There are many superb Masters Of The Universe Classics figures, but one stands above the rest for a very special reason. Vikor, released in January 2011, is the figure which reaches right back to the origins of the Masters Of The Universe. The familiar He-Man and Skeletor figures are instantly recognisable updates from the vintage toy line, and their names are known far beyond fan circles, but Vikor goes back to an earlier moment in Masters history.

If He-Man and Skeletor represent the dawn of Eternian time, Vikor, to misquote C.S. Lewis, is from before the dawn of time. The reason is that Vikor was the original concept design for He-Man - drawn by Mark Taylor when the line was being imagined - but never turned into a toy figure. The design shifted from Taylor's style to the familiar He-Man design before production. The Classics line has taken Taylor's design for He-Man and turned it into a new character.

The Vikor figure is therefore something special for fans whose enjoyment of the Masters Of The Universe goes right back to the original, barbarian-inspired themes. The figure is an extremely faithful reproduction of Taylor's original He-Man design. In honour of his origins and Viking appearance, Vikor has been given the title He-Man of the North.

The figure itself was the first Classics figure to use an improved and less visible ankle joint. The ankle joints of the Classics figures have been criticised for their lack of stiffness. Hopefully the Vikor design marks the resolution of a notorious quality assurance issue. Vikor has very little head movement, due to the shape and stiffness of the head, and the cape is also very inflexible. It is considerably thicker than King Randor's cloak, for example.

The sword, axe and shield have been nicely painted and have a dull, rust-like metallic appearance. The shield does not fit particularly well on the figure's arms. The chains attached to Vikor's wrists are nice additions that are replicated from Taylor's design. Overall, the figure is a good one, and a welcome addition to the Classics set.

As you can see from the image of Vikor in his packaging, he has been linked to the Powers Of Grayskull faction, which represents characters from the time centuries before the birth of the familiar He-Man character. The biography from the back of the packaging reads: Shortly after King Grayskull's death, Vikor, a great warrior from the north, was chosen by the Goddess to help protect the Sword of He while all of Eternia waited for a true heir to be born. Already a master of the battleaxe, Vikor's legend soon spread across Eternia as he quested to vanquish evil - battling the remaining renegade Snake Men and defending the Valley of Gnarl from the Fighting Foe Men. Although his time as a He-Man was relatively short, his contribution to the legend will never be forgotten in the great archives of Eternia.

Below are two Vaults Of Grayskull photographs of Vikor which show the figure out of the packaging. Below the photographs are two more images. On the left is Taylor's original He-Man design. On the right is a Vaults Of Grayskull digital sketch based on another photograph of the Classics figure, offered here as a tribute to Taylor's work.