Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Trap Jaw Mini-Comic Custom Action Figure Art - Masters of the Universe Classics

For those of us who were fans of Masters of the Universe before the Filmation cartoon began airing in 1983, our first experience of many of the characters came from the mini-comics packed with each action figure. In these comics, the character's appearance often differed greatly from the very action figure it was packaged with. Trap Jaw is one perfect example as both his design details and his coloring were dramatically different.
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The obvious differences include the action figure's green face and blue skinned body compared to the comic version which had a yellowish-green skin color. The toy was also more heavily armored on the legs while the comic version featured the standard Masters of the Universe muscle legs and furry boots.

So when "Comic Trap Jaw" finished in 3rd place, in the 2013 MOTUC Fan's Choice Poll, I decided to give him a second look. On closer examination, I discovered other small details that make the comic version of Trap Jaw even more unique. First, the Frankenstein-esque "bolts" on the sides of his helmet seem to suit the character's cyborg look while the metallic jaw makes his bite (and the "red meat" inside his mouth) appear even more menacing. The striped trunks even add to his "criminal" background in a subtle prison-uniform kind of way. But one detail almost missed my attention, the ram's head relief on his belt which replaces the pirate-vibe created by the original skull and crossbones. (...and begs the question of a possible connection to the ram skull-head of Skeletor's Havok Staff.)

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Before he was part of the Fan's Choice Poll, Mini-Comic Trap Jaw was slotted to be part of the Toys R Us MOTUC/DC two-packs. But with that line's cancellation and since he didn't win the poll, I knew he wasn't going to be released officially. I really loved this figure as a kid and loved his story from the mini-comic even more so I HAD to make him.
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In the comic, the wraps on his boots were white. I made them a dingy gray to better match the battered metallic look of his metal components.
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I removed the skull and crossbones on the belt by carefully sanding it off. I sculpted the ram's head in it's place. The most difficult part of this piece was matching the yellow-green skin tone on the forearm and the lower legs. (I'm a stickler for color matching.) Other than that, he was a labor of love and he's loaded with subtle details like washes, highlights, and spot varnishes to really bring out his sculpted details.
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Instead of just painting stripes on the trunks, I followed the contours of the fur to make it look more natural. (As natural as striped purple fur can look.)
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I hope you dig him. If you do, leave a comment, follow my blog, or follow me on Twitter at the links at the right side of the page. Until next time, I remain The Insidious One.


  1. Very cool! I had forgotten the color difference between the original and the mini-comic. Now I'm reminded why Mattel put out an all green Trapjaw back in the 200X series of toys.

  2. Holy Eternia! Nice work!!!!! Really great custom this is!

  3. Thanks for the comments. As kids, I think we just take all this stuff in and don't think twice about the differences. As adults, it's fun to focus on them.

  4. That is an awesome custom figure for Trap Jaw. He looks a lot meaner than the original Action Figure.

  5. Mate, congrats on a fantastic custom of one of the best MOTU characters. Mattel really eff-ed up by not making this an official release. But can't imagine them topping your version. Would love to get my hands on one of these!

  6. Thanks, Craig. Here's hoping Classics returns to it's roots and gives us some Pre-Filmation versions of characters like TJ.


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