Thursday, March 10, 2011

REVIEW: GI Joe: Pursuit of Cobra - Desert Battle Storm Shadow

Desert Battle Storm Shadow | Produced by Hasbro | Released August 2010

Storm Shadow is a Ninja mercenary who works for Cobra. As the desert battle rages, he hunts for Snake Eyes, the GI Joe team Ninja and his sworn enemy. The Cobra Martial Arts Master is prepared for battle in Samurai desert armor and armed with connectible Katana swords and a Manrikigusari chain weapon.

As I've covered Hasbro's standard packaging countless times, I'm going to just start posting pictures unless there's anything specific to comment on...

Desert Battle Storm Shadow
The Desert Battle attire of Storm Shadow is quite a departure from his usual Ninja-like armour. His head is swathed in a turban-like mask and a  Shemagh-like scarf is wrapped around his neck and onto his chest (which is bare beneath.) At his waist is a Samurai-inspired subligar/hip-guard (with a sporran-esque groin protector!) with a cloth skirt/tailcoat covering his pants-covered legs. On his back is a hexagonal pack that holds most of his weapons. It's an odd mashup of styles but it works, giving him a kind of ''Arabian Legend'' look.

The head sculpt is nicely done. There are individual wraps to his mask and a lifelike cloth-style effect, complete with wrinkles. His spiked hair sprouting from the back of the mask is a little strange, though, unless Storm Shadow is also secretly Goku...

The body continues this standard and although it's just a bare torso, it does its job well enough. The detailing on the gloves and wrists is nice, with laces molded into the bracers and creases on the gloved hands. The legs are recycled from the movie tie-in Storm Shadow - Paris Pursuit figure, although that's no bad thing, as that sculpt was pretty good, too.

The figure is well-articulated and the subligar-skirt combination does little to inhibit movement. When I initially saw the Desert Battle Storm Shadow I was worried he'd be a little rigid thanks to this accessory but those worries were unfounded.

His hands can be a little too widely-molded for some of his weapons, but a little squeezing and some creative balancing will allow him to hold any item he comes equipped with.

Paint is nicely applied. There's a very effective sand-brown effect on the legs, which gives the impression of him trampling through the desert, although it maybe stops just a little too short and could be misinterpreted as being sun-damaged white plastic... Detail is well applied elsewhere, too, with his eyes being cleanly picked-out and a very slight trace of the dusty effect appearing on his mask and gloves. 

If this Review seems short, it's only because the real stand-out features of this figure are the accessories, which we'll look at now.

Desert Battle Storm Shadow comes with a plethora of blades, accessories and weaponry.

He has an arsenal of two short Katana-style blades, four longer Katanas, four Shuriken, two tiger claw weapons and a Manrikigusari (chain weapon), along with a backpack, belt/subligar and neck scarf. Oh and a stand.

What's cool is the Katanas have tiny male/female connectors, allowing them to be joined to form a new two-bladed weapon. And when not in use, they slide into the backpack in a manner resembling some kind of sword-based magic trick. It's very nicely designed and works well.

Another neat touch is the way the Shuriken can be attached to his hip guard. The throwing stars have tiny holes in them, which fit perfectly over the pegs on each side. Again, it's a well thought out design that's also very well executed.

The Manrikigusari is an interesting weapon. Unlike previous flail-like weapons (such as Snake Eyes' Nunchaku), this weapon uses a real length of chain, as opposed to a piece of string. This gives the weapon a lot of weight and means it can be posed in a variety of positions. What's particularly good is the connector pieces - a ring at either end - are large enough to slip over the Katana hilts when they're in his backpack. As a result, the Manrikigusari can be hung from his back and carried without getting in the way.

The only weapons I don't feel work so well are the tiger claws. They're just a little too small for his hand and tend to droop a little. As I said though, a little squeeze and some patience and you'll not experience too many problems.

Paint is very cleanly applied to the figure and the use of red and gold on his hip guard is superb. These colours really set-off the figure, which could have simply been another white-clad Ninja-esque Martial Artist. The weapons are also cleanly painted, with black leather grip detail on the hilts really setting-off some very detailed sculpts.

He's definitely a winner in the accessories department.

Final Thoughts
Desert Battle Storm Shadow does two things I like: he has a lot of gear but also space to carry it all. I'm not a fan of the accessory overkill seen in some of the more recent Joes: Shadow Tracker and Low-Light both have way too much gear and none of it really fits together very well for storage/display purposes. Desert Battle Storm Shadow comes with a lot of gear, yes, but he's also cleverly designed to carry and store it all, too. The swords fit perfectly into the backpack; the Shuriken, once mounted on his hip guards, aren't going anywhere; and the chain rings mean he can stow the Manrikigusari when it's not in use. It's this focus on big-picture detail and overall figure design - rather than focusing on fiddly, lose-able little accessory pieces - that was lacking in the other figures but is plainly evident here.

OK, so it's quite a different look for Storm Shadow here. But part of the fun of the Pursuit of Cobra line is seeing the old characters reinterpreted and - in most cases - modernised. Although this may not be the look some purists favour, I like it, probably because I've come to the GI Joe line with no preconceived ideas about the characters. If you don't think it's a good Storm Shadow sculpt, then rename him. Make him some new character that's Dusty's Cobra counterpart or something.

But whatever you do, I'd certainly suggest you buy Desert Battle Storm Shadow. He's a well-designed, nicely-painted, well-equipped and cool-looking toy that should be on any GI Joe collector's shelf.

Production QualityB+
Final ScoreA-

Image Gallery


  1. I have been looking at this one at the store alot when i see him and you just sold me on him so i shall have to add him to my "to get list". : )

  2. He's a very different take on Storm Shadow but one I do like. I also forgot to mention that the shorter Katanas also fit into the back of his subligar/hip guard, so he's even more storage-friendly than ever!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...