Controversy and Matty Collector seem to go together like PB&J. In this case, the hub-bub centered around word that Matty would be including a newly tooled snake torso for King Hssss in one of the Club Eternia figures for 2015. I try to tune out a lot of this stuff, but I think the plan was to pack it with Buzz Saw Hordak, which admittedly would have made that terrible figure a bit easier to swallow. Whether this was a promise or a loose comment, I don’t remember, but the bottom line was it didn’t happen because it would have been too expensive and despite Matty being fairly transparent on the matter and sending out a letter to the fans, subscribers still went berserk. Matty ultimately offered the piece for sale as its own figure with a bevy of extras at a pretty good price and it arrived at my door last week.
Yup, that’s the same old MOTUC packaging we’ve been seeing for years now. There’s even still a bio on the back, which is missing from the most current figure cards. You get a colorful “Snake Men” sticker on the bubble and Hssss’ tagline is “Evil Disguised Leader of the Snake Men.” To say that he fills out the bubble nicely is a bit of an understatement. It actually looks like Matty just took a pound of snakes and crammed them in there. In fact, it’s such a mess of snakes that I can barely make out most of the accessories.
There’s no doubt that the new torso is the star of this show. It takes the concept of the snake torso that we got with the original Classics King Hsss and cranks everything up. It’s beefier, better proportioned, and it ultimately it makes a pretty goofy idea and makes it look bad ass. Also, someone clearly said, “NEEDS MORE SNAKES!” I actually own two of the first Masters Classics King Hssss, which is convenient to display one human and one half snake. It’s also an odd thing to admit to, since I was never that fond of the original’s snake torso and would probably never display him with it. But this? This I like a lot. If the were coming after me, I would step on old ladies and babies to get away from this guy. Thanks to some bendy plastic and wires, six of the snakes are posable, so while the only two actual articulation points above the waist are the swivels in the waist and the main snake’s “neck” you can still have some fun with him.
The sculpting and paint on display here are both excellent. Hssss is covered in scales quite literally from head(s) to toe and there’s a lovely high gloss finish over the whole figure to give it that illusion of slime that all snakes are burdened with. The bulk of the figure is a sort of ochre color, that feels like a nod to the original snake torso, with green patterns. From the waist down, this seems to be a repaint from the Snake Men two-pack. At least that’s my impression. I never did get my hands on one of those packs. Either way it mates wonderfully with the new torso, although the legs on my figure are somewhat loose.
The main portrait features an open mouth, which offers a grizzly view right down the snake’s gob, and displays a pair of white fangs and a long cascading forked tongue. All the snake heads, right down to the tiniest have solid paintwork for their eyes and mouth and all around this is a great looking figure.
To sweeten the deal, Hssss comes with what is basically a mini-weapons-pack, which includes a shield, a mace, and a sword and spear, both with serpentine blades. These are actually some of my favorite weapons to come out of the line and they go a long way toward building value in this package. The weapons can be held in some of the smaller snakes’ mouths, but it’s tough to make it work and I honestly think these weapons will be better served getting doled out to my Snake Men or just being added to one of my Weapons Racks.
How about a bonus head? Yeah, Matty’s got us covered there too with a mid-transformation snake head for the humanoid King Hssss figure. Now, I presume this was intended for both the original and the 200x versions, but the socket is way too small for my original Classics Hssss. I’m sure I could get it to work if I tried hard enough, but for our purposes here, I’m showcasing it on the 200x figure from the two-pack. Again, it’s a great piece of work and looks fantastic on the figure.
Of course, while Serpent King Hssss is a complete figure onto its own, the torso is also compatible with the legs from either of the previous King Hsss figures, so you can mix-and-match all you want.
Naturally, I’m very glad Matty got this figure out and onto my shelf. It totally blows away the previous snake torso on every level and the fact that they gave him some legs and threw in so many accessories makes the pot all the sweeter. As for the controversy… it doesn’t really interest me. I can see collectors being frustrated when a company can’t follow through on an expectation, but while I am a toy collector, I’m not a child, and I realize these things happen in the grown up world of big business. I can see cause for rage if this individual piece motivated someone to buy in to the sub only to find it wasn’t included, but I can’t imagine that was the case for most. And in the end, the figure went up for sale to subscribers for $20, which quite frankly is a great deal for this densely packed bundle of goodies.