Trap Jaw – Masters of the Universe: Battleground #2

Trap Jaw – Evil & Armed for Combat!

After finishing the Castle Grayskull Wasteland terrain from the Masters of the Universe: Battleground set, it was time for one of the figures.

I reckoned that Trap Jaw was one of the grooviest MotU character designs back in the mid-eighties.
It turns out that over 35 years of life experience hasn’t changed how I feel about blue/green cyborgs with modular weapon arms, grotesque facial bionics and vague pirate themes one iota, so I figured that I would start with TJ.

Like a lot of similar media, the MotU franchise tends to have various different takes on the origins of the characters, and Trap Jaw has a few. My favourite is the one above.


In summary, Skeletor hit “Kronis” so hard that parts of him still havent landed, and Tri-Klops built Trap Jaw out of the bits that did.

Those illustrations – from the – Icons of Evil: Trap Jaw comic from 2003 – tell the story better than I ever could.

L to R: MotU Classics Trap Jaw, original 80s MotU range Trap Jaw
(Image from actionfigurebarbecue.com, click on it to check it out)

Anyway, like Morten Harket and your mum, Trap Jaw has had a few different visual iterations since “We Built This City” was number one.

Saturday morning, breakfast cereal, pyjamas and cartoons Trap Jaw.

Initially the 1980s Trap Jaw toy was pretty much what I was interested in referencing. The thing is, many of the physical details on the original toy were lost back then, due to the minimal paint deco.

As I wasn’t going to slavishly ignore details that would make for a better figure on the table, simply to match a mass produced toy run from almost forty years ago, I looked at the toy that the Archon sculpt referenced.

Trap Jaw’s cybernetic arm as detailed in the MotU Classics toy range
(Image from actionfigurebarbecue.com, click on it to check it out)

As “Masters of the Universe: Battleground is a fantasy miniature game based on the beloved ‘Classics’ toy series” it made sense to paint TJ to match that rendition of the character. As the “Classics” series was an adult collector range supposed to take the memory that you have of the character and update it, without taking away what you liked about it back then, it made sense.

Giving some extra attention to the physical details on the sculpt that are in some cases not even present on the original toy but were added in the Classics version was the obvious way to go.

So thats what I did, ending up with the finished verion of the miniature shown in the iffy photo at the top of this post, looking a fair bit like the beautiful illustration above.

I didn’t record the paints that I used, I just looked at various images of the character and decided what paints I had that I thought best represented him and got stuck in… and I loved every minute of it.

Until next time!

14 Responses

  1. Mate, he’s flippin’ brill! Such a cool project 👍👍

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Alex!
      These models really are a lot of fun to work on. Nicely designed, fairly robust and based on to up to 11 ridiculous characters.

      Its all win.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant! Trap jaw was always my favourite bad guy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Trap Jaw just has “it”, y’know?

      I don’t think that I really appreciated Skeletor until I got older. The characters that particularly liked as a kid – Man-E-Faces, Tri-Klops, Trap Jaw, Man-at-Arms – all share a bionic or “gadgeteer” theme. My next preference being aliens or human/animal hybrid types, like Clawful and Whiplash. My preferred Star Wars figures tended to be similar, with Bossk and IG88 being personal favourites.

      Just like in real life, common or garden variety humans tend to disappoint ;-D

      Thanks for the feedback imperialrebelork!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. He looks amazing. Great coloring and shading. What a great way to start the project!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, wow, he looks much better than I expected, I love what you achieved on him. The colours are simply perfect, you nailed it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What were you expecting I wonder Suber? I’m intrigued 😀

      While the miniatures for this are based on toys with flatter colours and even flatter cartoon designs, they are extremely nicely sculpted and the details encourage the same sort of painting treatment that any other nicely made toy soldier gets. If you add the vibrant, 1980’s toy colours and concepts, it becomes a project almost perfectly fit to my tastes.

      What may be a surprise to a few people is that the quality of the miniature design, from both aesthetic and technical viewpoint is second only to modern Games Workshop. These are very much not cheap, wobbly and flexible boardgame pieces: they are top drawer plastic kits, and a treat for hobbyists.

      I’m excited about painting a few more, when I can get a bit more time to myself.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Suber. As always, I appreciate it!

      Like

  5. Love the paintjob as well as the contextualization – it’s fun to find out a bit about these characters. I never even considered MotU characters to have “proper” backstories (apart from a single line in a toy catalogue), but of course they would have!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have been aware of MotU since the early 1980s, but I was never as immersed in the franchise as I was in some others from the era. As a result, for some reason I can’t quite put my finger on, like you Mikko I also didn’t really think that Whiplash, Fisto and Dragstor would have backstories more substantial than the contents of a mini-comic… but they do.

      Fan favourites have more elaborate backstories than others, and they are not quite as byzantine as Transformers, X Men or Star Wars, but they do exist. As you can probably see from the images above – from a comic written by Andy – The Walking Dead – Kirkman, Trap Jaw has one of the more badass ones.

      Expect some similar info on future entrants in this project, whether you want to know the origins of Tri-Klops or not! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. That is extremely cool, great painting on a very nostalgic mini. I think you made a good choice not to be too slavish to the original, fairly crude, 80s toys. I also appreciated the little backstory for Trap-Jaw here, I hadn’t really considered that anyone would have gone to the trouble of writing this stuff up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know, right?
      I expect GI Joe, Transformers and Harry Potter etc to have fleshed out backstories, for multiple reasons, but for some reason I (and a few others who have mentioned it) did not expect the same from MotU characters.

      I’m not sure why this is the case.

      Does the Care Bears franchise have an involved canon?
      What about the Smurfs?
      Did Scooby and Shaggy hang out in college? In school?
      Will the Ed, Edd and Eddy nostalgia revival reveal complex backstories about what made them the Edwards that Cartoon Network viewers of a certain era love?

      “Adventure Time” characters definitely have canon, but that somehow feels different too. Does Stretch Armstrong have a dark and twisted origin story? If he did, would the character have more gravitas? Less?

      More importantly, I enjoyed painted Trap Jaw, reveling in the nostalgia. More MotU to come.

      Like

      • I bet that the Care Bears each have highly detailed origin stories, not least on the basis that I kind of associate them with My Little Pony – which turns out to have a surprisingly enduring set of very hard-core fans.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Probably best to assume that every entertainment franchise, no matter how oddball, has both a series bible and, likely extending from that, a detailed “canon”.

          Sounds pretty 2022 to me 🙂

          Like

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