Masters of the Universe Classics: Snake Man-at-Arms Review
Snake Man-at-Arms was another figure that didn’t go over well when first revealed. It’s a variant based on a single episode of the 200X/MYP cartoon series. (Man-at-Arms, Teela, Mekaneck and village full of cat people were transformed into snake men. Only a toy of Snake Teela was made for the 200X line, and I wasn’t particularly impressed with that.) The prototype was just the same old Man-at-Arms body with a new head, a slightly different paint job and fewer accessories. They fixed it up a little bit since then, and it turns out this version of the character was a little bit more important than originally thought.
When the prototype was shown being basically the regular Man-at-Arms with a new head, Mattel was quick to say they were looking for ways to “plus up” the design, probably by giving him Trapjaw/Roboto/Man-E-Faces parts for an armored 200X look. Fans suggested a helmetless head with a ponytail, as we saw several times in the 200X cartoon, or the 200X arm cannon. These were shot down because the budget was already set and no new parts could be added. (That arm cannon did eventually get designed anyway, and will be in an upcoming weapons pack.) So the end result was just what they said, the same figure with Trapjaw/Roboto/Man-E-Faces parts.
What got me interested was the story behind why this figure was made. The plan for the unproduced 3rd season of the 200X cartoon was to have Man-at-Arms transformed into a snake man permanently. In addition to bringing a new villain with an interesting dynamic to the show, this would’ve been a source of vehicles for the snake men, which would mean more toys to sell. So instead of an obscure variant, this would’ve been a pretty important take on the character if things had gone differently 8 years ago.
Build and Deco
The head is the main attraction here. The face is sculpted with scales and painted two shades of green. He’s also got red eyes and individually painted teeth. It’s all very nice. The helmet has a couple of things that differentiate it from the regular Man-at-Arms’ helmet, besides a lighter color scheme. The recessed areas on either side of his face have some horizontal lines on them, like the helmet on 200X Man-at-Arms. There’s also a couple of ridges running around the back, which are painted a light metallic blue. If you’re into customizing, you could probably rip this helmet off and swap it onto regular Man-at-Arms’ mustachioed head to get a more complete 200X look. Maybe Mattel will include such a head with some figure in the future now that they have the parts.
The body is a mix of those armored parts to make him look more like 200X Man-at-Arms. It’s not bad, but I’m not sure I like how it comes together. He has the longer loin cloth (like 200X) and his left foot is a different sculpt from the right as well as orange to match the armor (like 200X). His left hand is also painted orange to match the armor, which was not the case in 200X, so I’m not sure why that choice was made. He’s a lighter shade of green than the regular M-a-A, with his blue parts being a lighter shade of blue, and the boots and loin cloth, anything furry, is reddish brown instead of being almost black. His has the newer boots without the ankle pins showing, but the ankle joints are made of the same green plastic as most of his body, so they stand out.
The articulation is typical for MOTUC. He has the ball-jointed neck, hips that bend both ways and rotate, shoulders that bend both ways, ankle bends, boot twists, knee bends waist twist, ab crunch, elbow bends, bicep twists, and wrist twists. Like the regular Man-at-Arms and Palace Guards though, the armor can significantly interfere with the left arm’s articulation. The head has a good range of movement, but the armor gets in the way of turning it left and right too far. Joints are all fairly tight and he has no problem standing.
Snake Man-at-Arms comes with the same club and armor as regular Man-at-Arms, plus the Serpent’s Ring. The club and armor are lighter orange than what came with the regular M-a-A, with a blue tank and brown fur, the 200X color scheme. (Aside from the blue tank, it’s the vintage color scheme too. Regular M-a-A is closer to the vintage card art.) Various details are also painted gold. The Serpent’s Ring is the MacGuffin King Hsss used to transform Man-at-Arms into a snake man. It’s a snake coiled around a ring, all gold, except the snake’s eyes are painted green. It’s neat seeing little things like this from episodes of the cartoons. I’d like to see something like the Diamond Ray of Disappearance or the Staff of Avion show up with some other figure in the future.
Snake Man-at-Arms also comes with the second of 3 minicomics included with figures this year. It introduces He-Ro and features appearances by a lot of familiar (and some unfamiliar) characters. The next one will be included with Dragon Blaster Skeletor.
As with She-Ra and Bubble Power She-Ra, if you have the regular Man-at-Arms, you can mix and match the bodies, heads, armor and weapons to build your perfect figure.
This is the second time a figure’s backstory has made it more desirable to me, but I could see this being an easy pass for a lot of people. There just isn’t a lot to distinguish this figure from the regular Man-at-Arms, and the snake head was just from a single episode. It’s best for 200X fans and people who need to have all the minicomics.
Snake Man-at-Arms was sold in June 2012, so you’ll have to check places like Amazon, BigBadToyStore or eBay to get it now. New figures go on sale on MattyCollector.com each month, usually on the 15th. The lineup for the July 16 sale seems to just be Spikor.
Posted on July 14, 2012, in Reviews, Toys and tagged 200X, action figures, Classics figures, Duncan, He-Man, Heroic Warriors, Man-at-Arms, Masters of the Universe Classics, Mattel, MattyCollector, Mike Young Productions, minicomic, MOTU, MOTUC, Snake Man-at-Arms, Snake Men, toys, variant. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.