Review Chris Chung & Fred Meyer
Pics by Fred Meyer
G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Figure Subscription Service 4.0
Cobra Ice Ninja – Code name: Night Creeper
The G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero dominated the 1980’s and faded away in the early 90’s. However, nostalgia for the brand was still strong and, in 1997, Hasbro quietly released a line of “A Real American Hero Collection” at Toys ‘R Us stores. Comprised entirely of repainted and repurposed older molds, the line featured three packs of both the Joes and Cobra and a few vehicle packs. One such pack in that series featured a group known as the “Cobra Polar Force”—a trio of specialists including a Snow Serpent, Firefly, and a Night Creeper dubbed the “ Cobra Ice Ninja ”. Essentially a repaint of the original 1990 Night Creeper , the Cobra Ice Ninja might have been a “one and done” character if it weren’t for the varied roster of the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club FSS 4.0. Twenty years after his original release, the Cobra Ice Ninja returns in a generation 3 update! Was it worth the wait? Read on, and find out what two long-time Joe fans have to say about the Cobra Ice Ninja!
Ok then! Freddie, before I begin, I’d like to say I was always a really big fan of the Night Creeper concept. Individuals possessing the skills of a ninja; but modernized with high tech gear, seemed like a great way to keep ninjas relevant in today’s world. The Night Creepers also benefited by usually having interesting designs. But as much as love them, they should not have been in this FSS set.
Part of the problem with the Night Creeper stems from a perceived disconnect between the Club and the membership on some issues. When asked why they included troop builders in this FSS set over missing named Cobra characters like Crystal Ball or Raptor—all easily buildable with existing parts but new heads, they replied saying “because it was characters we wanted to see.” What they wanted to see. Isn’t this supposed to be a club; with us paying members voting on what we want to see funded with our cash? We really don’t have any say in who appears in the convention sets, so it’s frustrating we can’t even get highly requested missing figures in a subscription service that is theoretically supposed to do just that. Sure, maybe there is hope for FFS 5—and I will concede perhaps a handful of people who worked on the 1998 TRU exclusive ‘Joe Kenner line; who also happen to work or be associated with Fun Publications wanted to revisit this character, but how many Top 5 lists are there in the community with “Artic Night Creeper” on the list? And how many lists year-after-year had Salvo listed, but we still haven’t gotten him yet? I could be wrong, but sometimes I get the feeling that the people who work on these sets base the selections on their own personal Joeveses with their preferred fantasy football team of characters that we members may or may not want, all thanks to the wonderful temptation of the interest-free loans we provide with our pre-orders. Am I being too paranoid here? I was just researching conspiracy theories stemming from MKULTRA and Project Monarch reports that claim the Illuminati uses cat people and feline imagery to active “sex-kitten” archetypes in programmed sleepers, so perhaps I’m reading too much into this by means of other conspiracy theories?
THETA TOPAZ ORANGE. The jaguar runs. the Jaguar runs. the jaguar Runs.
Moving on, the NC is composed off:
The parts used to build the Arctic Night Creeper create a nice looking stand-alone figure, but upon closer examination; and when placed next to most other post-Rise of Cobra figures, there are some issues. The Night Creeper is very short due to the 25 th Snake Eyes torso. That was a poor choice since the torso is slightly unrealistic in proportion compared to the longer arms and legs. This also has a secondary effect: The short and slim torso, combined with the thin arms and small feet gives the Arctic Night Creeper a marginally feminine appearance that almost makes me wish they had used a Scarlett or Baroness torso to create a new female NC. With that said, even unaltered, the figure retains enough androgyny to be male or female if you so choose to shake up the gender. (The chest armor also helps in that regard, ala Captain Phasma who looks fine in “male” Storm Trooper armor.)
Chris, I’ll concur with you on the torso choice—it does make the figure look a short in the trunk. Thankfully, the removable Night Creeper armor helps to hide some of this. Overall the build works for me as the use of Retaliation parts for the limbs offers both hinged wrists and rocker ankles—two points of articulation that are essential for martial arts-based characters.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. I’m still not a fan of rocker ankles. True, they are acceptable on ninjas, but I still feel it adds instability to the legs and balance of the figure when not posed in action scenes.
I even like that the visor on the Night Creeper head is reminiscent of the snow goggles used by individuals in arctic environments to prevent snow blindness . I’m overall pretty happy with the body as it has such a solid range of motion. The headband/cowl piece on mine pops off at anything more than a casual glance but I’ve found that I actually like the figure better without it so problem solved!
