Reviews > Battle Armor Skeletor (Masters of the Universe Classics)

[toc title=”Table of Contents” class=”toc-left”] It’s been over a year since the release of Battle Armor He-Man, and at long last, his flesh-challenged counterpart has his own Masters of the Universe Classics version.

Despite the fact that the 1980s Filmation He-Man cartoon existed primarily to sell toys, neither He-Man nor Skeletor ever appeared on the show in their battle armor. The armor was often featured in other media, such as posters, magazines and comics, and the figures were two of the most popular guises of the characters (some fans prefer them to the “regular” versions).

I suspect the reason for the absence of Battle Armor on the show is because it would have cost money to animate. Although, it also occurs to me Filmation could have just created a separate armor cel and placed it over the chest part of the character cel–but maybe that wouldn’t work. I’m no animator.



The figure is wearing the two-slash plate, which is probably the most interesting one to go with, yet I suspect many MOC fans would have preferred the unblemished plate.

Design & Sculpt

As with any MOTUC figure who had a vintage figure in the 1980s, Battle Armor Skeletor is closely based upon that version. The Battle Armor variants are fondly remembered by fans today for their unique action feature: when struck, the chest spun on a wheel to show increasing amounts of damage. There were three settings: no damage, one slash, and two slashes.

Adding the spinning feature would have been (we’re told) prohibitively expensive to produce in MOTUC, so to replicate the look if not the action of the feature, MOTUC Skeletor features three interchangeable chest plates. The chest armor is relatively easy to remove (easier than Battle Armor He-Man, at any rate), and the plates can be popped in and out without trouble.

Aside from the armor, there’s absolutely no new parts on this figure. It’s notable that, to match the vintage figure, he has a furry loincloth rather than the leather version his standard figure comes with. Because the MOTUC furry loincloth doesn’t taper into the groin like the vintage version, I don’t get the “Skeletor wearing a leotard” vibe from this figure that I did from the vintage fig.

Plastic & Paint

There are two things to comment on regarding Skeletor’s paint applications. The first is his face. The Skeletor paint apps have varied from cartoonish (Lex Luthor vs. Skeletor) to heavily washed (the Mo-Larr version). This figure’s face has thicker paint for a more classic, cartoonish look. On a side note, some fans recommended using the tooth-less Mo-Larr head for a battle-damaged Skeletor, and I have to admit it’s pretty cool (check out my last pic).

The other interesting thing is the feet. Fans requested that Battle Armor Skeletor’s feet be colored purple to match his vintage card art, and Mattel complied. Some fans suggested using the Hordak feet instead, and I think that would have looked much more badass, but…ah well.


Skeletor features the usual MOTUC articulation: ball joints at the shoulders and hips, hinge joints at the elbows, knees, ankles and abdomen, and swivels at the biceps, wrists, waist and calves. The “rocker” ankle joints are excellent, with a great range of motion, and all of my figure’s joints are tight.


The vintage Battle Armor Skeletor came with his sword and Havoc Staff. Since we’ve already gotten those accessories with the regular Skeletor as well as Mo-Larr, Mattel again listened to fans and gave us a purple version of the He-Man axe. This may annoy some of the purists, but I’m very happy to get it–it gives BA Skel a unique weapon, and the axe better fits the brutal combat one imagines between BA He-Man and Skeletor. (On another side note–check out this neat custom “Diamond Ray of Disappearance”-style axe.)

Of course, he also has the interchangeable plates.

Quality Control

No problems. No, really!


Battle Armor Skeletor was a given from the moment we got Battle Armor He-Man. I’m more a fan of the “regular” versions than I am the BA versions, but they’re both fun figures. Some extra touches, such as another accessory of some sort, or using the Hordak feet, would have made him a bit better, but overall he’s a slightly-above-average entry in the line.

I’ve been using BA He-Man to ride Battle Cat, and BA Skeletor is destined to sit astride Panthor come next month.


Comments now closed (29)

  • Some of my favorite MOTU figures as a kid–I think I do prefer them to the regular figures, at least in the classic/Classics look.

