G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary Storm Shadow

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I have a very mixed feeling when it comes to the 1988 version of Storm Shadow.  My first reaction is resistance, because I’ve always loved Storm Shadow as a foil for Snake Eyes, and it was disappointing to me when he shifted over to the G.I. Joe side.  Between him, Zartan, and Destro, it feels like COBRA gets skinnier and skinnier with their credible threats to the Joe team.

That being said, I also have fond memories of this figure.  Back in ‘88 I lived in (very) small town Vermont and rarely had the opportunity to buy new G.I. Joe figures.  I was making my routine run down to the local General Store, just to get candy or something, and happened to take a perusal through the toy section.  Much to my shock and surprise, there were new G.I. Joe figures that I had never even heard of before sitting on a peg there.  Right out in front was the 1988 Storm Shadow!

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Well, because this was a general store in small town Vermont, each figure was like eight dollars, a great deal more than the four bucks or so I was used to paying at the (semi local) department store.  My eyes grew wide, and I immediately dropped the figure and RAN all the way home, desperately digging through every corner of the house for spare change.  Half an hour later, I’d manage to cobble together the required money and travel back to the local store and was practically skipping home with the new Storm Shadow figure tucked under my arm.  It was a good day.

Fast forward too many years and we saw a terrific looking update to this figure at the Concept Case display at JoeCon in 2013 (no he wasn’t in the first concept case, but he was in the second).  With some key new tooling and lots of existing parts it was a pretty nice looking update to the ‘88 classic…actually forget “pretty nice” it looked damned perfect.  But as we know, sometimes figures that look perfect in concept don’t always execute to that same perfection, and the retail release of Storm Shadow does have a few shortcomings.

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The base figure uses most of the G.I. Joe: Renegades/30th Anniversary version of the character, and it’s pretty tough to go wrong there.  As one of the best figures in G.I. Joe’s right history of great figures, that Storm Shadow stands on the mountain top as a shining example of what can be done in the 1:18th scale.  Using the same upper arms, torso, and upper legs as that Storm Shadow, it was tough for this figure to go wrong, and thankfully the lower arms, lower legs, and new head only add to the awesomeness.  I believe these parts were all sculpted and tooled for a retail release of this figure, but I may be wrong on that.  Regardless, the new parts compliment the existing parts perfectly, and it ends up taking a fantastic base figure and making it fantastic-er.  The separated fingers, a remarkable achievement the first time around, continue to be exceedingly useful here, allowing this updated Storm Shadow to really notch an arrow for his bow.

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For the most part.  The only issue I have is that for whatever reason the new head doesn’t sit real well on the existing torso neck peg.  It gives the figure an unusually long neck, but honestly, that’s a pretty quick fix if you’re so inclined.

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The other disappointment to me is that while the concept case Storm Shadow had his trademark belt of pouches, this version does not.  I can only imagine they were costed out somehow, but that’s quite unfortunate because they are one of the defining traits of the figure.  He looked pretty terrific with those pouches, and it’s a pretty glaring omission to look at the final figure and not see them.  Hard decisions must often be made during the production process, I just wish perhaps they had found a way to cut somewhere else so the pouches could have been maintained.

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Beyond those two disappointments, the figure is pretty stellar.  Articulation is fantastic, he maintains the great separated finger hands of the original, and the ‘88 homage paint scheme is crisp, accurate, and aesthetically pleasing.  From a plastic quality perspective, I feel like the figure is a shade or two below some previous years, but doesn’t feel quite as thin and cheap as last year’s 50th Anniversary run.

Accessories

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Like Spirit Iron-Knife, Storm Shadow comes with a number of great accessories.  Ironically, he comes with the compound bow and arrow quiver that the Pursuit of Cobra Spirit Iron-Knife came with a few years back.  He’s got what appears to be a newly tooled backpack faithful to the original that actually opens up with some great concealed details inside a re-release of a great backpack that came with a Comic Pack version of the character several years ago, and like Spirit, showcases how great some of those past accessories were, even if the figures themselves could have used some improvement.  The backpack was so great, I completely forgot it was originally released a number of years ago!

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He has two swords with red handles and a climbing claw, all of which are very nice call backs to the figure we received in 1988.  Lastly, he has a removable rope harness to replicate the look of that figure, too, though it’s pretty big and doesn’t fit the torso especially well.

