First up, is the newest Snake Eyes figure. Yes, I bought another Snake Eyes. No, I don’t believe it either. After my Storm Shadow review, a reader contacted me and offered me a great deal on a Snake Eyes v54 (thanks, Lentz!). I haven’t had a chance to review that version of Snake Eyes yet, but he lives up to his billing. He’s the ultimate Snake Eyes figure and he should be the last one you’ll ever need. His spot in my Joe collection is particularly safe. But if you’re like me, a little too young for those early RAH Joes, then you might have been more likely to have played with v3 & v4 as a kid (can you imagine that it took Hasbro 9 years to get from v1 to v4!).
If so, then v4 Snake Eyes might hold a soft spot for you. His figure matches that featured in the second, DIC produced cartoon. This new version pays homage to that original, but a few changes have been made to accommodate the available bucks. The original v4 was an all-new figure while this one relies heavily on the v34 mold, itself a homage to the v3 version (are you keeping up with all this?).
The arms have been swapped out for something a little closer to the bracers on the classic figures and the v54 head sculpt is used to approximate the red visor. The only drawback here is that the v54 head sits particularly low on the v34 neck and makes this Snake Eyes a bit squat in any group shot. Some new-to-the-figure webgear has been added to match the original figure, but, again, I’m not sure where it originally hails from. Snake Eyes also included a basic sword cast in black. And yes, I am disappointed that it’s not neon red.
And just like I have a soft spot for the early 90s Snake Eyes, so too is there a soft spot for his counterpart from the same era. By the 90s, Storm Shadow was working as a Joe and found himself heading up the Ninja Force (One of my most wanted 25th/30th figures is still Nunchuk. I’m convinced I’m the only one.). Ninja Force figures had an action feature, Storm Shadow had a whirlwind move, and usually incorporated cloth into the design somewhere. There’s no action features or cloth here, but this figure was a must buy anyway.
First up, he’s almost entirely a repaint of last year’s awesome Renegades Storm Shadow. They tossed in the 25th Anniversary Firefly’s head and a hood from Zartan to better approximate the classic look of the Ninja Force figure. Sadly, this figure doesn’t quite gel as well as Snake Eyes. A lot of the little details couldn’t be duplicated, the gold is entirely missing, the head/hood combo is awkward, and the white to black to white fade isn’t exactly accurate. Still, this is a case where the thousand nitpicks doesn’t result in a death. He’s a sharp figure and I already am on record saying I’d buy repaints of this great figure! That, and I’ve got plenty of v41 Storm Shadow accessories to supplement the sword and bow he came packaged with.
Finally, we get to one of my all-time favorite Joe characters/figures, good ol’ Shipwreck. Shipwreck’s outfit is the newest of the lot. Somehow, over the years, Shipwreck just didn’t feel like walking around in his dungarees with his shirt half-unbuttoned anymore and he traded them for a blue turtleneck and matching knit cap. He seems more like a dock hand than a sailor, but it works. This Shipwreck was created using v54 Snake Eye’s torso, Renegade Duke’s legs, and the Shipwreck head from the Rise of Cobra figure.
Shipwreck also includes one of those weird, mostly feature-less, pistols from the Renegades sub-line and a diving mask/backpack from the aforementioned Rise of Cobra figure.
I also want to take a moment to note that Shipwreck here denotes a shift that’s slowly occurring in my Joe collecting. I dropped back out of Joes for a bit when the 25th stuff started to dry up. I only found myself jumping back in whenever Hasbro would drop a “homage” Joe here or there into their other lines. But over time, I’ve accumulated a few of what I’d call “updated” Joes. That is ones that evoke the classic figure, but aren’t beholden to that original look. Like the 2011 Duke featured in the picture on the previous page. I didn’t have much use for the giant blue-plasma cannon backpack (but why wouldn’t Duke have a giant blue-plasma cannon backpack?!), but that figure was a sleeper hit for me – a great update to Duke. As I’ve added the awesome v54 Snake Eyes, the v13 Stalker, or the v15 Beachhead, I find myself also enjoying a more modernized, semi-realistic approach to my old favorite Joes too. This Shipwreck, while still bright blue, fits in with those Joes to me. Though he does need a parrot…
Overall, this was a great set! The accessories were a little light for $6 considering what I can get down the street at Wal-Mart for $6.97, but I’m not complaining. As a great contrast on price, the Dollar Generals I visited nearly all had 3 Marvel Universe figures – Iron Man, Spidey, & Cap – for $6, but they were the icky 5 POA versions usually included with the vehicles. Similarly, the paint on some of these could’ve been a little better, but the paint on those Marvel figures was atrocious. If I’d gone in there wanting to spend $6 on Cap, I’d surely have come out with these Joes instead.
The other nice thing is these figures are something to have fun with as we’re about to launch into Retaliation mode. I’m going to go see, and will likely enjoy, the film and I’ll no doubt be buying some figures – the Rock & Bruce Willis on my Joe shelf? Yes, sir! (Though, they’ll probably be the Rock & Bruce Willis and not their respective characters… well, maybe the Rock & John McClane…). I’ll probably pick up a few other cool figures too because I’m a sucker for a neat toy, but that said, I’m happier with the 30th Anniversary figures that homage my old figures. I’m intrigued by great updates of those figures with more modern tones too. That means this wave of basic figures hits just the right spot as I stare down the barrel of movie product. Good job, Hasbro.
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