Joined: 18 Dec 2005
|Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:27 pm Post subject: Masters Of The Universe Classics: King Hiss (Hssss)
|Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-Ravers,
Another figure has been added to Mattel's year round availability list, and fittingly so for it is a faction leader. The dreadful disguised leader of the Snake Men; King Hiss.
And yes I choose to spell it Hiss and not Hssss. In the vintage line it was King Hiss, then in the 200X line the spelling was changed to Hssss either to be clever or to secure a trademark. Strangely when the first Classics figure, King Grayskull was released his bio mentioned the snake lord and spelled it Hiss -then showed this spelling to be trademarked, but when the actual figure arrived they went back to Hssss. I hate this spelling, his name is pronounced hiss not huh-sissisis! So I'm going to continue to spell it Hiss.
King HISS comes in the standard MOTUC packaging with the bubble featuring a sticker with the vintage style Snake Man affiliation logo, similar to the Evil Horde stickers see before. The back of the box shows off other figures in the line and gives us a bio for King Hiss in the new continuity.
I wasn't keen on the Snake Men being from another world, but in retrospect this was used in the vintage mini-comics as well. For some reason this part never stayed in my memory as a kid and the Snake Men were always from Eternia. There's also the time feature. I can accept Snake Men living for hundreds of years but somehow the idea of King Hiss ruling Eternia for 300 years strikes me as a bit odd. True the Council of Elders ruled longer, but it's easier to believe peaceful rulers stayed in control longer than a despotic tyrant. Especially one who frequently ATE members of all the other races. There would have been a rebellion long before that.
Something else to mention, that Mattel admits was a mistake, is it was supposed to be 5000 years not 500 therefore the bio should say millenia not centuries. Let's move on to the actual figure now
Mattel has said "we lost our shirt with King Hiss" and you can see he does have quite a lot of new tooling. First off he is based on his vintage figure which pleases many fans as his 200X rendition was one of the less liked redesigned. (correct me if I'm wrong but I believe his update was actually not designed by the Horsemen, they sculpted the figure based on someone else's design) Hiss shares boots with Keldor and gloved hands with Hordak (though the forearms are new as they feature the armor design between the glove and joint) and actually he does have the standard torso with his armor sculpted over it. The armor is not removable. It limits the ab crunch forwards a bit but he can lean back no problem. All the standard articulation is present, which is far more than any previous version.
Sadly there is one problem and that is one that, it appears, affects everyone's figure; King Hiss' shoulders were assembled backwards. The reversed shoulders are more noticeable on this figure than others due to the design on the scale plate armor on the arms. It's actually not so horrible that completely ruins the figure in my opinion, but it is a major disappointment. Furthermore reissues still have the reversed shoulders because of the way the figure is made and assembled it apparently cannot be fixed without essentially remaking the whole figure. (i.e. it would take the cost of a new figure from the budget) and again Hiss was a very expensive figure to begin with.
Now the head sculpt on the other hand is amazing. While based mainly on the vintage figure there are a few tweaks that bring out great detail. The Vintage figure seemed to wear a hood that was attached to his tunic while the 200X had a helmet. This look is like the vintage but is a separate piece so he has full head movement. His face is excellent with an evil smirk and if you look close at his eyes you can see he has snake like slit pupils. On top of that, they're red.
Now of course the big feature with King Hiss is changing him from human to snake form. Previously this was done with a removable skin shell that fit over the snake body but limited movement. Instead of sacrificing the super articulation of the Classics line, they choose to give Hiss interchangeable torsos.
Unlike most figures which use the same waist piece with various loincloth covers, King Hiss has a new solid one piece plastic waist with a hole to swap out the torso pegs. The torsos are easily swapped but stay in fairly well, though loose enough to allow waist swivel.
The Snake body is designed with bendy snake arms allowing for a large range of poses. The jaw is artiulated and thankfully the head faces forward much better than previous versions. I do kind of wish the other snakes were a bit more set back just so he looks better from the side or back.
It's not bad at all, in fact this is still probably the best Hiss snake body ever in figure form. I do sort of feel the extra snake around the neck that the vintage figure had really would have completed the look here, nevertheless this is an awesome sculpt.
Comparing the human forms you can see how the vintage figure was a bit limited by his shell. I also really like the expression on the Classic's face a bit more. Still, you can see how the design was vintage based and updated including his weapons. Hiss comes with his vintage style staff and shield. The staff is a perfect update with a more detailed paint job that brings out the diamondback pattern. His shield features the Snake Man logo around a round gem like center. On the vintage figure this is where the clip peg attached and the shield could be swiveled down. The Classics shield however has only the prong clip on the back and cannot.
Next to the 200X version you can see a big difference. No real influence here. His head is a bit more helmet like than the vintage but nowhere near the 200X style.
Thankfully the snake form is completely different. Much as I love the 200X line I cannot defend this look. It's too confined, squashed down, the snake arms are too short, the little things popping from the shoulders look silly. And I don't think I even need to say anything about the hinged human form hanging there. Hiss' snake form looked cool and menacing on the cartoon and in the comic, the figure not so much. The only real advantage here is the mouths on the snake hands had hinged jaws.
No it's vintage inspiration here. You can see what I mean about the neck snake though and to some extent the extra snakes at the waist. I cannot deny though being able to pose the snakes around better is an excellent detail.
While the Snake Men may not be as cool and popular as the Evil Horde, King Hiss is still a vital character to the collection. Honestly he was one of my favorites from the vintage line and the update is a nearly perfect rendition of the character. Even with the reversed shoulders I still list him as a must have. King Hiss is available now on Mattycollector.com and has been added to the year round availability. Until next time, Good Journey.
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