Welcome to yet another review from Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Classics line of figures! It seems like the frequency has been upped lately thanks to the Quarterly Bonus figures, Large Beasts, etc. and we couldn’t be happier about it! This line, while being plagued with various QC issues and maddening distribution, still manages to get us pumped with the release of each new figure! Today we’re taking a look at King Hssss, or as his bio reveals his true name to be – Hssss of the Viper House. Hssss of the Viper House? Ummm… That’s one mighty fine name you’ve got there King! Of course, by “mighty fine” we mean “insanely ridiculous”! That is just one example of the many ludicrous elements that makes MOTUC what it is. We’ll start things of in our usual way with the bio we snatched from the back of Hssss’s package:
A servant of the Unnamed One, Hssss was chosen to lead and army of Snake Men to the planet of Eternia to plunder its magical secrets. He ruled Eternia for three centuries until a rebellion formed under D’Vann Grayskull. Soon afterwards, the Horde invaded and Hssss was drawn into a three-way war. All three sides agreed to a temporary truce in order to to construct the Three Towers, but Hssss was betrayed by Hordak and in time was banished to the Void by the Elders and Zodak. For five centuries he and his army waited until Evil-Lyn and a Snake men descendent named Kobra Kahn opened the Snake Pit to free them. King Hssss often tricks foes by appearing heroic but then transforms into a seething mass of serpents and leads the Snake Men into battle!
Hssss is primarily a new sculpt which is always a surprise in this line known for its re-use. The head, torso armor, arms, waist, and legs are all new. This design for Hssss plays heavily on the vintage figure and the Four Horsemen have done a nice job of bringing this serpentine bastard into the MOTUC line. His armor is nice and intricate with lots and lots of layers sculpted into the design, especially down the arms and legs. Hssss’s face is locked in a nice, knowing smirk… knowing he’s gonna burst into a pile of snakes, that is! The sculpt on the face does appear to have a softer appearance than we normally see (and prefer) but we’re blaming it on the paint. Overall, from the Snake Men insignia on his chest to the scaled panties, Hssss is a very good representation of this tricky conqueror.
This figure of King Hssss is mostly made up of parts that are already molded in their appropriate color. Where there is paint, it’s very clean and there aren’t really any problems with slop. However, there also isn’t an overabundance of paint applications either. While his green armor does have some airbrushing to help bring out the detail, perhaps some more highlights would have been useful to bring out the intricacy of the sculpt overall, most notable on his helmet. As he is, King Hssss has a nice look about him, and even without extra detail, still brings across the look of the character in the appropriate colors.
Articulation-wise, Hssss is the same as most other MOTUC figures. He has a ball-joint head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, hinged torso, swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees, swivel boot tops, & hinged “rocker” ankles. The King’s head movement is slightly limited due to his armor butting up against his helmet, and his hinged torso doesn’t have nearly the forward range thanks to his armor. The only real aggravation with the joints comes from his hips. Due to the sculpt of his scaled war-panties, Hssss is incapable of properly lifting his legs without causing him to “pop” in half at the waist. Good thing he’s got plenty of crazed and devout snake Men to do his bidding… like climbing ladders. Other than the bitching previously described, there was no trouble with the rest of the articulation. All of the joints, including the ankles, are tight and hold their poses well.
King Hssss comes with a few accessories worth noting. First up is his staff. It is the familiar rod, with a serpent wrapped around the entire length and baring its fangs. Surprising, it’s made with a stiff plastic and has a metallic paint app to bring out the designs on the snake’s back and the staff itself. Hssss also has a shield which clips to his wrists in the usual style. It is molded in red and has some minor detailing on the raised Snake Men insignia. It’s a good size clips easily to Hssss’s wrist, so no problems on that end. Lastly, King Hssss is packaged with his true snake form! Simply remove his upper body and attach this new torso to his waist by the peg. It features and articulated jaw, and two snake “arms” that have wires inside allowing them to be posed in almost any position. The paintwork and sculpting on this piece are top notch and really make us wish for a second Hssss figure so we could display him in both transformations!
As it is, King Hssss is not only a figure with a cool transformation, but is also an integral part to any Masters of the Universe Classics collection. He fits in no matter what display you have set up, whether it be current or Preternia, and will even look good going up against Hordak or Skeletor. While he may not be on our Figure of the Year contender list, Hssss is still one tough-looking toy. He becomes available March 15th at noon eastern, only on Matty Collector.com.
Stay tuned to MTV Geek! for all your MOTUC and snake-king related coverage!