As happy as I am to be a sub holder right now, Matty used some real asshole, strong-arm tactics with this figure. Not that that’s anything new.
Back at the beginning of July, Matty put the 2014 Masters of the Universe and DC subscriptions up for sale. No specifics were listed other than prices. No idea what characters were coming out or anything. They were just counting on chumps like me blindly subscribing because we have a habit and that’s just what we do.
As a certain holy lady might say – “Hmmm, well… isn’t that convenient.”
I can’t say for sure that Matty has created an artificial shortage in an attempt to boost sales of next year’s subs.
I also can’t say for sure that Bigfoot isn’t real. If you catch my drift.
Anyway, I was pretty excited about Clamp Champ. He has been retconned into an important role, he has a cool weapon, and he’s a black dude. I’m always happy to add a little color to my action figure shelf.
First Glance: It still amazes me that the Four Horsemen can do so much with the same buck. This is just He-Man, but with different colors and a few new pieces Clamp Champ looks quite different.
Articulation: Clamp Champ has the standard MOTUC articulation.
Head – ball joint
Shoulders – ball joint
Biceps - swivel
Elbows – pivot
Wrists – swivel
Abdomen - pivot
Waist – swivel
Hips – ball joint
Thigh - swivel
Knees – pivot
Boot tops - swivel
Ankles – rocker
Clamp Champ’s head has the best range of movement of any recent figure. He can almost look directly up.
His arms – like all of the other figures with the rubber vest armor – cannot hang down.
Champ’s ankles are proper rockers, unlike many of the other figures that have come out this year. They work quite well and can hold poses.
Side Note: Referring to this figure as “Champ” made me very sad that we don’t have figures from the best comedy ever – Anchorman. Maybe with the sequel coming out somebody (NECA, please NECA) will get the license to do figures.
All of the joints on my figure are tight and functional. I had to work the boot top joints a bit to get them going, but once I did they were fine.
Sculpt: Champ’s head looks great. I respect the Horsemen for the fact that when they create an ethnic character, they actually look ethnic rather than just being Caucasians with differently colored skin. This guy has a very distinctive face and a ton of character. He looks like an old warrior – the type of dude that would be sitting in an Eternian pub sharing brews and tales with Fisto and Duncan.
Otherwise Champ uses the basic He-Man sculpt and that’s just fine. Well, aside from those freakish, tiny hands.
Clamp Champ is made of a more rubbery plastic than a lot of other releases. Especially his limbs and head. They’re all quite soft and flexible. I don’t care for it. I think Stinkor was the last one that felt this cheap.
I haven’t spoken in general about the human MOTUC buck in a while, but I’ll just say that this really is an amazing update on the vintage He-Man figure. Working articulation into such a ridiculously bulky body couldn’t have been an easy task and the Horsemen did it like champs (Clamp Champs). I always complain about the arms not being able to hang at the sides – especially on figures with the vest armor – but how is that going to work? With musculature like the Masters have, these guys aren’t going to be able to just stand normally. Heck, these guys probably don’t ever just stand around anyway. They’re always fighting killer robots or evil weeds or whatever.
My point is, good job, Horsemen.
Coloring: The skin tone is a darker shade than Netossa, which is cool. I like that there is variety. Champ’s head is painted quite well, with the hair staying where it should and the eyes centered and clean.
The red, black, and silver of Champ’s clothing and armor look great against that skin tone and really make this guy stand out. The colors are all applied precisely and cleanly. None of the paint adversely affected the joints; aside from the boot tops, which weren’t really a problem.
Flair: Clamp Champ’s armor looks awesome. I love the colors – the metallic silver and blue on top of the flat blue looks very cool, particularly with the dark skin tone and reds on other parts of the figure. The design is reminiscent of Fisto’s, but with a big ol’ steel collar thing. I think it all looks very cool, and that’s not even counting whatever the heck is going on with Champ’s back.
I suppose that giant thing had some use on the vintage figure. I don’t know. I think that one’s clamp worked independently of the figure like this one’s, so I don’t think it was a trigger or anything. Whatever the case, it looks cool and distinctive and I like it. I just wish it was a way to store one of the weapons or something. I guess it’s just a cool backpack.
Accessories: Clamp Champ comes with his gigantic clamp and this thing that I guess is some kind of smaller clamp. Like, he ordered his giant clamp off of EHSN (Eternian Home Shopping Network) and got the smaller travel clamp for free.
The big clamp looks great. The case has a good amount of detail and I love all the circuitry and stuff in the panels. The pincers are on simple swivels and are not spring-loaded, but we knew that. They work fine and look good. The paint job on this weapon is just okay. I like the way the colors match the figure, but there are definitely a few spots where the paint apps were inaccurate, most notably the “trigger” and some of the circuitry. The handle on this thing is rubber, which is no good. Because of that it doesn’t sit right in the figure’s hand. It kind of leans in one direction or another.
The travel clamp is kind of a piece of crap. The sculpt is actually nice, but it’s made of rubber and doesn’t have a bit of paint on it. Boo on all that.
Packaging: The standard MOTUC big ol’ blister card.
There is, of course, the standard bio on the back:
“Clamp Champ surprises his enemies with his clamping action.”
This makes me laugh.
Beats Man – “Uh oh – there’s a dude coming at us…”
Mer-Man – “Whatever. All he has is that big, silver box. It looks like a remote control. What’s he gonna do? Change the channel on a giant TV?”
Beast Man – “Bwahahaha!”
Mer-Man – “Hey – what are those red things coming out of… AAAAARGH!”
Beast Man – “Oh shit – you just got clamped, son! I am surprised!”
Value: Splitting the shipping with Freddy Freeman and NA He-Man, Clamp Champ comes up to about $28. He’s one of the better figures lately, but still not worth that.
Here’s what I asked Evil the other day to get my point across about these prices – “If you found the DC Signature Collection Red Hood at Walmart for twenty-four bucks, would you buy him?”
I wouldn’t. He said he probably would, but he’s a DCUC completist.
So if I saw Clamp Champ for twenty-eight bucks at retail, I don’t think I would pick him up.
Overall: I really like this guy quite a bit. I think the Horsemen did a fantastic job, but Matty’s design team flubbed it once again by using cheap, inferior materials and poor paint choices on the accessories. He could’ve been a perfect score, but he’s still pretty good.
4 out of 5
If you’re a Clamp Champ fan, I hope you have a sub. Otherwise you’re going to pay an arm and a leg for this guy. Or you could just wait for Matty to “stumble across” some “customer service stock” at some point in the future.