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Thread: TG Blog #11 Tri-klops and his fun glowing ring of fun

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    Heroic Warrior fireball13z's Avatar
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    TG Blog #11 Tri-klops and his fun glowing ring of fun

    Tri-Klops

    My first introduction to MOTU was getting a boat load of figures for my fourth or fifth birthday. This included Castle Grayskull, He-Man with Battle Cat, Man-At-Arms, Skeletor and Ram Man from my parents. I also received Teela with Zoar from a friend at my party a few weeks later.
    I didn’t have too many of the bad guys from the first or second year (Beast Man, Mer-Man, Zodac, Evil-Lyn) but I did get both Tri-Klops and Trap Jaw for Hanukah a month or so later (my birthday is in November). So that really helped flesh out the conflict play, giving me more of an even number of players on both sides.

    One of the really cool things about MOTU is you can often tell a good guy or a bad guy based on the visuals of the figure. You look at He-Man and you instantly know he is the hero. Skeletor, clearly the bad guy. This doesn’t always work, but the general archetypes have always been there. And while it will change from fan to fan, for me the bad guys were always way cooler.

    Trap Jaw was definitely way cooler to me vs. Tri-Klops. He had swappable arm attachments, a moveable jaw and removable belt. But best of all, he had that little loop thing on his helmet so you could run a piece of string through it for him to slide down on. I think this showed up in a TV spot eventually, but I was really proud of myself for coming up with a feature (what I thought) all on my own! Yeah sure, millions of kids came to the same conclusion, but hey, I thought I was a genius.

    When it came time to expand MOTUC beyond the first six and then eight figures, Trap Jaw was who I wanted to do most. But… we had a very tiny budget for tooling and after Hordak we were tasked by management to work out an entire year of monthly figures. We knew we wanted to get females into the line and that meant a new 100% tooled figure at some point (this would eventually be Teela). It is much easier to get a 100% tool’d figure approved and through the system when we know the parts are reusable (which is why Teela is an easier sell vs. Ram Man, who is also 100% but has little reuse outside of a few obscure Filmation monsters that might use a larger buck).

    Anyway. So with so much tooling saved for our only 100% tool figure for the year (2009) we knew a character like Trap Jaw, who needed a lot of tooling (even if it could be reused later) needed to wait. And while that was initially disappointing, it did give us a really strong character for the start of Year 2, which would get a new budget (assuming the line would get that far!).

    With Trap Jaw clearly off the table for Year 1, Tri-Klops became the obvious choice for the next figure after Hordak. He was a vintage toy, a main Skeletor villain in the animation and toy line, and had very few new parts.

    Tri-Klops to me was always just “okay.” I liked the whole spinning visor thing, but only liked the red eye (on the vintage toy). I thought the blue eye and the green eye was just not “villain” enough and didn’t look evil. But the sword and armor was very cool and gave him a cool Samurai vibe.
    So with a plan in place, Tri-Klops was slotted in as our next figure. He was basically Man-At-Arms with a new head, armor and accessory. To plus him up a bit more, we wanted to provide some additional accessories. The Doom seeker from the 200X series (with stand) was an obvious choice. The Horsemen also came up with the idea to add the old Grayskull decoder ring as a bonus accessory.

    From a marketing standpoint we decided to make this a “mystery accessory,” which almost remained a mystery all the way to release. Some fans in Europe got a hold of a stolen sample from our factory and put it up online, spoiling all the fun for the rest of us.

    Many times, fans and customers write in asking if we will change plans after a spoiler has been revealed. Usually 99% of the time we simply can’t do this without affecting schedule. The bottom line is you just can’t have it both ways. If you don’t want things spoiled for you, don’t read spoilers! That is all I can say.

    Originally, I had assumed the Doomseeker would be done in 200X colors with silver, but it was the Horsemen who went in a different (and I think better) direction to do the Seeker in a green Tri-Klops color. This really made it pop and I applaud them for the change.

    The sword was also done in green but I also really wanted the cross-sell color sword. Luckily, a year or so later we were able to deliver this in our first weapon pak with a simple redeco. The sword would also go on to get (correctly) reused on Fisto in 2012 (much as the vintage toy used this same accessory between both figures).

    The Horsemen also added a neat sculpted feature where if you pulled the headpiece up a bit you can see the eye mechanism that attaches the helmet to his human eyes – a great example of the kind of detail we don’t ask for, but the Horsemen just do. I remember early on fans and customers asked if the helmet was moveable and I thought they meant can you take it off to see this feature. I answered “no” and that sent off a firestorm because what the fans were really asking was could the helmet turn and we had said there would be no action features.

