Written/Created by: Matt
Originally posted on 1/13/03.

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Hey, did you hear the news? They've uncovered dinosaur bones..in Eternia! That's right, all of us Earth elitists always thought we had a monopoly on the prehistoric reptile remains, but there they are, right next to He-Man and his talking green tiger. Even more unsettling is how far they've come with their bones in such a short time. On our planet, we've had access to the things for years, and still the best we could come up with are some scattered museum monuments. Over on Eternia, they've managed to turn these bones into full-fledged mass transit vehicles. It's certainly a tad embarrassing for us all, and our only saving grace would be if a paleontologist from Detroit figures out how make gasoline out of dinosaur remains. I'd insert a joke about fossil fuels, but I'm pretty sure God would strike me down if I did.

Battle Bones was one of the stranger vehicle toys in the Masters of the Universe line, which is really saying something considering some of the others. The dual-purpose item could be used during playtime battles, but also served as a neat collector's case to help kids keep their figures in one piece. Since the toy was simply two hunks of white plastic, it had an uncharacteristically low retail price. Because of that, nearly every kid who was into He-Man had one of them. All they had to do was figure out what the hell it was supposed to be.

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Skeletor got one look at the Battle Bones monster, and obviously assumed it was meant for his team. After all, it's a big, scary, bony reptile with fangs. That's definitely more in tune with Snake Mountain than Randor's peach-colored kingdom. The creature didn't appear to have any guns or lasers affixed to its head, but Skel was still sure it would come in handy. Let's face the facts here: He-Man's proved time and time again that he simply cannot be hurt by your standard bullets and cannon balls. Eternia's villains have tried that zillions of times with little success. Sometimes the most obvious answers are overlooked, and in keeping with that belief, Skeletor theorizes that dropping two tons of dinosaur bones on He-Man might kill him once and for all.


And there it is! The Battle Bones toy was roughly a foot or so in length, lightweight but extremely durable. In fact, it's one of the few MOTU toys that weathered our childhood years with the very little wear and tear. Because of its simplistic design, the only way you were really gonna break the thing was by jumping directly on top of it. I'm not saying that this didn't happen to a lot of them - I'm just saying it took a more concerted effort to destroy it. There were few points of articulation on the toy, keeping it safe from those of us who loved pulling apart everything we owned. While every G.I. Joe figure you owned how has a torso separated from its legs, Battle Bones rages on intact.

But what was it for, you ask? Well, nobody who collected MOTU figures had just one or two of 'em. If you were into this crap, you likely had dozens of the characters scattered across your bedroom floor. At best, Grayskull was a 4-BR. Snake Mountain? Probably a 3-BR. You couldn't house all these guys in those castles without feeling like a slumlord. Since nobody wants their toys to feel homeless, it's nice to have a place to keep them when you're not playing. Battle Bones was more than a mere vehicle - it was an economical housing project.


The creature's 'ribs' could hold up to ten figures all nice and snug. Now, consider the aesthetics of something like that. Ten colorful He-Man figures nestled onto a dead dinosaur. It's folk art without the high price tags and cartoony painted Jesus faces. A lot of people wonder why there's some of us who still enjoy collecting things like this when we're well past the acceptable toy-playing age. Hey, the proof is right here. I'd much rather have a dinosaur skeleton full of bee soldiers and three-faced robot people on the shelf above my television than a vase full of plastic roses. It ain't geeky unless you say hello to all the toys every time you get home. If you just keep it on a strictly for-decor level, you get to call yourself postmodernist and chic. And isn't that what it's all about?

Sorry, I'm just trying to justify why the top of the wall unit in my living room looks like a Mexican pawn shop.


Battle Bones had a flip-top dino head which opened to reveal storage space for all of your figures' weapons and accessories. I guess the honor system factored into the Eternian lifestyle in a big way, otherwise you'd have Beast Man and Tri-Klops fighting over who the big purple mace really belonged to. It's not like these guys are smart enough to put their initials on whatever giant swords and rifles they owned. By the time all the bad guys got their weapons sorted out, one of the heroes would've spotted them and pushed a giant boulder at 'em. It's a good thing giant boulders only cause pain for fifteen seconds in Eternia.


Skeletor: Why does this thing smell?
Beast Man: You're on the wrong side of the tracks, Skeletor.
Skeletor: Insolent fool! What are you talking about?
Beast Man: Look behind you.
Skeletor: ....STINKOR?!!
Stinkor: How's it going, boss? Ready to kill the Sorceress?
Skeletor: Get to the back, you fucking stink!
Stinkor: You said that my stench would work to your advantage!
Skeletor: That doesn't sound like something I'd say.
Stinkor: Yes you did! You said, and I quote, "He-Man will never be able to thrwart evil if he's holding his nose in disgust, nyahhhh ahahahahahhahah!"
Beast Man: Now that sounds like something you'd say, Skeletor.


With that, the villains board Battle Bones and head off towards Grayskull. The toy had no wheels, and the dinosaur feet didn't move, so movement was kinda dependent on the Flintstones' school of driving. It was a combined effort of twenty evil feet stomping as fast as twenty evil feet could. Off in the distance, you'll notice Castle Grayskull seeming all too calm and collected. The heroes have no idea what's in store for them. Can you imagine the look on Teela's face when she sees every bad guy on the planet, running towards her, attached at the hip to a dead lizard? I'm not sure if she'll sound the alarm or just take a Polaroid while giggling. Truth be told, Skeletor's plan might be a little flawed here. I don't think they're gonna overtake the castle by throwing bones at it. In their current form, the bad guys look more like a float in a Mardi Gras parade than a supreme line of evil offense.

But it's too late to turn back now, so the villains march on. They forgot one minor thing, though. Battle Bones isn't one-of-a-kind. They're more like Ford Escorts than Tuckers. Anyone without a gambling or drug habit could afford one if they really wanted to. Unfortunately for Skeletor, it just so happens that He-Man was in the market for a new vehicle on this very same day...


He-Man: Remember everyone - seat belts save lives!
Mekaneck: This thing doesn't have any seat belts, He-Man.
He-Man: True, but my point still holds water.
Mekaneck: Not really. Pools hold water, not points.
He-Man: Do me a favor. Trade seats with Fisto.


Though not the coolest or most popular vehicle toy in the Masters of the Universe collection, I still loved my stupid ol' Battle Bones. There was just something inherently fun about parading your figures around on a dead dinosaur. Battle Bones, by the way, remains one of the most inexpensive MOTU toys, even by today's inflated collector prices. Turns out that Mattel completely overestimated just how many kids would want one of these things. In the years following the line's run on top, you could still find Battle Bones in stores marked down to almost nothing. They're easily one of the most often-found He-Man toys still sealed in their boxes. Buy one, open it up, and relish in the long forgotten smells of brand new He-Man plastic. It won't make you high, but it might make you smile. Wide. Like mutant happy face. Yes.

He-Man and Skeletor had real cars, too. Click here to read about 'em!





 


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