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Snake Face

Masters of the Universe
by yo go re

What do you do when you run out of new, fresh ideas? Steal something from mythology and call it a day.

The villainous Snake Men have several strange and deadly warriors in their charge, but none so dangerous and frightening as Snake Face! A slain Eternian who had given his soul over to the Snake Men, Snake Face is a shell of a being filled with slithering poisonous snakes! An excellent warrior with ancient weapons, none who have seen his true face have lived to tell the tale!

Let's face it: when it came to innovative characters, Snake Face wasn't at the top of the list. Snakes for hair, turned people to stone by looking at them... just because he's a man instead of a woman, it doesn't mean he's not Medusa.

It's one thing if you're doing a story about monsters, and the gorgon is kicking around with the rest of them, but that's on Earth: it's a much bigger stretch to have someone with the exact same appearance and abilities show up on Eternia - a planet in an entirely different dimension.

The Four Horsemen's version of Snake Face looks excellent - would you expect any less? These statues have even finer detail than was seen on the action figures, raising the typically impressive sculpts even higher. If Snake Face had made it as an action figure, the molding process proably would have stripped out some of the smaller details: even with modern production techniques, up to 10% of the sculpt's detail can be lost in the mold.

Snake Face's skin doesn't just have a scaly texture, it has actual scales: tiny, individual scales are sculpted on the calves, thighs, shoulders and biceps. There are larger scales scattered down his arms and legs, and he even has fins on his thighs. The updated Snake Men insignia is on his chest, and there's a face on his belt buckle. The plates of his greaves have a hammered texture, and two large snakes are sculpted onto the armor above his chest.

Rather than a lumpy, formless head, Snake Face gets an appropriately herpine visage. In fact, it could almost be described as... creepy? (right now, doctors and Greeks are laughing at a joke you don't get) He has a purple crest on his foredead, and though his hair does look like snakes, it's all tails. His eyes are red, yellow and orange. His mouth is wide open, and his tongue fades from pink to green as it becomes a snake.

Compared to the original figure, Snake Face is nearly unrecognizable. The skin is a different color, the armor's been completely redesigned and the head isn't even the same shape any more. If not for the snakes popping up over his shoulders and the one coming out of his mouth, you probably wouldn't even realize it's supposed to be the same guy. Of course, the changes are all for the better, which means Snake Face is the new holder of the title of "best Four Horsemen update," unseating previous champ Snout Spout.

On the old figure, an action feature helped Snake Face live up to his name: solid red snakes shot out of his eyes, mouth and shoulders, plus two flaps on his chest folded down to reveal even more snakes. The ministatue has four impressively painted snakes rising over the shoulders, and we already mentioned the one in his mouth. But because the Horsemen love those old designs and are both clever and sneaky, we're not done yet: two flaps on his chest fold open! Now, there are no snakes inside, but the interior is fully sculpted. The plates are armored, and the chest cavity has the same texture as the greaves. Snake Face was one of the figures designed before Mattel pulled the plug on the toys, and rather than resculpt him, the Horsemen and NECA saved some money by using the pre-existing torso. The factory was supposed to glue the panels in place, but missed a few, meaning that NECA got some articulation into one of their statues after all.

Snake Face comes with one accessory, his shield. The original was a single solid color, yellowish green, and featured eight snakes poking radially out from the center. The new shield has a purple base and, though it still has eight snakes, they're much different. They're knotted around one another, and incredibly detailed; you can count the scales on their bodies, if you're so inclined. A dark wash captures the details, and the eyes are yellow. A metal post fits into the statue's hand, so he can hold the shield.

Each of the Masters of the Universe figure-scale statues comes with a hexagonal display base. Actually, they all come with the same display base: a generic technological thing that's color-coded to the character's allegiance. King Hiss' minions pose on a hunter green base.

I really didn't care about Snake Face when he was announced: I only got him because I found a good deal on an entire set of Series 4, and both Leech and Webstor were must-haves. But the design was too cool to (particularly the shield) to leave sealed up forever, and the opening panels on the chest were a pleasant surprise. I still probably wouldn't have bought Snake Face if I didn't have to, but I'm glad I ended up with him.


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