Joined: 18 Dec 2005
|Posted: Sun May 26, 2013 11:18 pm Post subject: Masters of the Universe Classics: Snake Face
|Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-Ravers,
Feels like it's been a while since I did my last review, but that's because I got April and May's figures from the same guy and he waited to ship them all together. As such I now have a few to do so let's get started with what was April's figure of the month. The slithering ranks of the King Hiss' troops are increasing even more with the arrival of his gorgon-like minion: Snake Face.
Snake Face comes in the standard MOTUC blister card package, complete with the Snake Men logo on the front of the bubble. On an interesting note he comes with his snakes out head on the body, though his chest snakes are not on. I'll explain more on that later. The back of the box shows off other figures in the line, though I'm confused why they didn't show off his other teammates Rattlor and Kobra Khan instead of some of the heroic warriors. I suppose Zodak and even King Grayskull make some sense as they were major opponents for the Snake Men, but not so much Vikor and especially not Mighty Spector! (seriously this kind of thing just adds fuel to the fire as he IS getting constantly shoved in our faces)
As always there is a bio for the character in the new continuity, and as usual I'm not overly wild about the real name. I must admit I was expecting Snake Face to turn out to be a victim of the Serpent's Ring as he always seemed to have a more human like head structure. Still the fact that his signature power was one that he was given by someone else does help explain the major flaw in it. Namely, that he is not immune to his own power. In mythology, while Medusa's face could still turn people to stone after she was killed, it was safe to look at her reflection. (that's how Perseus was able to kill her actually) Not so with Snake Face. Constantly in various stories he was getting turned to stone himself by being exposed to his own reflection. As a late comer in the vintage line he never had a Filmation appearance and in 200X he appeared only in the opener "Rise of the Snake Men" then got turned to stone and never came back on the show. (his stone form was seen the background a few times but he was never restored) I can't really blame the writers though as such an ability makes him too powerful to use often. It's hard to write new stories for a guy who can defeat opponents just by looking at them.
The figure itself, like most in the line, is almost all vintage inspired. I've noticed this in particular with the Snake Men and I think it may have to do with the fact that, if I remember correctly,the Four Horsemen did not design the 200X versions of the Snake Men. They sculpted them yes, but from artwork by Mattel instead of their own redesigns.
Snake Face uses the standard buck legs with Skeletor boots, feet and hands. (the more open left hand) Note that he has the older buck with the ankle pins showing, however the joints are nicely tight on mine and there is no hindrance to any articulation. His torso is the scaly buck from characters like Whiplash and Clawful, and it works great. I can't believe it didn't occur to me in the past this figure would be a perfect use of that buck. Otherwise though he has brand new sculpting. His shoulders are similar to the scaly ones but also feature the ridges. He features new biceps that continue the scaled look and brand new forearms that have sculpted on snakes coiled around them. The vintage figure had these as well, though they were not separately painted. I do wonder why they sculpted all new forearms instead of just making the snakes wrapped around the existing buck.
And then there's his head. This is really the first time we've gotten a head of Snake Face completely powered down. For the vintage figure, while the snakes could be retracted, they were always sitting there in the holes. For this figure we get a fully detailed head with piercing yellow and red eyes. He features the vintage route with his helmet. In 200X it was redesigned so that he had snake hair that hung like dreadlocks when he wasn't using his power. The paint ops on this head, in fact on the whole figure, are very well done. There was no skimping on paint ops here.
Except on his shield that is. It is done in a single light green color like the vintage version and, although the orb on it was given a gold color, I find it a little flat compared to everything else with the figure. His snake staff is the same as the other Snake Men done in a darker shade of green than King Hiss'. For Snake Face though the main attraction is his special ability. Due to the no action feature restriction, like so many others in the line, it is achieved via an alternate head. There is a slight 200X influence here as there is another snake coming from the mouth while on the vintage figure it was simply a forked snake tongue. Also there are two snakes seemingly emerging from the base of his skull rather than his shoulders. No doubt about the creepiness of the look though which is the most important factor.
On the vintage figure the two straps on his armor would fold down to form two more snakes emerging from his torso. Little known fact; the 200X staction actually has a similar feature where they can fold down, however they are not sculpted or painted to resemble snakes -almost like they originally planned to but then scrapped the idea. For the Classics version, the straps on the armor instead can be removed and the snakes plug into small holes. It should be noted that since the snakes are small solid plastic and the armor is soft, almost rubbery, it can be a hassle getting them plugged in. I find it's easier if you detach the armor's pegs so you can get your fingers in better position. Even then it gave me some trouble.
This does allow the snakes to stick out in a more actual serpent like manner. Something of note is that the chest snakes were green on the vintage but are red on the Classics. An early prototype for the Classics version had them green but they decided to go with the red snakes for unity. I don't feel this detracts from the figure in any way and it is a very well done update of the vintage look that adds great detail.
The 200X version, being a staction, was presented in a sort of half transformed state. Aside from his eye snakes not being popped out, his "hair" stood up like Medusa when he was using his power on the cartoon. He was made to look a bit less human like as well. I definitely prefer the design and color of the 200X shield though.
Snake Face was the one member of the Snake Men I did not own as a kid. (unless you count Blast Attak, who's a robot not a Snake Man, but was portrayed as a minion of Hiss in the mini-comic) Oh I knew about him and always wanted him, I just never managed to get him during the line's run and it wasn't until years later as an adult collector that I finally got him off E-Bay. While I am a bit surprised he showed up before Tung Lashor, particularly because of the amount of new tooling put into him, I am very pleased with the result. Snake Face is sold out on Mattycollector.com so you'll need to check the secondary market. Good Luck and, until next time, Good Journey.
SUPPORT MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE CLASSICS
"I HAVE THE POWER!!.... the power is mine, not yours. Thanks for asking."