HEY HEY what's goin' on folks? Where was I? Oh yes, He-Man stuff and maybe some other things. Well how about the Snake Men two pack of army building madness? This baby came out in September of 2012 and BOY HOWDY it brought the goods like mama's homemade biscuits (assumin' yo mama make da biscuits).
I don't think I need to say that folks were pretty excited for this pack. I mean the Palace Guards were fantastic and well done (even came with more parts than this pack) but having some good old fashioned monster badguys is always more interesting than clean-cut royal soldiers (if you're cool, anyway. You wana be cool, right?) Just like with the Guards, I bought two of these packs so I could make all four options and then build a little story for each one. Now, lets get this show started with some background junkity junk.
So, to begin with: The Snake Men were brought into the vintage toyline to...oh hell, I dunno - bring in a THIRD faction to give Skeletor more crap than he was already holding with the Horde. Or He-Man. I mean I know the good guys have to fight Skeletor's Warriors, the Horde, AND the Snake Men, but somehow I see this as worse for Skeletor, since his poor Evil Warriors seem to get bitch slapped any time some new force gets introduced.
And GEEZE what a force, eh? I mean the Horde is full of horrifying monsters. I don't understand how Snake Men were supposed to be worse, but that's how the story goes. King Hsss is powerful in the magics and the rest of the Snake Men are just super-powerful soldiers built for DESTRUCTION 'n all that.
Now the Snake Men consisted of named characters all based on varying snakes (sort of? I mean Tung Lashor looks like a damn newt/frog/godawfulthing) so the idea of normal background Snake Men came from minicomics and the 200X toon. This is the first time they've ever been molded in plastic!
...manly, muscled plastic, like the rest of the toyline so far. I mean these are Snake MEN, so you expect them to be snake themed men of some sort. Still: you'd think they wouldn't have nipples. Ah well, to each his own! Nipples. To each his own nipples.
Yeah, speaking of what makes a Snake Man: (nipples) (STOP THAT) The story on the bio says these things are three different alien races spliced together by "The Unnamed one" and sent to Eternia under the leadership of King Hsss to plunder the ancient MAAAJYCKS within the planet or whatever. Neat! But what really grabbed my attention and finally made me love the weird-ass Snake Men was the first line about them being spliced together and created - THAT'S the kicker! Finally I could see why standard snake men were The Snake Men and not just another race of animal people that already covered Eternia. The reason for that is basically in my own brain, but I'll let you in for a moment because you CAME HERE FOR WORDS, RIGHT?
So I already have a past for the world of Eternia, and it stems from my love of the Ancient Technological Past kind of storyline. That's the deal in my Eternia. Some point far FAR beyond anyone's memory there stood some Technological Civilization that was doin' the usual stuff that would lead to their end. Near that end was the creation of the Snake Men - the culmination of all their work to create a powerful army of soldiers (the other workings in that area lead to all the crazy animal and bug people that would thrive on Eternia centuries later). I don't know what exactly went on back then, but whatever brought on their end was not helped by the creation of the Snake Men. These things were built to conquer and destroy...maybe even continuing to do so in the absence of things to conquer and destroy. They're monsters through and through, and only King Hsss gives them goals. King Hsss now...well I don't have it all worked out, but I think he may be some scientist from that Ancient Civilization. We'll see.
SO...with that in mind, lets get to those toys and my personal bios!
First off, one set comes with these weapons! A shield, a spear, a sword, and a crazy twisty mace. VERY cool stuff and I love the colors! Only drawback is the toy companies and their insistence on putting the weapons in the hands of the figures in-package. So naturally, some of the blue on the handles flakes off and the hands are kinda bent open, so you gotta hot-water-treatment them back into shape (and even that doesn't always work).
Next, you get two kinds of armor: One in a royal and regal blue, and a sort of gladiator looking armor in brown. Both fit well and look FINE, girlfriend. You also get the two body types shown further up and four different heads that you'll see on each of my characters. Speaking of which: lets get on with my personal bios! I'm going on my own idea of the Ancient Technological past, but using the idea put forth by Mattel that the Snake Men were eventually killed by the Spell of Separation, which unravels their magical/technological DNA. Certain ones, anyway...
