Masters of the Universe Staction Figures Series 2
Grizzlor, Stinkor and Clamp Champ

Tonight's guest review is from Wakko, covering the second series of the very cool 'staction' figures.  What's the scoop, Wakko?

Just in time for Christmas, the good folks at NECA have delivered a stocking stuffed with Wave 2 in their series of Masters of the Universe mini-statues (a.k.a. “Stactions”). For the woefully uninformed, these mini-statues fill the chasm left behind since the Mattel action-figure relaunch of the MOTU brand died a premature death in 2003, not only keeping the line alive (at least indirectly), but also delivering to the fans characters that were ignored in figure-form by the Mattel line.

Wave 1 of the line gave us Hordak, the powerful leader of the Evil Horde; Clawful, one of Skeletor’s lackies; and Snout Spout, a goofy third-string ally of He-Man’s that was finally given his day in the sun with an awesome sculpt. With Wave 2, NECA and sculptors the Four Horsemen once again give us three figures from those three Eternian factions: Hordak gets his right-hand man Grizzlor; one more warrior is added to Skeletor’s army via Stinkor; and yet another goofy third-string hero is magnificently updated in the form of Clamp Champ.

Packaging - ***
With Wave 1, NECA created card-and-blister packaging that paid homage to the packaging of the Mattel action-figure line while tweaking it enough to be distinctive at the same time. Similarly, the packaging of Wave 2 picks up where Wave 1 left off, substituting a brown color palette for the previous wave’s purple. Once again, Emiliano Santaluca and Val Staples grace the backs of the cards with killer illustrations of the featured character. And whereas with Wave 1, consumers might have easily been fooled into thinking they were buying an articulated action figure, Wave 2 is clearly labeled “Mini-Statue” on the front.

Sculpt - ****
The Four Horsemen, who have a proven track-record with the MOTU brand, once again knock the sculpts out of the park. Their task was considerable given Wave 2’s line-up: Stinkor was born in the 1980’s as simply a Mer-Man repaint wearing Mekaneck’s armor, and Clamp Champ was created toward the tail end of the original line, when it was obvious that Mattel was scratching the bottom of the barrel in order to come up with new character ideas.

As silly as his ‘80s predecessor was, the new Clamp Champ is awesome. Some fans have lamented his “American Gladiator”-esque armor and color scheme, but I don’t mind it one bit. His armor is detailed with all kinds of intricate technology, and the larger of his two clamps has a nice technology-meets-dragon theme going for it. Most impressive to me, however, is his head sculpt: he looks like a year 3000 Secret Service agent, complete with earpiece, and is definitely someone you wouldn’t want to mess with.

Similarly, with Stinkor the Four Horsemen have taken a character based on a laughable concept (he’s at times been dubbed a “walking fart joke”) and made him into something awesome. There is intricate detail given to his furry hide, and plenty of attention paid to every rivet, gage, and hose in his armor.

It’s hard to judge Grizzlor’s sculpt, considering he’s covered largely in fur, but what is exposed is quite cool. His face is appropriately menacing, an important detail considering he needs to stand alongside the frightening Hordak and still look intimidating. His face, like so many Four Horsemen sculpts, is his strongest point, with all kinds of personality built into his single expression, but the detail in his backpack, boots, and loin cloth must be seen in person to be fully appreciated.

Paint - ***1/2
I ordered this set on-line, which of course didn’t allow me to pick the best paint schemes from the pegs of a brick and mortar store. Be that as it may, I have no complaints with the paint application on these figures. I find Stinkor the most impressive: tiny silver dots have been applied to most of the rivets on his armor, and his eyes have been given a glossy coat of green and yellow paint that makes them look appropriately wet and alive. All three characters stick pretty closely to the color scheme established by their 1980’s predecessors, with liberties taken here and there (an example being Stinkor’s red gloves).

Articulation - Bupkis
They’re statues, and this time they’re clearly labeled as such. So unless you count Grizzlor’s fur or Clamp Champ’s tubes, these puppies aren’t poseable.

Accessories - Grizzlor ****; Clamp Champ *** 1/2 ; Stinkor ***
Here is where the bag is decidedly mixed. Grizzlor is the king of accessories in this particular wave. While his 1980’s predecessor came with only the standard Horde crossbow, for his rebirth, the Four Horsemen decided to give him a hunter’s theme, and as such he needs an arsenal. Aside from the aforementioned crossbow, Grizzlor comes with a small knife, a long knife, a sword, a hatchet, and five (count ‘em) arrows for his crossbow. His entire arsenal (except the crossbow) can be stored in his backpack, some more easily than others. This dude is packing heat.

Clamp Champ comes with (wait for it!) a clamp. Actually, not just one clamp, but two, one large and one smaller. Both are attached via clear tubing to his backpack. (Two additional tubes connect his backpack to his boots). Stinkor comes simply with a blue shield that attaches to his left gauntlet via a peg; it’s not a very exciting accessory, but it’s quite faithful to the original figure. Stinkor was originally supposed to come with Odiphus, his pre-transformation alter-ago before he went snooping around Tri-Klop’s lab to smelly results. Cost concerns nixed the Odiphus figure, although the Four Horsemen have assured fans that we will eventually be getting him.

All three figures also come with stands, color-coded according to their fighting faction: purple for Stinkor (Skeletor’s warriors), crimson for Grizzlor (the Horde), and blue for Clamp Champ (the Masters). One can assume that when Tung Lashor becomes the first Snakeman to be staction-ized that his stand will be green. The stands are nice, but, thankfully, not necessary in order to make the figures stand.

Fun Factor - Bupkis
Once again, they’re statues. They’re great to display, and that’s about it. For the adult collector like me, that’s plenty of fun.

Value - YMMV
I paid a little more than $20 apiece to get these from Action Figure Express on-line (including shipping). When they finally hit brick and mortar stores like Suncoast, expect them to retail for around $19.99. Some may think that’s a hefty price increase, considering the Mattel figures sold at Walmart for $7.88. For me, the void these mini-statues are filling in the MOTU universe more than makes up for their cost. Others may not agree. But I do know that when compared to many, many licensed statue lines aimed at adult collectors, the NECA MOTU mini-statues are very reasonable.

Overall - ****
I can’t praise these statues enough and wouldn’t change a single thing about them. While I suppose articulation would be an added bonus even for those of us who simply display them, overall the quality of the stactions is even better than the action figures given to us by Mattel. Equally exciting is that the NECA mini-statue line is now in its sophomore wave, and wasn’t just a one-hit wonder. The MOTU fan can now rest fairly certain that the line will continue into next year’s already-announced Wave 3 (Mantenna, the Sorceress, and Tung Lashor) and hopefully well beyond.

Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - Bupkis
Accessories - Grizzlor ****; Clamp Champ *** 1/2 ; Stinkor ***
Fun Factor - Bupkis
Value - YMMV
Overall - ****

Related Links -
There are a few other related reviews:

- Wakko did a guest review of the first series here at MROTW.

- and Michael did a review of the series 1 Clawful over at MPS.

- and of course, it's always a good idea to check out the Four Horsemen website to see what they're currently up to.

Where to Buy - 
Your best bet at this point is probably online:

- omgtoys has them up for pre-order at $18 each.

- CornerStoreComics has the individuals in stock for $19 each, or the set of three for $55.

- Killer Toys has the singles in stock for $19 each in stock.

Figure from the collection of Wakko.

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