Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss (Man)

My nephew: Hey who’s that?
Me: That is Moss Man, he’s one of the Masters of the Universe
My nephew: cool! What’s his special power?
Me: He smells like pine….
My nephew: no….really….

Around 1985, the original He-Man line was slowly dying down…well at least I was losing interest.  By this point I had stopped getting any new He-man toys, or to be more accurate, my friend who I SHARED a He-Man collection with stopped buying new toys.  Instead of re-enacting the adventures of the Masters of the Universe and their on-going struggle between good vs. evil, another friend and I found more fun using them as arm wrestlers.  We would choose our respective character, make them lock hands and push our figures in opposite directions…whosever Master lost an arm first would be the loser.  It was actually pretty fun…and no we were not destroying our toys…the arms could easily be popped back in again for more arm wrestling fun!

Mattel running out of ideas....
It was at this time that Mattel released a couple more characters, one was good, Moss Man, and the other evil, Stinkor.  But back then I couldn’t care less about either of them.  The main reason being was that they struck me as cheap, uninspired repaints of older figures.  Moss Man was essentially a “naked” Beastman…covered with fur (real fuzzy fur) that was supposed to be….well, moss.  And Stinkor was a Mer-Man figure painted black & white.  He was supposed to be a skunk. 

Anyway, both characters featured a special power; I guess Mattel figured they could jump on the scratch and sniff bandwagon and gave each of them a distinctive smell.  Moss Man smelled like pine, and Stinkor…stunk.  For both figures they mixed in scented oils in the plastic so that the “smell” would stay with the figures for a long time.  In Stinkor’s case, he was scented with patchouli oil, which I’m not very familiar with.  I’m assuming it wasn’t stinky per se…just carried a strong smell that didn’t exactly smell like lemons or cotton candy….

Still a!
Anyway fast forward to modern times…ok a couple years ago and Mattel finally released a new Mossman. Like the original toy, he was a “repaint” of the new Beastman released before him and he was covered in fur as well.  Although they did a pretty good job at repainting the head to make him look slightly different from Beastman, Mattel went the extra mile and included a NEW head that made Moss Man his own…man.  They even gave him a neat vine strapped purse with detachable flint knife that the original didn’t have.  But just like the original, he still smelled like pine, BOY did he smell like pine.  Now I never owned the original so I really don’t have any point of comparison. But when I first got this guy and opened the white mailer box the sealed and carded figure was stored in, there already was a strong pine scent emanating from the box…and this was with the figure still unopened!

New & Improved! and still smellin like pine!
Opening the figure immediately transported me into a virtual evergreen forest, or actually to be more precise, inside a canister of your favourite pine scented air freshener.  It was THAT strong to the point that I felt I was growing pine trees out of my nose.  Now I LOVE the scent of pines…but even this almost made my eyes water. Over time though, the scent lessened, but can still be smelt if you give old Mossy a great big whiff.  Anyway, maybe it was because of the new fantastic head sculpt or just the pine scent but I really grew to love Moss Man as a character and he has definitely moved up to one of my favourite Masters characters.  When I got the opportunity to score a second-hand Mossman at a cheaper price, I jumped at the opportunity just so I could have him display both heads, although, eventually I found an even better place to display my second Mossman….

Keeps me company on those long drives home...
Not only does he keep my car smelling pine fresh, he makes a great conversation piece for passengers who manage to spot him peeking from behind my rear view mirror.

A few months back, Mattel finally released a new Stinkor as well, also with a new unique head and some additional accessories, thank God though they dialled it down on the scent department.  He won’t make your room smell like patchouli, which now having finally smelled it, I can say isn’t that offensive at all…but he has enough scent in him to get owners of the original toy feeling nostalgic.

The Most Powerful....PLANT in the Universe!
But back to main man of this post, Mossman, of course I wasn’t telling the whole truth when I told my nephew that his special power was to just smell like pine.  He actually could do a lot more.  In the original Filmation series he was a master of camouflage (I honestly don’t remember seeing him at all in that cartoon…I guess he was THAT good at hiding ha ha), could communicate with plants and could even turn into one!  But in more recent 2002 revamped He-Man series, Mossman was given one hell of a power upgrade.  He was made into some sort of urban legend, a god of the forest & nature in general, and was one of the most powerful beings in Eternia, arguably even more powerful than He-Man himself.  In fact in one of the later major episodes of the series, when all the good guys were in trouble, it’s actually Mossman (surfing on top a tsunami made out of trees), not He-Man who saves the day! Not bad for a guy who started out as a simple repaint and a cheap way for Mattel to get a new character out to kids everywhere as the original toy line was winding down….

MINI Moss Man!!!!