Perhaps the most interesting and widely known picture of M.U.S.C.L.E. figures comes from the 1986 Mattel catalog. Several toy industry employees of the mid-1980’s mentioned the increased complexity of catalogs before computers – most notably Martin Arriola.
Knowing this information it should have been safe to assume that the picture was cropped. This was a standard process in the 1980’s and continues to be a standard process, as seen on Kim Simmons’ website. He was the photographer for the vast majority of Kenner’s Star Wars box art.
There is no longer a need to make assumptions about the catalog picture because of the two pictures below. They are uncropped versions of the 1986 M.U.S.C.L.E. catalog photograph and both come from toy industry trade magazines.
There is a red dot added to the picture below. The figures have been identified in the picture starting at this point, moving down the picture, and towards the right of the picture.
The Kinnikuman figures in the picture are:
Kinnikuman – from Part 15 of the Kinnikuman collection. (This figure is from a pair of figures. The matching figure, Kinkotsuman, remained in the catalog picture.)
Neptune Man – from Part 12 of the Kinnikuman collection (This figure is actually from a pair of figures. He is paired with Mongolman in a Double Leg Suplex.)
Chain Man – from Part 11 of the Kinnikuman collection.
Akuma Shogun – from Part 15 of the Kinnikuman collection. (This figure is actually from a pair of figures. He is paired with Kinnikuman in a Hell Guillotine.)
Big the Budo – from Part 5 of the Kinnikuman collection.
Warsman – from Part 15 of the Kinnikuman collection. (This figure is actually from a pair of figures. He is paired with Stecase King attempting to perform a Devil’s Symphony.)
– Temporary pictures of Kinnikuman pairs, and help identifying the figures, courtesy of Jon Karis from : LittleRubberGuys.com. Additional identification help was provided by LittleRubberGuys.com member, Stecase King.
The appearance of these figures in this photograph does not encourage the idea that these non-poster M.U.S.C.L.E. figures are potentially Super Rare M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. Instead it seems to strengthen the argument that Mattel simply used Kinnikuman figures in their early photography.