Review & pics by: Fred Meyer
SDCC 2012 Exclusive: Kim Arashikage (Jinx) - variant version
For the past few years, the G.I. Joe SDCC exclusives have come in two flavors: regular and variant. Usually the changes are primarily cosmetic- such as a darker color scheme or different accessories. However, in 2012 Hasbro took the exclusives a bit further and released Kim Arashikage’s variant figure with both a new deco and a brand-new head sculpt! Based on the likeness of G.I. Joe Retaliation actress Elodie Yung, it was the only time that her likeness was used on an action figure. However, since the figure was technically a variant version of a convention exclusive it makes it a bit harder to track down. Is this unmasked version of Jinx worth a purchase? Read on and find out one Joe fan’s opinion.
When it comes to the body sculpt of this figure there isn’t much to talk about that I haven’t already covered in the review of the first SDCC Kim Arashikage figure. (From this point forward just referred to by her codename of “Jinx”.) This figure utilizes the same body from the neck down—just with a more intricate color scheme. Dubbed the “training version” of Jinx, the figure’s gei is white instead of the trademark red that fans have grown accustomed to since the character’s introduction. In addition, the black seams and belt are now painted red as are the sculpted forearm guards that were unpainted on the standard version. However, there aren’t the most interesting changes to the character. This figure features a light gray painted dragon motif that is a stylistic nod back to the Valor vs. Venom Storm Shadow that wowed me so many years ago. The design is found on the character’s left arm and again on the right thigh—with two Chinese “Serpent of the Wind” dragons adding a fantastic level of detail to the figure. Even though this is intended to be a “training version” of the character (with the design inspired by Jinx’s appearance in Marvel’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #59) and therefore not the version that would go out on missions, I find the overall look incredibly appealing! It’s such a different aesthetic than the more familiar red version that I can easily find a place for this figure in my collection.
As I stated earlier, for this particular variant version Hasbro decided to go all out and give Jinx a completely new head sculpt. Seeming intended to tie-in to the character’s portrayal in G.I. Joe Retaliation, this version of Kim Arashikage seems heavily influenced by the real-life countenance of actress Elodie Yung. From what I can tell, this head is sculpted to resemble the actress as she appeared in the training sequence with Snake Eyes at the beginning of the film. The figure’s hair is sculpted as being pulled back into a pony tail while her bangs are swept aside over the right side of her face. Is it perfect? No—but it’s the closest one I’ve seen since the one found the Retaliation Flint figure. What throws the likeness off a bit is the thickness of the jaw—Ms. Yung’s features are a bit more delicate in real-life than her plastic counterpart. My particular figure has a bit of paint slop when it comes to the right ear but overall the applications are pretty decent on the figures I’ve seen. The sculpted pony tail does tend to bump into her scabbards a bit but I’ve found that I simply display this figure without the backpack sheathes. Let’s face it—we’ve all seen worse actor (Duke) likenesses in Joe movie figures (Duke) and quite honestly the head sculpt here is one of the reasons to buy the figure. It’s infinitely better than the wee noggin used on the Jinx from the first wave of the Figure Subscription Service.
Hasbro also elected to shake things up with Jinx’s accessories. It’s nothing too crazy but whereas the red version was packaged with her signature bladed staff and a pair of swords, the training version is complete with a kusarigama which is essentially a small sickle on a metal chain. In this case the weapon is plastic and string but I find that it adds a variation to Jinx’s kit. The accessory fits quite well in the figure’s hands and actually allows for more posing options than her original staff. Again, kind of a win-win here in terms of gear. Jinx is how I prefer my action figures—able to store all of their accessories on the figure itself. There’s no small parts to have to stick in a spare box as she’s carrying just what she needs.
So, is Jinx worth picking up—even at the SDCC after-market prices? Honestly, I’ll say “yes”. I was able to snag this version on HasbroToyShop.com when they were available so I paid the initial retail for it. However, since that time she’s been easily topping $50.00 on the secondary market which makes collectors a lot less likely to open her if they are able to snag her. It’s a shame that this head wasn’t used on the regular Retaliation release of Jinx as it’s much more “movie accurate” and really adds a lot of character to the figure. However, at the end of the day I’ll say this—if you’re a big Retaliation fan and want the actress’ likeness then track her down. If you’re just looking for a more standard version stick with the standard red version for a more traditional look. Of course, that’s just one Joe fan’s opinion.
The Bottom Line: A great figure with a good head sculpt! However, if you’re looking for a more standard version you might want to stick with the red version.
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