Review > Trap Jaw (Masters of the Universe Classics, Mattel)

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.

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12 Comments

  1. KRONIS

    kronis was originally itended to come with man at arms pistol and short sword with blue highlights but were taken out because they couldnt fit in the package. they are going to be released in the weapons pak.

  2. Diego Zubrycky

    This is a great figure! I wish I had one…

  3. idstealer000

    I love TJ sour puss and all, the only thing I didn't like was ,Ithought his laser was to long so I modified it.BC is also great.

  4. Heli

    @Dead Man Walking: Yeah; it’s kind of pulped beyond recognition, which makes it seem more pointless to me; if I could actually recognize it as a jawbone or a tongue or something, I might like it better.

    But ultimately, I’d prefer just a black void like the original figure.

  5. PrfktTear

    Apples And Oranges… Appels + Oranjes… 😉

  6. Wes GRogan

    @Gmamon: I don't think I'm the Wes you're looking for. I'm not much of a forum guy. It's hard to tell, though, with all the different variations of Wes (Wesses?) that are running around. I get confused as to which one I am sometimes!

  7. Dead Man Walking

    @Heli: I thought I would like the flesh in the mouth, on account of liking a lot of detail in my figures, and preferring the edgier 200X line. But I actually agree with you. It grosses me out, and I don't like seeing it. I also wonder what part of his anatomy it's supposed to be. His chin? Toungue? Gums?

  8. PrfktTear

    @Poe: I love that fact. Too bad the pauldron wouldn't fit on both sides; you could switch the good arm for the cannon arm. It’d be like a Filmation animation cell-flip blunder! I guess you could just put it on with that other strap anyways. Somehow as a kid I amassed a few Trap Jaws, needless to say since the cannon arm is symmetrical; I used to put two on him at the same time for some real badassery… though I imagine picking his nose was kind of tough.

    @Heli: I think its kind of like a cool little Easter Egg-ish feature. You don't have to open his mouth all the way, even when its halfway-ish you can't really notice it.

  9. Dead Man Walking

    @Poe: You can put his cybernetic arm on the left side too. Makes me wonder why all MOTUC figures don't have swappable arms.

  10. Poe

    Oh, and an odd thing I didn't mention in my review…his left arm is also removable. There's nothing to swap it with, of course.

  11. Heli

    I got my TJ yesterday, too. A very cool figure, and one I'd been looking forward to. And, actually, the only MOTUC I bought direct; I've traded for the rest, but I wanted to be sure I got him.

    My one complaint (and not mentioned at all in the review, though visible in one pic) is the mangled jaw under his metal jaw. It just seems unnecessary to me, and a little too gross to fit in with the retroness of MOTUC. I'm tempted to paint it black or something so he doesn't look like he's got a mouthful of raw meat whenever I open his mouth.

  12. Gmamon

    @Wes GRogan: Wes did you use to visit Super Articulated forum in a not to long past?

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