This is such a massive build, I am breaking up the review into sections.
You can find a review of the packaging and figures here.
Build Review part 1 (you are looking at it right now!)
Build Review part 2 (coming soon)
If it has been awhile since you checked in to the SpartanNerd blog, here is a link to the main page! I suggest starting with “catching up” from July 4, 2022.
Part 1 of this review is the “Filmation” side of the mountain.
I am also highly distracted, so I feel like this is one of the most ADHD reviews I have ever done. (’tis the season for chorus!)
It took me from mid-September until last week (second week of December) to complete this side. This is working in spurts of an hour and a half or two hours. when I felt up to it. I would get a couple of the polybags out and assemble those steps. Then put the whole project away until next time. I think there are 27 steps here?
This playset really gives you the scale of a mountain with the mini figures around it.
The trap door is pretty nice. But beware that the figures fall a long way. I had to wrangle with it so that the mechanism would work smoothly.
Webstor is doing the “trap door spider” thing. Notice these pink squirelly things and the horns. They look cool. This place “oozes evil.”
Grayskull with Point Dread and the Talon Fighter is only barely taller.
Snake Mountain is even taller than Master Grade Gundam Epyon EW on a flight stand with beam saber raised!
Shades of purple. The Land Shark and my custom “War Sled.”
I want to begin by saying that just like Castle Grayskull, each small section of Snake Mountain is packaged in its own plastic baggie. They give you this set in small and manageable chunks, and the instructions are pretty clear. Sometimes I personally have a hard time seeing the correct shape of a piece in respect of it’s orientation and position in the picture…But this is more of a SpartanNerd problem. Because it is in such small bite sized chunks, I don’t feel the need to always set out the pieces and organize them like I do smaller sets.
While the instructions are easy and the sequence is clear, the build HAS NOT been easy. I am of the belief that Mattel has opted to use cheaper or at least different plastic than they used for Castle Grayskull. The effect of that is…I really have to work hard to get the pieces to snap together! I mean…sometimes I set the pieces and the table and have to hammer them with my hand. And all of the SpartanPets go running. And then…If you make a mistake and have to take it apart…Let’s just say that the “brick separator” is our best friend. The forks on the end have worn out from me having to separate blocks that are wedged together too tightly.
I recently had to rebuild Castle Grayskull. (YAY. It has crumbled TWICE on me.). I managed to get the castle back together in about four hours. (Large pieces stayed together negating the need for a total rebuild.).
Rebuilding that set in the middle of working on Snake Mountain let me see the true difference of what is going on. Grayskull’s pieces don’t stick together so tightly…Hence the lack of durability. That roof is also dubious. It is barely attached to the playset, Snake Mountain…I probably could drop it from 8 feet in the air like I did Grayskull, and it would mostly stay together except for the little horn details and such.
(OK. I decided to move the castle to the top shelf to be beside the new Snake Mountain which is too tall for the better shelf on the lower level. I had also attached the Talon Fighter to the top of the tower. And I dropped it. In the closet. Pieces everywhere and underneath stuff in the closet. A real nightmare.)
Earlier I said cheaper/different plastic. This plastic has a problem. There is a tiny discolored nib on almost every piece. Sometimes it is on a stud. Sometimes it is somewhere else. But it is ugly and uncalled for in a set that costs over $300. Mattel knows they will get their money from people like the SpartanNerd. But every time I would see one of those ugly artifacts, I felt a little burned. I felt this bad enough to where I thought…”Would I buy a Fright Zone, Eternia Playset, or Crystal Castle?” All of those are possible sets on a similar scale and price point to Snake Mountain and Grayskull. They can do better.
Now probably the economy has to do with this. Oil/Petroleum shortage. Biden-flation. ETC etc. Maybe they purposely wanted the plastic to be more rigid so that the set wouldn’t crumble. I don’t know. But people who put pupils in the eyes of a Man-E-Faces Mega Mini Figure pay attention to details, and those ugly nibs are a problem.
Next up. I have a problem with this piece (First picture)
Notice how there is a white scar on each of these blocks.
@#!$%&*@. This large piece is stupid.
Maybe this was a reprinted piece from some earlier HALO set. Seems a little familiar. Mattel/MEGA, you missed an opportunity here. By giving us this large hollow piece you have deprived us of the ability to build that piece. And on this subject, there are some dubious design choices on some of the interior. Instead of solid blocks, they have us use large flat rectangular pieces back to back with a row of studs in between. MIND BOGGLING. WHY!? I think it might have been to save money on plastic? Maybe it made the set weigh less? I don’t know. But that design choice seems wrong on a building toy.
Last complaint. The wraparound snake. This is another missed opportunity. This snake should have been a complete snake. We should be able to remove it for a monster battle. You say, “SpartanNerd, it didn’t do that in Filmation.” True. But it did in 200x. My point is, if we received a proper tail piece, this snake would have been even more epic. We could have disconnected it from the mountain and used it. Too much fun, I guess.
On to some positivity. IT IS HUGE. A good problem, but also a problem. It is as tall as Grayskull with the Point Dread and Talon Fighter configuration. The figures look great posed on it. You get a real sense of “mountain” that I always felt that the vintage playset failed to capture. It is that sense that us collectors and fans crave that pushed the Super7 Snake Mountain to be so large and expensive.
The little horns and pink squirelly things make this really evil. Also the monster face at the base of the mountain just appears from the build, and as I mentioned before, I prefer that! The trap door is a nice touch, but the figures fall a long way down and can get busted.
The “faces of evil” are a Four Horsemen design if I remember correctly. In the middle, that purple support snaps off way to easy. It is only for looks…isn’t a functional piece for stability. I could not get the face on the left to attach without bulding up the layer underneath with spare parts.
The only “extra” on this side of the mountain is this “sarlacc pit” trap under the trap door. I put The Sorceress here, with Evil Lynn clearly summoning the monster. The Sorceress seems to wind up a prisoner quite often.
You can remove this trap and sit it other places. “The Well of Souls?”
So what is my overall feeling? Can I rate this yet?
I think it will be awhile before I begin on the second half. It seems kind of daunting. And that isn’t what a toy should be.
On the other hand, the other side has some of the cooler parts of this set. Skeletor’s throne for one. The magic table from Filmation is another. There are others…That lava slide. But I also never was a big fan of the face on the other side. Or the rat/wolf microphone. But I really liked the bridge.
Well, I am glad that we got this side with the snake, that really looks like a Filmation Snake mountain sort of. At least they gave us a little more snake.
I feel that a person might be able to customize this set a little bit. I am building it as it is meant to be first, for now.
So far Grayskull beats this set, however. It might be because of my own personal attachment as a child. But I find it is also just really awesome…in the sense that Mortal Kombat II was more awesome than Mortal Kombat I. It is more, More, MORE! I had Snake Mountain as a child, but this set departs from the vintage design enough to where it doesn’t hit me the same way that Grayskull does. I know that this is based on the Super7 Snake Mountain design, which summarizes the toy and the Filmation version. But that wasn’t “my snake mountain.” If it was dark black and gray with a giant snake wrapped around and lava coming out of its mouth…That’s “my Snake Mountain.” or if it was an exact copy of the vintage toy. It’s still cool and it’s still epic, though!