Monday, September 9, 2019

Action Figure Review: Slamurai and Snake Troopers from Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel

    PowerCon 2019 was just a couple of weeks ago and, like every year it has been held, there was a nice assortment of Masters of the Universe exclusives from various lines. This year Masters of the Universe Classics had two exclusives: A single packed Horde Zombie He-Man and the Slamurai versus Snake Troopers three pack. I'm reviewing the three pack today as it arrived in the mail first (I'm still waiting on my He-Man!). Looking at Slamurai and the Snake Troopers, you might ask yourself "Who are these guys? They look familiar but I don't remember owning them as a kid."
   You'd be correct. These guys are the last figures from a proposed 1988 series of figures that never happened. While Mattel was planning to release the figures from The Powers of Grayskull line, it seems that at one point they also wanted some new MOTU figures out that used existing parts. We actually have Errol McCarthy's proposed drawings for the figures from the series, though the names are mostly recent inventions except for Strobo. The series would have consisted of Terroar, Plasmar, and Lord Gr'asp (who were a 3-pack exclusive for PowerCon 2017), Strobo (who was the 2013 traveling convention exclusive), and Slamurai and a Snake Trooper, who we're checking out today. Man, is MOTUC a crazy toyline or what? We actually for an entire series of figures based on toys that were never even made? Know what else is interesting? These are actually made by Mattel, and not Super7. Odd, huh? We know now that Mattel has aggressively been taking back control of the property so Mattel must have jumped in and made these themselves. Being a convention exclusive with a very, very limited run, this set is definitely pricier than your standard exclusive, so keep that in mind. Let's check this set out after the break...

 The Facts: Slamurai

Height: 7 inches

Articulation: Hinged ankles w/ limited lateral rockers, hinged knees, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips, waist swivel, hinged abdomen, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, and a ball jointed head.

Accessories: Two interchangeable portraits, removable chest armor, quiver, katana, nunchaku, tech bow, belt, cloth tunic, and Velcro belt.

 The Facts: Snake Troopers

Height: 7 inches

Articulation: Hinged ankles w/ lateral rockers, boot swivels, hinged knees, thigh swivels, swivel/hinge hips, swivel waist, hinged abdomen, swivel/hinge shoulders, bicep swivels, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel wrists, and a balljointed head with a hinged peg. 

Accessories: 2 battle axes, two removable chest armors.

Non-Scalper Price: $165 for the set of 3

* The proposed 1988 series was supposed to consist entirely of reused parts, and that's what we have here. Slamurai is mostly a repaint of Ninjor with plain feet and arms. If you have Ninjor, you have about 80-90 percent of this figure, though Mattel did throw in some cool extras, which we'll get to in a moment.

* The Snake Troopers consist of the Horde Trooper's basic body with Rattlor's head, King Hiss' legs, and Hordak's boots. 
 The Positives: Slamurai

* Slamurai (who has an awesome bad name) is mostly just repaint of Ninjor. While Ninjor was wearing black and red, Slamurai is decked out in white and metallic blue. It's a cool color scheme that stands out among the vintage Heroic Warriors and definitely completes the good ninja/ bad ninja dichotomy many 80's toylines had: G.I. Joe had Snake eyes and Storm Shadow, Rambo had White Dragon and Black Dragon, Secret of the Ninja's simply named Karate Black Belt Champion and Ninja, and now MOTU has Slamurai and Ninjor. Good stuff!

* Slamurai's head is simply a repainted Ninjor headsculpt. While Ninjor has glowing red eyes, Slamurai has metallic blue eyes. They actually look very, very cool. Since most of the face is covered by his ninja mask, I'm definitely OK with this kind of reuse. Slamurai looks like he means business and that steely, metallic gaze just rocks.

* While it's the same armor that Ninjor had (which still means that the tanto on his chest isn't removable)), the paintwork is good. The grey and metallic blue details definitely make the armor seem different enough on the shelf. Like most of the other Mattel era MOTUC figures, Slamurai's armor is fully removable.

* Slamurai also comes with an additional belt. The same belt was included with Ninjor but it really was intended as a bonus accessory for Jitsu. The coloring of this belt shows that this is all Slamurai's, though, and he doesn't have to share it with anyone.

* The back of the belt has a lot of detail. I particularly like the metal tags hanging from the corded rope belt. What are they for? What do the symbols mean? The mystery! I love it!

* Slamurai features pretty much your standard MOTU base body when you take off his armor and such, so he has the basic articulation scheme you've come to expect since 2008. Since he is made by Mattel, the plastic quality and feel is just like the rest of Mattel's MOTU releases rather than Super7's MOTUC figures.

* Just like Ninjor, Slamurai is loaded with accessories and he comes sporting a quiver that plugs into the back of his armor, allowing him to stow away his bow either his sword or nunchaku. One clasp holds the bow while the other can hold the nunchaku or the katana.The weapons retain the same grey, white, and metallic blue color scheme and the quiver simply plugs into the back of the plastic armor piece.

* Slamurai's sword katana is the same as Ninjor's just redone in the new color scheme.

 * The nunchaku are the same as Ninjor's too, but this time they're white and grey.

* While the vintage Ninjor had a fabric shirt, the MOTUC figure had the same plastic armor that Slamurai also comes with. One item that is really different, though, and seems like a more accurate accessory to Errol McCarthy's vintage drawing of the character, is this soft goods wrap. It's a plain white tunic with screen printed characters in blue and grey, held tight by a simple velcro belt. You know what? It's kind of cool! I'm not sure I like it as much as the repainted armor but I do like the effort to offer up something new for the figure. Put this on Slamurai and the visual similarities between he and Ninjor really drop.