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This figure is honestly pretty great.  It has some unfortunate drawbacks compared to the Concept Case version, but as I said, I think we all know that things sometimes get cut in the production process.  I feel pretty strongly that they should have tried to find a way to keep the pouches, and I wish the head sat a bit lower on the neck, but besides those minor complaints, this is one heck of a great looking update to the classic ninja character.

G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary Blowtorch

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When I reviewed Spirit from the Classic Clash 2-Pack I made reference to the fact that while I wasn’t in love with the 25th Anniversary version of the figure, the accessories almost made up for it.  I kind of feel the same way about Blowtorch, though his accessories aren’t quite as cool.

Blowtorch is one of those frustrating figures to me.  He has a great sculpt with some good colors and very nice accessories, but has a few limiting factors to me, most of which are his elbow joints.  When this figure was first made a number of years ago they hadn’t quite perfected the bulky cloth sculpt while maintaining great articulation.  As a result, Blowtorch’s thick padded uniform ends up restricting his elbow movement far too much for my liking.  I have some room for forgiveness for a lot of aesthetic choices like that, however when a guy whose specialty is essentially his flamethrower weapon can’t even hold said weapon, that’s a bit of a turn off.  Because of the elbows he cannot even hold the flamethrower two-handed, so I have a hard time finding some love for the figure.

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However, there are some things to love about this version of Blowtorch.

I know most folks reading this are aware of the homage to Gary Head with the Sightline figure, and that’s a terrific aspect of this series of 50th Anniversary releases.  What some folks may not know, though, is that Gary’s relationship with legendary sculptor Bill Merklein revealed some early concept art for Blowtorch, including a piece showing him in this green and gray color scheme.  There was a lot of fandom clamor for a version of Blowtorch in that color scheme, so in a way, I consider this figure also an homage to Gary, and I’m glad it’s out there for that reason.  Not only that, but as much as the color scheme for Blowtorch does make sense from a flamethrower perspective, seeing the figure in a darker color shade is enjoyable as well.  Add that in with the whole throwback to the canceled Pursuit of Cobra figures, and there are some things to appreciate here.

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From head to toe this is just a repaint of the 25th Anniversary Blowtorch…that fact alone is a bit off putting when you consider that the original 25th Anniversary Blowtorch was never that much of an in demand figure, and for some reason we got the figure re-released in the Pursuit of Cobra (almost exactly the same) and then re-released again last year in the 50th Anniversary line.  Now we have him for a fourth time, although at least this figure has a drastically different paint scheme.  As I said, I understand the temptation to do this figure, I just hope we can now consider Blowtorch retired for a long while.

Accessories

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The G.I. Joe flamethrower comes with his typical accessories, including the helmet, oxygen mask, flamethrower, backpack, oxygen tank, assault rifle, and two mines.  They’re all repurposed accessories from the Pursuit of Cobra/50th Anniversary versions, and while it’s nice to get some of the gear in slightly different colors, there isn’t much really new and exciting here.

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It’s difficult for me to rationalize the decision to release yet another version of a somewhat mediocre 25th Anniversary figure, but with the fandom demand for the canceled Pursuit of Cobra repaints, I can see why Hasbro would want to lean that direction.  That being said, from a personal perspective I don’t have a lot of love for another Blowtorch repaint, even as an homage to a canceled vintage version.

G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary “Silent Strike” in stock at Big Bad Toy Store

I feel safe in saying one of the most anticipated G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary sets for 2015 is the “Silent Strike” set which is slated to come with a stealth Skystriker, a COBRA HISS with their new rail gun system, as well as some great figures including Captain Ace and Sightline himself.

As many will recall, Sightline is named after Gary “Goggles” Head, the mouthpiece of our tight knit G.I. Joe community who unfortunately passed away far too young several months ago.

Along with this, Ace and Sightline are members of the “Wolf Squad” Hasbro’s new (somewhat informal) team concept.

Fans are rampaging Toys “R” Us stores across the country looking for this set, but Big Bad Toy Store has your hook up right now. Click the link below and grab it…save yourself some gas and some trouble.

New Kindle Worlds Novella – Welcome to Wolf Squad!

I’ll admit, I geeked out just a little bit during the GeneralsJoes Q & A when designer John Violette mentioned the Wolf Squad.  I geeked out so much I immediately started writing a new G.I. Joe Novella, my first fan fiction since my Dio-Story universe ended!

