By Nick Saunders
Recently, my house has been even more of a throbbing brothel of geekdom than it normally is. I have been working on a pretty major overhaul of my Masters of the Universe collection over the last two weeks. I took all of my vintage He-Man figures out of storage, as well as a couple of fixer-uppers I recently bought at AZ Collectors Marketplace, and got to cleaning and painting the mother-loving heck out of them. I even replaced the broken/worn rubber bands in the legs on some figures using an awesome tutorial I found on YouTube here. MacGuyver doesn’t have squat on the guy that came up with this trick.
All were painted by hand using a combination of Tamiya and Testors Model Master Acrylic paints. It is very important to not use enamel paints on MOTU figures as it will break down the soft plastic and rubber they are made of. I ruined a couple of good figures this way about 10 years ago. The great thing about custom painting MOTU figures is that you can get most figures loose for between 7 and 10 dollars, so there is no guilt about defacing an expensive piece.
First off is Man-E-Faces. I touched up quite a few dings in the blue areas, repainted in a deeper red the “tubing” across his chest and back, and then added some additional accents to bring out some more of the sculpted details. It was a tough blue to match, so I basically repainted entire panels to give him a two-tone look. This schizophrenic thespian SOB is officially back in bidness.
Next was Moss Man; this one was a nightmare. When I removed him from storage, the glue from the velvet-like “moss” had broken down and turned all gummy and sticky. I ended up removing it entirely using a combo of elbow grease and Goo-Gone, then dry brushed a light green over the body to give it depth. “Dry brushing” is a technique where you use a brush with almost no paint on it to dust a light color over raised details to make them stand out better; it is not something done on a couch with your junior high girlfriend. I then gave him some of the yellow “Beast Man” armor from one of the old school weapon packs to complete the look, which I also lightly dry brushed. While he no longer has his Chronic 2001 sticky-icky-icky epidermis intact, he still came out pretty sweet.
I then tackled what is probably my favorite MOTU figure- Faker. This blue-skinned evil robot clone of He-Man has seen better days. I repainted his scratched up face, replaced the rubber bands in the legs, and then detailed and did a dark paint wash over the armor. “Washing” is a technique where you slightly thin a darker shade of paint and brush it into details of a sculpt. The opposite of dry brushing, it has the same effect of making details stand out. This is entirely different than the washing I do to mitigate the effects of my ubiquitous and magnificent underarm odor.
Speaking of odor, I also rehabbed the Stinkor I scored at AZ Collectors Marketplace. While he no longer possesses his signature musky-funk stank that all the girls pine for, he does have some freshly whitened stripes, brightened eyes, repainted boots, and some little colorful details added to his armor.
You can’t have Hordak without Ho. This being the case, I mixed some off-white paint to repaint his face, and touched up his various bat details and his gloves and boots. I topped it off with an oh-so-epic, Project Runway-worthy, custom felt cape. Heidi Klum, come holler at your boy.
Amazingly, I was also able to take my trashed MerMan figure and bring it back to life. I dry brushed light green all over the body, paint washed and dry brushed the armor, detailed the face, and added green details to his belt. I even dry brushed some yellow over his loin cloth to step his pimp game up another notch. And so he doesn’t break a hip grinding on mermaids, his legs got new rubber bands too.
Some other figures that got minor touch-ups are Battle Armor He-Man (hair), Thunder Punch He-Man (hair and boots), Sy-Klone (gloves, arms, boots, belt), He-Man (armor details), and Battlecat (eyes and mouth).
Once all these figures were completed, they were displayed on newly-mounted wall shelves in my man cave with my MOTU 200X figures. I couldn’t be happier with the end result, although having some of their freaking weapons wouldn’t hurt. Ebay here I come!