Thursday, June 2, 2011

REVIEW: GI Joe Arctic Threat Snake Eyes (AKA Temple Guardian Snake Eyes)

Produced by Hasbro | Released May 2011

Snake Eyes is proficient in 12 different unarmed fighting systems including Karate, Kung-Fu, and Jujitsu, and is highly skilled in the use of edged weapons. he has received extensive training in mountaineering and underwater demolitions, jungle, desert and arctic survival; and some forms of holistic medicine. He was trained by the Arashikage Ninja Clan, the same Clan that trained his sworn enemy, Storm Shadow, the Cobra Ninja mercenary. He wears special Ninja warrior armor to defend a training temple that has come under attack by Cobra Ninjas.

Packaging Shots

Arctic Threat Snake Eyes (AKA Temple Guardian Snake Eyes)
Arctic Threat Snake Eyes' design is quite a departure from the previous designs we've seen, with the Joe team's Ninja Commando embracing his Martial Arts background with aplomb. It's a radical overhaul of the character with some very cool features.

Let's start with the figure's basic sculpt. The Japanese influence on his costume is plainly visible, with Snake Eyes clad in the archetypal Shinobi Shozuko Ninja suit, complete with baggy pants and split-toed boots. In a mix of sculpted-on and augmented parts, the outfit includes a number of armoured plates, many of which are decorated with swirls and other abstract designs (more on that later.) On top of all this is a (removable) neck scarf that really finishes the figure's look. There's some superb detailing here, with every piece featuring a strap or harness and his chest plate being held in-place with some (rather detailed) rope ties. There's a real feeling of the outfit being layered and it looks very cool.

The head sculpt is a pretty standard Snake Eyes head (using the horizontal slits mask type) but what's very cool is that the figure includes a number of head-display options. There's the basic head, an ''unmasked'' variant head, a Samurai helmet, Sword Fighting Mask and Temple Spirit Mask that can be used to customise your Snake Eyes.

The latter two heads may be familiar to longterm fans of the GI Joe series - they're the masks of Cobra Ninjas Slice and Dice. So although when used with this Snake Eyes body their costumes aren't accurate, it's nice of Hasbro to provide a way for fans to get a hold of a couple of additional characters and it would probably be pretty easy to customise this body to recreate the Ninja duo.

Of the head options, I have to say that the Samurai Helmet is my favourite. It sits nicely on the head and looks very cool.

Articulation is fairly solid but the baggy pants do inhibit movement a little. There's something about the way the hip joints are designed/assembled that makes it difficult at times to get the pose you want and they tend to rotate in an odd fashion, which results in his knees being placed in positions that would break a real person's joints. Shoulders are also a little odd, with a stiff, ratcheted feel to them. When you raise his arms they tend to either ''snap'' or drift to one of about three positions. It's not a major issue but it is odd.

Paint is very cleanly applied and looks good where it's used. There are some nice details on the hands, for example, with his armoured pads/plates featuring a little strap across the inside of his hand and the brown straps used to keep the armour in-place are very cleanly applied.

There's also a tonne of - I think - tampo transfer detail on the armour (as mentioned above) with a series of swirls and shapes adorning the torso armour. It looks great and adds a lot of detail to an already cool-looking set of pieces.

Like most Snake Eyes figures, the Arctic Threat Snake Eyes comes with an arsenal of weaponry.

The figure features Kurasi-Kama (sickle), two Ninja Axes, twin Katanas (in black), two sheaths (that fit together and then attach to the figure's back port) plus a base. We've already covered the heads above, but to recap, the figure comes with the ''standard'' Snake Eyes head (horizontal slit mask-type), spare (blonde) head, Samurai Helmet, Sword Training Mask and Temple Spirit Mask. Oh and there's also his (removable) neck scarf and chest plate.

The overall quality of the pieces is good, although I did find the Ninja Axes were difficult to get him to grip without a little balancing/patience. The Katanas, though, are a superb fit.

Final Thoughts
We've seen a lot of Snake Eyes figures in the past (I believe this is the 55th version of him at this scale!) but this one is the first I've seen that really captures the Ninja side of the character. I love the Japanese/Samurai influence on the figure and although the latter may not make sense really, it looks great so I don't care.

For a figure clad in black, there's a lot of colour here to stop him being dull. The subtle brown ties and straps don't look at odds with the figure's dark outfit and the armour - which is cast from a dark grey - looks great, especially with the white detailing. This is a visually engaging toy, both in terms of its sculpt and paintwork and it looks great.

The decision to include the variant heads is also a nice touch and I'm sure customisers will appreciate it. I like that the figure comes with a number of options and he works well both as an individual figure or as an Army Builder, thanks to the various weapons and equipment pieces included.

On the down-side the articulation is a little weaker than we're used to and his hips especially are very oddly designed. They also have a slightly toy-ish look to them, as is often seen in the 25th Anniversary figures. It's not a big issue though and these problems do little to detract from the toy's overall quality, which is very high indeed.

Fans of Snake Eyes-as-Commando will probably not be overly keen on this interpretation but if you dig the whole Ninja/Martial Arts thing then this is the definitive rendition of the character.

Production QualityA
Final ScoreA

Image Gallery

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...