    I quickly corrected this and confirmed that yes, of course the headpiece will turn 360 degrees. When we said “no action features” what we meant was no features that would break up the sculpt, like a lever or switch like many of the 200X figures had. If a feature was just added articulation, like making the visor rotate, that was a no-brainer. But yet another lesson for me that everything I say had the potential to be misinterpreted. I really had to remember to watch what I say and be as specific as possible, leaving very little room for interpretation.
    Tri-Klops was also one of those figures who fell into the “did his mom give him that name” category and clearly she did not. So we wanted to give him a real name. Fortunately, he is also one of those figures that had a “real name” in some of the early stories.

    In early, early MOTU stories (I believe the Halprin bible used to construct Filmation and the 1983-1984 lines) Tri-Klops was cast as one of the other astronauts that goes with Marlena to Eternia from Earth (the others being Beast Man and Evil-Lyn). In this storyline, he was called T.E. Scope (as an inside joke for “telescope” since his power involved the eyes). As a nod to this storyline (which is what Classics is all about), we decided to expand on this using the initials T.E. as part of his “real name” and, for the first time, revealing what the T. E. stood for.
    Although this part of the cannon was essentially dropped early on, one of our designers actually had an old black and white coloring book/story book that was based on this concept and it had a few illustrations of the human form of “Biff Beastman,” “T.E. Scope,” and “Evilyn Powers.” For the life of me, I can’t seem to locate this now, but if anyone out there has this book, it is a really neat part of MOTU lore since I believe this was the one and only time these characters were shown as they looked on “Earth” before the magics of Eternia made them evil and transformed them into Beast Man, Tri-Klops and Evil-Lyn (or whatever cockamamie rationale was used in the day to explain this.)

    Beyond this, that was pretty much Tri-Klops. He was a great seller like the figures before him and helped pave the way for the longevity of the brand. Although not one of my favorites as a kid, I did own the vintage counterpart, so that always made the Classics versions a lot more special for me, especially since we had just done Beast Man, Mer-Man and Zodac, who were three characters I did not own as a child.

    Until next time!
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    Last edited by mekaneckpain; April 3, 2012 at 03:33pm.

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    Heroic Warrior Eternian Poet's Avatar
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    I like spoilers.
    I don't like "real names"
    I like "action features"
    I don't like homages to levers & dials.
    I like detail Mattel doesn't ask for.
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    Heroic Warrior Squishy Duck Man's Avatar
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    Thanks for this Scott, gets me even more excited to grab a Tri-Klops from Matty on the 16th!
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    SNARRRLLL's biggest fan! MISSILE-TOE's Avatar
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    I wonder if anyone has a copy of the Biff Beastman and friends coloring book? Would be cool to see!
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    Tri Klops was always one of my favorites. MOST of it had to do with the minicomic. he was downright AWESOME there, taking out teela, Ram man and Battlecat solo...

    Just awesome.

    Finally a villain who could match He-man in a swordfight!!!

    Later... after He-man's armor broke... (that happened a lot when I was young..) He'man switched armors with Triklops, That way he could have SOME sword sheathed on his back like he did in the cartoon

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    Oracle of Fabulousity Kevenn's Avatar
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    The vintage Tri-Klops figure didn't have a green eye. That was only in the cross-sell art. The vintage figure actually had two red eyes. And angry red eye and an even angrier red eye. Now I'll never be able to sleep at night not knowing which eye is REALLY Toy Guru's favorite!!!
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    Heroic Warrior Thrawn29's Avatar
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    When we said “no action features” what we meant was no features that would break up the sculpt, like a lever or switch like many of the 200X figures had.
    Or ridiculous, large, ugly dials that don't work. Oh, wait...I guess Hurricane "Sculpt Breaking Vintage Dial" Hordak didn't get the memo.

    That one still appalls me. Such an ugly, mind boggling choice.

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    Heroic Warrior fireball13z's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thrawn29 View Post
    Or ridiculous, large, ugly dials that don't work. Oh, wait...I guess Hurricane "Sculpt Breaking Vintage Dial" Hordak didn't get the memo.

    That one still appalls me. Such an ugly, mind boggling choice.
    well to be fair its a bit different, but i get what you are saying and im not a big fan of those either. But that also is the same people that give the extra detail Mattel doesn't ask for.
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    Heroic Warrior Thrawn29's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fball13z View Post
    well to be fair its a bit different,
    Yeah, I know. It's worse (). It's a non-functioning dial that's just there because "nostalgia wharble garble".

    i get what you are saying and I'm not a big fan of those either.
    I mean, it worked for Optikk because it was actually worked into the sculpt. Particularly if you imagine Optikk to just be an eyeball creature in a cyborg suit.

