#1842: Snake Eyes

SNAKE EYES

G.I. JOE: 25TH ANNIVERSARY

“SNAKE EYES is proficient in 12 different unarmed fighting systems (Karate, Kung-Fu, Jujitsu) and is highly skilled in the use of edged weapons. Has received extensive training in mountaineering, underwater demolitions, jungle, desert and arctic survival, and some form of holistic medicine. Qualified Expert: All NATO and Warsaw Pact small arms.”

In 2007, Hasbro was in something of a dry patch.  Marvel Legends was all but dead, the Star Wars franchise was slowly dragging along waiting for Disney to buy it, and their in-house G.I. Joe’s re-branding as “Sigma 6” didn’t pan out quite as they’d hoped.  But, with the looming quarter-century anniversary of G.I. Joe’s A Real American Hero incarnation, they were hoping to at least have a modest, 25 figure celebration.  Little did they know that they’d inadvertently revive the brand for another five years of resounding success.  Yes, the 25th Anniversary line was the breath of fresh air that G.I. Joe needed.  Ironic, given that the whole purpose of the line was fixating on the past, but it showed Hasbro that you didn’t need to totally ditch the past to inject some modern ingenuity into the line.  Today, I’m looking at one of that line’s many, many variants of Joe heavy-hitter, Snake Eyes!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Snake Eyes was part of 2009’s 10-figure “Hall of Heroes” sub-set of the G.I. Joe: 25th Anniversary line.  He was figure 10 of 10, bookending the assortment, which featured another Snake Eyes as figure 1 of 10.  Even in the limited engagement sub-line, there were still two different Snake Eyes variants!  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  Sculpturally, he’s the same figure as the initial boxed-set 25th Snake Eyes, based on Snake’s original 1982 appearance.  After years of him being a pretty straight ninja, it walked him back to being a commando, who I guess would make more sense on a military task force.  That figure’s sculpt was very good, with tons of great little details littered all throughout.  The mask has tiny little vents at the front, his goggles are now clearly a separate piece, and you can even make out the stitching on his cowl.  His proportions are far more true to life than either the vintage or ‘00s lines, and the use of rubber overlay pieces for his web gear mean his gear has a much higher level of detailing, and he can even properly stow some of his weapons, something of a rarity in prior offerings.  The original Snake Eyes figure was actually part of the assortment as a cost-saving measure; a figure that required no paint applications.  This figure operates as a send-up to that, being predominately molded in straight black plastic.  He’s not completely without paint, though, as that would look rather cheap on a modern figure.  He’s got the slightest bit of accenting on his buckles, and the rim of his goggles.  It’s very subtle, enough that you might miss it, allowing him to maintain the same look as his original figure, while still maintaining that ever so slight extra detailing.  Snake Eyes is packed with a knife, handgun, uzi, and satchel, as well as a display stand with the G.I. Joe logo and his name printed on the front.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Remember a few weeks ago when I was talking about All Time getting in a large collection of vintage Joes?  Well, this past week they followed it up with a collection of 25th Anniversary Joes.  As a huge shock to everyone, I’m sure, I didn’t come home with a huge stack of Vipers this time.  Nope, just this guy, who was one of a handful of Snake Eyes variants sitting at the bottom of the box.  He’s a very nice figure, just like all of the Snake Eyeses built on this body.  Hasbro really was at the top of their game here, and it resulted in great figures, even when they just were minor re-paints like this guy.

This guy was loaned to me for review by All Time Toys.  Like I mentioned above, they just got in a collection of these, which they’ve got available on their eBay Store.  So, if you want Snake Eyes or some of his other compatriots, check them out there.  Of course, I make no promises about this particular Snake Eyes, because he may or may not be staying in my collection.  And, if you’re more in the market for something new, also check out their website.

