Masters of the Universe
Clawful, Hordak and Snout Spout

Wakko is back with a new review of the 'staction' figures from the Four Horseman.  What's the 411, Wakko!

Wakko here with a review of the new Masters of the Universe mini-statues (“Staction Figures”) from NECA. These three statues represent a rebirth of sorts for the Masters of the Universe line. The action figure line from Mattel petered out with the Snakemen figures in the fall of 2003, and with the exception of the exclusive She-Ra offered last year, there haven’t been any new characters offered to collectors of the brand since. With Mattel unwilling to either continue the line or give the figure license to another company, there was little hope for fans to ever fill the many holes in their figure collection.

Enter the Four Horsemen. These amazing sculptors, who gave us such amazing new versions of MOTU characters in the action figure line, came up with the idea of offering a line of 6” MOTU statues – statues that would feature their fine sculpting and be molded in-scale with the existing action figures, but minus any articulation. These “static action figures,” dubbed “Stactions,” are the next best thing to new action figures for the line, and thanks to the combined efforts of the Four Horsemen and NECA, fans can finally start filling the holes in their collections.

The first wave consists of Skeletor’s lackey Clawful, easily one of the characters most deserving of the plastic treatment; fan-favorite Hordak, the leader of the Evil Horde; and the lesser-known and once rather goofy heroic firefighter Snout Spout, who can thank the Four Horsemen for his new tough-as-nails design.

Packaging - ***
The card and blister packaging, while somewhat different in design from the action figure line packaging, is close enough to give a nod to MOC collectors and allow them to display the stactions with their carded action figures almost seamlessly. Some fans have voiced disappointment that the stactions come on blister cards instead of boxes, but most are happy with the packaging choice, which is vibrant and colorful. NECA was smart enough to ask Emiliano Santalucia and Val Staples, artist and colorist of the now-defunct MOTU comic book, to provide illustrations of the characters for the back of the card, and their work is beautiful. The weight of these figures, however, may make finding a mint card rather difficult.

Sculpting - ****
One thing the Four Horsemen can do is sculpt, and all three stactions are prime examples of their work. Clawful, a character based largely on a fiddler crab, is appropriately scaley and cracked, and you can spend hours admiring all the attention given to the texture of his skin and shell. It’s amazing how they have taken a once-goofy character and made him appear so imposing.

And speaking of imposing, the new design of Hordak gives the Skeletor figure a run for its money when it comes to a look of pure evil. From his bone-white head to his red eyes and his gray teeth, his face alone is pure menace. Hordak boasts intricately detailed armor (which is amusingly narcissistic, considering that his own face appears six times on his armor – eight times if you count his weapons) and a nicely detailed and tattered hood and cape.

Snout Spout is a lesser-known character that didn’t show up until the tail end of the original 80’s line, and he existed simply as a glorified water-pistol. While the new one can’t squirt water, I am in awe of how this laughable concept was transformed into such a cool figure. Again, the Four Horsemen spared no detail, as every bolt and rivet of his armor and robotic head are accounted for. And the look in his eyes just dares you to laugh at the fact that he’s a humanoid robot elephant.

Once thing to note on all three is that while none of them have working articulation, the Four Horsemen opted to sculpt them as if they do. This decision – as well as the decision to place them in rather non-dramatic poses – helps the stactions to blend in more seamlessly with the existing action figures. When it comes to scale, however, the Four Horsemen decided to be more accurate with these stactions than Mattel was with the action figures. As such, Clawful and Hordak both tower over the other figures, and Snout Spout is a hair taller as well. The result is both good and bad: good because Clawful now appropriately stands well above his master Skeletor, but bad because he also towers above figures like Whiplash and Beastman, who should be the same height as he is. You gotta take the good with the bad.

