I can remember a time when I was excited about a new Snake Eyes figure. This was back before the re-launch of the line with the GIJoe vs. Cobra era at which point every 8 th figure was a new Snake Eyes. I’m referring to back when “GIJoe: The Revenge of Cobra” was first hitting the airwaves and Snake Eyes’ new look was unveiled in animated form. More ninja than pure military commando, this costume change would produce what would to many fans be the signature look of the Silent Master. The original figure was a bit stockier than what was depicted in both the comics and the cartoon and yet its popularity is unquestionable. Now, with the 25A collection, Hasbro has decided to take another crack at this classic costume design. Does it live up to 20+ years of fan adulation? Read on, and find out one Joe fan’s opinion.
If you read my review of the Battle Pack Snake Eyes, then you’ll know that he was one of my favorite figures in both of the Battle Packs. The body was simple and yet well-sculpted, loaded with some terrific detailing, and most of all it was in-scale with the 3.75” figures in my collection. If this second version looks familiar it’s because it is built on the exact same body as the first Snake Eyes, with only new web gear and a new head added on. The only major difference between the two bodies is found in terms of the paint applications used; this second version actually has more detailing painted! For this release, the cuffs on the sleeves are painted silver as are the buckles on the various straps on the body. The visor and the straps themselves are all painted in a lighter flat gray with adds a bit more detail in an otherwise empty “sea of charcoal”. The added colors accentuate the figure’s sculpting and provide the much needed contrast to the first version necessary for this parts reuse to succeed. It’s not a perfect update to the original figure as a few small details have been omitted due to the generic nature of the body but it’s honestly close enough that I don’t think too many people are going to complain about the lack of the small dart launcher that was found on the original v2’s right wrist. I honestly don’t mind the use of gray plastic for the body instead of black as the slightly lighter color allows for more detailing to be visible. Overall, I’m pleased with this parts reuse and stand by all of the comments put forth in my previous review of this mold.
Like the rest of the figures in this wave, Snake Eyes is given “new life” in the form of the brand new head sculpt and web gear. The classic visor head is reproduced here with a few added wrinkles and folds across the mouth as well as a new dual seam across the forehead. The visor itself has been given a coat of the same lighter gray paint that many of the straps on the body were treated to and this blends it nicely with the rest of the figure. Oddly enough, it would seem a different sculptor worked on this figure than the first version as the head is noticeably smaller than the one found on the Battle Pack Snake Eyes. I’m not certain if that head is a bit large or if this one is a bit small but when placed side by side the difference is noticeable. I’m suspicious that one sculptor designed the first wave figure and then someone else was brought in to produce the v2 version using the existing parts. This is just a theory, however, and I’ve got nothing more than a few observations to back it up. The new bandoleer is similar in construction to the one that was included with Duke as it fits on the figure in the same fashion. Three olive grenades are part of the sculpting and the detonator and buckle are painted silver. This new figure, like the original, is packaged with an Uzi and the familiar “eagle head” sword as well as a small combat knife. One side benefit of the now-removable bandoleer is that the Silent Master now has a place to store his sword which fits nicely under the accessory harness on the back. My original ARAH v2 was frequently left with no place to carry his sword and this newer version seems to fix that twenty year old problem nicely. Snake Eyes is packaged with a faction specific base and his file card is found on the back of the cardboard backing.
Included with the GIJoe team’s premiere commando is his trusty animal companion, the wolf Timber. A repaint of the same wolf that was included with the VvV7 Snake Eyes, Timber represents the beginning of a potentially disturbing trend in the GIJoe line. The majority of the Snake Eyes that I have found in stores has come with a light gray timber with white painted eyes and a dark nose. There is, however, a second version—featuring a black body, white belly, and white eyes that are also showing up in stores. The problem is that the black version currently is the far more difficult to find; I have yet to find a second one in stores. Hasbro has stated that no single version of Timber should be more difficult than the other and yet recent sightings have indicated that the black version is no longer shipping in cases hitting stores. Previously, the GIJoe line was one that was free of “chase” figures or “short-packed” variants. In the Sigma 6 line, Hasbro started experimenting with short-packed items such as the “skull” Long Range as well as various colors schemes for Timber. My hope is that this experimentation is short-lived as other companies such as Toybiz have used short-packed figures in various toy lines with limited success. Short-packed figures become the “choice pieces” and many fans are left fruitlessly searching for these versions while scalpers snatch up every one that they can find to resell for inflated prices in markets such as Ebay. While the black version of Timber is nice, he’s not my preferred version but I do feel that collectors who want this version shouldn’t have to resort to the secondary market to find him. If the convention exclusive Destro (available in both gold and silver masked versions) and the comments from SDCC are any indication, Hasbro is dabbling with variant color schemes in future assortments. It would seem that GIJoe fans are soon going to have to experience the same frustration that collectors of lines such as Marvel Legends have known for years.
As was the case with the Battle Pack Snake Eyes, I find myself endorsing this figure for a number of reasons. The sculpting and detailing are fantastic, the articulation issues are nearly as prominent as they were with many of the other figures in the line, and the shorter stature of the body brings the figure more in scale with the previously-released 3.75” line. In other words, Snake Eyes is one of the few figures in this collection that can integrate with collector’s current displays and not have to be relegated to the “anniversary shelf”. While I would have liked a new sculpt for Timber, the VvV version works just fine here and the new bandoleer makes this Snake Eyes a unique figure in its own right. The similarities in uniforms can easily be explained as the Silent Master changing part of his battle gear without discarding everything he was already using. Still one of the best figures in this line, I can recommend Snake Eyes to collectors of both the new and classic lines.