King Hssss Review

In terms of paint, Hssss clearly didn’t require that much and it still didn’t turn out that well for us here at IAT. In addition to the crotch paint, we ended up with silver slop on the greaves and all four of the figures had sloppy lines between the face & mask and on the symbol. Further, the paint on the snake body wasn’t really up to par either. I love the shiny finish, but the rest of the paint just seemed gloppy and you can see they missed the mark on the front of the snake in the pic below.

Articulation was another area where Hssss disappointed. He’s got the same articulation that we’re used to, but it doesn’t work as well for various reasons. First, the QC issues left me with a bobblehead, floppy ab crunch, & very floppy hips. I can shake my Hssss like… Rattlor. I’m not sure why all the loose joints, but it’s annoying. I’m waiting to see if the other IATers (they’re getting theirs tonight) have similar problems. The hips concern me the most – Hssss stands fine, but if Mattel is going to be employing the enclosed crotch piece in future figures, they might need to address how well it works.

The other place where the articulation suffered was due to the design. The neck is blocked by the torso armor being a full sleeve and the hip balls are partially blocked by the high peaks on his thigh armor. The range is about equivalent to a figure with a hard loincloth piece. The waist piece works fine, but my human torso tends to want to pop out instead of turn.

King Hssss sported two accessories, his staff and his shield. They’re both nice and look like good updates to the originals. The staff is surprisingly two pieces. I first noticed this when an IAT Forum member received a “mis-threaded” staff. The shield is okay – I really love how the 4H added the eyes & fangs so that the whole shield looks like a snake head, but the shield itself feels like it’s made out of a different plastic than we’re used to in the line. It may just be that all the raised parts on the front are mirrored with indentations on the back, but it just doesn’t seem as solid as many of the other accessories in the line.

Overall, I just ended up feeling “Meh” about the figure. The most positive thing about him might be that we finally got a Snakeman in the line after nearly three years. While the sculpt is impressive enough that I know I’ll slowly come to enjoy King Hssss as he sits on my shelf (awaiting some troops), I don’t know that he makes a good toy. The sloppy QC and articulation issues make me not want to examine him too closely or “play” with him too much. I might swap the shoulders. Since my Hssss already has a bobblehead and loose ab crunch, I’m not going to do much damage to those joints by cracking the torso.

Anyway, I don’t think he’s terrible despite the tone of my review. You can tell that I’ve had some fun with him from the photos (giving the accessories to the snakeform was amusing), but the truth is that I’m not particularly fond of the character and I’m not sure how that has affected my view of the figure and his various issues. Is my “meh” partially because I don’t find the character exciting? Or, if I loved him more, would the QC issues have bothered me more? I honestly don’t know the answer. Either way, Mattel needs to do a better job with the QC on this line and, judging from how often Toy Guru has to address the issues, they know it. So, what’s the deal?

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37 thoughts on “MOTUClassics.Com:
King Hssss Review

  1. I share your same feelings of ambivalence towards King Hssss. It wasn’t that I was a “hero” fan as a kid, but rather that my love of He-Man is mainly cartoon nostalgia and since Hssss was not featured on the cartoon I don’t have much in the way of interest for him. My collection of MOTU figures was quite small so beyond the handful I have the original cartoon is my main source of interest.

    1. I was surprised when I first learned he was never in the cartoon years ago. There’s so much fan interest in him despite that little fact. Boggles my mind…

  2. I’d love a 200X inspired Hsss. Also, pretty funny how He-Man was fooled before by a bunny costume.

  3. I want an Egyptian Hsssss! Has anyone seen the 7 snake Hssss customs? Now THAT’s a Kick-butt Hsssss!

  4. Hey! That’s Heroic WARRIORS, not “Heroic Masters”. 😉 😉 😉

    But yeah, great review!!

    The continuing QC problems is indeed fatigue-inducing as Poe puts it, and it’s contributing to an overall disinterest trend for me and MOTUC.

    As for Hiss himself, agreed with your issues on the torso and boot reuse, but I do love the human form design this go ’round, and IMO is one of the better “straight” vintage translations we’ve seen in the whole line.

    I know people keep making fun of the “heroic disguise” angle, and ignoring the no more thought into the story aside from a ‘selling a figure to kids’ perspective that was par for the course on every MotU figure, I always took it to be less that he was trying to look heroic, and more that he was hiding the fact that he was a huge pile of teeming-venomous-hypnotizing-man-devouring snakes!!

    The only other thing I can add to the dead horse beatathon that is the MOTUC Hiss is that I still find his snake form totally underwhelming here, and considering the human form issues you’ve detailed, it’s even more pointless IMO for them to have done two separate torsos. Looking at the final execution, they might has well have just had the big snake head and both arms removable, and a slip on torso armor piece.

    When the fans were asking for swappable torsos, it was because they wanted the snake form to be totally uninhibited snakey insanity!!!

    So overall I’m super stoked about the design and sculpting of the human form, but otherwise this is across-the-board Mattel botchiness encapsulated pretty perfectly.

    1. Masters, Warriors, Dudes, whatev! 😉

      I don’t really have an adult issue with King Hssss looking as he does, it’s more born out of my initial objection to him decades ago. He’s one of a handful of toys I remember turning down like a G1 Blitzwing, the GI Joe Swamp Masher, etc.