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#0948: Cobra Viper

COBRA VIPER

G.I. JOE: 25TH ANNIVERSARY

Viper25th1

To be a successful evil organization, you need to have a few metric tons of faceless goons. Nothing says evil like some faceless goons! Evil terrorist organization Cobra (the ones that fight G.I. Joe, not the ones who sell health insurance) are practically the kings of the faceless goon: they’ve got a squad of them for just about every occasion! When the basic Cobra Troopers aren’t quite enough, then it’s time to send in the *slightly* more advanced Cobra Vipers! Let’s take a look at one of them today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Viper25th2The Cobra Viper was released in the 2008 assortment of the G.I. Joe: 25th Anniversary line. It’s the 16th version of the Viper Hasbro’s released, and it’s based on the classic Viper design from way back in 1986. The figure stands a little under 4 inches tall and has 20 points of articulation. While some of the 25th Anniversary figures made tweaks to the original designs, the Viper is a pretty shot-for-shot recreation of the original toy. The only real change is the move to slightly more realistic proportions (though that head’s a bit undersized). The general quality of the sculpt is pretty good, with lots of really nice detail work. They’ve even made his vest and goggles removable, allowing for a bit more customization and detail than the original figures offered. However, the figure isn’t without some rather notable flaws. First and foremost, there’s the hands. The Viper’s wrists are oddly contorted, which I assume is to allow him to hold his weapon, in theory at least. In practice, this doesn’t work, leaving him with very strangely positioned hands that can barely hold the included gun. Also, the separate goggles, while cool, are incredibly hard to keep in place, due to being just a touch too small for the head. On the plus side, the paint work here is pretty solid. The colors are all nice and vibrant and everything is applied very cleanly. They’ve even added some detail not present on the original, to help add a bit more depth to the design. The Viper includes his standard issue rifle and a Cobra-insignia-ed display stand with his code name printed on it. I do wish the rifle was molded in something other than that weird off-white, but it’s a fairly nice recreation of his original gun.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I actually own three Vipers, all gotten at different times. I picked up the first one loose from All Time Toys, when I was on my first 25th Anniversary buying spree. The second came from Amazon so that I could get free shipping on another order. The final one was added much later, and I believe it also came from All Time Toys, though it was packaged. Is this Viper a perfect figure? No. The hands are pretty annoying, and there’s no real fix. The goggles, however, can be fixed with a small dab of superglue, so there’s that. The Viper’s my favorite human Cobra trooper, and this figure’s definitely serviceable. Hasbro’s produced far worse.

Viper25th3

#0514: Sgt. Flash

SGT FLASH

GI JOE: 25TH ANNIVERSARY

SgtFlash1

YO JOOOOOOOOOOOE!!!! If you’re gonna review action figures, every so often, it’s important to take a look at something from the original action figure line, GI Joe. And, while the original 12 inch Joe was the one who created the whole freaking industry, when you mention GI Joe, most people are probably going to think of the A Real American Hero incarnation that first appeared in 1982. In ’82, Hasbro was looking for a way to revitalize their brand. Instead of selling one large figure, why not a bunch of smaller ones? Each of them could have their own specialty, and if done properly, they could make use of a lot of the same parts, keeping costs down. Thus, the line started off with a group of figures affectionately known as the “Original 13.” The figures offered a mix of more realistic soldiers and some that were a bit more sci-fi inspired. Today’s figure is one of the latter, a laser trooper by the name of Sgt. Flash!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

SgtFlash2Sgt. Flash (originally just Flash, but I don’t think a certain Distinguished Competition was too happy about that name) was released in the 2008 assortment of the GI Joe: 25th Anniversary line. He was part of that year’s first wave of single-packed figures. The figure is about 3 ¾ inches in height, with 22 points of articulation. Flash is obviously based on his original 1982 figure, though a few liberties have been take here and there with the sculpt. The original Flash figure shared more than a few parts with his teammates, but that’s not the case here. The good Sergeant has been fitted with an all-new sculpt. It’s not one of the greatest sculpts the line had to offer. The head is easily the figure’s weakest point. The original was sort of plain and generic, but here he’s kind of a little dopey looking. Something about him really makes me not want to trust this guy with the lasers. Another problem with the sculpt is something that actually affected a lot of the initial 25th figures. The nature of how the lower/upper arm pieces were sculpted seriously inhibits the range of motion on the elbow joints, which ends up being quite limiting on a figure like Flash, who needs to hold stuff. There’s also the issue of his chest armor being divided in half, but that’s a more minor thing. The articulation is actually pretty nice to have there. The rest of the figure’s sculpt is actually pretty great. His jumpsuit has lots of great work on the folds and such, and being able to see the collar of the knit shirt underneath is a cool touch. The quilted pattern of the armor and the etched patterns on the gloves are also very well handled, and add some character to the figure. The paint ends up being the weakest part of the figure. The red, in particular, is pretty bad. It’s uneven, it frequently bleeds over, and there’s a rather noticeable spot on his chest where something got stuck to it while it was drying. The paint on the head does an already lackluster sculpt no favors. The eyebrows are really thick, and just a tad too high, and his eyes look rather lifeless. At the very least, the boots and gloves are well painted, so there’s that. Sgt. Flash includes a helmet with a flip up visor, his trusty laser rifle, a backpack that it can plug into, and a GI Joe logo-stand with his name written on the front.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Sgt. Flash was picked up for me by my Dad and my brother. I had just gotten my wisdom teeth out at the time, and I was sitting at home watching my DVDs of the cartoon. They felt kinda sorry for me, so they bought me Flash (as well as General Hawk, who was the real winner of the two). The original Flash figure is one I’ve always wanted, but never gotten. This one’s not quite the same thing, and he’s certainly not one of the best figures this line had to offer, but he does make for a decent stand-in, and he really isn’t that bad.

