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First Look: Masters of the Universe Classics Sssqueeze

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Ssso, sssince Sssqueeze isss the June 2015 Club Eternia figure, we have him all ready for a Firssst Look! He hasss turned out to be a really great figure overall, and he isss the final addition to the Sssnake Men in the Classsicsss line. Now, sssince Sssqeeze’sss name hasss three esssesss inssstead of jussst one, wouldn’t it be great to keep that theme running through the entire feature? Triple esssesss all the time! Actually no, it would not be cool. At all. In fact, I am already tired of typing it ssso (damn it, did it again) many timesss, ssso we will proceed as normal. Sssorry. No really – lassst time. Promissse.

Whew, anyhoo – as we move into the middle of 2015, it is a time of completion, a time when all of the holes are filled (that’s what she said!), and a time when our favorite factions are being finished in the Classics line. It has been a race for a while now to see what group would cross the finish line first, but the group that was pretty slow out of the gate has been completed first, and Sssqueeze is the final member of the vintage Snakemen sect. It’s ironic that he would beat a racer-themed character like Dragstor to the end, but even if you add Blast Attack to the Snake Men, they still finish first, so if you have had some tiny little trophies waiting for this day, June will be filled with pomp and circumstance.

So it is kind of weird talking about the last member of a group coming into the line. Aside from focusing on the figure at hand, it is almost like writing a tribute to the Snake Men faction. That is completely messed up, though, because we are not saying goodbye, it is the exact opposite in fact, but in our hobby, talk is always centered around “the next thing,” so, in way, this is the end of an era and there are no more vintage Snakes to talk about. Now, the flipside of that is far more rewarding because one figure on the shelf is worth two in pre-production (or something like that), and it is so cool (and strangely rewarding) to finally have a completed faction on my shelf. Having Sssqueeze be the one to finish off the team is a weird for me as well because he was always my least-favorite member of the Snake Men.

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That stems primarily from the fact that the figure was maddening to pose and play with. Let’s face it, his “action feature” was pretty low-tech, but, at the same time, highly invasive. I actually like the concept of a snake dude having constrictor-like arms that can choke the life out of just about anything on Eternia, but in order to realize that in toy form, several major design choices had to be made. As you know, Sssqueeze’s arms are huge, and they always have been. The vintage figure featured one solid piece that ran through the body and acted a bit like a stiff rope that could put a circle around unsuspecting enemies. Now, that doesn’t sound very threatening, but it was an acceptable translation of the concept by the standards of the day.

For me, though, those damned arms were gigantic and always in the way, never allowing him to stand up like a normal action figure. There were times when I wanted those massive reptilian meat hooks deployed, but I always wanted a “retractable” feature so I could pull the arms up to normal size while Sssqueeze was not in attack mode. The concept worked for Rattlor and his tongue, so I never really understood why Sssqueeze could not be treated the same way. At any rate, those arms were tough and heavy, so if you were to get into an impromptu fight with a sibling or playmate, they made for a pretty fierce fighting implement, right? No? Just me? Okay.

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Anyhow, the new Sssqueeze has the giant arms of the vintage figure, but aside from not retracting or being able to swap with a normal pair of arms, they are superior in every way. We will get to the sculpt in just a moment, but the bendable feature and articulation are much better than what came before. I realize that the bendy portion is a cause for fear for a lot of MOTUC collectors, but I have to say that Sssqueeze’s arms have been realized very well. The outer arm material is thick enough to make the “skin” strong so there will be no protruding wire, but they are flexible enough that you can actually make use of the wire and work the arms into countless poses. Some will be easier than others, and if you start to get overly complicated, they might not get into the exact position that you want, but overall, I think they are a lot fun and well-executed. The arms still very heavy, however, so posing can be a little tricky at times, especially if you have him in an action pose.