    I do think the 200X BA He-Man (staction and toy) versions were two of the few times I felt disappointed by the 4H's updates. Even though the staction one was fairly true to the original, it seemed somehow bland.

    I did like the red 200X BA Skeletor, however, I still wanted to see a true update to the orginal BA Skeletor.

  • I love BA Skeletor. I don't know if its because I have the vintage version or what but its great. The paint on the face is really what pushes it past being a "good" figure. If it was just another re-hash of the original Classics Skeletor's washed face, it would have been okay and I'm sure that I would have liked it still, but its really reminiscent of the vintage line, so I'm pretty happy with that! I like the axe, but I almost wish they gave us a shield too, I think 1 axe and 1 shield = 1 havoc staff.

  • @ Snarf! Snarf!:

    i was wondering the same thing. the different sized plates between BA he-man and the eternian guards is just mind-blowing… if the line HAS to be conducted on such a shoe-string budget, why the hell don't the interchangable plates meet one standard size and shape?

    that aside, this looks good. i'm not partial to the BA character myself, my he-man was the near nude original barbarian, the BA guy was the first of the unnecessary reduxes, but this BA fig looks cool. i know some folks were cheesed at the purple axe, cuz it's not vintage, but those folks are ridiculous. the vintage figs can still be had if the vintage figs are you're thing, the motuc are supposed to be an EVOLUTION of the franchise, so embrace change, or be left in the genetic pool alongside the ground sloth and the dinosaurs.

    that said, come on… there's no way the "tooling budget" was devoured on the armor… he should have gotten a unique axe. this would have been a great opportunity to sneak in something like the millenium skeleswords or make the axe a purple version of the millenium he-axe. THAT would have been cool and likely lured me into buying.

  • It's hard to say what the tooling budget is on a figure by figure basis because I believe they have a MOTUC budget for the entire year and then decide where they want to allocate their resources. Some characters (Vikor, Bow, and King Hiss) get more tooling dollars, probably because they are monthly subscription figures vs. the quarterly variants.

  • I think he's great, and once Languor arrives this MOC collector will finally open up BA He-Man, BA Smelly, and the cats. Been waiting for these figs since the line showed up!

  • misterbigbo wrote:

    I think he’s great, and once Languor arrives this MOC collector will finally open up BA He-Man, BA Smelly, and the cats. Been waiting for these figs since the line showed up!

    Languor? BA Smelly?

    I didn't try the plate-swapping, but I'll check it tonight. I have to admit, though–don't really see the point/appeal of it. Not trying to defend Mattel or anything, I just don't have any desire to put He-Man's plate on Skeletor's chest.

  • @ Poe:

    no, but having a uniform system of part swapping means monetary savings. and certainly exchanging he-man and eternian guard parts could be cool. but think of this like a lego figure, standard parts means interchange across all products, and potential for lower costs.

    my kids have been really into the last few sets of bionicle and hero factory stuff, so i've seen a lot lately of how interchangeablilty works… and remember, no shady labor practices for lego… and the 20 dollar figs are huge. this is part of why i'm so hard on mattel for their approach to motuc, cuz if the goal of the buck is to reduce costs and increase interchangeable parts across the line, they're falling WAY short of that goal. they're seemingly trying to find this golden median between interchangeable, standardized bits, and a unique tool line, and to me, they're missing the best parts of both styles of toy making in doing so.

    (sorry, i know this is getting lengthy, but in the interest of everyone's sanity, i'm trying to be more logical and thought out, rather than letting my emotional reactions get the better of me.)

  • @ Poe:

    Two reasons:

    -BA Faker

    -To know the extent of the Part sharing on this line.

    IIRC the guards' and He-Man's plates don't match.

  • Wow, that made no sense. Thanks Android; your instant spell checker makes me look like a boob again. "Langour" was Pathor, and Skelly became "Smelly".

    Eff you technology.

  • I was thrilled to get my BA Skeletor. I never had him as a kid so I was anxiously awaiting him. I gave him the Spymonkey "Blue Venom" shield and it looks perfect with that axe.It really makes the figure ready for battle. I am glad that they chose to not give him the action feature. I do wish all the plates were interchangable.

