into those on this page.
The image of the two Two Bad figures above may at first appear to be simply a left and right
profile, but take another look and you'll see that the one on the left has a flat back
and the one on the right doesn't. The spikes on the armour are slightly more prominent on
the figure on the right too. The other difference seems to be in the detail of the
paintwork, although it may just be that one of my figures is more worn than the other!
I have both versions of Horde member Grizzlor in my collection. The one on the left is the 'standard' Grizzlor. The one on the right is the figure that has become known amongst fans as Black Grizzlor, although strictly speaking he is dark brown. Mint on card (MOC) Black Grizzlors are difficult to find and are likely to be expensive.
Faker, who was himself a variant, was also released in different versions. Faker was one of the earliest figures in the MOTU line. He was the only figure to be re-released, making him unique in the history of the MOTU. The image above shows the soft-headed Faker (the original figure) on the left and the hard-headed Faker in the middle.
The Faker on the right is actually a custom figure, but it was made to look like an Indian version of Faker which was released by Leo Toys (Mattel Toys (India) Ltd.) in the 1990s. Leo Faker, as he has become known, had distinctive black eye liner and an orange version of Skeletor's staff and loincloth. Several licensed figures were produced by Leo, including a dark blue Skeletor. These figures are very rare.
Discussions on the He-Man.org forums drew my attention to another figure that I had not heard of, and I wanted to find out some more about this excellent incarnation of Kobra Khan from Argentina. He had arms similar to Buzz-Off's (although both claws seem to be closed) and had a brown or green version of Clawful's mace.
This character was released as a Snake Man (rather than as an ally of Skeletor) and named Kobra Khan Camuflado (camouflaged Kobra Khan). He has become known as Kamo Khan among MOTU fans. Kamo Khan was a licensed figure produced by Top Toys. The image shows a shiny version and a dull version, but there were variations on these styles too!
Perhaps some of these rare variants will make appearances in the Classics line!