Do you remember when Snake Man-At-Arms was first revealed at NYCC last year? He looked like this:
Basically the original Man-At-Arms except with a snake head. This was easily the most obvious rip-off the line had ever offered us. I still don’t know what the thought process was here – did Mattel really think they could get away with passing a figure with a new head and accessory as a bonus figure? It was wrong and every collector knew it.
Of course, every collector also so the really obvious opportunity here: make it into something of a Millennium-style Man-At-Arms that you could pop your extra MAA head onto. Rather surprisingly, that’s exactly what Mattel did.
Except for the snake head and the Serpent’s Ring accessory, there is no new tooling here. However, his thighs and forearms have been replaced with those of Trap Jaw, his biceps with Roboto‘s, and his shoulders with Man-E-Faces‘s. All of this gives Duncan a more technological look a la the Millennium era. His right boot is the standard moccasin, but his left side is a Skeletor greave with a Keldor foot. He also has the longer Hordak loincloth.
His armor also have some nice gold detailing that, again, emphasizes the technological look. By painting his left hand the same color as the armor, it makes it look more like a gauntlet than armor over a glove.
The snake head is definitely creepy. It definitely resembles Duncan’s snake-ified look in the cartoon episode “Second Skin,” though what impresses me is that it also resembled the toy version of Duncan’s head – you can see it in the cheekbones.
The best part, though, is you can now plop your classic Man-At-Arms head onto the body for the aforementioned Millennium MAA. The swapped body parts do a surprisingly good job making him look different from the regular version.
On the left you’ve got a young Duncan, the newly-appointed royal Man-At-Arms. No longer a simple Royal Guard, he now has the authority to discard the right half of his armor, which he’s always found so limiting to his movement in battle. He’s still learning his duties as he and Captain Randor, a man barely out of his teens, deal with reports of unrest in Eternia. Duncan spends what little spare time on his burgeoning interest in technological innovation.
On the right is Man-At-Arms in his prime, older, wiser, mentor to the young Adam, trusted right hand of King Randor. He’s been tinkering with his armor for years, adding to it here and there, making small improvements and adding some on-board electronics to the green bodysuit.
The accessories are his standard mace and the Serpent’s Ring, a Snake Man artifact that turns humans into Snake Men. The Ring isn’t the most exciting accessory, but at least it’s show-related. The mace, while looking better with the gold detailing and made from firmer plastic than last time around, is still a bit disappointing, if only because this would have been the perfect opportunity to give us a more technological Millennium-style mace. (We are getting Millennium MAA’s signature arm cannon, but only as part of an upcoming weapons pack.)
Snake Man-At-Arms went from a disaster in his original design to a mere missed opportunity. He is and remains the most obvious cheap repaint in the line, a plastic representation of Mattel’s efforts to save as much money as possible. While the swapped parts and added paint apps do a decent job of giving us a Millennium-style Man-At-Arms that’s still in the Classics style, until Battleground Evil-Lyn and Snake MAA most bonus figures had come with some decent new tooling. If he was going to have so little new tooling, Duncan should at least have come with the following:
- Snake head
- Mustachioed head with new helmet (maybe a gray mustache to signify age?)
- Serpent’s Ring
- Updated techno-mace
- Arm cannon
All of that would have gone a long way to making this figure more palatable. Now, all that said, this figure still has a lot to recommend it. It’s a pretty good take on a Millennium Duncan, and I think I may use him as my standard Duncan in my display (especially once the arm cannon arrives). But I can’t deny the obvious corners that were cut here, so he earns a below-average score.