It was the first time in a very long, long time that I had actually thought about my MUSCLEMANIA collection. I was looking at the site and my collection and was hit with a theory.
I am starting to believe MUSCLEMANIA legitimately came out before M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. He are my key thoughts supporting this theory:
- Figures #1-12 were released in 4-packs before M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. This is the “1984” 1st wave release.
- These figures were cast in the Firm rubber, in six colors (Dark Blue, Light Blue, Yellow, Red, Green, and Translucent Green).
- MUSCLEMANIA is largely unpopular, and M.U.S.C.L.E. is released – becoming a smash hit.
- Select, to better capitalize on the success of M.U.S.C.L.E. toys, re-tools to include a 12-pack and 12 new figures.
- Select adds a seventh M.U.S.C.L.E.-like “Flesh” to their list of colors.
- To have a competitive price point with M.U.S.C.L.E. toys there must be a cost reduction. Select changes to a lower cost manufacturer and a lower cost figure material.
Select believes a new SKU (the 12-pack) may sell better to retailers that did not see success with the original SKU (the 4-pack). Given the success of M.U.S.C.L.E. retailers are willing to take a greater chance on weird, little, wrestling, monster figures – especially if it is a lower cost option. I believe this period focuses on the #13-24 figures. This is the “1985” 2nd wave release.
For the “1986” 3rd wave release Select essentially purges their final inventory. All the figures are cast in the remaining inventory and/or the lowest cost option – likely primary colors; not the “Flesh” color. This is why we never see Figure #1-12 in the “Flesh” color. Then the line is dead.
This is why I think a Master Set is impossible for MUSCLEMANIA. What do you think?
More importantly, does anyone have a Firm, Flesh version of any of Figures #1-12?
As a small endnote, I believe this theory supports the idea that Army Man Plastic figures are counterfeit figures.