Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Snake Rattlor Roll (Oct. '12)
Now that MotU Castle Grayskull is finally reviewed, I feel like I can get back to the main toyline! Picking back up where I left off, it looks like we're in...2012?! Dangit, how did I get so behind?! And why do I feel like I need to do these in order??
Ah well, no matter. The task at hand is to look at yet another interesting common theme with these figures: The fact that they somehow manage to line up some of my classic favorites on my birth month. I loved the heck out of Rattlor, when I was a kid, and the MotUC version came out in October, my birth month! It's not a complete trend, technically, but I count a lot of them in this theme.
2009 saw Scare Glow planned for October (duh) but a set back in the release schedule had him come out in November. BUT....he was supposed to come in October, so I still count him (plus: Teela ended up coming in October, and she was highly anticipated, since I grew up with absolutely no female figures, and she was always sought after, when I was a kid).
Next, in 2010: Roboto came in October! I mean, a glowing skeleton planned for the October before, then a robot with a clear torso in the next? That's two perfect Alexx figures two years in a row!
Then 2011 brings Flipshot, a big favorite from the New Adventures toyline and one I had lost along the way (save for his jetpack) so I was SUPER looking forward to him (and he's awesome).
Finally, here we are in 2012 - er, uh....here we were in 2012, with Rattlor! I'll hit the others later, but the trend continued with either old vintage favorites or highly anticipated figures in October. Funny how that works out!
WHOO BOY, did they put some love into this guy! All the paint apps are back in force and the figure pops! As usual, they've taken out action features, but they saw fit to at least add in the "rattling" feature that the old toy had, even if it's not as loud.
The body of the vintage figure had some loose plastic inside, allowing him to rattle when you shook him. They compensated by making the tip of the tail hollow and adding some loose plastic in there! So now his tail actually rattles, though, as I said, it's not super loud. Still appreciated, though!
And dang man, look at dem paint apps! Apparently this was an expensive one, due to those paint applications on his arms and legs. When you're costing out a toy, you've got to consider new parts (which need new molds, which are expensive) and how many paint applications you're going to add. Rattlor was (at the time) all new, but his body was offset with the creation of the Snake Men set. According to the brand manager, though, each little scale was a separate application, bringing this guy up to cost pretty quickly (which is why they cut out an accessory, but we'll see that further down).
One thing that's a little screwy are the eyes, though they're not terrible. I think the vintage one had slightly curved snake-pupils, but they curved the heck out of them, here. Gives him an interesting vacant stare, but I DO like how he's sort of more snake-like than the rest. You know he's aware of you, but you can't quite tell where he's looking....I like it. Though, I don't think I've ever seen a snake with eyes like that! Perhaps I'm wrong?
A classic item among most of the Snake Men is the snake staff - almost all of them came with their own personal colored staff. I don't think I gave the staves much thought, back in the day - in fact, I don't think I liked them much, and pretty much only had King Hsss use his. Nowadays, I like the idea that Hsss gave his most trusted generals a staff that was somehow connected to his own staff, giving them each a piece of his power. Not too much, of course....but enough to allow each general to perform some powerful magic that they might not be able to perform otherwise.
Rattlor's vintage staff was just that reddish color, but now they made the center staff a golden color, which is awesome! I would have liked some more color on the snake, but the paint apps on Rattlor himself probably killed that idea (we did get a neat golden eye on the snake, at least!).
On a historical side note: The staff resembles the Rod of Asclepius, which became our symbol for medical stuff. Asclepius is a Greek god associated with healing and medicine 'n stuff....which is crazy, since these Snake Men are around to wreck up the joint. Where did the staff originate, within the story, eh? MAKES MY BRAIN BOIL, IT DOES. I love it.