#0218: Captain Ace

CAPTAIN ACE

GI JOE 25TH ANNIVERSARY

Ace

“He’ll fight for freedom, wherever there’s trouble, G.I. Joe is there!” or here rather. Yep, it’s another G.I. Joe review. Yet again, I’m pulling a figure from the A Real American Hero incarnation of the franchise. This time around, is one of G.I. Joe’s trusty pilots, Ace. Or, as he’s been named due to trademark issues, Captain Ace. Hey, he lucked out compared to some of the others, believe me.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ace is one of the figure’s from Hasbro’s G.I. Joe 25th Anniversary line. He comes from one of the line’s two-packs, where he was packaged with a figure of Cobra pilot, Wild Weasel. I picked up Ace on his own, so no Weasel review, I’m afraid. Ace stands about 3 ¾ inches tall and has 22 points of articulation. He’s based on Ace’s original design from his ’83 figure, and, according to yojoe.com anyway, features an all new sculpt. I know several pieces of this sculpt were also used on the 25th Anniversary version of fellow pilot Wild Bill, but I guess Ace came first. Ace’s sculpt is very nice, with lots of great detail work in the folds of the jumpsuit. His head sculpt also has the appropriate “hotshot pilot” vibe. Ace also features a harness add-on, which helps to further emulate the look of the original figure. It’s a nice piece, and it sits pretty well. Ace’s paint is a bit on the messy side. There’s a few spots of bleed over and his face paint is just odd, giving him a bit of a wide-eyed stare. It’s a bit of a letdown, given how nice the sculpt is. Ace includes a helmet and a display stand with his name and the G.I. Joe logo.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Ace a while after his release, from a local toystore. I got him loose, hence the lack of pack-mate Wild Weasel. I’ve always liked Ace, though this is actually the first figure of him I ever got. He’s a cool figure, but I do wish the paintwork were a bit better.

#0167: G.I. Joe Resolute Cobra Box Set

COBRA COMMANDER, STORM SHADOW, ALLEY VIPER, BARONESS, DESTRO, ZARTAN & FIREFLY

G.I. JOE 25th ANNIVERSARY

Cobra Resolute7pack

Hoo boy. Yep, this review is gonna be a long one. Typically, I try to do boxed sets as one review for the whole thing whenever possible. That’s not usually that much extra work, until I run into something like the set I’m reviewing today.

This isn’t the first time I’ve looked at GI Joe’s A Real American Hero incarnation, but it’s the first time I’ve looked at this particular branch of it. After the early 2000s GI Joe VS Cobra interpretation started to dwindle, Hasbro once again relaunched the line as GI Joe 25th Anniversary, to coincide with the titular anniversary. It was a combination of boxed sets and single packed waves of figures. Eventually, the line’s sales fell, so Hasbro moved several of the remaining figures to a few online exclusive seven – packs. Yep, I’m going to be looking at seven figures today. Hang in there readers!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This was a one of two online exclusive boxed sets released in the summer of 2010. Both sets were based on 2009’s GI Joe: Resolute, an animated movie that was aired as a series of shorts on [adult swim]. The script was written by comicbook writer Warren Ellis, and it served as an update of sorts to the cartoon from the 80s. This set featured the Cobra characters from the series.

COBRA COMMANDER

CobraCommander(Resolute)

Cobra Commander, as the name implies, is the leader of terrorist organization Cobra. He’s one of the few characters that had more than one look over the course of the series, so they’ve decided to give him his more standard uniform that he wears for the majority of the series. It’s a cool design, and serves as an update on his original 1982 figure. The figure stands about 3 ¾ inches tall and features 22 points of articulation. The Commander shares his torso, waist, upper and lower arms, gloves, upper legs, and shins with his first 25th Anniversary figure, and was also an almost wholesale re-release of the Resolute version of the Commander released in the main line. The sculpt looks like a pretty great representation of the Commander’s appearance in Resolute, despite the re-use. Most of the figure’s success comes from his add-on half cape and skirt piece, which both cover up the reused pieces and give the Commander the regal dictator look he should have. The head adds to that, with a nice, more angular update to his traditional mirror faced helmet. The paint on the figure is all very well done, with no real signs of slop or anything. He’s conveyed here in the cartoon’s more muted tones, which accent the figure’s sculpt very well. It would be nice if there was perhaps some more detailing or a wash of some sort to bring out some of the sculpted folds and such, but at this scale, it’s not a huge issue. Cobra Commander includes a sword, a pistol, an ornate knife/dagger and a stand bearing his name and the Cobra logo. That’s a nice assortment of accessories!

