TONGUE LASHER (2014)
November 2014’s Masters of the Universe Classics offering on matty collector.com was Tongue Lasher, the second to last Snake Man yet to be released in the modern line. The final Snake Man from the vintage line, Squeeze, is set to be released later this year. I really liked the idea of the Snake Men when I was a kid but my overall interest in MOTU was waning by the time they were introduced. The He-Man cartoon was off the air by that point so it was harder to stay invested in the brand. The only Snake Man toy I owned as a kid was their leader, King Hiss. The Snake Men were created as a third evil faction for He-Man and the Masters to battle, besides Skeletor and the Evil Horde, however one man does not a faction make so my King Hiss simply joined Skeletor’s team of Evil Warriors in my MOTU universe.
A few years ago I acquired the vintage 1986 Tongue Lasher from an online seller. I was buying some G.I. Joe stuff from a guy who happened to have one lone MOTU figure in his inventory. I’m not in the habit of buying vintage He-Man figures but I always liked the look of Tongue Lasher so I added him to my haul. Sadly I sold off my old King Hiss years ago so my vintage Snake Man army remains a one man show.
While the Snake Men never got a chance to shine in the 80s cartoon, an entire season was devoted to them in the 2002 animated series. I loved the 200X show and the associated figures. Since the Snake Men were so integral to the third season I thought I would finally have the chance to build a respectable snake army but unfortunately the 200X cartoon and toy line were abruptly cancelled before all the Snake Men were released. A 200X Tongue Lasher figure never saw the light of day. The only Snake Man I managed to acquire from the 200X line was Kobra Khan, the first figure I ever reviewed on this blog. So my early 2000 era Snake Man army is also a solo act.
The current MOTU Classics toyline, which launched in 2008, has finally afforded me the opportunity to compile a Snake Man army that can stand on its own as a legitimate threat to He-Man and the Masters. First I got King Hiss, then Rattlor, then a couple of nameless snake soldiers, then Snake Face, and now I have Tongue Lasher. With Squeeze in the pipeline my snake army will soon be complete.
The original 80s Tongue Lasher was a bit odd in that he had very amphibian like features. The other snakes were scaly and had claws while Lasher was smooth skinned and had rounded fingers. Even his play feature, an extending tongue, was very frog-like.
The character received a snakey make-over for the 200X animated series. He was substantially bulked up and given the scaly skin and clawed fingers of his brethren. It was a decent look but I prefer his originally froggy appearance.
Fortunately the Four Horsemen (the designers/sculptors who work on this line) based their “Classics” Tongue Lasher design on his vintage look. All of the amphibian elements of the original are present. He’s got smooth skin and rounded fingers with bulb-ish ends like you see on climbing frogs. The squat neck with the chin rolls is also very frog-like. Overall the sculpt is great and very true to the original figure. The only significant change that I can see is that he now has clawed toes.
All of the vintage figures had built-in play features like spinning punches or extending limbs. The original Tongue Lasher had a wheel on his back and when you rolled it with your finger his tongue would stick out. The more you rolled the wheel the further the tongue would go. The tongue was made of paper-thin Mylar. It didn’t make for a very realistic looking tongue but the flexible material allowed the tongue to easily roll up and be stored in the torso when not displayed. MOTU Classics figures don’t have functional play features but the Horsemen always do their best to replicate the actions of the old figures. In Tongue Lasher’s case he came packaged with two swappable heads; one with a closed mouth and one with a wide-open mouth and a massive tongue. The sculpted tongue looks much better than the Mylar one because it has girth and sculpted detail but it is a shame that we’ve lost the ability to decide how much his tongue should protrude from his mouth. Both heads look good but I’ll be displaying mine with the closed mouth.
For accessories Tongue Lasher has the standard snake staff that all Snake Men come with and he also has a dragon-fly shaped cross-bow. Even the weapon evokes images of marshland more fit for a frog than a snake.
Lastly I should point out the great paint work on this figure. I love the color choices. He’s bright and bold and a must-have for any Masters of the Universe Classics collection. 9 out of 10.