The first He-Man action figure was released by Mattel in 1981, and had a twist waist and power punch action. The figure came with the power sword, a battle axe and a shield, together with a removable harness. In 1982 the figure was also released in a set with either Battle Cat or the Wind Raider vehicle. The He-Man figure was released again in 1983 together with Teela and Ram-Man; and the figure was also released in 1986 together with the Jet Sled vehicle.
Starting with the third wave of figures in 1984, a different He-Man variant, and corresponding Skeletor variant, was released with each new wave. The first alternate version was entitled Battle Armor He-Man. The chest contained a springloaded rotating drum bearing three "damage indicators". As before, the power sword and battle axe were included. The figure was also re-released the same year, in a two-pack with Battle Armor Skeletor, and the figure was also available packaged with the Road Ripper vehicle. In 1986, the figure was released again, together with Battle Armor Skeletor and Orko.
Another alternate version was released in 1985, with the name Thunder Punch He-Man. The toy was powered with caps to make a bang when he threw a punch. The power sword, colored mustard gold with this version of the character, and shield were released with the figure, together with some red caps. The same year, Battle Armor He-Man was re-released with Battle Cat, and again in a collector's pack with Man-at-Arms and Man-E-Faces.
1986 saw the release of another version, named Flying Fists He-Man. The figure's arms moved as his waist rotated. The figure included a spinning trident mace and a rotating shield. A double-pack was later released containing both Flying Fists He-Man and Terror Claws Skeletor.
In 1988, a final version was released for the original toy line, entitled Laser Power He-Man, which lit up He-Man's Power Sword powered by batteries inserted into the back of the figure. The figure was limited to releases in Italy and Spain, although it also appeared in some major department stores in London, England, and is one of the rarest and most highly sought after figures of the toy-line due to its limited release. This figure is also notable in that, whereas previous alternate versions had stuck to the basic original He-Man head, this new version had a completely new head sculpt, inspired in part by He-Man's appearance in the 1987 movie.
It should also be noted that He-Man, along with all of the early figures, was originally released with a hollow rubber 'squeezable' head. In the later days of the line, the He-Man figure, as with a number of the early figures, was altered to have a solid head. The soft head version is the far more common of the two, with the hard head version being relatively scarce. Thunder Punch He-Man and Flying Fists He-Man were released with hard heads; Battle Armor He-Man, like the original version, was originally released with a soft head, but later also appeared with a hard head. Not all countries of production adopted the later hard head alteration.
Autumn Mchugo - September 27, 2012
I have a box of He-man figures starting back from 1981. My boys have both said to just get rid of them. I am looking for a home for them. If interested please email me.
►reply: If you're interested how much they are worth I suggest browsing through eBay's completed auctions using queries like 'he man 1981' to see what pops up.