STORM SHADOW

StormShadow(Resolute)

StormShadow(Resolute)altStorm Shadow was Cobra’s resident expert in all things ninja. He served as a counter point to GI Joe member Snake Eyes. Storm Shadow’s design was based on his original design, with some thorough tweaks to update it a bit, I suppose. He stands about 3 ¾ inches tall and has 22 points of articulation. He shares his torso, arms and waist with the 25th Anniversary Quick Kick figure, but everything else is new. Storm Shadow also features a hood, sash and shirt as add-on pieces, allowing you to dress him how you like, I suppose. All of the pieces are well sculpted, doing a decent job of capturing the character’s look from Resolute. The add-on pieces look a bit bulky from certain angles, but it isn’t too bad. The paint is serviceable, but not the greatest. There’s a few spots of sloppiness, and he could really benefit from a wash of some sort. The details really get lost in the white. Storm Shadow includes two katana, a backpack with sheaths for them, a claw attachment for his hand, and a stand with his name and the Cobra logo.

ALLEY VIPER

AlleyViper(Resolute)

The Alley Viper is this set’s army builder. Admittedly, not the most practical way to release such a figure, but don’t let that color your opinion of the figure. He stands 3 ¾ inches tall and has 22 points of articulation. Most of his basic body comes from either the basic Resolute Cobra Trooper or the previously released samurai version of Storm Shadow. He has a new head, helmet, goggles, and chest armor. These pieces make a world of difference, making the Alley Viper look like a brand new figure. The sculpting it really great here, with lots of little texture work, especially on the torso piece. The paint on the figure is clean, and looks great all around. The Alley Viper includes two large rifles, and a display stand.

BARONESS

Baroness(Resolute)

The Baroness is the right hand…woman, I guess, and has been a fixture of Cobra since the beginning. Her figures in the past haven’t been the greatest. This one’s not the worst, but it’s not an amazing. She’s a little under 3 ¾ inches tall and has 22 points of articulation. She shares her body with the previous version of Baroness from the 25th Anniversary line, with a new head. The body is perfectly fine. Nicely proportioned and all. The head is another story. It seems like it’s more of a molding issue than a sculpt issue, but nonetheless, it’s not a very good piece. The paint is serviceable. It’s all very cleanly applied, but there’s nothing super impressive. She includes a removable pair of sunglasses, two sub machine guns, and a display stand.

DESTRO

Destro(Resolute)

Destro was Cobra’s weapons supplier, though more often than not he was just treated as a part of the Cobra hierarchy. His design deviates the most from his original look, but that’s understandable. His original design was probably the most dated of the original designs. He’s the tallest member of the set, clocking in at a full 4 inches and featuring 22 points of articulation. Destro’s only shared piece was his head, which he shares with all of his previous 25th Anniversary releases. Everything else is brand new, and it’s all very sharply sculpted, which is really cool. Like Cobra Commander, he’s got a very regal sort of look to him. His paint work is simple, but it’s all cleanly applied. It looks accurate to the show. Destro includes a machine gun, a briefcase containing a sub-machine gun, two pistols, an alternate cybernetic arm, and a display stand.

ZARTAN

Zartan(Resolute)

Zartan was the leader of the Dreadnocks, and the resident master of disguise over at Cobra. He stands about 3 ¾ inches tall and features 22 points of articulation. He shares a head with the previous 25th Anniversary version of the character. I believe all the other pieces are new. He looks pretty spot in to the character’s look in the cartoon. The sculpt is decently detailed, and properly stylized, which looks pretty good. The paint is perfectly fine, with no real slop or bleed over. He’s done nicely, but the color scheme is pretty bland, so he kind of blends in. He includes a smaller gun, a sniper rifle, and a display stand.

FIREFLY

Fireflly(Resolute)

Firefly was a beloved show by creator Joss Whedon, cancelled after just 13 episodes… No wait, sorry. Firefly is a Batman villain who…no, that’s wrong too. Firefly is actually Cobra’s something expert. Not certain what, but he looks while doing whatever it is he does. He stands 3 ¾ inches tall and has 22 points of articulation. He shares his body with the Resolute Cobra Trooper, with a new head and a body armor add-on piece. All of the sculpting work is solid, with some great detail, particularly the stitching on the mask, which is a cool touch. The paint is once again solid work, but like Zartan, it’s really drab. For as cool as people seem to think the character is, he’s not the most exciting figure. He includes a rifle, a missile, a rocket launcher thing (not pictured), and a display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Resolute box sets were what really got me into the 25th Anniversary line. I had enjoyed the cartoon quite a bit, and I really liked the updated designs, so I was all aboard for the figures. I had initially really wanted the set for Cobra Commander and Storm Shadow, but once I got the figures in hand, I really enjoyed the Alley Viper, way more than I thought I would. Not that Commander and Storm Shadow are bad. Sure, the set’s not all perfect (I’m looking at you Baroness), but it’s a lot of fun and it was a great way to get an instant set of all the main Cobras.