One of the things that I absolutely loved about the original Masters of the Universe figures was that the designers worked so many crazy features into the toys. Most toy lines only had one gimmick such as transforming into vehicles or hologram stickers but the MOTU line had dozens. The initial wave of figures pretty much all had the same feature which was the springy waist joint. This allowed you to twist a figure at the hips in one direction and when you released him he would quickly swing around delivering a powerful roundhouse to whomever was in his way. This feature was pretty simple but fun and effective. I love the squeaky spring noise I can still hear in my vintage He-Mans as I twist them. By the second wave the designers started getting really creative. Man-E-Faces, Mekaneck, Trap Jaw and others all brought a unique new play feature to the table. It’s hard to say which figure had the best feature but I think Stinkor ranks among the elite. Stinkor, the skunk-man, stunk. As a kid I had no idea how they did it but the actual Stinkor figure had a funky aroma about it that lasted for years. It was a rather useless gimmick when actually playing with your toys but it was such a nifty and original concept that I just loved it.
Though MOTU figures shined with their innovative features, they were pretty lacking when it came to tooling new parts for their figures. Almost all of the figures were hulking muscle men so this allowed the designers to reuse the muscly torso and arms over and over again. This reuse of parts would often go undetected by children like me, or more accurately I noticed but didn’t care. As long as each character had a new head and was painted a different color I didn’t really give a crap about reused arms and legs. This reuse of parts really only bothered me when it was a character’s face being recycled. Reused heads always bothered me on G.I. Joes too but at least it was easier to buy into a bunch of young military guys looking similar. When it came to MOTU figures I have no idea why they would reuse the ape inspired Beast Man to create the living plant character Moss Man. Even stranger was the repainting of the fish character Mer-Man to create the skunk inspired Stinkor. Not that the original Mer-Man was all that fishy looking but he certainly wasn’t skunky looking either. It seemed a very strange choice. The face was bug eyed with a downturned mouth full of pointy little teeth and completely devoid of a nose. I’m sure that the designers must have imagined a more mammalian face on this guy when they first conceived of the idea.
As it happens, Mer-Man was my absolute favorite MOTU character so even though it was an odd choice, I was all for painting him black and white and making him a skunk man. I didn’t get Stinkor at the height of the line but I did get him a few years later. Unfortunately he was missing his armor, the element that most separated him from Mer-Man. I still have that vintage semi-nude Stinkor in my collection but his Stink is gone. Or perhaps it’s just my sense of smell that has deteriorated.
When MOTU made it’s long awaited comeback in 2002 I was super stoked. Not only did we get a high quality new cartoon which added depth to characters that never had it before but we got a wicked new series of action figures to go along with it. I have most of the 2002 line. The line disappeared from retail fairly quickly though and I missed out on a few key characters like Teela and Ram Man. I thought the 2002 designs were the perfect blend of fresh and new and retro and familiar. I didn’t love Stinkor’s new origin as chronicled in the series, he was a little Mogwai looking guy that got mutated into the muscly skunk man that he is. But I did really like the updated look once he was in full Stinkor mode. He retained the Mer-Man-esque influence of the original but was now clearly a character of his own. If you stood the 2002 Mer-Man next to the 2002 Stinkor you’d never know that they were both inspired by the same base figure, even though both are still recognizable and comparable to the original.
Unfortunately the new MOTU toy line and cartoon didn’t catch on with kids the way Mattel had hoped and both were soon cancelled. This was a huge bummer as there were so many stories left to be told in the animated series. They spent three seasons teasing about the coming of the Evil Horde which never came to fruition. And so many awesome characters did not get released as action figures; including Stinkor. The sculpting team behind the redesigns of the MOTU, the Four Horsemen, came up with an innovative way to satisfy fans even though they had lost the license to produce actions figures. They began releasing action figure sized statues of the characters that never made it to the toy aisles. This statue line which they called “staction figures” provided fans with 3 dimensional interpretations of such great characters as Mantenna, Mosquitor, Clawful, and of course Stinkor.
This Stinkor staction figure is sculpted brilliantly and comes with a display base so that he would look right at home in any fanboys statue collection. However he can be removed from the base, and he even has removable accessories so he can be displayed with the previously released 2002 MOTU figures just as easily. The figure itself doesn’t move which is a pretty big disappointment. I’d have been even more disappointed had I been a kid wanting to play with this thing but by 2002 I was done playing with toys and was just using them as display pieces so the lack of articulation didn’t bother me so much.
I truly love this sculpt. It is one of the better Horsemen designs from 2002 (though they were all good). Stinkor is large, and scary, and posed in a hunch which indicates that he’d be even bigger than he appears if he stood upright. His armor has been bulked up substantially including the addition of big awesome boots. He’s got large oxygen tanks on his back that attach to his face mask which I believe allows him to tolerate his own repugnant scent. In fact the only real downfall of this figure other than the lack of movement is the lack of stink. 8 out of 10.