Our second quarterly variant of 2012 is here! I can’t believe there is still one more to reveal this year, feels like the year has been dragging and we need SDCC to come soon as possible and get us info for the rest of the year into the next. So yes, Snake Man-At-Arms or as he was original called “The Cash Grab” has arrived and was actually the first MOTUC figure to sell out this month.
Masters of the Universe Classics – Snake Man-At-Arms
Release Date: 06/15/2012 (Subscription – Quarterly Variant)
Price: $20.00 ($22.00 non sub)
Faction: Snake Men
Real Name: Duncan of the Viper Clan
Snake Man-At-Arms is one of those figures that ended up working out in the end after a very rough reception. I believe it was Power-Con when we saw him first and he was originally supposed to be just the vanilla Man-At-Arms body with a slightly new paint job and a snake head. People had speculated that possibly he would come with the helmet-less Man-At-Arms modern head that has a ponytail, or that the modern hand-cannon would be packed with him. Both of those ideas were denied as true and poor Snake Man-At-Arms became known as the most phoned in variants to date.
Then something changed, they asked fans what they wanted and from the response Snake Duncan was fitted with mechanical arms and legs. With his spiffy new paint job and parts he now just about makes the perfect 200x Man-At-Arms when you put the mustache head on him. On top of that, I think that the asking for the hand cannon gave Matty and the Horsemen the idea to make a classics version and that will show up with a random figure this year. For once, fan outrage pays off two-fold … luckily the figure was early in production when revealed so they had the time to fix this up. Or maybe they even had guilt over how phoned in the original prototype was. So maybe Matty is not some evil, soulless, emotionless corporate mascot after all, maybe he really does have a heart.
Snake Duncan comes with one of the most unnecessary accessories in the MOTUC line, the snake ring. I didn’t understand why they included a ring with Tri-Klops and I am not quite sure as to why this supposed “adult” line needs a Snake Ring now. Sure there are “adults” that dress up as babies in diapers and gallivant around asking women to burp them, but this is beneath MOTU fans, right guys? Guys? I don’t think it is necessary to include role play materials with these toys. Plus we hear so much about how expensive it is to tool new parts, and then they waste tooling money on something like this. The ring is nice looking I suppose if you are into that type of thing, but it is also flimsy as all hell because it must have come from the same mold as his mace.
The other inclusion with Snake Man-At-Arms is the second issue of the mini comic titled “He-Ro Dies at the End,” or something to that effect. The comic concentrates on He-Ro and his band of pre-Eternia misfits including Spector, Sir Laser-Lot, a guy that looks like Beast, someone named Gladiator, and various other new yet to be named characters. They fight King Hsss and his snake empire, Skeletor and his merry band of men, and of course the Horde. The one thing I did take from this comic is that the line is still sorely lacking in dinosaurs. If they do not have a Triceratops mount for my Preternia Disguise He-Man by the first quarter of next year … so help me … I’ll probably do nothing, but still I would like to think the dinosaurs are coming and they will be glorious. The comic is fun, but is pretty heavy on the fan service, basically throwing every little character you can find in there so everyone can have a little fun and point out their favorite.
Snake Man-At-Arms would not be a Man-At-Arms if he didn’t have his bendy mace. Try not to leave him holding it at an angle or one day you will come home to a limp mace, and no one wants that. I suppose since they gave him a single accessory to hold they felt that his right hand did not require the ability to hold things so they left it nice and open. That is one thing about the MOTUC line is they don’t give characters more accessories than they can hold or release weapons packs or anything like that so it’s great that they can make one half of Man-At-Arms arms useless for holding things. If nothing else, at least the open hand “pops!”
The new combination of parts is what puts this guy over the top though. His arms are a combination of Roboto arms and hands with the Man-E-Faces shoulders. Roboto parts get a lot of love this month as Horde Prime uses them as well (and the reversed parts are corrected this time!). He has a normal torso that goes into the King Grayskull loin cloth. His right leg is upper half Roboto and the bottom half is Vikor, while his left leg is Roboto going into a Vikor shin and a Keldor boot. It’s pretty great how they mixed and matched all these various pieces together. It looks extremely close to the 200x version of Duncan which is awesome. I had to get a second Snake Man-At-Arms just so I could always have one full-time Snake and one full-time modern Man-At-Arms.
The past couple months I have also noticed a severe lack of paint when the figures transition from prototype to final product. Horde Prime was missing a surprising amount of silver paint that lined his outfit. Last month Stinkor’s weapons were completely devoid of any paint applications at all. At least they came to the table with Snake Man-At-Arms and kept all the paint detail we saw in the prototypes. The yellow armor makes you realize just how orange the original was and much like the Fedex arrow, once I see it I can’t unsee it. I really prefer the more yellow with gold highlights they went with for this version of Duncan. I’ll always still have the original because it’s the vintage version, but the modern one will sit right next to him reminding us all that the 2000’s weren’t too bad either.
So in closing how do I feel about Snake Man-At-Arms? I think he should get the award for most improved figure of the year. He literally went from being the most boring variant known to man to being one of the few figures I buy a couple of. I think it also goes to show that when the guys over at Mattel listen to the reasonable requests of the fans it pays off in a better figure. Sure some of the fans are lunatics and will never be happy, but the complaints that the original version was so little a change they were basically double dipping on us were of substance. I’m glad they ended up listening and in the end got another modern variant into the mix.
So he’s sold out on Matty’s site … where can I get him now? I always suggest hitting Amazon. Sure you will pay a little more being it’s being sold after market, but the free shipping makes most the prices really close to what you would pay Matty to ship it very slowly.