I don’t have any particular memory of Snout Spout, although I’m sure I must have seen him in the toy aisle at some point. Aside from the Snake Men, the 1986 line didn’t grab me too much as a child. The heroes in particular seemed a bit weak compared to previous years, despite having a lot of money spent on new tooling.
From the 1986 Mattel dealer catalog, featuring a resin prototype of Snout Spout. Image is from Orange Slime.
Design & Development
According to The Power and the Honor Foundation Catalog, Snout Spout (first called Hose Nose) was conceived of by Roger Sweet, with Ted Mayer following up with the visual design:
Image source: The Power and the Honor Foundation Catalog
Another Ted Mayer illustrated elephant figure was featured in Tomart’s Action Figure Digest. This one has a less elaborate costume and bare, elephant-like feet.
The design was further refined by Mattel designer Mike Barbato, whose design closely resembles the final figure, with the exception of the tusks, which were cut:
Image source: The Power of Grayskull documentary
As was the usual process, a prototype silicon mold was made at Mattel, and a resin prototype of the figure was created. The prototype show below is very close to the final figure, although the tip of the trunk is a bit different from the actual toy:
Image source: The Power of Grayskull documentary
The cross sell art for the figure is again based on the prototype, which you can see mainly again from the shape of the trunk:
The test shot (below) of the figure from the factor shows the same feature:
Image source: Cafewhaa
The test shot below is unpainted and not sonic welded together. It does however have the finalized version of the trunk:
Removed chest showing water squirting mechanism.
Toy & Packaging
The final figure is certainly bright and colorful Compared to other water-spraying figures like Kobra Khan and Dragon Blaster Skeletor, his water squirting feature gave more of a stream of water rather than a spray or a mist:
Special thanks to Larry Hubbard for the figure donation!
The artist who did the scene on the back of the packaging is, unfortunately unknown:
Image source: KMKA
Style Guide & Annual
The 1987 Style Guide characterized Snout Spout as a tragic figure – an Etherian peasant transformed by the Evil Horde:
Role: Heroic water-blasting firefighter
Power: Has the ability to douse the raging forces of evil firepower
Character Profile: Snout Spout was an Etherian peasant who was turned into a bizarre creature by Hordak. After crossing the plane into Eternia with the Evil Horde, Snout Spout escaped and joined He-Man. Snout Spout is very self-conscious about his appearance, he feels that everyone is always laughing at him. However, his power to drench evil attacks makes him a true hero in Eternia.
Original artwork by Errol McCarthy. Image via He-Man.org
The 1989 UK MOTU Annual expanded on the outline from the Style Guide, giving him super strength, going into more detail about his lack of self-confidence, and adding some information about his friendship with Orko:
Snout Spout’s story is fleshed out in the minicomic, Eye of the Storm, written by Eric Frydler. Frydler also came up with both his official name Snout Spout and his early working name Hose Nose, as detailed in this interview.
Snout Spout is feeling rather useless because he isn’t athletic like He-Man’s other allies. But when Skeletor causes a fiery storm to engulf Eternia, the elephant-headed warrior comes into his own. In the artwork, his appearance is based on the earlier Ted Mayer concept art (images are from the Dark Horse minicomic collection).
Images: Dark Horse
Snout Spout appeared in the She-Ra cartoon under both his working name Hose Nose and under his official name. As with many Filmation designs, his look is somewhat simplified. His head looks a bit like the second concept drawing shown earlier in this article, but with smaller tusks. Also the colors of his belt, harness, gloves and boots are altered:
Image via the Dark Horse He-Man & She-Ra guide.
UK & US MOTU Magazines
Snout Spout makes an appearance in issue 41 one in the 1987 series of the UK MOTU Magazine. A fairy named Mystika transforms Snout Spout into his original form. Bizarrely, he looks just like He-Man. Eventually he is returned to his elephantine appearance, a result of sacrificing himself to save He-Man and Rio Blast:
He also appears as a minor character in stories in the Fall 1986 and 1988 US MOTU Magazine:
Snout Spout appears in William George’s 1986 Eternia poster (images courtesy of Jukka Issakainen):
He also appears in several pieces by Earl Norem, including in his Christmas wrapping paper illustration:
Snout Spout In Action
Øyvind Meisfjord has kindly contributed the following image and video of Snout Spout in action:
Special thanks to Jukka Issakainen and Øyvind Meisfjord for their assistance with this post.