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?