Tuesday, June 12, 2012

REVIEW: GI Joe: Retaliation Ninja Showdown Storm Shadow

Produced by Hasbro | Released May 2012

Ninja Showdown Storm Shadow
We conclude our Review of the GI Joe: Retaliation Ninja Showdown three-pack with the final member of the line-up, Storm Shadow. Does he maintain the level of awesome set by pack-mates Snake Eyes and Red Ninja? Read on and find out!

Sculpt and Design
As with a number of the Retaliation figures, Storm Shadow has had something of a makeover. Whilst not as radical a take as we've seen with such figures as the Desert Battle version, it's still a new look for the head of the Arashikage Clan and much of the figure's appeal (or lack of) will be derived from whether you like this new approach.

Personally I think it's a very cool look. There's a mixture of traditional Ninja attire (such as the baggy pants and split-toe tabi shoes) with a more streamlined, modern aesthetic. It's something that could have failed abysmally yet works surprisingly well and the figure has a real sense that it combines the swift, free movement of the Ninja with the high-tech world of GI Joe.

The actual details are well executed - for what they are, anyway. This isn't a hugely intricate or complex sculpt but is instead a sleek, streamlined kind of Storm Shadow for the 21st Century and beyond. Not that it's some kind of NINJAS IN SPAAAAACE design or anything: rather it's a more New Millennium kind of minimalism that looks clean and uncluttered and works well.

Unfortunately this clean look comes at a cost - specifically that Storm Shadow doesn't come with any kind of sword or dagger sheath, or any other storage aperture or slot. Most annoyingly, the port on his back is not a standard size, so even if you have a spare sword sheath or arrow quiver, you won't be able to use it here. I've actually no idea why Hasbro did this, as it's not like any of his weapons have a non-standard sized peg that could connect with it. I initially thought his bow (see below) might somehow fit into his back for carrying purposes but it doesn't. Why then did Hasbro decide to change the port size?

Articulation is excellent, with Storm Shadow sporting the very cool tilting wrists and rocker ankles (along with everything else you'd expect from a GI Joe.) I'm very pleased to see Hasbro including these additional joints with their Martial Arts experts, as it allows for some great posing.

The joints are fluid and move with ease but can hold a pose without any problems. The only minor point is that his baggy pants are slightly ''thicker'' than a bare leg and this results in a slight limit on his kneeling poses, but it's not really anything to worry about.

Whilst the app is very clean and it looks neat, I'm not sure if I like the use of the white, black AND grey on the figure's details.

As I say, there's nothing wrong with it from a technical standpoint but I'm not sure if he'd have benefited from a more limited palette. I'm also not entirely convinced about his Cobra World Tour 2012 t-shirt logo. The single carded release features a smaller logo on his breast, which I prefer. But still, these are very minor issues and I'm really nitpicking at this point.

Extras and Accessories
If there is a major letdown with this figure, it's in the gear department. And although he comes with a fair amount of weaponry, I personally found it very difficult to really find a good combination of accessories that really worked. Don't get me wrong: he has a fair selection of choices but it just seemed none of them quite suited the figure.

Anyway, the rundown on his gear: spear, Sai, throwing knife, sword and collapsible bow. As you can see, the weapons are cast from either black or silver plastic and whilst the former looks OK, weapons in the silver plastic look a little cheap. He holds most of his weapons without any real issues, although the silver sword's hilt is very thick, something that could warp his grip if left in his hand for any period of time.

The lack of any form of storage space for his gear compounds matters, though and I struggled to find a set-up that worked for him (indeed, in the end I equipped him with an Arashikage sword and shorter blade I had in my spares box.) You may have other ideas though and whilst the lack of sheaths and storage space is a pain it's something you can work around.

Storm Shadow does not include a stand.

Final Thoughts
The Ninja Showdown Storm Shadow, when taken solely as a figure, is very good. His sculpt is a fantastic example of sleek minimalism, the detail - whilst limited - is good, he has great articulation and the paint app is very well executed. It's just a shame Hasbro gimped him with a really weak arsenal. His sword looks like My First Ninja Sword, the bow doesn't include any arrows or a quiver and he doesn't sport a single storage slot or hook for the gear he comes with. Worse still, Hasbro used a non-standard sized back port, so even if you have a spare backpack or sword sheath, you won't be able to use it without some modding.

If you've the skills or leaning to customize this Storm Shadow with a new backpack/sword sheath and you've a few spare weapons lying around you can equip him with then you'll love this figure. If not, then be prepared to be a little disappointed. He's by no means the worst version Hasbro has ever released but it's just more that there's a real sense of wasted potential here, a feeling that with just a little more effort this could have been an outstanding Storm Shadow. It's just so annoying to see him fall at the final hurdle.

With some better gear (or even the ability to wear packs from other figures) this would have been a clean sweep for the Ninja Showdown set, as both the Snake Eyes and Red Ninja figures are excellent. As it is, Storm Shadow just falls short of being excellent, thanks to the frustrating back port and his limited accessories.

A great figure letdown by weak gear and his inability to store it.

Final Score: B+

Image Gallery


  1. I think you had bad luck with your rear peg hole; my SS took some of my spares just fine (I gave him a double of the neat opening backpack w. uzi from one of the 2-packs).

    And I *think* his weapons are the double sais and double knives, although there's nowhere to put those outside of his pack. Although these packs are very fun in their swap-ability of weapons in general - the Red Ninja looks better with the spear as a guard-type, for starters.

    1. That's good to know - not from my perspective but at least if it is a standard size it should make mods/kit bashes easier (although I do seem to recall other people mentioning issues with it, too so maybe it's a production problem.)

      And yeah, I was going off the weaponry it shows as ''his'' on the pack rear, which splits the Sais between him and the Red Ninja. But as you say, part of the fun is mixing and matching gear!

  2. I'm not sure if you have already,but pick up the single carded version of SS, he's a lot better looking IMO.This version a nice change of pace nonetheless and the bow accessory is awesome ;)

    1. I skipped the single carded version to be honest, as the three-packs were the first thing I bought - and one included Storm Shadow. I may have to reconsider that now.


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