This post is up a little than intended as I was out all day yesterday. But it’s here now!
This is honestly the last Mighty Max playset I will be looking at for a while. I am well aware that MM has featured heavily on this blog the last few months, but that’s only because they are so damn cool. It’s Mighty Max Trapped in Skull Mountain!
Of all of the Mighty Max playsets, I think this is definitely the biggest and the best. Visually it looks like it takes inspiration from the Mattel He-man playsets, Snake Mountain and Castle Grayskull, and even the name of it sounds like a combination of the two. I really love the artwork on the box. There is so much going on, it really looks like a perilous and hellish environment. It is also covered in dust, though that was nothing to do with the original designers of the playset.
Though I am not overly fond of the colour scheme, it still manages to look foreboding. I really think it should have gone for a grey kind of colour, as it does just look like a toy and not like a real landscape unlike most of the other MM toys, but it still is awesome. Here’s what it looks like inside!
There are a ton of nifty little features in the mountain, and it comes with enough villains to ensure that Max will have a really shitty day.
At the top left of the interior is a skeletal green elevator (that Max is riding), which can be wound up or down by moving a little protruding button. In front of the protruding button is a ‘hover pod’ vehicle which is spring loaded and blasts into the air by pushing the yellow object next to it. The only figure which fits onto the hover pod is the Skull Master, the main villain of the set. He looks like a close relative Skeletor, again affirming my thinking that this set is very much inspired by the He-man toyline.
The cool thing about Skull Master is that his upper robes and collar can be switched around so he has two different faces, a human face and a skull one, kinda like Scorpion from Mortal Kombat.
I don’t particularly like the colour of Skull Master. A lot of the figures that came in other sets were all painted individually and looked great but this one kinda looks like one that slipped through quality control and ended up unpainted, though this was the way that most of the figures in this set came. All neon orange and not very detailed. I can live with this though, as orange is Halloweeny and this is part of the Halloween Countdown.
The top middle of the mountain doesn’t have much going on. There is a little platform for a two headed dragon to look out. But the middle castle turret bit rotates, making the big green thing tongue-like thing move, so it can poke out of the mountain on the other side.
On the top right side of the mountain there are the two things that make up the ‘eyes’ of the skull when viewed from outside. One of them is a catapult with a fireball inside it, and the other is a boulder on a little platform. The boulder can be pushed out through the eye socket by a falling axe, activated by a lever on the front of the set. It’s pretty neat but the boulder doesn’t really go in any particular direction, hence it’s often flies off to the realm of mislaid toy accessories, so finding a Skull Mountain set that is complete with all the original bits can be tricky.
The bottom right of the mountain is what is most memorable to me. Here is the entrance to Skull Mountain and to the right is a giant crab. The crab is on a mechanism which is operated by a wheel that is hidden on the side of the mountain. Rotating the wheel makes him come out of his little crab cavern, so he can either play peekaboo or just kill Max and scuttle back to his lair for a celebratory nap.
The bottom left of the set has a rocky terrain with a little pit in. which the rock monster figure can lie in all camouflaged and jump out at unwary cap-wearing children. I feel almost guilty as to how dusty the mountain is, but I’m going to blame Skull Master. It’s his home after all, and if he can’t be bothered to clean up before people visit then that’s up to him.
There is also a little island that attaches to a ladder/stairs, and on the island is a protruding bit of plastic for you to fit the hover pod vehicle on and a little peg for the Skull Master to stand and stare off and enjoy some alone time whilst thinking of evil plots.
Not including the crab (which feels kind of fixed into place after so many years) there are seven figures. They are Skull Master, Warmonger (orange one with a sword), Rock Monster, Mighty Max, The Ferocious Skeleturtle, The Double Dragon and the Hammerhead Shark sub. The Hammerhead Shark sub has a little slot for Max to stand at the back, and has a spring-loaded firing mechanism to make the head lurch forward. It’s a cool little feature but the shark feels so fragile that I don’t want to handle it too much.
When packing the set away, the island tucks nicely in where the Rock Monster was, so you don’t have it just sitting around. One thing I love about the MM sets is that no matter how many pieces there are that accompany the sets, with a bit of maneuvering you can get everything to fit nicely so it will close up tight. The only downside is that there isn’t really a place to put the figures and they will fall out if you leave them just lying around in there.
I got this set from an outdoor market and carboot sale as a kid, and the box was nearly the same size as me. I thought it was the best thing that I ever had owned and it took a few years before my appreciation of it diminished at all. Owning it again today though, I can see that even with the stupid, gaudy colours it is still a fantastic toy. That’s not just nostalgia talking. Well maybe it is a bit, but it’s still damn sight better than ‘shopkins’ and the majority of the other shitty things released today.
That was the second to last Halloween Countdown! I hope you have enjoyed looking at some of these if not all of ’em!
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