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Masters of the Universe Classics
by Poe Ghostal

Clawful has always been the go-to guy for terrible Masters of the Universe names. Along with Two-Bad, nothing reminds you more that this is was a toyline aimed squarely at young children than a name like "Clawful."

A member of the Karikoni, an Eternian race of crustacean warriors, "Clawful" as he was known outside of Orkas Island, became a core member of Skeletor's Evil Warriors after he saved Beast Man's life from a Seclapoid attack. Clawful's hard shell protects him from both extreme heat and cold. Under a spell cast by Evil-Lyn, Clawful's dull wits were enhanced, turning him into a keen warrior and strategist. He fought alongside Skeletor, leading a battalion of Skeleton Warriors during the Second Ultimate Battle Ground. Clawful uses his dreadful claw to work his evil will!

I never owned Clawful as a kid, or even knew anyone who did. The character could have been pretty cool but for one glaring problem: a ridiculous, cartoonish head. Clawful's Classics figure is one of the more straightforward designs, based closely on the vintage figure; there are no discernible touches of the Mo2K version.

Except for the head, lower left arm and the torso armor, Clawful is made from pieces we've seen before on other figures. The head is just... so damned goofy. The red skin, giant eyebrows, and cartoonish eyes always make me think of Animal. This is probably the figure that suffers the most from the baffling decision not to have any Mo2K-style heads.

The paint applications are a mixed bag - they're great on the torso armor, but mediocre-to-sloppy on the rest of the figure. The head looks particularly bad, with the thick, gloppy paint on the eyebrows and the uneven white on the tusks. But credit where it's due: it was smart to make the pupils indentations in the sculpt, so that the painters know exactly where to put the black dots. This prevents any potential derpage.

The best parts of the figure are the torso armor and the giant claw. The torso armor is made from a pliable plastic and has a really great paint job, with a nice wash that would have looked even better if the neck and head weren't so bright. It's theoretically removable; you can pop off the back part off the pegs quite easily, but good luck getting the "vest" part off without removing the arms, at least at the biceps.

Like the vintage figure, the claw has an inner spring of some sort, because it snaps closed when let go. While a cute feature, I would have preferred a ratcheted joint so the figure could easily hold large accessories or be posed with the claw in an about-to-pinch look.

Clawful has the usual MotUC articulation: balljoints at the head, shoulders, and hips; hinges at the elbows, ankles and knees, as well as the abdomen (though its usefulness is negated by the solid plastic torso piece); and swivels at the biceps, wrists, top of the thighs, and top of the boots. The claw swivels at the base of the claw and obviously the claw itself is hinged. The ankles are technically "rocker" ankles with side-to-side movement, but my Clawful doesn't have much range in that regard.

Apparently Mattel broke the budget on the claw and the torso armor, because the only accessories Clawful gets is a green mace and a shield. The mace is the same one we've seen on other figures, but with a new lobster-tail-shaped end. The shield is similarly lobster-inspired and is a nice addition, but what would have really sealed the deal with this figure would have been that 2005 head.

Overall, Clawful is a very average figure for this line. It's puzzling how figures like Vikor, who was based on a concept sketch, get tons of new tooling and accessories while a vintage favorite like Clawful gets a very minimal update. On the other hand, a lot of that is owing to the simplicity of the design of the vintage figure. Still, the lack of an optional Mo2K head was a flat-out blunder on this particular figure.

-- 02/13/12

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