As you have probably guessed by now, we have quite a bit of new Masters of the Universe goodies to bring you in the coming days. I know that we traditionally try to keep our First Looks in order of the release schedule, but we have decided to do things a bit differently this time and let the reveals come by the vote of the people. We brought you Mekaneck yesterday, but the brief voting period has closed and it looks like most fans want to crawl on their bellies in the company of slimy serpents. Don’t worry, we will have all of our features up well ahead of the September Matty Sale date, so just bear with us–we have lots of good stuff planned.
I will be honest, I had originally scheduled the Snake Men two-pack to be next on the docket, but since they did not win the vote, we will wait a couple of days for them. Ultimately, though, I think things worked out for the best because what good is an army without their commander? What do the rank and file do without their commanding general? In the interest of keeping things orderly, the (arguably) most fearsome of all the Snake Men will lead the charge today. Yep, Rattlor will be arriving next month, and after over a year of waiting, we finally have another classic snake to add to our shelves (Khan was an Evil Warrior in the vintage line). It is agonizing to wait for new characters within a faction when there are so few representations, but if a figure is done well, it makes it all worth it. Well, I am going come out and say it–of all of the new figures that arrived yesterday, I think Rattlor is standout.
Even though I never really played with the Snake Men as an organized faction as a kid, I did like having the snakes join the battles in my adventures. I had all of them, save Snake Face, but Tung Lashor and Rattlor were always my favorites. Those two figures were just great concepts with perfect action features and interesting looks to boot. Sure, they were not a part of Skeletor’s inner circle or the Horde for me, but they were always there to cause trouble for the forces of good. If I HAD to pick a favorite Snake Man from my youth, I would have to go with Rattlor, so his Classics release has been something of a highly anticipated event for me.
Like all years since the start of the MOTUC line, SDCC 2012 was a near-overwhelming bonanza of impressive new releases. When you get a glut of awesome like that all at one time, characters and figures can sometimes get lost in the fray of reveals. Rattlor, though, as soon as I clapped eyes on this guy, I started to get very impatient for October. That is the cool thing about new figures and MOTU in particular, even though as characters figures like Frosta, Jitsu and Granamyr held my interest more, when a well done figure unexpectedly hops on your radar, it is always fun. That was certainly the case with Rattlor. I had a suspicion he would be coming sooner than later (due to so much of his sculpt being done in the Snake Men pack), but he has slithered out of the void in fine style.
In some ways, he looks exactly how you would expect the Classics Rattlor to look–he is a very impressive update of the original figure. However, as it has become common place in this line, the subtleties and care put into the figure always find new ways to grab your attention. Two points in particular are really strong with Rattlor: his sculpt and his paint. Hey, those are two of the most important aspects when talking about action figures, right? Yep, something good is going on here.
For a line that relies heavily on part reuse, Rattlor has been afforded just about every individual detail that could be possible in terms of sculpt. Yes, I get that his legs and arms, feet and hands and shoulder all technically belong to the orange Snake Man since he comes out first, but c’mon–those things were MEANT for Rattlor. We finally have a scaly snake to join our collection and every line and detail from the vintage version has been heightened in this figure. The Horsemen have spent a lot of time sculpting feathers and reptile scales in the past year or so and their craft is certainly honed by now. I love all of the texture that comes with this figure and he feels different than other figures due to the detailing.
Like I said, his extremities are shared with one of the Snake Men, so the legs are included in that, and if you are a slave to the vintage aesthetic, you will notice right away that this Rattlor stands a lot taller than his older counterpart. The ’80s figure had very, very stumpy legs, so some of the height he could have had without his extended neck was lost due to this fact, but the Classics incarnation is an absolute beast of a figure. He wears a long loincloth common to those that have been around since the Preternia days, but that is in terms of his “clothing.” Due to the budget being eaten up by paint, the possibility of the 200x “General” armor being included was taken away, but I am personally not bothered by that since I never cared for the garish and unmatched colors and simple “toy” feeling of it. The good news is that the 200x armor WILL fit on this figure, so if it is your want to outfit him further, have at it.