Another spot of improvement with the arms is the articulation. This figure actually has two arms, so that is an improvement on its own, but the size and weight of the arms has also been compensated for in the built-in articulation scheme. This is not a normal Classics figure, so Sssqueeze doesn’t have the standard biceps swivels or elbow joints, but he does have partial ball-jointed shoulders and wrist twists at the cuffs above his hand. These points complement the bendy feature nicely, both in form and functionality, because you are able to pose the hands independently from the arms, and that is important when Sssqueeze wields his weapon. Additionally, the shoulder joints compensate for the heft of the arms by having detents, so you can hear them click into place. This makes them a lot stronger and Sssqueeze has the ability to hold and keep his arms at any height stemming from the shoulders. This is VERY nice because a regular ball joint would have never been able to handle the weight, and Sssqueeze would have been “arms down” at all times. Good on Mattel Design for this — it is much appreciated.

Moving on to the actual sculpt of the figure, well, Sssqueeze is certifiably GORGEOUS. Yeah, he is a nasty Snakeman, but the work the Horsemen have done here is just fantastic, and almost all of it is completely new. Like Blast Attack, Sssqueeze was a late entrant into the vintage line, so a lot of those guys were enjoying all-new sculpts, borrowing from previous figures less and less. Unless I am mistaken, Sssqueeze only shares his feet and the ball joint in his hips with any previous figure – everything else is new. That is quite a bit of new parts, but it makes his sculpt really stand out and the Horsemen did not leave on scale unturned.

Sssqueeze’s arms, legs, torso, and head are all covered with diligently sculpted scales that put him on par with Rattlor in terms of detailing. The inside of his arms look like the belly of a snake and this slithering reptile has got some serious abs, but this is MOTU, after all. The very light application of paint applied to the top of the scales brings out a lot of details as well. He also has some gigantic hands (if you know what I mean…), and his grip is set so that he can hold onto his own arms to lock his prey into his squeeze. His head sculpt is faithfully updated from the vintage figure as well and he retains his hybrid snake/alligator look. His mouth is sculpted open just like the vintage as well, and, even though I remember seeing some buzz around it a few months ago, his jaw is not hinged.

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The costume is also nicely realized, no matter how ridiculous it might be. Sssqueeze is OBVIOUSLY from the 1980s and everything from his sports bra to his short shorts to his moon boots just scream that fact, but it all comes together in a nice cohesive ball of craziness. The spikey thigh pads have always been an interesting choice, but if he can dig those into someone’s back as he puts the literal squeeze on, then more power to him. The Snakemen standard is emblazoned on his top, as well as his gauntlets, so if there was any question about where his allegiance lies (and there should not be), this makes it pretty clear.

Finally, Sssqueeze come with his vintage snake club(?) as his lone accessory. It is updated nicely and he is able to hold it just fine, but as you know, this is a bit of a departure from the standard Snakemen weapon. I know some people tire of all of the Horde members having a crossbow, or all of the snakes getting a staff, but I have to admit, I kind of miss it here. Everyone else has one, so why not old Sssqueeze? He is probably feeling a bit left out at this point, so he might have to borrow Battle Armor King Hssss’ just so he can hang with the rest of his pals.

This is it friends, the last of the vintage Snakemen is here and the first major MOTU faction has been completed in Classics. It is a cool, but slightly strange feeling to have, and unless Lady Slither or Fang-Or make into the line at some point, we are likely done with the reptilian sect. Overall, I find Sssqueeze to be a successful figure, but if you really like his vintage feature, or dislike the limitations, that opinion is likely not going change. I will say that I like the Classics figure much better than I ever cared for the vintage, and the modern updates help several of the trouble spots from the ’80s. Sssqueeze will be shipping in June as the Club Eternia figure, so there is less than two months to wait for this guy.

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Oh, and if you want a closer look at the arms and articulation, check out the video below!

*Thanks for reading and thanks to Mattel for sending along this final Snakeman for a First Look. Don’t worry, tomorrow we will have something a lot less slithering for you!

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