Review > Tri-Klops (Masters of the Universe Classics)

tri-klops_origIn the 1980s cartoon, Tri-Klops was just another one of Skeletor’s thugs. He was given no background story on the show, although the cartoon series bible claimed he was a scientist by the name of Dr. T. E. Scope on board the future queen Marlena’s spaceship who was later corrupted by Skeletor. TK also received little in the way of character development; Tri-Klops’s only claim to fame was the various abilities of his three eyes, which could shoot laser rays, see through walls and so forth.

On the 2002 series, Tri-Klops was changed into Skeletor’s #1 inventor, creating useful devices such as his iconic Doomseekers (little bird-like robots that secretly observed the good guys). While in the original cartoon, Skeletor had invented both technological and magical devices, in the 2002 series Tri-Klops took on the technology side of things, leaving Skeletor free to investigate the workings of the mystical realm.

While the 2002 portrayal was great, I’ve always been partial to the early mini-comics, produced by DC Comics, as well as the DC mini-series. In his first appearance in any media, “The Terror of Tri-Klops,” TK is just a random swordsman summoned by Skeletor to fight He-Man. When we first see him, he’s just randomly slaying blue demon-looking fellows who may or may not have deserved such treatment. When Skeletor teleports him to Eternia, he’s about ready to give Skullhead a beat-down until Skeletor hires him to fight He-Man. Tri-Klops proceeds to systematically take down Battle-Cat, Ram-Man and Teela before giving He-Man a solid thrashing. Ultimately He-Man triumphs, of course; and interestingly, Tri-Klops seems to accept his defeat gracefully, and there’s no reason to think he’ll go back to working for Skeletor.

While I think Tri-Klops works best in the MOTUniverse as Skeletor’s gadget guy, I’ve always liked the notion that he’s a near-match for He-Man as as a fighter, and may be more morally complicated than he appears. His bio for MOTU Classics is a blend of all his origins, and even includes a take on the old “T. E. Scope” name.


Packaging: Same as always, but they seem to be consistent about showing off most of the figure, instead of hiding the head or face behind the logo. The positioning of the sword did cause mine to be a bit bent, but it was nothing a quick dip in boiling water, bending, and a dip in cold water couldn’t fix.

Design & Sculpt: Like most MOTUC figures so far, Tri-Klops sculpt is based primarily on the original 1980s cross-sell art (as seen at the top of this review). The–for lack of a better term–“frill” on the underside of the chest armor and the orange abdomen connector are sculpted straight off the art.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t touches of the 2002 revamp (you can read my review of that figure here). While the original figure had a straight green band on its head, with the eyes just sculpted on the surface, the Four Horsemen have added some significant detail to each eye, even cutting in divots to give the appearance of an eyebrow or allowing space for the nose on the red eye. The evil, robotic red eye is easily my favorite of the three. But the green one is probably Tri-Klops “standard” eye, which I’m fairly certain he created by cloning and enlarging one of Bette Davis’s eyes.

I love the chiseled face. Something about Tri-Klops–both the original figure and on the 1980s cartoon–always struck me as vaguely Native American, and while the 2002 figure didn’t have that, the Horsemen have definitely added it here. It adds a great, distinctive touch to the character.

With some effort (or a bit of hot water), you can remove the visor, revealing a fully sculpted upper face complete with electronically augmented eyes.

Plastic & Paint: For the most part, the paint applications on my figure are clean and sharp. One area of particular concern is the shiny knives on his back, but they’re fairly well defined and clean.

Mattel’s factories have also improved on the light wash on the limbs in the course of the line (one more reason I’m probably going to order a reissue He-Man).

There is a slight hue difference between the paint on the face and the plastic used for the neck. I hardly noticed it, but your mileage may vary.

Articulation: Tri-Klops features ball joints at the shoulders and hips, hinge joints at the elbows, knees, ankles and abdomen, and swivels at the biceps, wrists, waist and calves. The ankles also have “rocker” side-to-side motion. I had no problems with loose joints, though some of them started out a bit tight.

Accessories: Tri-Klops comes with three accessories: his sword, a Doomseeker, and a glow-in-the-dark ring.

Tri-Klops has one of the most distinctive swords of the entire line. It was unique even back in the 1980s for having some minor paint applications (black on the grip), rather than being simply molded in green plastic. Ironically, while the MOTUC version doesn’t have the black grip, it does have some orange highlights as well as a distinction between the dark green of the hilt and the shiny green of the blade.

The 2002 Doomseeker was entirely silver and looked a bit more futuristic than the MOTUC version, but the new one features a lot more paint. Both the paint colors and the scupt of the tail/rudder make it resemble the Wind Raider–a rather puzzling reference, since the Wind Raider was usually a good-guy vehicle. I’m not sure whether this is just a Horsemen homage to the Wind Raider or if it’s intended to have some relation to the vehicle in he new MOTUC canon.