In addition to the Snake Men arms and legs, Rattlor does have an all new torso to account for all of the scale detailing in his design. I like how it retains the elongated build of the old figure and he does retain the abdominal crunch articulation point standard in the MOTUC line. The back of the torso also accommodates his massive snake tale that helps give RATTLOR his shtick. Yep, he rattles! It is not as loud as the vintage figure but there is most certainly a rattle in the back of that tail waiting to intimidate his enemies. I love that they were able to include this feature without sacrificing any of the detail or articulation. His tail is even articulated with a cut just like Whiplash has so you can have some display options for him.
Aside from the rattle, the other big action feature of the old Rattlor figure was the extending neck. Man, how cool was that when you were a kid? Here is Rattlor just fighting some dudes and then BLAMMO! He extends to his full height and takes out some poor sap that did not even see it coming. Well, obviously the action feature is not present in this figure (it would have killed the torso articulation and probably the sculpt), but it is compensated for in the form of a neck extension piece. Sound familiar? Yeah, it works just like Mekaneck’s neck and I swear I did not intend to do two back-to-back First Looks that featured “neck guys.”
Rattlor also has an impressive head to top his two neck options. The Classics version is not quite as large in relation to the rest of him like in the old days, and I think that is another point that makes him feel a little different in his upgrade. Even though I have not taken out the vintage figure for some time (in fact, I could not even find it for this First Look), it took me some time to get used to how the size of the head really changes the overall feel of the figure. It is not bad or good, just different as you might notice. He does come showing off his fangs, and if you were expecting a sudden change in protocol and razor sharp edges, you will be disappointed, but Rattlor’s fangs certainly look better and more threatening than the Hssss snake form version. I love the eye slit paint job to complete the serpent look on the head and that brings me to my favorite part of the entire figure…
The color and paint scheme! Wow, does Rattlor look awesome amongst the rest of your collection. The rust, light yellow, and bright blue make for a very strong color palette, and when Toy Guru tells us that his paint decoing was really expensive, you can certainly believe it. The color shifts are complex and move between a lot of pieces and textures, but are, for the most part, very, very clean. This sample is so nice that I am hoping they really locked off the quality control with the paint and there will not be much (if any) variation from figure to figure. Just keep in mind that these are hand painted so I am sure there will be some less than perfect ones out there, there is just a lot to account for in terms of paint. Also, the colors are not just base coats on there either, there is a lot of subtle spray to bring out the details in the sculpted scales. Taking all of the textures and colors into account, Rattlor is a very impressive figure indeed. One of the things I really loved about the MYP cartoon was that Rattlor was made the fierce and loyal general to Hssss and this figure most certainly shows that he is a snake through and through.
However, one of his accessories and his biography kind of scrape against that characterization of him being the consummate snake man. See, the Snake Men as a group were never introduced in the FilMation canon. By the time the toys were released, He-Man was over and we were already having adventures on Etheria. Rattlor and Tung Lashor were integrated into the shows, but as lackeys for Skeletor and soldiers in the Horde. Due to that latter fact, Rattlor has been issued a standard Horde arm band and his bio states that he defected from the Snake Men after the treachery of Kobra Khan. Well, that is cool and all for people that like that idea, but Rattlor shall remain a tried and true snake until his King falls and you can bet that the commanding snake general will go down with him.
His final accessory is a red repainted version of the King Hssss staff. Just like in the vintage days, this is completely reused, but like the standard issue crossbows of the Horde, I kind of like my Snake Men with staves, it just sews things up in a nice and tidy way. I am not sure if I prefer the red over the green staff, but I think I do and I might even swap Rattlor’s with Hssss’ to give each of them some color variance in the display. I will note that while the teeth are painted on this one, there are not quite as many painted details on the red staff. I suppose all of the paint budget went to the man, er, SNAKE himself.
Rattlor is certainly one of those rare action figures that hits on every level. I think he has been executed in spectacular fashion and if you are a fan of the Classics aesthetic, you will probably be hard pressed to find something that the figure is missing. As I said, 200x fans might be sad for the loss of the armor, but the old harness does fit him and I am glad that if something had to be sacrificed to get the accessories he does have and his impressive sculpt and paint deco, it was that. We are finally starting to fill out the ranks of our serpentine army and the General Rattlor and his forces will make Hssss a force to be reckoned with. I have a feeling his is going to be a VERY popular figure on release day, so make sure you are on Matty Collector on October the 15th to get yours.
*Thanks for reading and thanks to Toy Guru and the MOTU crew for sending this sample along. We still have a lot more to bring you, but what is next? Hmm…