Name: Ss'hethPreferred Equipment: Kris blade, shield
Bio: Ss'Heth was of the pure breed, and one of the numbers upon numbers of Snake Men. His life began when King Hsss led his Snake Men to the place of their origins - or, what was left of it. Beneath the ruins of the great city of the Ancient Civilization laid one of the last of the great laboratories; still intact. Within it were hundreds more Snake Men sealed in caskets, awaiting the time when they could join the rest of their brethren. Ss'Heth was one of these numbers, and he fell under the rule of King Hsss without question.
Though the Snake Men were all of a powerful build and possessed of great strength because of it; they still differed from each other in many ways. Some had a predisposition to hand-to-hand fighting, others were masters of weapons, and yet others were expert planners and strategists. Ss'Heth was a warrior through and through, and opted to master the sword. It was rare that any Snake Man rose above others, but Ss'Heth continued his sword training and even obtained books and scrolls on swordplay. His mastery of the subject made him fast and able to think quickly in the middle of a battle.
Ss'Heth had little interaction with King Hsss, and yet the King still knew of Ss'Heth and his skills and called on him often (through the ranks) to perform tasks that required quickness, sword skill, and silence - as Ss'Heth was known for being a Snake Man of few words. Ss'Heth was a part of many major battles because of his overall usefulness, and met his end with the rest of the Snake Men during the casting of the Spell of Separation. Some of the surviving new breeds still speak of his efforts, and swear that he died with his blade buried in the chest of an enemy.
This combination of armor and head is probably my favorite! The head is so serious and looks thoughtful. No question about this guy being my sword guy!
On to the next:
Name: PythoussPreferred Equipment: Kris Spear, Shield
Bio: Pythouss was a Pure Breed Snake Man and one of the oldest Snake Men in the ranks, said to have been there from beginning. Pythouss was bred to lead, though whatever plans the Ancient Civilization had for the Snake Men seemed to have faded away over time, leaving only hatred and a vicious lust for battle. Still, Pythouss fell in line when King Hsss arrived to lead the Snake Men, and Pythouss took up his calling as a leader by becoming a trusted guard to Hsss and a general in his armies.
Throughout the years and the countless battles Pythouss would fight tirelessly, and then serve King Hsss with a single-minded determination. There was no better example of a Snake Man than Pythouss: he was compelled to fight - nothing would deter him and no being could convince him to renounce King Hsss. His severe demeanor and almost religious fervor would grate on the nerves of younger New Breeds, but no lesser Snake Man could ever best him in battle. Pythouss would make his mark in battle and nowhere else. He fell beside King Hsss and the rest of the Pure Breeds in their final hour. The only word to exit his mouth as his body was unraveled by the Spell of Separation was this: "HHHRRRAAMMPH" due to his jaws being firmly clamped on an enemy's torso.
This head is too classic not to love! I'm just guessing here, but it feels like we got two 200X styled heads and two vintage style. This one feels pure vintage! Just a vicious snake head through and through. The 200X ones feel more full of anger or some emotion, while this one looks more basic and animal. The armor also makes me think of royal stuff, so I use it for the important guys.
Name: RavussPreferred Equipment: Twisted Mace, rifle
Bio: Ravuss was part of the New Breed experiment based on the first success: General Rattlor. More would follow closer to the time of the banishment of the Snake Men, but the first few hundred were the "trail run", so to speak. General Rattlor performed just as he was built, but sadly for the Snake Men, all further New Breed snakes were inferior to him. Still, Ravuss proved strong, resilient, and open to new ideas.
Like most New Breeds, Ravuss was capable of seeing past the blind sights of domination that the Snake Men steered toward as a whole. He still reveled in battle and would see his lessers crumpled at his feet, but he would acknowledge that the Snake Men almost seemed like they were fighting for a cause they no longer fully understood - and what's more - they didn't seem to care. Ravuss felt the strong ties of family, however, and would fight alongside the Snake Men through the many battles before and after their banishment. Ravuss was quite valued as well, and would rank higher than most New Breeds (not counting General Rattlor, of course, who was always a special case).