The ring is a throwback to a gimmick from the 1980s line. It opens up, and inside there’s an etched MOTUC logo. It fits on my little finger, but there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell of my taking a photo of that.

I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but I’m disappointed we didn’t get a second sword based on the cross-sell art. While I do like Tri-Klops distinctive classic sword, and I’ll admit the cross-sell one is very generic, I think it would have made a nice inclusion–particularly since it’s the one seen in “The Terror of Tri-Klops.”

Quality Control: The paint quality, as mentioned above, is fair but not perfect; while Mattel has improved many QC aspects of these figures, they need to focus on the paint a bit more. However, there are no loose joints.

One other issue is that, when my Tri-Klops’ red eye is facing forward, the right side of the visor seems to be a little higher than the other. It doesn’t happen with the other eyes, which is odd; it wouldn’t bother me too much if the red eye weren’t my favorite of the three.

Overall: Tri-Klops, no matter his background story, has always been one of my favorite MOTU characters, and he’s been given a first-class treatment by the Four Horsemen. The 2002 Tri-Klops suffered from the worst pre-posing of the entire line, so it’s great to finally get an updated version with full articulation.

While some fans might prefer the more cyborg-looking Tri-Klops of 2002, I prefer this classic, more barbaric look. Tri-Klops is easily one of my favorite MOTUC figures so far. He would have merited a full five ravens had his paint apps been neater, and if he had come with the cross-sell sword. Given Mattel’s and the Horsemen’s avowed efforts to match the cross-sell art, I think it’s a disappointing omission.

[raven 4]


The real “Danger at Castle Grayskull” is stupidity


Pic of the Day


  1. Bill H.

    Loved the review! I couldn't agree with you more regarding the sword seen in the original cross-sell art work; absolutely wanted that sword back in the 80's, too! I loved the mini comic and felt it portrayed TK as the tough guy he really is: capable of going toe to toe with He-Man. How about a Matty re-release with the mini-comic outfit and sword…?

  2. dayraven

    there's no telling the dark and shameful love i have for this figure. he is, for me, second only to man at arms in being EXACTLY what i had hoped this line would be. magnificent figure!! and i got the bloody ring. my brother lost the first ring after i stole it from him not 5 hours after he opened the ring and it was never seen again… so i had it for like 2 and a quarter hours in 1986. and for that, i have pined ever since… until this past monday. i can get real bitchy at mattel, and not w/out good reason, but for the ring, a totally pointless and obscure accessory that was certainly not a must-have item, i must surrender to them all available props.

  3. izdawiz

    I think he looks better without the visor…

  4. Just got my Tri-Klops yesterday. Glad to get him.

    He's sold out on Matty now too.

  5. dwaltrip


    I love all the added stuff you put in concerning the mythos. It’s a nice touch for people who might not know it.

    Agreed….stuff like that makes reading multiple reviews of a same figure much more interesting. It's a nice touch Poe.

  6. I always had a soft spot for Tri-Klops as a kid, moreso than say Spikor, Whiplash, or Jitsu.

    It would have been nice if he came with the more generic sword based on the cross-sell art. I would have rather had that than the mini-ring, which is cool but "meh…". I like how the Doom Seeker pays homage to the Wind Raider.

    One of the MOTU Golden Book hard covers told a story similar to the series Bible which featured four astronauts, Biff Beastman, Dr. T.E. Scope, Marlena Glenn, and Evelyn Powers going through a dimensional portal and crashing on Eternia.

    The closest the cartoon ever came to this was an episode from the second season of the Filmation series, "Visitors from Earth" where two astronauts on a mission to destroy an asteroid from colliding with Earth land on Eternia and know Queen Marlena.

  7. Matthew K

    I agree with you about the sword. It's not a great looking sword in that artwork, but it would have been nice to have. Plus, I think he would look great dual wielding swords.

  8. Mark

    Excellent review Poe. All we need now is Trapjaw, Evil Lynn and Panthor to have all of Skeletor's main henckmen

  9. Great review as always, Poe! Tri-Klops really is a great figure. He's one of my favorites of the more recent releases.

  10. It sounds like your preferred version of Trike lines up almost exactly with mine. The original minicomic was always the point of reference for me, too. I always figured Trike was a couple of bad incidents away from leaving Skeletor for good. There was just some reason, possibly something Skeletor held over him, that kept him there.

    I haven't taken the photos for my own review yet, but I also lamented the absence of a cardback art sword. As one of my favorite characters, I do feel this figure does him justice, though.

  11. Cade

    I love all the added stuff you put in concerning the mythos. It's a nice touch for people who might not know it.

  12. Great review!

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