MOTUC Tri-Klops: Custom Figure vs. The Real Thing
February 10, 2009

So this week at NYCC, my favorite MOTU character was announced as the August MOTUC figure release:  Tri-Klops!

Of course, I already have made a custom  MOTUC Tri-Klops…

So how does one feel when you get a "real figure" of a custom you’ve made?


Obviously, an official release is usually better than a custom.  It’s official right?

Some folks might feel they’ve wasted their time on a custom if they can have the real thing.  Others might feel their own work is always superior to a mere mass produced item.

For me I’m always glad to have another figure of a favorite character, be it custom or a real release.

As for Tri-Klops, I knew he’d eventually get released in MOTUC, and fate actually had a hand in the creation of this particular custom.

He’s actually made using a King Grayskull body!  And the reason is that it was defective!  I created this figure way back in the summer of 08, right after Comic Con.  I got 2 Grayskulls at the con and when I got home the ankle joint on my open one snapped!  I was mildly annoyed, and set about repairing it.  Well one thing led to another and soon I’ve pulled off armor, cape and hair, and realized that I can use vintage MOTU parts on the base body.

Of course this damaged Grayskull then had to become a Tri-Klops, and it was actually really easy.  Most of the work involved dremeling down Grayskulls head and making sure the vintage visor would rotate, as well as sculpting the head wrap.  I also sharpened the sword tip a bit.  I ended up using a repro Tri-Klops visor, armor and sword rather than vintage as the green is a bit duller and the parts are a bit more sturdy.

So I had my Tri-Klops, and come August I’ll have an official one.

But, when I looked closely at the photos of the upcoming MOTUC Tri-Klops I realized  that something very interesting is happening.  Thus far MOTUC has been about directly translating the look of the classic figure.

(EDIT:  Here’s a pic courtesy of Matty’s Facebook page:  )


But in the case of Tri-Klops there’s a change.  He’s clearly combining elements of the original version, the 200X version AND more artistic license on the part of the 4 Horsemen!

Like the 200X version he has a Doomseeker and from the pics I’ve seen his eyes appear have 3 different colors (red, blue, green) rather than the 2 colors  that the classic version had (2 red eyes, 1 blue).

And I’d argue he has more detail changes than any MOTUC figure thus far.  His armor has new details galore!  The obvious ones are the throwing knives, but if you look closely you’ll find additional studs and rivets, braided piping along the breastplate and a redesigned lower portion that has a different buckle and a belt that mirrors the one around his waist.

 (EDIT:  Lee correctly points out that much of what I mistook for original 4 Horsemen design elements are in fact from the original card art:  However I still maintain that the combination of more 200X elements and a bit more detail makes Tri-Klops more a departure than the previous figures.  Perhaps in large part because his card art was so divergent from the actual figure.)

So what does this all mean?  Well, I think it means that as MOTUC continues it will be harder to criticize the line as many naysayers have, saying it’s just a bland update of the original designs.

MOTUC Man-At-arms brings in redesigned back armor with 2 pieces of classic Castle Grayskull gear (sword and pistol), which is a great idea.  But Tri-Klops really pushes the design bringing in 200X elements as well as original elements perhaps indicating that MOTUC is headed toward being the "ultimate" version of MOTU rather than what some have called a simple updating of the original line.

And the additional bonus to all this?

It means my custom figure isn’t redundant!  LOL!

 ’Til Next Time!





Jeremy "SpyMagician" Sung
It's the all new, all different SpyMagician! No longer single, no longer an educator, but still 100% Toygeek! "I make good customized actions figures, but I also collect Pokemon. Go figure..."
Read other articles by Jeremy "SpyMagician" Sung.





  • Danny CantinaDan says:

    Love your custom, Spy! I also find it interesting how the 4H are incorporating divergent design elements into the MOTUC’s.

  • jzachery says:

    I run into the problem of getting customs that later get released in JLU. When I buy or make a custom, I try to be rational about it and say “this is a character that they most likely won’t come out with” but they keep coming out with them, LOL. However, on a 50/50 ratio, the customs are sometimes superior. My current Black Vulcan is better than the one announced, as is my Mary Marvel. But their Plastic Man is better than the one I have, so it’s bittersweet.

  • Lee says:

    Actually, the 4H are using the original box art illustrations more as a guide than the figures themselves.
    Here’s the original boxart for Tri-clops:

    There you can see the different belt and braiding on his armor. It’s the process they’ve used all along, which is why skeletor has bracers on his calves, but bare feet. The toy was always fully booted :)

  • Jeremy SpyMagician says:

    Ah yes,

    The box art. I was looking for a scan of it to compare, as it did cross my mind that some of those elements are from that.

    However if you look closely there are still elements the 4H have added that aren’t in the box art.

    The small rivets around the collar. And the aforementioned throwing daggers. Also the sword is more an amalgam of the 200X and the toy version as it’s green and not gold and silver like the package.

    I did however forget that the box art had a green eye, unlike the actual toy…

    But good call, I’ll try to correct my posting.


  • lee says:

    I see what you’re saying, and I really like your custom version as well. I think the rivets are something they’ve done on some of the other figures before, like on He-Man’s where they added the rivets where the straps connect to his chest plate. It doesn’t bother me too much, but I see what you’re getting at.
    To me, the one that really shows 200x influence is the Hordak figure. Aside from his loin cloth, his MOTUC figure doesn’t look too much different than the Staction.

    Anywho, love the site, and I’m loving this line.

  • Bill says:

    My buddy customizes a lot of figures and a large chunk of them eventually become reality (most recently the “aqua-camo” Aquaman he did for me last summer. Sometimes he sticks with his custom and other times he’ll use the “official” one. It happened to him with Taskmaster, Ms. Marvel, Tigra, Spider-woman, and Crossbones for example (he mostly worked with ML).
    It didn’t really seem to bother him, because usually it would take years before the official figure came out.

  • John says:

    Looks great! Phenominal work. My only question is that you mentioned you used repro parts. Where did you find them at? Is there a site to buy from?

  • Hourman says:

    I solved the “oh no, they’re actually making the character I customized” problem by only customizing figures in lines that aren’t in production any longer. I don’t expect anybody to make a Super Powers Phantom Stranger anytime soon.

  • Jeremy SpyMagician says:


    Ah, when I said repro, I meant the commemorative reproduction MOTU figures Mattel released a few years ago, rather than fan made repros!


  • John says:

    Thanks for the info. I thought I was missing a cool Masters resource.

  • Its says:

    Come August, I might get this guy to repplace the one I lost from the 02′ line. Sitting in some box betwen moves. God I hate moving.

    The eye on the new version is very distinguished. But the thing I liked about 2002 version is he seemed more lean looking and less overweight (Unemployed Triklops?).

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