    But that also is the same people that give the extra detail Mattel doesn't ask for.
    Doesn't matter to me. A bad choice is a bad choice to me, regardless of who made it.

    I mean, Hordak is sort of cyborg-ish. Why not make it spiky or actually apply some circuitry around the dial to make it appear functional? Instead it's just there completely breaking the sculpt.

    Ironically, that ended up not being the biggest problem that figure had. The flaking chipping vac metal and paint was.

    Anyway, looking forward to the next blog.

  11. #11
    sculptor - fantastique JimPansen's Avatar
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    I so wanted an accurate sculpted cross-sell sword. Too bad.

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    Alcala Idolator Crusader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thrawn29 View Post
    Or ridiculous, large, ugly dials that don't work. Oh, wait...I guess Hurricane "Sculpt Breaking Vintage Dial" Hordak didn't get the memo.

    That one still appalls me. Such an ugly, mind boggling choice.
    right on !!!

    Many times, fans and customers write in asking if we will change plans after a spoiler has been revealed. Usually 99% of the time we simply can’t do this without affecting schedule. The bottom line is you just can’t have it both ways. If you don’t want things spoiled for you, don’t read spoilers! That is all I can say.
    This one is already getting old, dude ...

    I answered “no” and that sent off a firestorm because what the fans were really asking was could the helmet turn and we had said there would be no action features.

    I quickly corrected this and confirmed that yes, of course the headpiece will turn 360 degrees. When we said “no action features” what we meant was no features that would break up the sculpt, like a lever or switch like many of the 200X figures had. If a feature was just added articulation, like making the visor rotate, that was a no-brainer. But yet another lesson for me that everything I say had the potential to be misinterpreted. I really had to remember to watch what I say and be as specific as possible, leaving very little room for interpretation.
    a lesson you still haven't learned three years later ...

    whatever cockamamie rationale was used in the day to explain this
    ... this from the man who brought us Orko the super-spy, the techno-virus and Spector
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    In disguise! Barbecue17's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thrawn29 View Post
    Or ridiculous, large, ugly dials that don't work. Oh, wait...I guess Hurricane "Sculpt Breaking Vintage Dial" Hordak didn't get the memo.

    That one still appalls me. Such an ugly, mind boggling choice.
    That was my first thought, too! Seriously, I really think something cool could have been done with HH's armor there rather than just mimicking a nonfunctional dial from the vintage toy.

    *Back on topic, Tri-Klops is definitely one of my favorite figuresfrom early on. Little details like the doomseeker with a new color scheme, those cool little kunai in the holsters on his back, and the weird eye socket tech under his visor really made this line in those early days.

    *So, can someone tell me what the story is with the ring. I know the ring was included with the vintage Tri-Klops and Trapjaw, right? I had a vintage Trapjaw as a kid but don't remember that ring.

    * What we got from Scott about "spoilers" and what we got from the Matty Q&A were nearly identical. Interesting. Does anybody really care about spoilers in a toyline with buying product? I really think the point of the question was to ask if Scott/ whomever shifted product around if it got leaked because a few folks were claiming that this was the case- I don't think anyone was asking Mattel to be spoiler. Believe me, I'm surprised enough that I'm blindly subscribing to a toyline for a year at a time. If I want surprises, I'll buy a jack in the box!
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    Heroic Warrior Eternian Poet's Avatar
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    "One of the really cool things about MOTU is you can often tell a good guy or a bad guy based on the visuals of the figure."

    I disagree!

    As a boy I used to love that Tri-Klops could look friendly (e.g. the blue eye) & Man-E-Faces could look horrible (the monster). You could even change Teela's appearance to make her look more sinister (her snake armour).

    Several of the early figures were somewhat ambiguous in appearance & character - in the minicomic, Ram-Man was originally a highwayman who sided with Skeletor (& was then tricked/used by him), Stratos originally appeared on Skeletor's side & Zodac was depicted as good, evil & neither! Even Castle Greyskull was originally a mysterious fortification that He-Man couldn't gain easy entry into - it was more a battleground between him & Skeletor (& you could use the reversable flag that came with it to show which side was currently in-charge of the place).

    This is one of the reasons I like Tri-Klops - he wasn't monsterous, but a man. He was summoned (trapped) by Skeletor, a highly skilled mercinary, not a devoted lackey.

