Produced by Hasbro | Released July 2009
STORM SHADOW is a Ninja Mercenary who works for COBRA. Skilled in several Martial Arts forms, this cold-blooded hunter was trained by the mystical ARASHIKAGE Ninja Clan and is the sworn enemy of SNAKE EYES, the GI Joe team's Ninja Commando.
Storm Shadow Ninja Mercenary
Released as part of the first Wave of movie tie-in figures, Storm Shadow is presented here in his ''regular'' garb. It's a cool look but it does come at a cost.
The sculpt is pretty simple but effective. The design mimics that of the movie costume and features a variety of panels, seams and edging, which break-up what could have been a fairly simplistic sculpt. There are some nice touches across the costume, with wrist straps, zippers, shoulder pads and even a cloth texture all being present. There's a lot to see here and what there is is well done.
On his right hip is a holster, into which his pistol can be slotted. I like that Hasbro thought to include this but it's a shame their forethought didn't extend into making it actually useful: the pistol the figure comes with his simply too large to sit properly in the holster and not only looks a little odd but also has a habit of dropping out.
The head sculpt is relatively simple but again, effective. The mask has a couple of folds and some seams to add a little detail but it's not as nicely produced or designed as the body sculpt. It's not that it's bad - it's just not very interesting.
Whilst arm and upper-body articulation is very good, the presence of the great-looking tailcoat/robe has a massive impact on the figure's poseability. Although his knee and ankle joints are fine, there's virtually no movement at the waist due to the robe. There's a slit at the back that allows some minor movement but there's no corresponding slit at the front and - as a result - his legs can't really be moved much past vertical.
This makes posing Storm Shadow in anything but a planted-foot pose virtually impossible, as you may have noticed from the images included with this Review. I like the look of the robe tails but I'm not sure I like them enough to forgive their impact on the figure's articulation.
Paint is used very sparingly indeed, but at least it's cleanly applied. There's some flesh tone on the exposed fingers and on the neck and head, but beyond that the figure's colouring comes solely from the plastic it's cast in. Thankfully it actually looks pretty good, although I'd have liked to see a shadow wash applied to just pick-out the detail.
Storm Shadow comes with a number of weapons and accessories.
The figure comes with a double sword sheath pre-attached (although it can be removed) into which the two blades fit nicely. Speaking of the blades, they're a good fit in his hands and are nicely painted, with the Arashikage symbol on the hilt of each. In addition to this he comes with a pistol (that - just - fits into the holster), a tiger-claw weapon, a Nano-Mite missile head and a large assault rifle. Unfortunately I found it difficult to pose him with this weapon, hence the lack of photos.
The final weapon is an oversized launcher which, for a change, fires discs rather than missiles. It's a nice little touch that differentiates him from the other figures in the line but it's not really a practical accessory and is included so kids can shoot their Joes/each other with it.
He also includes his own base.
Storm Shadow Ninja Mercenary is a solid-but-not-great figure. Looks-wise, he falls into the OK-to-good range and the tailcoat/robe is a great-looking piece, as it gives him a unique, very cool look. However, it's also the figure's Achilles Heel, as it impacts the lower-body articulation to the point of making those joints virtually useless.
I could imagine kids will probably enjoy playing with him. The pistol may go missing if the session is particularly rough but the figure is solidly built and nicely put together. With the exception of the assault rifle, the weapons sit nicely in his hands and the swords - once sheathed - aren't going anywhere. The articulation problems probably won't bother a child unless they're either trying to pose him in a cool Ninja Kick Attack Mode or using him with a vehicle. This is definitely not a figure for the articulation-minded.
If - like me - you're a displaying collector, you'll probably find Storm Shadow an OK addition to your collection. He looks pretty cool and the articulation problems can be worked around if you've the patience to do so. I do, however, also think he'll be one of those figures that tends to go nearer the back of your display...