Snake Men

Tung Lashor – Evil tongue-shooting SNAKE MEN creature (1986)

I don’t remember seeing Tung Lashor in stores as a kid, so my first memory is really from reading about him in the minicomic that came packed with Rattlor. One of the first things of course that strikes you about Tung Lashor is that, despite being a member of the Snake Men, he looks much more like a frog than a snake.

Design & Development

As for the snake Men, Rattlor and Tung Lashor were designed ahead of King Hiss (and included as Horde Villains based on their earliest designs). By the time King Hiss was completed and the Snake Men as a faction had been created, She-Ra was already in full swing.

James Eatock

The earliest known design for Tung Lashor doesn’t look like a frog creature, but it doesn’t look particularly snake-like either. This concept by Ted Mayer seems to be a demon or an imp in an acrobat costume:

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Image source: The Art of He-Man/The Power and the Honor Foundation. Dated July 12, 1984.

There may or may not be some relationship with the Ted Mayer Jester design below. The costume and pose are quite similar, but otherwise the relationship between the two is unclear:

Image source: Tomart’s Action Figure Digest, courtesy of Jukka Issakainen

Ted Mayer’s early design was used to create the design for the animated version of Tung Lashor, and there may have been an intermediate Mattel design along the way that was used for the Filmation model sheet below. Compared to Ted’s original design, this character lost his pointed ears and has arms and legs reminiscent of Skeletor (or at least his action figure). The color scheme roughly follows Ted’s drawing.

Image source: He-Man and She-Ra – A Complete Guide to the Animated Adventures

The final version of the design is so different from the early concept that it’s hard to find much of a connection between the two, other than the long tongue. The production figure looks quite a lot like a poison dart frog, but with sharp fangs. He has a mottled two-toned purple color scheme, with an orange front torso, and the Snake Men logo in green on his chest. He has frog like-fingers, covered in black rubber gloves. His feet look like smoother, simplified versions of the type of the feet used for Buzz-Off and Whiplash.

Tung Lashor cross sell artwork

Production Figure

Tung Lashor came with two accessories – a purple repaint of King Hiss’ staff, and a dragonfly crossbow weapon. He reuses He-Man’s trunks, but all of his other parts are newly-sculpted. His thin plastic tongue (which was painted in a rather venomous looking, two-tone green and yellow color) could be made to flick in and out by turning a dial on the figure’s back.

The first release of the figure has a dark purple design painted on its back, while subsequent releases omit the paint on the back. This was a fairly common practice in the MOTU line. Some examples: The first release Skeletor had purple trunks with a painted black belt, while later versions had a plain black belt. The first release Mer-Man had orange trunks and a green belt, while later versions had an unpainted belt.

Tung Lashor in the 1986 JCPenney Catalog. Image courtesy of RM Hart.
Tung Lashor in the 1986 JCPenney Catalog. Image courtesy of RM Hart.
Tung Lashor in the 1986 Mattel Dealer Catalog. Image source: Orange Slime.
Tung Lashor advertising line art for retailers.

Packaging

Tung Lashor was not included in any gift sets or multi-packs. The artwork on the back of his card was, in my opinion, likely illustrated by Dave Stevens, who also worked on the packaging for Moss Man and Stinkor.

Tung Lashor in Action

A photo and a short video of Tung Lashor in action, contributed by Øyvind Meisfjord:

Artwork

Tung Lashor appears in the Eternia poster and packaging art, both painted by William George:

A poster by Earl Norem included with issue 7 of Masters of the Universe Magazine features all of the snake men (including Kobra Khan, who had been retconned into that faction starting in 1986) that existed up to that point:

Tung Lashor was illustrated in several dynamic poses by frequent Mattel contributing artist Errol McCarthy. McCarthy’s art makes the character look a bit more snake-like, and may represent an earlier stage in Tung Lashor’s design evolution.

Characterization

The above illustration is from the 1987 Mattel Style Guide (which depicts the character with three-toed feet, similar to Ted Mayer’s concept), which provides Tung Lashor’s bio and characteristics:

Role: Evil Snake Men creature with the “venomous” tongue

Power: Quick-licking tongue shoots out to reach enemies in battle, inflicting a dose of vile venom.

Character Profile: This unusually mean creature possesses a truly terrible tongue. Tung Lashor is loyal to King Hiss, although he does answer to Skeletor at Times. He is an extremely brutal creature, more openly vicious than Rattlor. He cowers before King Hiss, however, like all the others. He likes to lash his tongue at just about anything, even his comrades to shake them up once in a while.

Note: Like Rattlor, Tung Lashor is a member of The Evil Horde in the Filmation shows. However, he has now become a member of the Snake Men.

There was also a fact file on Tung Lashor in the 1989 UK MOTU Annual:

Comics & Stories

In the Snake Attack minicomic, Tung Lashor takes the active speaking role in his partnership with Rattlor, although his impulsiveness gets him into trouble. Tung Lashor’s tongue in this instance isn’t exactly poisonous – it rather has the ability to paralyze his victims and cover them with some kind of hard coating.

When Rattlor and Tung Lashor are introduced in King of the Snake Men, it’s mentioned that they had been serving Hordak before King Hiss summoned them. This is a reference to their appearances on the She-Ra cartoon series (they came out too late to appear in the original He-Man series, which ended in 1985). King Hiss does not appear in the series, so the snake men are made to serve Hordak.