      The snake torso is definitely inspired by the vintage one that had to fit under the hood so to speak. There really isn’t a good reason they didn’t go for a great update on that to be sure.

      1. Just givin’ ya crap cause it was a bit too close to one of my many MOTUC bio pet peeves, the whole calling the good guys “The Masters” thing.

        Interesting comment on turning down toys, not sure exactly what you mean by that, like you were in the store and could’ve got Hiss but picked someone else?

        1. But they’re a team!! Hee hee.

          Pretty much, there were certain time that I remember where my family had picked one out(or simply trying to push me one one thing so I’d finally choose) and the original Hiss was one of those. I remember being at Sears and being given the option of Hiss and turning it down. I don’t regret many of those… though I did object to a Metroplex one time and wanted some Joe vehicle that I can’t remember at the moment. That was stupid.

  5. You’ve really hit the nail on the head. King Hssss is better appreciated OVER THERE where his visuals can outweigh his drawbacks.

    This is going to be another one of those ‘we tried so hard to get this figure out under budget blah blah blah’ excuses too. But who in design doesn’t notice that the hip articulation is basically worthless? Why did the 4H sculpt it that way in the first place? Hssss raises lots of questions like that.

    1. Exactly! He looks great on the shelf, in the crowd but I’d rather have one of the other figures that’s fun to play with. It’s pretty sad for one of the central bad guys to get this treatment.

  6. My Hssss wasn’t the QC nightmare some people have had, but I opened him, shot off a few pics, fiddled around with him a bit, and he’s been hiding in the back of my display ever since. He doesn’t suck, he’s just not awesome. I would have preferred removable armor with a snakey torso with alternate arms and head instead. But what I have is a toy that does a great Darth Maul impression if you play too rough with him, and by play too rough, I mean play at all. Since I’m not all that attached to the fig, I won’t feel so bad about cutting him up to custom, if I ever get to it. Throw it on the pile of unfinished work lol

    1. That’s a good point. Remove the QC issues and he’s not bad, but he doesn’t kickass like a King Hssss figure should.

      Then again, no King Hssss figure has ever kicked ass (the previous ones due to the gimmicks) so maybe it’s part of his vintage form being recaptured? LOL

  7. Yeah, that was my misassembled staff and I have a replacement Hiss on the way from Digital River because of it. This will be my second “free of charge” replacement figure in 6 months (first was Carnivous with a snapped wrist). That does not speak well for Mattel’s or their factory’s QC people.

    One thing to keep in mind people. Just because the Horsemen hand off the initial sculpt to Mattel, doesn’t mean there isn’t any pre-factory tweaking that happens in-house before the hardcopies are sent to the factory for tooling. Some of these issues very well may be implemented after the figures leave 4H-HQ. Matter of fact, I’d put money on it.

  8. @toygiant:
    All you have to do is look at Prince Adam’s missing holster for confirmation on that.

  9. I kinda suspect/hope the reason the staff is in two parts is that the Snakemen will be getting custom staffs not unlike the Horde’s custom crossbows.

  10. I’ve got a subscription so wil be getting a King Hssss anyway, but I was going to order another Hssss or two for custom purposes . . . . only to discover he’d sold out well before I logged on. Rassafrackin’ daylight savings time. Well, there’s still April 1st. And by what I’ve read about this guy, I won’t feel so bad about hacking up such a lackluster figure.

  11. Great review, of a figure I don’t really care about. One thing that I like about MOTU, and will probably keep this line going, is that for every guy like me who doesn’t like this character (although I liked the figure as a kid), theres plenty others who love him. Nevertheless, I always enjoy the well written reviews with great photos.

    1. Thanks! He is plenty of people’s favorite so that’s very true. I’m curious to look on the Org over the next few days as more folks get him and see their responses…

  12. The picture of the snake torso luvin’ on King Hssss really cracks me up!!!! Nice review.

    1. Thanks! I really liked that one too. Most of the others were pre-planned, but that was taken on the fly while I was playing with him. My favorite pics usually are the ones that happen organically like that!

  13. For what its worth, I like this king hsss, getting past the shoulders (which after roboto i dont even care to get upset over it again) and the terrible waist connection (the peg on my hsss torso is a tad smaller then the hole) its the best hsss figure we’ve had so far (imho) my figure didnt have any other qc issues, and he looks great posed on the shelf, and in his current pose i cant even tell the shoulders are backwards, so, i dont know, personally im happy enough with him. I never expected him to be the best figure in the line, not even close to it, but i can tell u im happy with there decision for 2 torsos, because if they made the torso slip over the snake body itd have been worse, and the majority of fans(who r never happy) would scream bloody murder anyway.

    1. I do agree that the swappable torsos was the way to go, definitely. He just feels like another figure where they tried hard to get him down and took their eye off the ball so to speak.

  14. I don’t care that all 4 of my King Hssss shoulders are on the wrong side I LOVE this figure. Another excellent review!!

  15. OK, I HAVE to ask.

    Is King Hssss *really* a king, or does he just style himself as one because, ya know, he can?

    Of course we’re talking about a land (world/system/dimension) where ‘Snout Spout’ and ‘Fisto’ are proper names… 🙂

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