Paint - ***1/2
The paint detail on these statues is great, and head-and-shoulders above the paint detail of the action figure line. I love the use of blends on these, particularly how the red of Clawful’s shoulders fades to the orange of his arms. The paint has a matte finish, giving them a slightly darker and less glossy tone than the action figures as well. When you notice the paint applications to the rivets in Hordak’s armor, or the bolts of Snout Spout’s armor, and even the paint applied to their weapons, you realize a lot of attention was given to the detailing of these statues. While the paint application isn’t absolutely perfect on any of the three I bought, any overlap or sloppiness is minor at best. I deducted half a point because the paint isn’t the most durable I’ve ever seen; it’s prone to come off if rubbed, and fans have reported seeing several Clawfuls with black noses after rubbing against the packaging bubble.

Articulation - Bupkis
They’re statues, so what do you expect? I have to admit I was a tad surprised to see that the packaging nowhere states that they are statues. Given the style of packing and the “apparent” joint lines, I wonder how many people will buy these thinking that they’re action figures?

Accessories - ****
As with the action figure line, the Four Horsemen made sure to give a nod to the classic figures when creating accessories, while giving updates where necessary. Clawful comes with a green mace, just like his classic figure did. Be careful, though: depending on how his left claw was glued on, he may not be able to hold the mace properly. Several fans have reported snapping the mace while trying to get him to hold it. Mine won’t quite hold his properly, so I have to settle for resting the tip on the ground or placing it against the top of his knee.

Snout Spout comes with an axe (like his classic counterpart) and a wrench. Either accessory can be placed in either hand, or the wrench can be attached to the handle of the axe. Nice touch!

Hordak comes with a huge crossbow (again, a nod to his classic figure), and a staff. Either accessory can go into either hand, although the crossbow looks a tad silly in his left hand. The staff comes in two pieces, and the best way to get him to hold it is to slide the bottom piece into his left hand before attaching the top piece. Again, be careful: fans have reported snapping the staff while putting it together or taking it apart.

All three come with colored stands, with each color representing the faction they fight for (Clawful on purple, Hordak on red, and Snout Spout on blue). The stands work well but aren’t necessary to keep the figures standing. Disappointingly, the peg holes on the stands are too big to be used for the action figures – so I guess Teela will continue to be a shelf-diver.

Fun Factor - your mileage may vary
These aren’t toys. They’re heavy, the paint can definitely be chipped off, and the accessories are somewhat fragile. So while they’re not good for play time, I’ve been having a blast displaying them with my existing figures.

Value - ****
I got mine from Action Figure Express for roughly $21.66 apiece (including shipping), which is apparently a steal when compared to other statue lines aimed at collectors. Many have reported finding the figures at Suncoast for $19.99 each. Yes, it’s still about three times as much as MOTU fans were used to paying for the action figures, but very reasonable when you consider the limited run and quality of these statues.

Things to Watch Out For:
As stated above, there are a few things to be careful of. If you have the option of inspecting these figures before buying them, make sure none of them have major paint rubs in the package, particularly on Clawful’s nose. Secondly, once you open them, be careful about inserting Clawful’s mace and Hordak’s staff. Don’t force them or they will definitely break!

Overall - ****
I’m more than excited about these figures. These three figures begin to fill a hole in every MOTU collection since the action figure line died a premature death, and they do it with style and an obvious care for the brand. It’s clear when you look at the detail and quality of these figures that the Four Horsemen love the MOTU universe. Fans should be ecstatic. I’m already eagerly anticipating Wave 2 (Stinkor, Clamp Champ, and Grizzlor) due this fall, and Wave 3 (Sorceress – FINALLY – Mantenna, and Tung Lashor) due early next year.

Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ****
Painting - ***1/2
Articulation - Bupkis
Accessories - 
Fun Factor - your mileage may vary
Value - ****
Overall - ****

Where to Buy:
I think Action Figure Express has the best on-line prices, but they’re currently sold out of their initial shipment, so you might have to wait a bit to get your figures. As for brick and mortar stores, Suncoast/Media Play/Sam Goody should all have them for the $19.99 price tag.

- has them for $18 each.

- CornerStoreComics has them for $19 each as well.

- Killer Toys also has these for $19 each, with preorders for the next series.

- Toy Fellas has the full set of three for $57.

- Yikes has a ton of the Mattel line of MOTU still in stock.





Figure from the collection of Wakko.

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