Tung Lashor appears in issue 7 of the US Masters of the Universe Magazine in “The Armies of King Hiss”:

Both Rattlor and Tung Lashor are wildly off model in the 1987 UK MOTU Magazine story, “Attack of the Snakemen.” Tung Lashor especially looks unrecognizable and bizarre (I first learned about this issue from James Eatock’s excellent He-Man and She-Ra Blog).

In the 1986 Kid Stuff story book/record, Battle Under Snake Mountain, Tung Lashor makes another appearance, again with the three-toed feet design.

Animation

Tung Lashor is inconsistently called Tung and Tung Lash in the Filmation She-Ra series, probably a reflection of early working names for the figure. He has a high voice and a rather adolescent-like personality, and is usually subordinate to Rattlor.

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12 thoughts on “Tung Lashor – Evil tongue-shooting SNAKE MEN creature (1986)

  1. It always cracked me up that, after years of pointing out the spring-action waist, they pointed out the lack of it on Tung Lashor’s package as if the lack of a feature was a feature itself! I may have mentioned this in the comments for Rattlor’s entry, but I was always torn between the two of them in deciding who my favorite Snake Men figure was. (Hiss was cool in theory, but the nature of his feature necessarily resulted in his snake form being incredibly underwhelming.) Rattlor had the coolest action feature, but I loved Tung Lashor’s overall design, especially the color palette. The purple ridge running down his head also reminded me of a mohawk, so he had that going for him, too. Mohawks were so totally badass to my child mind! I had one of the releases that lacked the purple paint on the back, even though it was sculpted. That used to bug the hell out of me!

    I felt that poor Tung Lashor fared particularly badly in the Filmation show. I always strongly disliked his design, and his portrayal was even worse than that of most of the other villains. I’m definitely glad that his design changed so radically by the time the figure went into production!

    1. It always cracked me up that, after years of pointing out the spring-action waist, they pointed out the lack of it on Tung Lashor’s package as if the lack of a feature was a feature itself!

      Well, Tung Lashor is one of the only two Snake Men to have [i]any[/i] waist articulation, along with Sssqueeze. I can’t recall if Sssqueeze has the power punch action or not.

      Interesting factoid: The original Hordak is similarly the only Hordesman with the power punch feature.

  2. If Tung Lashor can be a frog and still be considered a Snake Man, then Whiplash should be included too, being so alligator-like. 😉

    1. There’s a German Ehapa comic, also published in UK and Scandinavia, in which Evil forces have camped for the night before launching their attack. And Whiplash is by the same bonfire as the Snake Men.

  3. The appearance of Tung Lashor and Rattlor in Issue #27 of the UK Comics was pretty confusing. I would hazard a guess that the Spanish artwork team at Selecciones Illustradas (SI) who drew the UK Comics had not been provided with image references for the action figures at the time this comic was drawn, so they were guessing at their appearance and colour scheme (it’s notable that King Hiss is also miscoloured, his snake heads being green instead of yellowish-brown). Hopefully the upcoming book on the MOTU franchise in Spain, that will contain interviews with these artists, will shed some light on this.

  4. Another great blog, Battleram. Somehow I missed this new article when it came up a few days ago… So my face lit up when I saw it this morning.

    By the time the Snake Men were released fairly late on in the line, I was still a huge fan of the franchise, but as I’ve mentioned in other comments my love was/is for the early ‘Barbarian’ mythos; by this late stage the franchise had become far more “anything goes”, so whilst I can remember seeing the Snake Men on the shelves, they kinda bled into one in my memory as I actually wasn’t overly interested in them.
    Years later in the late 1990s when I started collecting the complete line I acquired Tung Lashor (both painted and unpained backs versions), and as with many of the later figures… a really nice ‘stand alone’ toy, though doesn’t feel overly MOTU to me.

    The non-stake, frog-like appearance is interesting. I’d hazard a guess that a lot of it was compromise to bulk the figure out enough to fit the workings in; however that strong frog-like appearance does make me wonder if TL was another character was wasn’t really designated a faction during development and was ‘adapted’ into a Snake Man later on.
    Of note is on the back-of-box art of the character with Sy-Klone, TL doesn’t have his Snake logo on his chest. I wonder if this reflects a late-on “Let’s put him in with the Snake Men” decision or is unrelated (indeed, some other characters, such as Webstor, do have paint details missing from their back-of-box artwork). The curious dragonfly accessory (which one might more associate with a frog than a snake) also might suggest earlier intentions before the ‘Snake Man’ compromise.

    When I started collecting the complete He-Man/She-Ra Filmation series on VHS around the same time I collected the entire toyline (though much VHS trading!), TL’s completely different appearance mystified me; it all made sense when I saw that early concept art years later. In the Filmation series he always appeared juvenile, like a teenage boy (err… snake), which was an interesting take. The changing name between ‘Tung’ and ‘Tung Lashor’ (as well as being in with The Horde) suggests the character was added VERY early in development; he’s called ‘Tung Lashor’ on his model sheet, though mis-spelled “Tongue Lasher”. (BTW off-topic, but I forgot how much Filmation’s model sheet for Rattlor resembles his 200x look).

    And as for that UK comic appearance (which has stuck in my mind for many years), seriously bizarre. As Aiden speculates, it’s likely that the artists didn’t yet have any image references, but even so, you’d think there would be some kind of vague colour / concept similarity, even if just the early concept sketch art.

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