The 10 Coolest Skull-Themed Knock-Off Action Figures of All Time

by Luke Toywalker and Steve Seeley on December 19, 2014

in Nerd Culture, The 80s

4. Skull Force (Toys N’ Things, 1980s)

What can I say, just take a look at this guy. Because a big ass skull on a 5.5“ body with bone paint is all you need to get a figure sold.

skull force knock off


5. Underworld Warriors (N.A., 1985)

Underworld Warriors are probably the most hyped skull and bones themed KO’s on the market these days. Ebay prices have gone nuts. I’ve seen loose UW figures, without any accessories, and in worn condition, selling for $150 and more.

What you get is a shitty skeleton toy, with a lousy head sculpt and a sloppy paint job. So what’s the thing about these ugly turds, one might ask? It’s their exceptional weirdness, I might answer. I can’t help it, because I love these figures too! I love them so much that I would trade away my complete MotU collection in order to own all six figures of them. Carded. (Nah, now I’m kidding. Am I? No.)


6. Nightmare Warriors (MTC, 1983)

Actually three years before MotU had its glorious Scareglow, there were MTC’s Nightmare Warriors. Six 5.5“ skeletons with glow-in-the-dark bones, featuring one of the coolest packaging artworks of all time.

It seems like Tombs of the Blind Dead (1972) finally got it’s own movie toys, which makes these figures highly collectible also among horror fans. Too bad the riding reaper shown on the package art was never available as a figure. These were still directed at kids, weren’t they?


7. Herr Bone – Flexatron (S&T Sales, 1984)

Even if you’re not a huge fan of bendable figures, you gotta love Herr Bone! I’m not really sure how serious S&T was about this release though. A chalk white, bendy dude, with a bone face, and red hair, called Herr Bone? (“Herr” is German for “mister” by the way.)

But even if this sounds like a funny MotU parody, Herr Bone is serious business. I’ve recently seen his body selling for over $100. Yes, only the body. No head, no accessory, nothing else included. Might be a parody too, eh?


8. Reaper – Ninja Assassin (Select Merchandise, 1985)

Ninja Assassin figures stood taller than Masters of the Universe at around 7“, but still had a distinct MotU look and feel.

Ninja Assassin was a small, pretty neat line of villians that featured a skull-headed guy called Reaper. A ninja with real clothes, loads of ninja weapons, and a skull! Perfect.


9. Iron Jaw – Cosmic Cowboys (Acamas, 1986)

Tex Hex was Skeletor’s counterpart in Mattel’s Bravestarr universe. Bravestarr didn’t come close to the success Mattel had with MotU, but it still seemed profitable enough to the manufacturer Acamas though to make a 5.5“ sized Bravestarr knock-off line. The evil Iron Jaw was clearly knocking off both Skeletor and Tex Hex at the same time in a very good way.

The result was a 5.5“ skull-themed figure in wild western dress, yet the figure featured no iron jaw (which would have been even more badass). Cosmic Cowboys was a subline of X-Changers, and had interchangeable legs and arms, and were combinable with other X-Changers figures. This was sort of revolutionary and was a pretty neat gimmick back then.


10. Satana – Combo (N.A., 1980s)

Nomen est omen. Combo figures were released in all sorts of variations. Arms, legs, colors, size, name, packaging… it all changed from year to year, from country to country, from retailer to retailer. What never changed were the sloppy head sculpts and shitty paint apps.

Satana featured a dragon helmet, and a half human/half skeleton face. That half face is good enough to put him on this list. Personally I have a love-hate relationship for this KO line. The feet are so badly sculpted that the figures fall over on my shelves all the time, causing a major knock-off knock-down effect. I still sorta love them though, because they’re knocking off MotU in such a weird and cheesy way.


*All figures pictured are from the collection of Steve Seeley except for the Nightmare Warriors, which are part of Andrew Williams’ collection, and Ninja Assassin Reaper, which is part of JB Roe’s collection.

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