* Another cool feature that Mattel included is a repainted version of Sy-Klone's 200x styled head from the Heads of Eternia pack. This new head has the same metallic blue eyes as the other head, but it reveals the face and definitely looks more heroic. Sy-Klone's helmet is also much more reminiscent of a samurai than a ninja, so it might just be more fitting for Slamurai.
 The Negatives: Slamurai

* Slamurai's hands are made from a very hard plastic, and thus it's quite tough to get him to hold his weapons without just sliding them in or using a hairdryer or something. 

* I love the effort on Slamurai's alternate tunic, but the material itself feels very, very cheap. I'm not sure what it is (some kind of synthetic material) but I would have liked to have seen something a bit more elastic.

* Slamurai's alternate portrait unfortunately does not work with the Ninjor armor unless you want him constantly looking at the ground. The back of the helmet is too long and the collar is too high, meaning there's no room for head motion. It sucks that you can't use the new head with the standard armor, as that's how I planned on displaying mine!
* I still don't like this bow! It's not at all impressive. Maybe if it had come with a TMNT figure or something I'd be fine with it, but it's a bit weak for a MOTUC accessory. Honestly, the vintage figure's bow looks a bit sharper and more defined while the sculpt of this piece just seems to be too soft and under detailed. A paint app or two may have definitely improved things.
 The Positives: Snake Troopers

* Now we're moving on to the Snake Troopers, and two of them come in the set! It's interesting to imagine what might have happened with a collaboration between the Evil Horde and the Snake Men! The Snake Men Troopers look really cool. The black Horde armor with red and gold highlights is quite eye catching and adds something new to the visual appearance for sure.

* Underneath the armor the Snake Troopers have the same robotic bodies as the regular Horde Troopers, since they're intended to be cyborgs of some sort. They're well articulated and really feel like any other classic MOTUC figure. The articulation is nice and fluid and while it's a bit antiquated, I still like the feel of it.

* The set comes with two Snake Troopers, both of which use Rattlor's headsculpt. They're painted differently, though, and the first trooper has a darker green color scheme. I love the work on the eyes!

 * My favorite of the two is this guy! The emerald green skin really stands out against the black armor!

 * The backs of the heads show off some very cool additional paint details. I love how colorful and intricate the patterns are. It's a neat little extra that I wasn't expecting, for sure.

 * Not only do these Snake Troopers have the big red Horde emblems but the emblem has two different shades of red to make it look even cooler. Also, the big round Hordak head captures the symbol on the vintage Horde Trooper which was a button that, when pressed, made the trooper's armor split apart.

* The Snake Troopers have the same boots as Hordak, which nicely separate them from the standard Horde Troopers. The red Hordak emblem on the boots also adds another bit of color to the black armor, which really adds some pep to the figure.

 * The Snake Troopers come armed with Blast Attak's massive crazy battle ax/ laser rifle combination weapon. Each trooper gets one (or one trooper gets two while the other just likes to punch things) and they both have some nice gold highlights on them. I like the highlights on the ax blades and on the little round dial like device at the bottom.
 The Negatives:

* Like some of the MOTUC figures from Mattel, the Snake Troopers have very loose ankles. Be careful standing them up!

One of the things that will definitely make collectors take notice is the price of this pack. If you were attending PowerCon you could get the pack for $165 dollars, or $55 dollars a figure, but anyone not attending was going to be paying even more of a pemium. Yikes! I get that this was a very limited release aimed at a fairly niche fan base, but it's still quite pricey, particularly due to the fact that you're getting two largely duplicate figures. As a hardcore MOTU fan and MOTUC collector, I'm really glad to have this set to finish off the proposed 1988 line that never came to fruition. As a collectors in general, you're definitely paying for rarity here. The figures are quite nice, though Slmaurai definitely has some issues, though they might get more expensive over time. Only your love for MOTUC can really determine if this is a worthy buy for you. It's a Good set, but not one that's going to leave you wowed.

These are the first figures of Slamurai and the Snake Troopers. For more MOTUC reviews from Mattel, check out the following:
Battle Lion
Beast Man (Blood Red Henchman)
Blast Attak
"Buzz Saw" Hordak
Camo Khan
Castle Grayskull
Clamp Champ
End of Wars Weapon Pak
Evil Seed
Fang Man
The Fighting Foe Men
Galactic Protector He-Man
Galactic Protector She-Ra
General Sundar
Goat Man
Granamyr (Green Power-Con exclusive)
Heads of Eternia
He-Ro II
Horde Prime
Horde Troopers
Hover Robots
King Chooblah
King He-Man
Laser Power He-Man & Laser Light Skeletor
Lizard Man
Loo-Kee and Kowl
Lord Dactus
Lord Masque
Mara of Primus
Night Stalker
Ninja Warrior/ Ninjor
Queen Grayskull
Rokkon & Stonedar
Rotar and Twistoid
Sea Hawk
Sir Laser-Lot
Sky High with Jet Sled
Snake Armor He-Man and Battle Armor King Hsss
Snake Face
Spirit of Grayskull
Spirit of Hordak
Stackable Stands
Strong-or/ Strongarm
Terror Claws Skeletor & Flying Fists He-Man
Tung Lashor
Two Bad
The Unnamed One 


  1. Those Snake Troopers are FREAKIN' AMAZING!!! Wish I had those when I was a kid!

    1. They are a cool design. I'm thrilled to have the whole unproduced series of figures now, as there are some interesting (if budget conscious) figures in the series.

  2. The Snake Troopers give me Viper Rulons from Dino-Riders vibes.

    1. You are spot on there. They really do look like those guys. Those guys would make awesome Ultimates figures from Super7, wouldn't they? Everyone would probably just blend them in with the MOTUC Snake Men.


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