Well it finally came! After months of waiting. Honestly, I was suprised to see that the arrival date was to be ON OR BEFORE August 31. And in that way of thinking, I wasn’t suprised to see that it did not ship until mid September. Still, it is a faster turnaround than say, Magic the Gathering Secret Lair Drop Series. (You have to wait sometimes a whole year!)
Now I ordered this item because Castle Grayskull was terrific, and I have approached collecting the Masters of the Mega Construx as a sort of selective completist…(I don’t want that Battle Cat or the Havoc Staff.). I have every character on card and loose, almost. Still looking for another copy of Man-E-Faces and another copy of Scare Glow. My point is, I couldn’t pass up on the MEGA Snake Mountain.
NOTICE I KEEP SAYING “MEGA…” Mattel has changed the name again. Why? Mega Construx was a dumb name. But the way they are expressing MEGA now looks exactly like what they were trying to avoid when they moved away from the word “Mega Bloks.” That big MEGA looks like one of those blocks!
What else…I still have Castle Grayskull’s box. Because I must be insane, right?
When I compare the two boxes, it is very noticeable that they have “updated” the design aesthetic. WHY? This is very bad. There was art before…now only photos. Even as recently as the Monstroid and Land Shark, it seems there was more “art.” While it is notable on the front, on the back it is very very apparent. Castle Grayskull had this drawing on the back of the inside of the castle, that called back to the Eternia Maps that they did for the MOTUC line. Indeed, the Wind Raider also had something like this on the back. (I should go look at the other boxes. I am pretty sure Battle Bones, Wind Raider, Roton, and Talon Fighter did.). I believe I might ask Scott Neitich about this… Maybe he’ll make a video addressing it. (I notice that there is a re-issue of Castle Grayskull with this new boring style packaging.)
I am showing you more of the packaging…You can see striking differences on the side. I was curious what I would see as I opened it up. Castle Grayskull had what amounted to comic panels using the minifigures. There was a “drawn” element to them. Maybe not even any photos. But here on Snake Mountain, we just get action poses with the mini figures.
Mattel and MEGA missed an opportunity here. Now not only does this Snake Mountain needlessly mismatch to the first printing of Castle Grayskull, it makes fans like me just a little less joyful about it. The boxes were part of the wonder of getting new toys as a kid. Now we have this big downgrade. This packaging looks alot like the stuff they are doing for the MasterVerse line, (which I am not collecting.). Those boxes are a basic window with the figure on display. I daresay I even prefer what they did with the Heroes line with sporty gray and orange boxes to this style. BOO!!
But woefully, I have more to bad news to report…
What the crap! With Castle Grayskull, we got small boxes each containing a large component of the castle. And these boxes each featured the characters that were a part of the set. But here, we only get two large boxes. Not only that, these boxes have this flimsy sleeve over the top.
Now I really like the old Castle Grayskull box. It is useful for storing other MOTU related items. And because it was four interior basically shoeboxes, they lend some sturdiness to the box. There is not doubt in my mind that what they have done with Snake Mountain was a way of reducing packaging. But this Snake Mountain is a premium product with a premium price tag. It should match or exceed what came before. Instead, we have a flimsier box, a worse design choice with the two large boxes and the decorative sleeve, and boring images on the front. This packaging is getting a big F in my summation. I will use my apple pencil and color the images from the inner sleeves on my iPad when it snows or something…I did this with the Castle Grayskull art.
I will give props for ONE piece of artwork. This shows up when you open the box completely.
This is the only thing close to the style of what we got with Grayskull. And this image is on both of the instructions manuals.
SO I’VE GRIPED A TON ABOUT THE BOX.
What about the minifigures.
I’m glad I don’t have to say anymore bad stuff. The Minifigs offered here are very cool and welcome (for the most part.)
Let’s start with our feature character, Dragon Blaster Skeletor.
As a vintage toy, you put water in the dragon and pressed its head down so that it would spit water. It was kind of a specialized water gun. Here we have Skeletor with this dragon on the back. The chains pictured on the packaging look more silver, while these are light-gray-approaching white. It is cool that we have a dragon blast effect. Skeletor also comes with the purple sword. I wish they would give us proper stands with names instead of these green flat pieces. By the way, I had to dig through the boxes to get package number 1 which always contains the figures. The figures were spread across both boxes.
Thunder Punch He-Man.
No caps this time. But on his back the gunpowder cap is sculpted on, and the shield also features one. You can use the holder on the shield to place the fantastic clear-yellow sword.
You never know what they are going to do with Ram Man. There are a few different versions…200x he was huge. In Filmation and the vintage toy he was shorter. The MOTUC version was a very large and heavy figure. No versions have had springy legs since the 1980’s. But here they made a good Rammy. I thought we might get to remove the helmet, but it doesn’t seem to be removable. This is a bummer because you could give him the flat steel bald head. You also could use that helmet somewhere else.
Another Evil-Lyn. This time in vintage toy yellow. But the magic staff she has is much less impressive than all of the other versions we have gotten, including the “Heroes” printing in the same color. If I have to complain about one of the figures it is Evil-Lyn because we have so many versions of her, we already have this colorway…why not give us a Clawful or Jitsu or almost anyone else that we haven’t gotten yet. A Snake Man would have been outstanding, and they are tied to the lore of Snake Mountain. Now I have three Evil-Lyn sealed in box and three out of package. (If I am counting right.)
We get Screech.
This is Temple of Darkness Zoar’s stand, as I haven’t opened the castle yet to get out Screech’s feet and its own stand. It is the same as the other two birds we have, only purple. They really should give us proper birds with the wings spread out.
Here is one I didn’t have as a kid…I was actually only vaguely aware of him for some reason. I am unsure if the vintage one had those extra legs on the back…that seems like more of a 200x detail. He has a rope feature and an orange gun. I feel like he is kind of a plain kind of character without those big insect legs. (I do have some of the cartoons on DVD.). I really like what they did in 200x with this character…extra creepy.
And finally….Trap Jaw in vintage toy colors!
Love it! Notice I used these purple pieces to highlight the black details. I complained about getting Filmation colored Trap Jaw in my review of recent figure releases. And we have Minicomics Trap Jaw that came with the improved turret gun for Castle Grayskull in a Skeletor head set. But here is the Trap Jaw that I remember the best. My only complaint about any of the trap Jaw figures it that there is no little clip to hang the accessories on his belt.
The minifigures recieve a 5/5 because they are great. Snake Mountain’s packaging is a solid F because Mattel has done better and just didn’t seem to try this time. I give that packaging a 1/5. (I’ll probably still hang on to it because I am insane.)
Do you agree or disagree, Hub City Geeks? Let me know in the comments! I will keep posting updates as I work through Snake Mountain. (I have only built six little baggies so far, and there isn’t much to see yet.)