As you will know if you’ve gone anywhere near He-Man.org in the last few days, King Hssss, like the first-release He-Man and Roboto before him, has reversed shoulders. Like Roboto, the shoulders were assembled correctly at the factory; the problem is the left and right shoulders were incorrectly stamped “L” and “R” (i.e., the right shoulder was stamped with “L”).
First off, a mea culpa: I didn’t notice the shoulders in my review of Hssss. What’s more, if I hadn’t read about it online, I’m fairly certain I never would have noticed. This is arguably a fault of mine as a reviewer: I’m more of a “big picture” type of person when it comes to toys, rather than getting into the minute details of the aesthetics of a sculpt. When I do get into the nitty-gritty, it tends to make me feel like one of those stereotypical nitpicking nerds you see on The Simpsons or Saturday Night Live. It also makes the reviews run really long, and long articles are something I try to avoid (this post being a bad example).
But that’s partly just me making excuses; I’m clearly not being observant enough, and that’s something I’ll work on. I can certainly say I’ll be going over every figure’s shoulders with a fine-toothed comb from now on. (Sy-Klone’s shoulders were reversed at NYTF, but at the time Scott Neitlich assured us it would be fixed in production. Cross your fingers.)
Anyway, after finding out about the Hssss reversed-shoulders problem, I decided to try the fix outlined by customizer He-Bro. I want to note that the most daunting part of He-Bro’s fix, the sanding, can be avoided easily; you can pry the differently-sized discs off the end of the shoulder pegs and swap them. The discs have some tiny pegs of their own anchoring them to the shoulder pegs, so you’ll end up breaking those off and you’ll need to super-glue the discs back on. I did have to use an X-Acto knife to snip off a tiny nub in the center of one of the pegs, but that’s easy enough.
This is a very important point, by the way. Why? Because Mattel has claimed (at least with Roboto) that they can’t fix this error without new tooling. In the case of King Hssss, unless they’re referring to that tiny nub, you can fix it without new tooling. You swap the peg-discs and tell factory workers to reverse the “L” and “R” on this particular figure. In fact, I can’t think of a reason you would have those removable discs unless you wanted to be able to swap them.
Getting back to the fix, the process isn’t quite as hard as you might think. And thanks to the rubbery torso armor, there’s a margin for error. For instance, my figure’s torso cracked slightly near the bottom when I was splitting it, but the armor covers it entirely.
Here are the before and after results.
What this photo doesn’t tell you is that my corrected King Hssss has two new problems: his ab joint is now wobbly, and he has a touch of the bobblehead, which he didn’t have before.
There also seems to be more of a gap between the shoulder and the biceps. I’m not sure why that is, though I could speculate (perhaps it has something to do with how the peg-holes in the biceps were drilled, if they were drilled after the “L” and “R” error).
So what’s my personal verdict? The perfectionist in me, once he was made aware of the error, is glad I did the swap. It looks better, but not night-and-day better, in my opinion. I can certainly understand those who can live with the reversed shoulders. And note that I never bothered with the Roboto shoulder switch (the risk of cracking the clear torso was too much for me to risk it).
Check back in tomorrow for more thoughts on Shouldergate II, as well as an industry member’s perspective.