  • misterbigbo wrote:

    Wow, that made no sense. Thanks Android; your instant spell checker makes me look like a boob again. “Langour” was Pathor, and Skelly became “Smelly”.

    Eff you technology.

    That was hilarious. I rarely literally "lol" from anything said in a comments section, but I was cracking up over this one. Tears-in-my-eyes cracking up.

  • @ Dead Man Walking:

    Might have been even funnier had I spelled "Panthor" correctly. Regardless, I'll be here all week. Try the veal and tip your waitress.

  • My least favorite figure so far, honestly–mainly because I think the loincloth looks stupid on Skeletor (vintage or not).

    I took the armor and put it on my Mo-Larr Skeletor and am much happier with the result.

  • It's cool that Mattel listened to the fans about the axe and it's a great accessory, but it shouldn't have come in place of the sword and staff. In addition to them – absolutely. Extra stuff rules, especially this axe, but I don't see any reason to not include each character's vintage accessories.

  • You didn't mention BA Skeletor's waist sticking. Does yours move smoothly? Mine–and many others–is nearly frozen, and you have to practically crack him in half to get him to twist. Leave him still for a few minutes, and he "locks" back up.

    I really wish the paint on the face had been smoother–all the preview reviews showed the green blending into the yellow evenly, whereas on the final figure there's a solid definition between the two colors.

  • @ Battle Catman:
    Mine finally arrived, in good condition (except his left hand is smaller than the wrist where they meet, so that's annoying), but he does have the waist issue you just described. It takes a considerable amount of force to move his waist if it's been an hour or so since the last time I moved it.

    As excited I was for this figure since he was first revealed last year, in-hand I don't think he's very exciting. I think the furry underwear doesn't look great, although it's accurate to the old toy. Also, I'm left wondering how great the boots would look had they put Hordak's feet painted purple on him. That was a missed opportunity, big time.

  • As far as battle armor in filmation, was there ever an instance if a weapon making contact with another character? I'm curious. He-Man seemed to punch a lot.

  • @Battle Catman: I forgot all about the waist sticking, mine did as well. I didn't even think to check out and see if this was a widespread issue or not.

    I like that there is a solid definition between the two colors as opposed to an even blending. Yes, I'm a vintage slave!

  • @ Battle Catman: My figure's waist is a bit sticky–it doesn't move smoothly–but it doesn't seem like it's as bad as you're describing. That may not be the case for everyone, obviously.

  • Poe, good to hear your BA Skeletor was in good shape, but I think mine has enough wrong with it for all of us. Scarred up parts, loose joints, stuck joints, some sloppy paint . . . I seem to have won the jackpot when it comes to craptacular plastic.

    Pics or it didn't happen? Okay, pics:

    What's really annoying is that I love the design. It's just that I got an especially bad figure. And Matty Collector's e-mail to me boiled down to: Was the package open?

  • My Skelly had the waist stuck to the point that I was worried about breaking the figure when turning him. Once it popped free though, no more troubles.

  • I was tempted to get this figure, but due to cost ad overall lack of interest in MOTUC I decided to keep my money…after reading all the issues I am glad I did not get BA Skeletor.

    I hope the Voltron line doesn't suffer from as many QC issues.

  • That last pic of maximum damaged BA Skelly was very cool Poe.

    I like the purple axe, but I find it unacceptable that for a $20 figure I couldn't get one more weapon. Skeletor should always come with his Havoc staff. NO EXCEPTIONS. It's like selling Darth Vader without a lightsaber.

    I can't believe that a Havoc staff would have busted the budget. I'd rather not have spent money on Vikor and gotten the Havoc staff. I mean, Vikor has a newly sculpted right bicep with a nonremovable armband correct? Why? What was the point?

    Anyway, Battle Armor Skeletor is one of my favorite Skelly variant, and I love the metallic purple paint in this figure.

    BA Skelly is one of the best figures in the line I think. So cool.

    And yes…he should have absolutely come with the Hordak feet. Those have yet to see any reuse.

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