Masters of the Universe Classics: Snake Armor He-Man and Battle Armor King Hssss

I tried to get this one in before the month ended, but alas, no such luck. But, at the very least I’m getting it in before March’s Sale Day. This 2-pack seemed to come out of nowhere and I certainly wouldn’t have expected to see anything like it in the final year of the line (as we know it). Of course, after Toy Fair it makes a lot more sense. Matty has since revealed their MYP-based Mini Sub, which opened up for sale last Monday (Yup, I already subbed!), so it’s probably no coincidence that they gave us a little taste of MYP He-Man goodness to help push us into getting out our credit cards and subbing up like the good little He-Fans that we are.

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The package is that familiar trapezoid shaped window box that has been used for Masters multi-packs in the past. In this case it feels a lot more compact with not a lot of wasted space. The window bears the “Snake Men” sticker on the front and proclaims He-Man to be “The Most Powerful Snake Hunter in the Universe” and Hssss the “Slithering Leader of the Snake Men.” At this point I might as well mention that the MYP version of He-Man is by far my favorite aspect of the Masters fiction and yeah, that’s coming from a 42 year old who grew up with the original Filmation cartoon. Despite never seeing the new series when it originally aired, I picked up the DVD box set on the cheap. It sat unopened on my shelf for months until one weekend when I was sick in bed I gorged myself on practically the whole thing and really loved it. The figures, on the other hand were another matter. I remember having to shuffle through piles of the 200x figures at the KB Toy Outlet just to get to something I actually wanted. A lot of fans blame the 200x era for Masters’ decline and disappearance from the toy aisles. It makes me wonder whether Mattel isn’t opening an old wound by revisiting this stuff, but that’s an argument for another day. Let’s kick it off with He-Man…

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As someone who was not a big fan of the whole themed variants concept that ran amok in the 200x line I still have to say that I am in love with this armor. Snake Armor? Pfft… don’t care what kind of armor it is, it just looks absolutely bitchin’. I get a little medieval vibe off of it in the legs, and a major gladiator feeling off the shoulder piece. I also really dig that it keeps the He crest and at least one of the cross straps to maintain the flavor of He-Man’s iconic design. And yeah, you also get the snake and sword emblem just in case the whole Snake Armor thing is something that you do care about. Besides the overall design, the sculpt is just packed with detail. The “skirt” strips are textured to look like leather, the shoulder guard has a great hammered finish to it, and there are little cracks and dings here and here to make it all look a little battle weathered. Everything about the execution of the armor from sculpt to paint is just solid work. I also love what they did with the colors. The red, gold, and green really make the figure pop.

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The portrait, on the other hand, I’m a little iffy on. Don’t get me wrong, it looks great by itself, but there’s something a little off about it as an MYP style He-Man and yet I can’t really call out any one specific thing. It seems petty to gripe about something like that on what is a really amazing looking figure, so I’m not going to dwell on it.

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He-Man comes with two accessories: A pincer claw for his right gauntlet and his Power Sword. The sword is the same basic piece that came packed with Man-At-Arms waaaay back when. It may have a different paint job, but it looks quite similar to me. I was never a huge fan of this sword design, it’s probably one of my least favorite things about the MYP series, but I’m still glad he came with it and he can sling it on his back thanks to a carry strap in the armor.

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As for the pincer claw, assuming that’s what it is, I’m not all that into it, so I’m especially glad that it’s removable. Although in the short time I’ve spent playing around with these figures it is starting to grow on me a bit, so he may eventually wind up displayed with the piece attached.

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And that brings us to King Hssss. I can’t even begin to recount how much more I like his MYP design over the more Classic one. Is that sacrilege? I don’t know, nor do I care. This new version has more of a regal look to it, like an ancient Babylonian King and I think it really suits the character well. The segmented armor and scaled sash drive the snake motif home really well and man do I dig that gold belt with the sculpted snake face and fangs coming down over the red sash. Even the paintwork on his gorget, with the gold fringe and green snake emblem, is just beautifully done. Oh yeah, he also has Predator feet and sandals! As with He-Man, I really dig the coloring on this figure as well, particularly that gorgeous crimson paint they used on his sash.

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The portrait features a very stylized face and it’s the face of a man with a very bad temper. The gray skin and piercing red eyes serve to make him look all that more monstrous and intimidating. The paintwork on the helmet features both gold and copper paint.

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This version of Hssss was originally shown off with a newly sculpted snake torso and that is conspicuously missing from the box. Disappointing? Yes, especially since it looked really good, but I’m not counting it out yet. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing it bundled in somewhere down the line. Of course, if you were wondering, you can still pull him apart and slap on the old Classics Hssss snake torso as something to tide you over.

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Hssss does come with his staff and shield. Suprise! We’ve seen these two molds before. I will, however, say that this is my absolute favorite version of the Snake Men staff. The shield is painted in a dark chocolate brown with a slight metallic twinge to it and it ain’t bad either.

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Articulation on both of these figures is what we’ve seen all along in the line’s male bucks. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, hinged at the knees and again at the ankles. Because of the sculpt, Hssss doesn’t have a lot of movement in the ankle hinges. Both figures have ab crunches hinges, can swivel at the waist, and have ball jointed necks.

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This two pack was a welcome treat, not only for being delightfully unexpected but for the simple fact that it contains two really solid figures. The He-Man is quite stunning and while I didn’t think I needed another version of Hssss, I have to say that he’s easily my favorite of the two Classics versions. The set certainly performed well for Matty and did indeed sell through, even at the non-subber price of $55. I could have seen myself paying a lot to get this He-Man on the secondary market if I had to. He’s just that good. Now the only problem is that I have absolutely no idea which of my Masters shelves to display them on.

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2 comments on “Masters of the Universe Classics: Snake Armor He-Man and Battle Armor King Hssss

  1. Finally got February’s figures on Friday. Opened them today. Gorgeous. I agree on He-Man’s head. I think what’s a little bit off about it is that it’s not as thin as the 200x figures head was in proportion to the rest of him. It almost gives him a chubby cheeked look that makes the head look too young for MYP He-Man. I’ve seen some pics from some folks who swapped his head onto an Orko pack-in Adam, and the effect makes it really work well as a 200x Adam.

    I’m curious to see what figure we get the 200x Hiss Snake body with. You’d think Sssqueeze would be the most likely candidate, but his package is going to be full of arms, already.

    I feel your shelf woes, too. No idea where these guys are going yet.

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