MOTU Origins Vehicles: Sky Sled, Land Shark, Battle Cat and Panthor

If you’ve been attempting to collect the Masters of the Universe Origins line of toys, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how difficult it has been. Or actually, let me hope that by the time you read, this things will be different and stores will be fully stocked with them. Even Trap Jaw.

Alas, at the time of this writing (June 2021), almost all of MOTU’s tertiary character figures are nowhere to be seen in stores or online. Except from scalpers, of course. He-Man and Skeletor are everywhere, but good luck finding anybody else. At least where I live.

You could call this a skeleton crew, I guess.

Despite this, the larger “rideable” toys seem to be pretty well stocked. I was even very impressed to see an overflowing shelf of clearance-priced Sky Sleds at my local Target. For real! Likewise Panthor and Battle Cat have been consistently in-stock at Target and Walmart. Amazon has an unlimited supply of Skeletor’s flamboyant tank Land Shark listed at the $29.99 MSRP.

Yes, it’s been very nice seeing these toys in stock, and I’m hoping that the Wind Raider will be similarly available when it finally hits the shelves. Should be any day now!

The one exception is the flocked Collectors Edition Panthor with the realistic “fur.” I’ve found him in stock one time only at my local Walmart and dang! Did you realize he is $40!? I didn’t until I got him to the checkout.

I had foolishly assumed the flocked version would be the “new” Panthor and they’d phase out the original version. Nope. I guess making a toy fuzzy is flocking expensive.

In addition to the upcoming Wind Raider, today I learned that Mattel is releasing a “Battle Damage” version of Battle Cat in another Target exclusive two-pack. The pack will contain a new version of Battle Armor He-Man and a repainted Battle Cat and a decorative base for display.

This set looks incredible! Battle Cat and He-Man both feature bloody wounds and shiny armor. Battle Armor He-Man seems to be the same sculpt as the currently-available Battle Armor He-Man deluxe figure, and even includes the same alternate head and hand sculpts as the regular version. But his armor…now, get this…his armor is shiny!

Okay, the shiny armor sounded more exciting in my head. But it has a metallic finish that looks great. Battle Cat also has new armor and saddle with a shiny finish. It’s not metallic, but you can imagine that the saddle has been worn down to a glistening sheen from decades of He-Man’s rock-hard glutes buffing the leather. 

What I found particularly interesting about this set is the display piece. It’s billed on the box front as a “display stand of Castle Grayskull Gargoyles”. The ‘goyles are quite small, about the size of He-Man’s boot, but the two of them are very cool. Honestly, the whole set looks awesome and I’m sure scalpers are going to make it very hard to find. Jerks.

Domo Arigato, Mister

Land Shark

It took a few months, but I eventually scored a Land Shark on Amazon. At the time it was a great victory, but today there are tons of them on Amazon. No problem.

When the MOTU Origins Land Shark was announced, the Mattel dudes mentioned that it would be a bit bigger than the original. And if you’ve tried cramming an Origins figure into an original Bashasaurus or Roton, you’ll know why. The ball-in-socket joints on the new figures make posing a bit tricky, so the extra room was needed.

BIgger, Purpler, and Milo-Approved

The result is that the new Land Shark is big and bad and mean! And purple.

No, but really. It looks awesome! The details in the matte-finish plastic are very crisp, and the whole thing feels like a high-quality, durable piece. The stickers are pre-stuck, which is fine. I feel like the originals came with a sticker sheet and you had to stick them yourself. But I could be wrong.

When you roll Land Shark, the top jaw raises and snaps shut, and the mouth itself is big enough to gobble up a few Origins figures.

Milo and I both enjoyed Land Shark quite a bit. It’s entirely worth the MSRP.

Sky Sled on Clearance

Prince Adam’s Sky Sled

Like Land Shark, Prince Adam’s Sky Sled was very tough to find at first. If I recall correctly, this was the first vehicle to release in the Origins line, so it makes sense that people were flocking to get it. But now that the initial FOMO has worn off, you can find these all over the place.

In fact, on my last visit to Target there were literally a dozen of these crowding the toy aisle and they were on clearance for half price! If you don’t have one, now is probably the time to strike.

The Sky Sled is very cool. It’s not especially big, but it comes with the Prince Adam figure and has interchangeable side panels and mantle to turn it from a Sky Sled to an evil War Sled. The difference is admittedly subtle, but it’s still neat. And if you actually play with these toys, it give you an incentive to purchase multiples.

In addition to the Prince Adam figure, Sky Sled also includes a stylish desert-themed stand and a translucent cannon blast attachment. 

I love the Sky Sled. But then again, I love all the Origins figures. 

What the flock?

Battle Cat and Panthor

These guys are definitely cool. And imposing! Each of them is about 10 inches long from snout to tail and nearly 7 inches tall when fully armored and posed appropriately. They’re big.

I’ve already written a review of Battle Cat, and you can read about it in my first MOTU article Hands-On with He-Man and the MOTU Origins Line. Or if you don’t want to go read it, here’s an excerpt:

…And while Battle Cat may have 12 points of articulation, I’ve found a few of his leg joints to be quite loosey-goosey. Which means he has a tendency to fall flat onto his face and can be especially difficult to pose with the added weight of a mounted rider.

Besides that, most of Battle Cat’s joints are worthless because of his shape. His legs look dumb in any position except extended down, paws flat on the ground. His tail can be swiveled and raised, so you can make him look like he’s marking territory. Which is cool? 

The most notable articulations are in his neck and face, with his jaw being able to open wide in a Battle Cat roar! And his neck actually has two joints, allowing him to roar at an enemy, or dramatically into the sky.

My critique of Panthor is the same. They I believe the sculpts are identical, just with different paint. But I’m not 100% positive because the Panthor I have is the flocked Collectors Edition and I don’t currently have any plans to remove him from the packaging.

Yes, I usually take my toys out of the box and pose them and play with my son and have tons of fun. But the Flocked Panthor was particularly pricey and quite difficult to track down. So yeah. He’ll stay in the box.

So far, I’m really enjoying the entire Origins line. While the cats have some issues, the vehicles are far sturdier and more vibrant than their original counterparts. They look fantastic on a shelf, and they can stand up to some serious play sessions.

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