He holds it as you might expect, though, holding it with both hands is tough, but....you can manage it if you believe. Sadly, since Rattlor is SO painted, his reddish color from his hands kinda wipes off on the staff. You won't see it while it's in his hand, of course, but that kinda stuff always bothers me a little. At least, somehow, you can't see where the paint has come off his hands. Just seems to be a little residue.
Now, because of the paint apps, Rattlor doesn't come with much beyond what he needs. One small extra is sort of a homage to the cartoon:
It's a little Horde armband! He was apparently part of the Horde, on the She-Ra cartoon....for some reason. I assume they didn't have time to work in the whole Snake Men theme, from the toys, so they shoved them in where they could. I appreciate the extra armband, but I probably won't keep it on there....it scares me. I don't wana pull it off, later on, and have it bring some of that lovely paint with it, you know? It may never do that, of course....but I don't want to take that chance.
Beyond that, Rattlor has the only other item he needs: A neck extension!
Rattlor's vintage action feature was a "strike" action, like a snake darting out to bite. There was a button on his back that popped out his neck! It was SO COOL, folks. So cool, in fact, that I had apparently deemed it necessary to clutch the toy to myself so fervently that my mom never noticed I had it, one morning, on the way to kindergarten. Sometimes these little stories just stick with you, ya know? I vividly remember bringing Rattlor with me to kindergarten on accident (barely even aware that I had him in my hand, myself) and the teacher being confused as to why I brought him on a day that wasn't show-and-tell day.
There was probably a good 50-50 on the amount of time I spent actually using the feature to hit things and the amount of time spent just popping his neck out because "he-he, look at it!"
Naturally, they couldn't recreate the feature, so Rattlor works like Mekaneck.
I've come to terms with the no-action-features thing, though I totally would have sacrificed the torso joint on this figure for that feature. With that in mind, the swap-out neck thing works as intended! It looks good and his articulation allows him to pose like he's striking, so I'm happy!
I mentioned that his paint applications didn't allow for many accessories: One in particular was cut, but added to a later weapons pack. I was gona wait to cover it in said weapons pack, but it was the most recent one, and I wanted Rattlor to have all his looks in this one review - SO THERE.
This armor is from Rattlor's 2002 figure, dubbed "The General", at the time, because they lost the rights to "Rattlor." Rattlor wasn't much different in 2002 beyond the armor (and some armor on the legs and arms) so the addition of the armor on the MotUC figure pretty much gives you mostly the same look. (The biggest difference from the 2002 figure is the bulk of the body and design of the head, but you won't be getting that short of a brand new figure).
Personally, I like it! Gives him that "General of the Snake Man Army" look (I also added the hand axe, just because).
It fits really well...once you get it on. And it is a bitch to get on! The back of him is a bit bigger, because of the tail, so you have to stretch the two straps under his arms and PUUULLL them up under the armor to plug them in. The actually plugging also needs some force. It's annoying as hell, but might be made easier if you soften up the armor under hot water.
Like I said, though: Once it's on, it fits well and looks awesome! I always love having options, 'cause I like doing before-and-after looks for characters - this being for his time with the Snake Men and the armband being for his time with the Horde (there's a story in the bio cards that says the Snake Men were all killed by the Spell of Separation, but I've spared some of them in my own personal story).
With the recent addition of Tung Lashor, I have all the Snake Staves together! It's funny how something I didn't even like, back in the day, has become a favorite thing for me now. Just the idea of King Hsss making three other staves for his most trusted generals. What happened to the staves after the Snake Men were destroyed? More importantly, where is King Hsss's staff - the one that powers the other three? I love that kinda stuff! Relics lying around somewhere, waiting to be found.
Overall I'm pretty dang happy with Rattlor. He looks amazing, comes with what he needs, and I have no trouble putting him in action poses and generally messing around with him. He hits all those important nostalgia points, but also brings new things to the table as a fine MotUC figure.
I'd say this guy is a solid buy with or without nostalgia. He'll make any display POP with color, and he's certainly the most "snake" among the Snake Men. Top score!