Ravuss would stay with the Snake Men until their demise during the casting of the Spell of Separation. As it would turn out, General Rattlor would catch the feeling in the air that the forces of He-Man and She-Ra had something new up their sleeves, as they fought on and on as if waiting for some sort of special finale that would finally end the Snake Men. King Hsss was so wrapped up in his glory that he would not pay attention to General Rattlor giving orders to his special and closest New Breeds - Ravuss included. Ravuss fought well, but backed down in the chaos of battle at Rattlor's orders. Much to his surprise the ending finale expected by Rattlor did not kill him, and Ravuss followed Rattlor and his survivors of the Snake Men army to the Horde. Ravuss would follow the Horde from there on out, yet stayed loyal to Rattlor for important matters.
This is one that I would call a 200X head, as looking at the toon will show some faces that look similar to this. It's the same open mouth kinda thing as the guy before this one, but it's more of a...snarl, ya know? More emotion than the vacant animal face of the previous one. Equally awesome, though! It's funny though: everyone has the same muscle body, but the head can go a long way to making one seem stronger than another. This head just look BUFF to me.
Now, the final one...oh man. It just didn't look mean at ALL. Like, the opposite. FRIENDLY. So friendly.
Name: HissaPreferred Equipment: Twisted mace
Bio: Hissa was of a new breed of Snake Man in production directly before they were banished. As such, he was young when they were cast into the Void, and grew up in isolation. Many of the new breeds were lesser in strength and power when compared to their original brethren (those created directly by those from the Ancient Civilization). Hissa was no exception, in fact, he was an anomaly among the Snake Men in that he seemed slow witted, was quite chatty, and unusually kind hearted. He was taught to fight like the rest and he took to it ably enough; yet somehow Hissa would always try to find a way to peacefully resolve his lessons on war tactics. Any situation he received would be taken apart piece by piece until he found a peaceful solution, which went against the idea that he was slow of mind. To his superiors, it would seem that Hissa was of no use to anyone, until they realised that he wasn't bad at tactics...even if the end result wasn't the desired enslavement of the populace.
Regardless of his skills with tactics, Hissa was generally ignored or told to go away any time he struck up a conversation. When the Snake Men were finally released from the Void, Hissa took it upon himself to see as much of the world as he could...yet his kindness made him stand by his brethren, so he would always return to fight on their side. Though most Snake Men couldn't stand the sound of Hissa's voice or his constant chatter, they still went to him when they needed a plan for retreat, as Hissa's plans always resulted in the fewest amount of casualties.
In the end, the Snake Men were doomed and it seemed that Hissa was doomed to go with them. A surprise was in store for those using the Spell of Separation to destroy the Snake Men, however: While the spell separated the deeply mixed DNA of the original pure Snake Men and undid the ancient magic within, the spell failed to take care of the later new breeds that the Snake Men created to boost their numbers. As it turned out, the new breeds were weaker and far more simply built because of the Snake Men's lack of knowledge about their origins and how truly complicated the process of their creation was. There were few new breeds, however, and the few either fell or joined other sides. Hissa fled, fearing his race would make him a target, but he was instead taken in by Zodak, who understood Hissa's kind demeanor the moment Hissa opened his mouth and refused to shut it. From then on Hissa would train under Zodak to hopefully one day become an Enforcer and help those in need.
THAT IS THE FRIENDLIEST SNAKE FACE EVER. It was the most hilarious part of the set when I saw it originally, and having it in hand didn't change my mind. It's so damn friendly. I want to hug him.
Lookitthaface! LOOITEM! LOOMENMPHHHT
Anyway, I loved this set and don't regret buying the two sets. Great weapons, figures, options, 'n all that 'n all that. Really gives some numbers to the Snake Men as well!
So that's all the Snake Men so far! Quite a ghastly gang of DANGIT HISSA STOP SMELLIN' THAT FLOWER!
Ah well, Hissa will be Hissa. Oh hey, in case you folks need a Christmas post card to send to the Snake Folks:
Sure, why not?
Anyway, final thing I did was set up a battle 'cause this is an army! Gotta do some army things. Took a bit to set up (to the point where they wouldn't fall) so I took a few different angles.
*SIGH* Okay that wasn't the final thing I did.
Besides, I'm not the kinda guy to let a joke NOT get dug into the ground beyond all hope of retrieval.
YEEEEAAAH GOOO HOOOOME NNOOOOOWWW