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Throwback Thursday – Masters of the Universe Vintage Blade

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By 1987 Masters of the Universe was becoming harder to collect. Stores were not stocking the rows of full pegs that had once dominated aisles, and it was obvious that the brand was burning itself off a little. That last lineup, that included such characters as Scareglow, Clamp Champ, Ninjor, and Blast-Attak, was just not to be. It was so bad that some stores were burning off their old stock with deep discounts — K-Mart marked them down to a dollar a figure. That was insane. Though money at times could be tight, a dollar a figure was nothing to sneeze at, and my mom told me to go nuts. I picked up six figures that day, including Extendar, Sy-Klone, Rattlor, and others. My mom very wisely had me ration them out, opening one a day after school. I was not a kid who enjoyed school, so to have something to look forward to at the end of each day was awesome. Those were almost my last MOTU figures. Almost, but not quite; two years later I would see Moss Man at a Dollar General, and that would be my last figure.

Amazingly, though the line itself was in its final days and the last line would not make an appearance in the stores around me, I did manage to find Blade. I really have no idea how. I never saw any of his wave-mates, and the movie had faded from the theaters into oblivion. It was just a case of right day, right store, right time.

The Masters of the Universe movie was not a hit by any means, but the characters introduced in the movie were as toyetic and as “MOTU” as it gets. Blade, Saurod, and Gwildor all easily looked as though they belonged on Eternia. But Saurod and Gwildor never captured my imagination as much as Blade.

I’ve already mentioned several times how much I loved the live-action Masters movie. It was dark and gritty where the cartoon and comics of the time were a bit… fluffier, let’s say, and played out the wars that were in my head in a much more realistic way. It introduced some great new villains, but above them all, Blade was a frickin’ rock star. He was a dual-blade wielding pirate-esque bad-ass with an obvious history with He-Man, and I had to have him. Had to! Knowing the state of the stores at the time, I was fairly resigned to the fact that I would never get him. But somehow, the toy fairies put him on a peg for me to find, and I snatched him up as soon as I saw him.

Blade was a consummate bad-ass in the movie, ruthlessly twirling those blades in a crazed and manic attempt to impale anybody that got in his way. All the villains were portrayed as real threats and not the buffoons that the cartoon had been pumping into living rooms for years. Blade had a Boba Fett quality: he didn’t say much, but when he did something, he did it.

His toy was different than all the other MOTU toys, to the point where it could be believed to be from a completely different line. He’s slightly taller, for one, and he skips the rubber hip mechanics of most of the regular figures for actual disks, much like figures now have, which gave him a broader range of motion that didn’t immediately snap back into place.

All the little sculpted blades on his leg ended up getting thrown at his opponents often. And he would often fire the darts on his wrist before hacking and slashing. I loved those little details. They made him a bit more fierce, a bit more real.

Like I said, the dual blades were an immediate selling point, and the fact that he could hold them both was off-the-charts cool. I had never understood the point of the slap hand that He-Man and all the derivatives of his body had. I’d much rather have had two sword-gripping hands, and Blade finally delivered that.

Blade, like most, had an action feature that, like most, annoyed me a little. His was slightly unfortunate in that it was a spring-loaded chopping motion; if you raise his arm and release it, his arm chopped down. That meant that his arm would not stay raised without support unless you anchored it pretty far back as pictured, and if not anchored, it would, of course, always default back to resting at his sides, until I raised them again. It required a bit of extra effort in my playtime to have Blade and He-Man smack swords because I’d always have to keep his arm supported.
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I know, I know, woe is me. And that, kids, is why I hate action features. They kill fun.

But even with the action feature, it was Blade, and that made the slightly extra effort worth it. Blade killed everyone: he double-crossed and double-bladed Skeletor, he and Tri-Klops went at it, he and He-Man replayed their battles over and over and over… he became the default top-of-the-heap bad guy that all others had to test their mettle against.
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I clipped the illustrated backs of all the MOTU figures back then. I did the same with GI Joe and the Transformer tech specs. Despite the domination of FILMation, those cardback illustrations often kept the similar aesthetics of the earliest mini-comics. The illustration of Blade going after Man-At-Arms and a snake-armor wearing Teela firmly plants him in the “ordinary” world of MOTU and not the movieverse. Though they’re skilled warriors, I like how they seem totally outmatched. Of course, they don’t have swords themselves, but that’s how Blade rolls. If he’s going to cut a bitch, he doesn’t care if you’re armed or not.
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The other side is even more interesting. Standard top of the cardback where we see that Blade is an Evil Master of Swords because they couldn’t put “Bad Mother%#$^er” on a kid’s toy. But if we look closer:
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Blade was $4.48 from Hills department store. $4.48! I can’t even buy a sword for that price now.  And the odd thing was that was expensive for a toy back then — when GI Joe was about a dollar or so less. That was why getting six for six bucks at K-Mart was such a coup.

Though the majority of those last figures of the line remained frustratingly out of reach, if I could have chosen any to mysteriously find, it would have been Blade. Toy stores could be magical things back then.

4 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday – Masters of the Universe Vintage Blade

  1. I’m guessing the price was why you lucked out. I know from my experiences with the Times Square tRU and fao that things move slower at the more expensive places.

  2. I don’t think my blades were ever straight. They’re made out of very soft plastic and no matter how much I try to heat them and straighten them they always end up a little warped. His hands are slightly too large so the only way he can grip them and hold them is with the guards wrapped around.

  3. I wanted that guy SO BAD back in the day! Never got ’em. I honestly can’t remember the days of the MotU decline. I was born in 83, so I was pretty much still in the “I’ll take whatever you give me” mode. Last figures I got were Sy-Klone, Faker, and Scare Glow…and I honestly can’t remember what year that was. Chances are they found ’em in clearance sections back then. I think they were from family members that only saw me at special occasions, so they probably were of the “he still likes these, right?” frame of mind. They were right!

    As with most of the “end of the line” stuff, my last guys are in NICE shape, and it looks like your Blade is the same! I gotta wonder though…did the swords come bent like that, or did you try to bend them back, away from the handguard? I notice he can’t seem to hold them blade-out as well. That woulda bothered the heck outta me back in the day! I know Jitsu’s backward sword always did.

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