Many fans of Four Horsemen Studios first learned about our company through Mattel’s Master of the Universe lines, either the Classics releases or the 200x series that preceded it. That 200x series, which featured a bold redesign of iconic MOTU characters, was actually one of our studio’s first big projects that we got to work on for another company! These figures began showing up on store shelves in 2002, and while the line only ran for a few years, we were able to get a number of key MOTU heroes and villians released during that time. Of course, not every character we had redesigned for the 200x series saw the light of day in Mattel’s releases, which is where the “staction” figure from NECA helped fill those gaps!
NECA Takes the Reigns
While Mattel’s decision to discontinue the MOTU 200x line was obviously disappointing to us at the studio, we were excited when NECA stepped in to continue the line – kind of. Due to licensing issues, NECA was not able to create articulated action figures using the remaining redesigns we had done for 200x, so instead they decided to produce a line of ministatues that looked like they were action figures. Known as “staction figures”, these releases looked great alongside Mattel’s 200x figures, allowing fans to continue adding to their collections with these Four Horsemen Studios’ redesigns.
The staction line actually allowed us some opportunities that we did not have in the original line. The chance to put out larger characters, like Clawful and Tung Lashor, was incredibly cool and it further added to the diversity of MOTU 200x displays.
Six Series of Staction Figures
In the end, NECA released a total of 6 waves of the MOTU staction figures, with each wave consisting of 3 figures. The line also included 5 exclusives that were done for various conventions. The staction figure series consisted of new versions of characters that had already been done in the 200x style, including He-Man, Skeletor, and Evil Lynn, along with releases that had never made it into that line. These included a number of members of the Evil Horde and the Snakemen.
A “villains” 2-pack consisting of Kobra Khan and Faker was also planned for the line (and photos are shown below), but those figures were never released as the line was eventually cancelled by NECA.
Beyond the Stactions
The 200x series did not completely die out with the end of the staction line. Character designs from this series would eventually find their way into the expansive Masters of the Universe Classics line from Mattel through the additional of alternate heads bearing 200x-inspired likenesses and even an entire wave of 200x-styled designs in 2015.
Today the staction line from NECA is highly sought after on the secondary market, with certain releases from the line commanding serious prices from collectors. For us, these 200x designs remain some of our favorite pieces that we have ever had the chance to work on, we even have 2-up versions of many of these figures, as well as a full run of packaged stactions, in our offices to remind us of what a great experience it was to help redesign these classic MOTU characters.
Published on 04.28.20