The 13 Year Silver Claw Story

When I posted this picture it was the end of, possibly, my greatest procrastination. Actually, that’s an over-simplification. Let me explain.

October 6th, 2008 I shared some news on LRG. I had found another Purple #153, but it was entombed in silver boat paint. Where did I find it? From a seller in Canada.

Looking back at that LRG post it’s amazing how naïve we still were. Sure the Color Code had been cracked, but many collectors still held out hope for things like a Magenta #153.

I wish I could say exactly where the seller was from. I don’t remember. I know it was a message board. Around that time I was scouring what felt like any message board I could find – especially if it was Canadian-centric. I’m pretty sure at one point I joined a Canadian group for mothers. M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting was only starting to come out of the dark ages and I was starting to come out of my manic collecting phase.

It’s funny that I don’t remember the other figures I bought. But I have a crystal clear memory of the seller saying something like, “I have these extra painted figures. I’ll just throw them in. I used them to make a chess set. I can’t believe I used silver boat paint.”

Painted MUSCLE Figures

I think the above image is all the painted figures I received (EDIT: There was also a #37, as evidenced below.). You should be wondering, “Why does the #22 figure look like that?”

Honestly, I can’t remember. Based on this LRG post he might have been one of my first tests. I had forgotten about trying nail polish remover, but that previous post brought the memory screaming back.

Removing Paint MUSCLE FiguresThe #22 figure was the first one I tested in 409 cleaning solution. There was a second test figure, but the nail polish remover destroyed the figure. It ate away at the details of the figure. That’s why I became so cautious. I feared destroying a Purple #153 figure. (Hey, I may not love the #153 anymore – but I don’t want to destroy it.)

In late October of 2010, I thought the Purple Claw Project would finally get started. And, to a degree, it did. The “teaser” (🙄) shows that I was already starting the 409 and Simple Green soaking. A comment from that posted reminded me about the boiling and I added that test.

I need to fix the entire Environmental Sciences section. For me, this is a classic example of the university theme and my objectivity goals getting in the way. Fine, call it ENVS but why be so boring? Those posts suck. Why talk about what I’m going to do? Just do it. I cringe looking back.

Eventually, we got to the first test I shared – Boiling a Figure to remove paint. I still like the video.

I could tell you more about the “experiment,” but it would be a rehash of this SUS. The boiling write-up, if I may humbly suggest, is a well written experiment summary – but it lacks readability and fun. I had fun boiling that figure. I wish I would have captured that too.

I mentioned that the experiment was conducted in my, at the time, recently deceased grandmother’s home. My dad and I were there finishing emptying it out. He had no concept of what I was doing. My memory of that day is truly two things: (1) the boil-over; and (2) my dad masterfully laughing at me and supporting me at the same time. He set the dad-bar pretty high. That was a good day. I wish I had captured more of that part.

Next up was the 409 and Simple Green experiment.

Again, I like the video – but it’s too long. The Scott Joplin joke was cute the first time, but too long (and unnecessary) the second time. I also should have simplified everything about #68 figure.

This is a classic example of where absolute objectivity gets in the way. I knew the #2 figure was Orange, but I didn’t want to leave any room for objections. I should have just said the entombed figure turned out to be Orange. Why did I need to make it more difficult and, I think, more confusing?

Remove Odors By Freezing

The figures enter the freezer.

With 20/20 hindsight the painted #153 should have gone right into the Simple Green. It didn’t.

For some stupid reason the next experiment was Freezing Figures to Remove Odors. Sure it had been suggested and maybe it could be interesting – but this post wasn’t. It’s barely an anecdote. It should have been part of an Epilogue. Or part of the final Claw “experiment.” It’s a bad one. And it was the ending for a long, long time.

I don’t really know why. If I’m being honest with myself, then I probably had delusions of grandeur. I probably thought it was going to be this great video. I was over thinking it, which led to procrastination. And that led to being too busy – which is both true and untrue.

I should have done it when the boys were small. When our schedule wasn’t full of schools, and piano, and baseball, and everything else. I could suggest COVID gave me the time, but it was the boys being older. They didn’t need, or want me, as much. They’re growing up.

So I started cleaning the figure.

Simple Green Removes Paint

Removing Paint From Figures

As I started, I thought I would basically do it like before. I was even recording the cleaning process. But then it struck me – that’s dumb. Why do it the same way?

In the previous Simple Green video I mentioned I scrubbed for 40 minutes. It took much longer this time. The #153 felt like it was only nooks and crannies. I had to stop the initial scrubbing because I couldn’t devote so much time to cleaning a figure.

When I started again I didn’t set-up the camera. I already knew I wasn’t making a video. I just wanted to be done. As I sat and scrubbed I genuinely wondered, “What am I doing?”

I had always held some fantasy that I would give each boy a Purple #153 when I died. It was a special figure, both #153’s had a special story, and they clearly know about my love of M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. They don’t need a trinket. I don’t want to commit the same emotional terrorism my father will commit. What am I supposed to do with two Purple #153 figures?

Two Purple #153 MUSCLE Figures

“You should sell them and make bank!”

I guess, logically, that would make sense. But I don’t care about selling figures. I hate doing it. More importantly, it doesn’t feel like the correct answer for me.

I’ve carried around this stupid painted figure for 13 years. I finally cleaned it and it doesn’t really feel like the ending. Sure, I finally accomplished the task – but maybe I’m supposed to learn something else. I think I’m in the middle of it right now. I hope the SUS, in five years, has the answer.

My best guess is that I shouldn’t procrastinate. Not because I should get shit done, but because you don’t know what is next. Maybe it is preparing me for the M.U.S.C.L.E. finish line. I thought the boiling experiment was about cleaning figures. That was actually about a memorable day with my father. I had some preconceived notion about cleaning the Purple #153, but the end isn’t what I imagined.

, ,

  1. #1 by Walker26 on January 12, 2021 - 3:25 pm

    Great to see the Claw free. If you’re not going to give it to your sons, and want to still do something special for it, do an auction with 100% of the proceeds going to a cause you believe in.

  2. #2 by Chad Perry on January 12, 2021 - 4:56 pm

    I like that idea.

  3. #3 by Professorterry on January 12, 2021 - 7:52 pm

    One of my favorite write ups! You know after 10+ years of collecting I’ve never owned a purple claw? I just refuse to overpay for it. If it was a charity auction I’d be more inclined to at least have a go at one 🙂

(will not be published)