Trap Jaw is easily one of the most popular and iconic Masters of the Universe characters. In a line where the star was a fairly plain-looking (if incredibly muscular) barbarian hero, Trap Jaw stood out as a multicolored monstrosity, wielding a robotic arm with three, count ‘em, three different attachments—a gun, a hook, and a clamp—and even having an articulated jaw. The swiveling action of the attachments and the jaw gave the 1980s Trap Jaw two additional points of articulation beyond the MOTU standard.
Like many aspects of MOTU, Trap Jaw may have borrowed from Mattel’s 1970s “Big Jim” line. But rather than being a straight repaint of a Big Jim toy (a la Battle Cat or Zoar), Trap Jaw quite possibly owed his inspiration to the Big Jim figure Iron Jaw (who may never have gotten past the prototype stage). Both characters, however, may have been partly inspired by the James Bond villain “Jaws” from The Spy Who Loved Me. Of course, aside from Roger Sweet writing in his book that Jaws was an inspiration for Trap Jaw, most of this is speculation…but there’s no question Iron Jaw and Trap Jaw look an awful lot alike.
Trap Jaw was possibly my favorite MOTU figure, having been introduced in a memorable ad (how many MOTU figures got their own ad all to themselves? I don’t think even He-Man got that).
Trap Jaw has a really odd but interesting design. There’s the magenta helmet with the zipline hook on the top; the huge pauldron that serves as a mount for the robotic arm; the oversized green belt that can hold the other arm attachments; the cyberpunk-style legs…he’s the MOTU equivalent of Frankenstein’s monster.
Trap Jaw’s 200X incarnation was a standout of that line, but he suffered from the small-size issue that plagued some of the larger characters of that line. That wasn’t a concern for MOTUC, since all the figures use the same basic parts. So the question is: can the new Trap Jaw possibly be as cool as the 200X version?
The answer to that depends so much on your opinion of 200X and MOTUC that it’s completely meaningless and I’m sorry I wrote it. On to the review!
Packaging: There have been no updates to the basic design of the MOTUC packaging since inception, so in terms of how the figure looks in its package I refer you to the photo.
The bio re-uses most of the origin detailed in Trap Jaw’s Icons of Evil comic from the 200X days. Skeletor didn’t “break” Trap Jaw’s arm and jaw, though–he blasted off the former and punched off the latter in what were the most gruesome MOTU-related images ever. As for Tri-Klops “finding and rebuilding” him, in the comic it was Skeletor who ordered that.
You gotta wonder about that workplace dynamic–Skeletor retaining a guy on his staff whom he mutilated and then had transformed into a cybernetic monstrosity. It’s like the Six Million Dollar Man if Oscar Goldman had shot down Steve Austin’s plane in the opening credits. Moving on…
Design & Sculpt: First off, I’m sure glad the Four Horsemen didn’t stick to the original art this time (see above). For whatever reason it came out goofy–the helmet is too round and the bottom jaw is completely missing.
But the MOTUC figure is one of the best of the line to date. Everything except the torso (which has a new piece at the left shoulder) and the crotch are first-time tooling. Trap Jaw’s head doesn’t have quite as many miles on it as the 200X version, partly due to the lesser detail in MOTUC and partly, I think, as a design decision to keep some resemblance to the Kronis head.
The sculpting on the “normal” arm and the leg look great, but let’s face it–what you really want to know about is the robotic arm. And it’s awesome. No, it’s not the heavily-detailed, blown-out-of-proportion, Matrix-like limb of the 200X version. But it’s unquestionably pure Trap Jaw, and it’s the highlight of the figure.
Finally, there’s the Kronis head, which looks a lot like his depiction in the 200X media and has a great expression on its face. (On a side note, the left hand is not sculpted to hold a weapon.)
Plastic & Paint: Trap Jaw’s paint scheme closely resembles the 1980s figure, right down to the Day-Glo green belt and thigh parts. It’s a colorful, retro look, definitely more reminiscent of the original figure than the dark 200X one.
The robotic arm is molded in black plastic, and both the arm and the pauldron have some silver-blue detailing. That same silver-blue is used for the “armor” parts of the arms, and this is probably the only part of the figure I would have done differently. I just don’t find the silver-blue appealing, and its gets a bit washed out by the blue skin. I understand they couldn’t have sculpted bare arms, because they need to re-use these for Man-E-Faces and so forth; but I would have gone with black for the arm armor, to match the pauldron and the robot arm.
Articulation: Here’s where MOTUC Trap Jaw unquestionably has an advantage over the 200X version. He has all the standard MOTUC joints–ball-and-socket neck, ball-and-hinge shoulders and hips, hinges at the elbows, knees, abdomen and ankles, and swivels at the biceps, wrists, top of the thighs, and top of the boots. He also some slight rocker motion in his ankles–for whatever reason, the range of the ankle rocker motion seems to vary wildly from figure to figure, and my Trap Jaw has less of it than, say, Man-At-Arms.
Of course, his jaw is articulated as well–and then there’s the robotic arm. For the first time, Trap Jaw’s robotic arm can swivel at the bicep and bend completely at the elbow (the 200X version could bend at the elbow, but it was on a spring as an “action feature” and wouldn’t hold the position). The “clamp” arm is also articulated, though it’s quite loose and tends to flap around.
Accessories: Some MOTUC figures come with hardly any accessories; other get loads, and Trap Jaw falls into this category. The interchangeable Kronis head and arm make this two figures in one, and two of the three arm attachments can be hung on the belt, which is arguably an accessory itself.
Quality Control: The only issue I noticed was that there was some blue paint on my Kronis head’s helmet. Fortunately, the head is molded in magenta so I was able to scrape it right off.
Overall: With enough interchangeable parts to make an entirely different figure, as well as three different arm attachments, Trap Jaw is one MOTUC figure whose $20 price isn’t so painful. He surpasses all other candidates in my mind as the best MOTUC figure to date, and may never be surpassed in that regard himself.
Is he better than the 200X Trap Jaw? I don’t care. He’s definitely the best MOTUC version we could get, and is currently in the running for my favorite toy of the year (although he has stiff competition coming up in Battle Cat, Tytus and Gygor). He’s a must-have for diehard and casual fans alike, and if they know what’s good for them (which is debatable), Mattel will have this guy up for sale again as soon as possible.