    Even as a kid, I liked to "play in the grey areas" (hell, isn't that why we had "Greyskull" & not Black or Whiteskull?) & always enjoyed when He-Man's values were tested (e.g. Granymr asking him to kill the Skytree).
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    In disguise! Barbecue17's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eternian Poet View Post
    Even as a kid, I liked to "play in the grey areas" (hell, isn't that why we had "Greyskull" & not Black or Whiteskull?) & always enjoyed when He-Man's values were tested (e.g. Granymr asking him to kill the Skytree).
    I like your points. Lots of evil character could look heroic and lots of heroic characters looked monstrous. The Grayskull thing, however, I believe is because the guy who was designing it had a girlfriend/fiancee whose maiden name was Gray.
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    Heroic Warrior Eternian Poet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbecue17 View Post
    I like your points. Lots of evil character could look heroic and lots of heroic characters looked monstrous. The Grayskull thing, however, I believe is because the guy who was designing it had a girlfriend/fiancee whose maiden name was Gray.
    Oh

    Nevertheless, I used to think - as a boy - that the whole Masters thing was really about the sides changing a lot. MAA seemed really loyal to He-Man & BM really loyal to Skeletor, but the rest had swopped sides at least once, Man-E-Faces could be forced to swop sides, & some of Skeletor's other allies were being forced into it (Tri-Klops was summoned, Trap-Jaw was zapped with Skeletor's sword & forced to attack Greyskull) while Zodac seemed the most uncertain of them all!

    Skeletor would sometimes gain entry into the Castle, and he also stole a clone from the Sorceress (which implied he had some sort of power over Teela), had a joyride in the Talon Fighter, and took over Point Dread for a while. To me there was a rather mercinary dynamic and the characters & locations weren't on static sides. Even He-Man had an evil counterpart in Faker, which - because there was no clear backstory - really fed my imagination, & for a while Evil-Lyn was the corrupted Teela clone from the Goddess.
    Last edited by Eternian Poet; April 3, 2012 at 05:10pm.
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    Heroic Warrior Seril's Avatar
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    Another fun read! Looking forward to the next one.

    I think it's safe to say that anything Toyguru says will always be taken the worst way possible with the fandom. He'd almost be better off never answering anything again. That would be the only way to not be taken in the negative light he can't seem to get out of...
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  18. #18
    Heroic Warrior
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seril View Post
    Another fun read! Looking forward to the next one.

    I think it's safe to say that anything Toyguru says will always be taken the worst way possible with the fandom. He'd almost be better off never answering anything again. That would be the only way to not be taken in the negative light he can't seem to get out of...
    Amen to that!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevenn View Post
    The vintage Tri-Klops figure didn't have a green eye. That was only in the cross-sell art. The vintage figure actually had two red eyes. And angry red eye and an even angrier red eye.
    Was about to say the same thing. Shows how much this guy actually knows about MOTU.

  20. #20
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    Tri-Klops was one of the best Vintage figures and his Classics version is really good too. I didn't have his minicomic as a kid so I didn't know about his mercenary origin until later, but it is one of the best Vintage canon themes. I would have liked to have heard TG's view on this. I feel that this theme hasn't really made it into the Classics, which is a pity.
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  21. #21
    Heroic Fan ART Mod! JafariStew's Avatar
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    Now make us a MINI-COMIC Tri-Klops repaint/tool with the magenta chest & shoes, bandolier, & lime green armor! I WANT IT!
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  22. #22
    Human... Robot... Maniac Spacedust's Avatar
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    I love hearing all these "new origins" TG, though you've gone down in my book a few marks, as you consider Tri-Klops "just okay" I know everyone champions their own favourites in MOTU lore, but to me Tri-Klops is what this line is all about - like a space age twist on mythology, in this case, the cyclops. A humanoid gladiator bounty-hunter... this to me is what this line was all about, I'd take him over some of the "so what animals can we make into monsters for this wave" entires! (I refuse to accept the modern "inventor" concepts though; Tri-Klops should always be a barbarian bounty hunter - Trap Jaw is so much more suited to the role of inventor IMO.)

    Either way, be proud. Classsics TK captures that vintage box art (err... "cross sell" ) image so well, and to me that is what the Classics does best.
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  23. #23
    Heroic Warrior
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    Quote Originally Posted by JafariStew View Post
    Now make us a MINI-COMIC Tri-Klops repaint/tool with the magenta chest & shoes, bandolier, & lime green armor! I WANT IT!
    I would like this variant too. Battleground Tri-Klops or Mercenary Tri-Klops?
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  24. #24
    #1 Meteorb Fan! Joe Amato's Avatar
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    The name of the book that you are referring to with Tri-Klops as an astronaut is a Golden Book called "New Champions of Eternia". It is a full colored book, and not a Coloring Book. I have this book if you ever want pictures of it.

  25. #25
    Heroic Warrior
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacedust View Post
    Either way, be proud. Classsics TK captures that vintage box art (err... "cross sell" ) image so well, and to me that is what the Classics does best.
    Except for his sword. Instead of a doomseeker, They should have gave him both swords.

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