Tuesday, July 26, 2011

REVIEW: GI Joe Rise of Cobra - Red Fang Ninja

Produced by Hasbro | Released 2009

RED FANG NINJAS are mercenaries who work for COBRA ninja STORM SHADOW. The members of this secret underground faction have extraordinary skills and powers, which have earned them a reputation as ''the best of the best.''

Packaging Shots

Red Fang Ninja
Released as part of the 2009 Rise of Cobra tie-in line, it's interesting to see just how many of the parts from the Red Fang Ninja were re-used in other figures, such as Low-Light and even as recently as the May 2011 Cobra Trooper. Although it's always nice to get new parts, I also give Kudos to Hasbro's designers for managing to make the recycling of such parts work so well and giving each figure such a unique look.

The basic sculpt is shared with the MARS Industries Trooper figure and whilst it's not the most exciting of builds, it works for what it is. There's some cool detailing such as creases and padding and the ribbed turtle-neck shirt works well. This sculpt is augmented with a (removable) shoulder-pad harness and utility belt. I understand that the designers are trying to evoke Japanese armour with this design but the shoulder-pads are just a little too much for my tastes and give him a kind of disco Ninja look. The actual execution of the design is good, though, with the belt featuring numerous pouches and pockets and the shoulder-pads having a cool ribbed effect to them.

One thing I'm not so keen on is the way the harness interferes with the attachment of his twin-sheaths. The peg provided isn't quite long enough to connect snugly to the back port and as a result, the piece often drops off when the figure is being handled/posed.

The head sculpt is pretty good, overall. Most of the facial detail is obscured by the lower face mask and (removable) visor/goggles. He's intended to be an Army Builder so there should be a level of anonymity to his look (plus he's a Ninja!) and that overall effect is achieved rather well.

Articulation is fair and although the sculpt's gauntlet-like gloves include a swivel joint, it can feel - and look - a little awkward when trying to get him into the poses you want. The actual articulation is pretty solid, although - again - the wrist twist can be a little difficult to get going, but I think this is due to the paint application and once you've ''cracked'' it, the joint will move with relative ease.

Paintwork is pretty cleanly applied but... interesting. The figure's black costume is painted with a remarkably shiny gloss paint. It's like the Red Fang Ninja are really into PVC and it looks as if he's clad in the kind of fetish wear that even Baroness would balk at. Perhaps it's supposed to be some kind of camouflage material that reflects the environment. I don't know.  But I do know that if you're looking to do a Gimp kitbash, here's your base body.

The dark maroon details are well applied to the boots, gloves and shoulders and the head's app is cleanly done, although - and this could be limited to my figure alone - his eye paint gives the impression that he's looking off to one side.

The Red Fang Sex Gimp Ninja comes with twin swords, a sword sheath, an oversized gun, two Shuriken (which can be launched from the gun) and his own base. The figure also includes removable accessories in the form of a pair of goggles and a combat harness.

The accessories are pretty good, overall. The swords fit well into the sheaths and his hands grip them well (even if the right hand grip is extremely tight and takes some jiggling to get open enough to hold the sword) but I'd personally have liked to see either a regular-scale pistol or throwing knife included in place of the oversized weapon.

Final Thoughts
The Red Fang Ninja is one of those toys that's clearly intended to be a plaything and whilst there's nothing much wrong with the sculpt, design or execution he just lacks that extra pop to make him work as a collectible. He's one of those figures you'll place nearer the back of your display, as there's not really enough going on with him to make him warrant being pride of place on your shelf.

On the plus-side, though, if you're looking for a fairly generic henchman for your Joes to battle against, he's a fairly solid figure. Kids will love him as that, I'm sure and older fans will probably enjoy the 1980s Saturday Morning cartoon bad guy vibe he carries with him.

And if you can live with him being a little plain, there's plenty of good here. The paint is well applied, the sculpt (if a little generic) has some good details and his accessories (what there are) are nicely produced. He's a figure with fairly good articulation and a good look about him. Sadly he's also just a little forgettable and really one for the completists only.

Production QualityB
Final ScoreB

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