Fans who are familiar with the line up for the upcoming 50th Anniversary assortment in 2015 will find a lot in common here.  Using the mentioned “Wolf Squad” as an inspiration, I crafted an exciting story pitting Joes against Cobras with the characters and vehicles from this upcoming line.

It’s a Novella and it’s available on Kindle Worlds now!  Check it out!
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Any reference to Wolf Squad here is my own take on the idea, nothing endorsed by Hasbro…and this is a “stand alone” story, though may end up being somewhat of a spring board into something…we’ll see.  :)

Enjoy!

Entertainment Earth Pre-Orders for upcoming G.I. Joe Product

Well, it looks like Toys “R” Us and Big Bad Toy Store exclusivity may be gone…  pre-orders have been announced by Entertainment Earth, not only for G.I. Joe: 50th Anniversary, but also for the Gentle Giant 12″ Rock n Roll!

Check out the links below.

G.I. Joe Rock N Roll Jumbo Vintage-Style Action Figure

The following images link to sets of the 2 Packs and Full cases.

G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary Action Figures 2-Packs Wave 1 SetG.I. Joe 50th Anniversary Action Figures 2-Packs Wave 1 CaseG.I. Joe 50th Anniversary Action Figures 2-Packs Wave 2 SetG.I. Joe 50th Anniversary Action Figures 2-Packs Wave 2 Case

Enjoy!

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GeneralsJoes Reviews Danger at the Docks (Regular Retail Version)

It’s been a couple of weeks since I reviewed the ComicCon exclusive Danger at the Docks set, and now it’s time for me to cover the regular Toys “R” Us release, a set that actually caught me a bit by surprise.

While many folks were busy caressing the SDCC set and appreciating its vintage accuracy, I found myself quite impressed with the new urban deco of this repaint.

Check out my 50th Anniversary Review page, or just click the links below.

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Big Bad Toy Store processing pre-orders for G.I. Joe: 50th Anniversary

If you’ve pre-ordered your G.I. Joe: 50th Anniversary product from Big Bad Toy Store, chances are your order is now processing! Reports are coming in from all over that BBTS has started receiving stock and is preparing to ship it out to folks’ homes right this very minute.

Heck, even if you didn’t pre-order, BBTS is showing G.I. Joe: 50th Anniversary figures as IN STOCK NOW. Unfortunately the vehicles are sold out.

Add that to the fact that Toys “R” Us is shipping the ComicCon “Danger at the Docks” set and G.I. Joe fans should be having an action packed next 10 days!

We gave you some great “First Looks” right here at YoJoe.com and more reviews will be coming shortly as shipments are received. After a long dry spell, it’ll be great to set some new product in everyone’s hands again.

Yo Joe!

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GeneralsJoes Reviews G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary “Battle Below Zero” Set

Another day, another G.I. Joe: 50th Anniversary review!  Just as first reports of this line being found at retail have hit, the reviews are moving full steam ahead.

Today I’ll be covering the “Battle Below Zero” vehicle set, which contains the Cobra Wolf w/ Ice Viper against the Ghost Hawk w/ Snake Eyes!  Check out my G.I. Joe: 50th Anniversary Review Page, or just click the links below.

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GeneralsJoes Reviews G.I. Joe: 50th Anniversary HEAT Viper & Night Viper

The exciting 50th Anniversary reviews continue today with both HEAT Viper and Night Viper!  A concept case winner and a repaint of one of the most desirable Cobra army builders of the past few years… where can they go wrong?

Check out the G.I. Joe: 50th Anniversary Review Page, or click the links directly below.

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New in hand images of G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary

The time is coming near! First we got a peek at the G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary product on eBay, and now they’ve started appearing overseas. Courtesy of ACToys via HISSTank.com more in hand images for the upcoming G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary. Some of the images show some more detailed paintwork and quality control than the eBay images showed, though Lady Jaye’s eyes are still looking a bit sloppy. Thankfully, the camouflage on Leatherneck looks to be a bit better, with some on his legs, even if none appears above the waist.

Check out the images below, and start getting ready… looks like retail offerings are coming real soon!

I will fully admit I haven’t been all that riled up about the 50th Anniversary offerings, but at least some of them are looking pretty nice, especially Leatherneck and Destro. Even Beachhead is a good sight better than the original 25th Anniversary version. Cool to see some more in hand images, and nice to see battle stands and file cards making a triumphant return.

Big thanks to ACToys and HISS Tank for the info!