Joined: 18 Dec 2005
|Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 5:03 pm Post subject: Masters of the Universe Classics: Snake Men
|Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-Ravers,
Snakes... why did it have to be snakes? In all seriousness many fans were let down to get a Snake Men army builder pack before Horde Troopers, but we need to put that aside (the fact that Horde Troopers have been all but confirmed for 2013 takes a bit of the blow away) and give a fair evaluation to the actual figures.
The Snake Men come in a two-pack box very similar to what we got with the last army builder set of the Palace Guards. It, naturally, features the Snake Men logo on the front. The back of the box shows off other figures in the line, but is off on its assortment in my opinion. I can sort of understand why they have King Grayskull and Zodak there given the characters strong rivalry with the Snake Men, but wouldn't it make more sense to have Kobra Khan and/or Rattlor who's coming next month? And is there really any reason for displaying The Mighty Spector on this box?
Then, of course there is a bio card for Snake Men in the new continuity. It clearly leans more towards the 200X storyline here, but something to remember is, the Snake Men army was not freed in the vintage storyline. It was actually a major ongoing plot point that King Hiss had only his handful of warriors (the ones we got figures of) at his disposal and he was constantly attempting to free his armies from the void in order to conquer Eternia. In 200X he got them all free at the same time he got out. They nearly did conquer Eternia, and it was only when Zodak beat up Hiss himself and threw him into the Great Abyss that they all played lemming and jumped in after him. We never saw them in quite so large numbers after that so presumably they didn't all survive. (The comic adaptation explained it away by having Evil-Lyn unleash a mystical fit of rage that killed most of them making it seem more like the rest jumped in the abyss to avoid death)
I never liked the idea of the Snake Men being aliens. For some reason I always had them as being from Eternia growing up, even though looking back at the vintage mini-comic it does state they came from another dimension. Somehow that never stuck in my mind so, while I really can't fault the idea as it is previously established, I have trouble wrapping my head around it. And why only three races when there are so many different Snake Men. Though to be fair, the generic troops usually looked very much alike. It was only the main Generals and Hiss himself that seemed extra special. No mention of the Serpent's Ring either.
Okay let's talk about the actual figures here. Being an army builder pack you get multiple parts that can be mixed and matched to make several different characters. The idea, of course, being that the more packs you buy the more soldiers you have for the army, without them all being straight up clones. In this pack you get two bodies, four heads, two different chest armor pieces, a large spiky club, a sword, a spear, and a shield featuring the Snake Men logo.
The one armor is a full torso piece done in blue with silver highlights and a large Snake Logo on the chest. The other is more of a half armor with shoulder guard done in brown. The shoulder pad can limit how high you can raise the arm, but neither seem to interfere with ab-crunch.
Taking a look at the bodies under the armor you can see the differences and brand new tooling. Both bodies use the standard buck torso but with a new neck piece similar to ones seen before on Mer-Man, Stinkor, and Draego-Man. The yellow body is comprised of all reused parts with the standard buck shoulders and biceps, the Skeletor feet and hands, Whiplash forearms and upper legs, and the boot tops and loincloth/pants piece of Kobra Khan. It really shows how you can make a new individual character by combining pre-existing parts.
The other body is done in a more orangish brown color. In addition to the standard torso he features the longer Preternian style loincloth. His arms and legs though are entirely new tooling. It contains all the same articulation points save the calve/boot top which, as always, is not present on fully bare legs. Each part is done in a distinct scaly sculpt that most collectors will instantly recognize as Rattlor's design. We saw this new body months before Rattlor was revealed but sure enough he followed and is actually slated a mere month later.
You get four heads though they are only in the two colors of the bodies. Two of them have open mouths and two are closed which at first led fans to believe they were just the same heads in different poses. Having them in hand you can see they actually each have a unique sculpt and different color eyes. So while they are of the same race, they are unique individuals. Nevertheless, this does somewhat limit the swapability.
Because of the colors, the heads only really look right on the matching bodies. The yellow heads don't look as bad on the brown body but it really stands out the other way around. Another problem is you can't even use these heads repainted with other bodies. For some reason when the heads are put on older bucks, say a Skeletor body, they are super loose. I mean they spin around like a vintage Sy-Klone. Combine this with the fact that there are only two armors and it just feels like you don't get as many display options as you did with the Palace Guards.
Adding to that is the lower number of weapons in the pack. Only four as opposed to six with the guards. Now those weapons are very cool. A neat feature I didn't notice at first was the hilt of the sword and the head of the spear are designed to look like open snake mouths with the twisted blade being the flickering tongue. Again though you have limited display options as the one body uses the open left hand so it cannot hold any of the weapons. I'm sorry but I just have to fault this choice, they really should have used the more closed left hand so the figure could hold stuff.
The figures do look great and are welcome additions to the line. I do recommend at least two packs for any collector so you can display all four heads, however beyond that I don't feel the pull. Somehow I felt there were much more options available with the Palace Guards than we are getting here. Perhaps it's because they had more armor options (though you can also go with no armor for your Snake Men as they were seen that way on the cartoon) but also there was the face guards for the helmets. By hiding the faces you could have more characters of the same race that didn't feel like clones. Cover the one guard's face and he's no longer Lt. Spector. With the Snake Men it feels like you have four guys and that's it. I think it's because they are so exposed unlike the guards or Horde Troopers who wear uniforms. (Or maybe it's just because I like the Horde more) I'm not sure why it just feels when I look at a bunch of Palace Guard figures I see an army of soldiers who are all different people, but when I look at a bunch of Snake Men figures, I see multiples of the same figures.
Mattel has stated they may reissue the pack in the future with the Snake Men painted in different colors. This would really help to expand the army building options in my opinion. The Snake Men are sold out on Mattycollector.com so for now you'll need to check the secondary market.
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Joined: 30 Jan 2005