Tired of seeing other companies reproducing his creations, Stan Winston decided to form a toy company of his own. The man behind the Terminator, the Predator, Pumpkinhead and the alien queen decided he'd been on the sidelines for too long. His first series was, in short, a massive failure. And that's being generous.
His second line was only slightly better. The price was still high, but at least the figures had some articulation and a cohesive backstory this time. Stan Winston had created a wild jungle kingdom that existed in a time before man, the Realm of the Claw.
A continuing battle between light and dark, the Realm of the Claw line offered six figures split between good and evil. The advisers and wizards of the warring factions were Nakuru and Sabyr.
High counselor and elder of the Kingdom. Nakuru serves as Tswana's mentor, training him in the use of the elemental power that he will need to overcome the dark forces that threaten the land.
Nakuru is a great gray cat, which really sells him as an "elder." He was the first Realm figure I got, and he's dressed simply: a little bit of chain mail, a little bit of leather and a full-length maroon cape. Since a lot of his fur is showing, you can really appreciate the skill that went into the sculpt.
A magic user, Nakuru would seem to be a distance fighter, and his weapons go with that: yes, he's got a dagger hanging from his hip, but he's also got two 6" spears as well. Rather than two of the same thing, each of the spears has its own style, from the length of the blade to the cap on the other end. The dagger, be warned, is incredibly sharp for a toy sold in Toys R Us.
Like all the Realm of the Claw figures, Nakura comes with two variant heads: one howling and the other more reserved. The "calm" face really looks pensive and wise, while the angry shows that he still has plenty of fight left in his old bones. He moves at the head, neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, chest, waist, hips, thighs and ankles, and most of that is balljoints. His left bicep was stuck on mine, so he had to spend time in the freezer.
Each of the Realm of the Claw figures comes with a detailed display base that represents a part of their jungle home. Nakuru's is a stone wall marked by a claw symbol and overgrown with vines. The wall seems to stop in the middle, so I was hoping one of the other figures would have the other half, but that was not so.
The elder Sabyr trains the younger, more powerful Tare in the ways of evil. Although Sabyr has allied with Tare in his plot to overtake the Kingdom, Sabyr possibly has a secret plan for domination himself.
A sabretooth tiger, Sabyr looks truly evil. His calm head shows a bit of reserve, but the angry face holds nothing back: when Sabyr bares his fangs, you can tell you're in trouble. This tiger is short one elbow compared to the other cats - he fell prey to the indescribably asinine fad of hiding articulation, and with no elements in the middle of his arm to hide movement, he didn't get a joint.
Sabyr is armed with a hand-held blade and large spear that seems to be tipped with some monster's fang. His base is a desolate landcape: cracked earth with magma showing through, a few skeltons and a huge cobra that is chained to his waist. There's also a somewhat simian skull that you can place wherever you like.
My love of anthropomorphic toys has been well documented, so there was no way I wouldn't like the Realm of the Claw figures. In a discussion with Rustin, I commented that Relam of the Claw might just be the most narrowly focused targeted marketing ever, since these toys might as well have been made just for me. I love all six of them, but the $15 pricetag was just way too much.