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Chief Carnivus
Masters of the Universe Classics

Chief Carnivus Masters of the Universe Classics MOTUC by Mattel


I've made it pretty obvious in the past that I'm not, nor have I ever been, a fan of the Masters of the Universe cartoons. Not the originals, nor the 200x version. And yet, I love the Masters of the Universe Classics action figure series from Mattel - go figure.

The reason is actually quite simple. While I love all kinds of pop culture collectibles, I love action figures BECAUSE they are action figures. I wasn't drawn to collect them because they were cheap statues, but because they were toys. And because of that, I tend to appreciate figures that espouse that play quality, and still do it looking good.

MOTUC is the perfect current example of that. This all means that nostalgia doesn't factor in a whole lot when I look at each new monthly release in the series, and may make my take on the newest character - Chief Carnivus - a bit different than most.

For those as uninformed as I, Carnivus is not part of the old MOTU line or cartoon. He was introduced with the 200x show, but never made into an action figure or staction at the time. Matty has finally brought him to 3D form, but with a Classics design.

He's definitely a weird choice for the series. If you're a fan of the original MOTU, you probably don't care a whole lot about this character. If you're a fan of the 200x series, you're finally getting the character - but not in the style you really want. The only fan completely happy is someone like me, with no particular connection to either show, and let's face it - how many other goofballs like me can there possibly be?
Chief Carnivus Masters of the Universe Classics MOTUC by Mattel
Chief Carnivus Masters of the Universe Classics MOTUC by Mattel
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Chief Carnivus Masters of the Universe Classics MOTUC by Mattel
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Chief Carnivus Masters of the Universe Classics MOTUC by Mattel
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Chief Carnivus Masters of the Universe Classics MOTUC by Mattel
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Chief Carnivus Masters of the Universe Classics MOTUC by Mattel
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Chief Carnivus Masters of the Universe Classics MOTUC by Mattel
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The figure was available on Matty Collector on the 15th, but those of us with a subscription had them ship a couple days early. He cost $20, as usual, and sold out in days, rather than minutes. I think that's a pretty good indication that he was caught in this weird no man's land between MOTU fans and 200x fans. 

Packaging - ***1/2
If you've been collecting the line, you know what to expect. Inside the brown box that ends up on the door step is a white box, and inside there is the bubble/cardback packaged figure. It's the same style bubble, graphics and text as the previous releases, and I can't complain. I've been a fan of the design from the start, although the logo sticker on the bubble does tend to block the figures portrait from casual observation.

Sculpting - ***1/2
If the Four Horsemen know one thing, it's how to create great looking anthropomorphic bipedal animal warriors. From cats to rhinos to cows and more they've created humanoid fighters out of just about every furry beast. Creating this cat-like member of MOTU was probably an easy task for them, and they did it with their usual style.

There's lots of detail work on the face and fur, and even the re-use of Beastman's body was the perfect choice. They've added new feet in the form of paws, and all of the armor and loincloth are unique as well. In fact, this figure has some of the least re-use we've seen in the series.

While the paws are a little small, the figure stands great on his own. The sculpted hair restricts the neck movement a bit (even more so with the cape in place), but my only real complaint with the sculpting is the right hand. It doesn't hold the sword tightly, which is surprising since it appears the hands are new as well.

Paint - ***1/2
The paint work is solid overall, with a few minor issues but nothing extreme.

The majority of the detailed ops are on the face, including the eyes, nose and lower fangs. The eyes are clean and straight, done with an appropriate cat-like appearance, but the edge of the nose is a bit sloppy, and the white fans are more blobs than pointy teeth.

They've used a wash to bring out some of the cool texturing, and it works quite well.

The gold armor looks amazing, and has more detailing than we've seen with some other characters. It's consistent in finish and color, and very eye catching on the shelf. I almost dropped him another half star here due to the slightly sloppy teeth and nose, but the quality of the work on the armor managed to convince me otherwise.

Articulation - ***
I mentioned earlier that the ball jointed neck, usually the best joint on the figure, is fairly restricted. Part of this is due to the cape, and part of it is due to the long mane-like hair. Removing the cape does give it a bit more mobility, but he still can't turn and tilt like some of the previous figures.

The rest of the joints work great - ball jointed shoulders and hips, pin elbows, ankles and knees, cut wrists and waist, ab-crunch - work well and are very solid. While this is a collector marketed figure, it could easily hold up to some serious play.

Accessories - ***
I'm not counting the rove and armor here, although both are easy enough to remove. Just pop off the head and it slips right off. Still, he looks a bit bear without them.

He has a sword, as well as a shield, both with new sculpts. Both are also terrific, and I love the detailed lion on the front of the shield.

The shield snaps on the wrist tightly thanks to the clip on the back, but as I mentioned earlier, he has a tough time holding the sword.

While these two accessories are well done, we've gotten a bit spoiled with recent figures in this line, many of them including multiple accessories and extra heads.

Fun Factor - ****
It's always a party round the Crawford house when a new MOTUC figure shows up. I gotta get out more.

Value - **1/2
There's quite a bit of new on this figure, more so than we usually see with a MOTUC release. While the body is still a re-use, much of the armor is new, and who can not love those cute little feet? All the shiny new makes the $20 price tag a bit easier to swallow, even without a second portrait.

Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing!

Overall - ***1/2
I understand the weird pergutory that this figure has found itself in. I don't think it's an out right hate, or even a situation where you could say he's unloved by fans of the old and new shows. Instead, I think most of them will be ambivalent towards him, and due to his catty appearance, many may think he doesn't fit in with the rest of MOTUC.

But the sculpt really is terrific, and I'm certainly glad I picked him up. Also, fans of the other animal warrior work from the Four Horsemen should be paying particularly attention - this guy is the perfect pimp daddy for your Queen's Council Kitty's.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - ****
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
Matty Collector was the place, although he sold out as expected. Your best bet now is to search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Other MOTUC reviews include:

- most recent was Whiplash.

- Orko was the SDCC exclusive this year.

- just before the Con, Matty sold out of Count Marzo.

- before that was She-Ra, Princess of Power, and the large scale Tytus.

- I've also looked at the cool custom swords and shields you can get from SpyMonkey Creations.

- prior to that, I looked at the other May release, Optikk.

- seems like it was just yesterday that I covered Evil-Lyn.

prior to that it was Moss Man.

- check out the cool MOTUC Display stands.

- just before that I covered Battle Cat and Trap Jaw, and prior to that was Adora.

- I really liked Scare glow, although he's not exactly what you'd call a key character.

- She-Ra isn't the first girl in the series - Teela has that honor.

- before that there was Webstor, one of my favorite, and Tri-klops, another one of my favs.

- prior to that was Man-at-armsHordak, ZodacFaker, Mer-man and Stratos, starting out with He-man, Skeletor and Beastman together in one review.

Discussion:
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Chief Carnivus Masters of the Universe Classics MOTUC by Mattel


This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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