Not so much me. The headdress is what really gives the classic styled NC his iconic look.
In terms of deco, the figure has the same colors as the original, but the FSS version’s differing parts and variation in the areas colored really helps to give it an interesting and eye-pleasing color scheme that thankfully offsets the rather plain and boring deco of the original.
I suppose if we had to take an issue with the meta-design of the figure, tabi socks probably aren’t the warmest or most slip-resistant footwear when worn in the snow and ice—especially since the 25th Night Creeper had specifically designed cleated shoes, but it works well enough for a new look.
I just try and pretend that these are some of those “ toe shoes ” that some of my runner friends have so heavily embraced. I’m not a martial artist nor do I have a background in it so this never even occurred to me until you pointed it out.
See Fred, that’s why I’m here! I do martial arts, and I run in toes shoes! Vibram 5-finger KSO Treks to be exact! Too bad that model has been discontinued… (Another conspiracy?!!)
As a side note, I want to mention I was especially fond of the Ninja Force Night Creeper V-2 redesign. Not the colors, but the sleek bodysuit and intimidating helmet really created a unique looking figure, and before the reveals I had been hoping the V-2 helmet would have been tooled and used on the Arctic Night Creeper to give it a little more variety. Sadly that wasn’t the case—not that I was expecting it, but it would have been interesting—don’t you think?
Really? This surprises me as I always thought the helmets on the v2 Night Creepers were a bit odd. Years later, when the Fox series Space: Above & Beyond premiered I always thought that the helmets worn by their aliens looked like the Night Creeper v2’s. Weird.
The Arctic Night Creeper comes with:
Fred, ever notice that no matter how much the Night Creepers are touted as “high tech” ninjas, they still carry primitive weapons?
I have wondered about that. It’s one of the reasons I like the Retaliation Cyber Ninjas so much.
Anyway, nothing fancy here. Pretty standard NC gear, but that isn’t a bad thing. He can carry most of his gear with little left over to stow away someplace else, though he isn’t without problems. The primary culprit is the half-cloak. It wasn’t designed for the torso, so the backpack holes do not align. He can wear the backpack over the cloak, but this will force the cloak higher up on the body and neck—which will then interfere with the headdress by forcing it off the head. So in this case, it’s more practical to pick either the cloak or the backpack, and leave him at that. (He looks good in either option, so the cloak thankfully isn’t wasted.)
I agree with your comments on the cloak. It looks good when the figure is standing still but it does interfere with both the use of the backpack and the usability of the right arm. Given. In this case, it’s more geared for display. I’ve found that I just tend to leave it off more than I put it on the figure. As far as the rest of the kit, I’m actually okay with it. Both the crossbow and the flame-sword have become standard Night Creeper gear over the various incarnations of the high tech ninjas over the years so I’m not surprised to see them included. It might have been nice to see the Club include something new and more technological with this particular figure but that’s a pretty minor quibble. Now, including an actual cloth cape? That would have been AMAZING! Swap in Pythona’s.
Overall I feel the Arctic Night Creeper is a solid figure. No, he’s not perfect, and like the upcoming Inferno B.A.T., a troop builder shouldn’t have been included over a named character we still haven’t gotten yet. But it is what it is, and I will say the figure’s design; coupled with colors that complement each other, creates an attractive looking figure. Even the card art is decent for those who want to keep him carded for display. In a both unexpected and disappointing way, the Night Creeper is my favorite figure in FSS thus far. What say you? (Remember, if you disagree with me, that means you hate puppies.)
At the end of the day, is the Cobra Ice Ninja/Arctic Night Creeper/Cold Kung-Fu Specialist worth adding to your collection? I have to admit—I like this figure far more than I would have thought. When the Club debuted the line-up for FSS 4 at Joe Con 2015, he wasn’t a high priority acquisition for me. As a troop-builder I would have thought he’d be a great addition to a convention set but that’s just a personal preference. Yet the longer I’ve had the Cobra Ice Ninja in hand the more I’ve grown to appreciate him. He’s got a solid range of motion, an interesting “look”, and he fits in well with my meager Cobra cold weather forces. As I mentioned before—I’m just sad that acquiring more than one of him is going to prove a more expensive prospect than I’d like simply because a group of four of these standing together on my shelves would like pretty darned “chilling!” Ugh, shame on you for bad puns! He’s a surprise hit of this particular FSS and one figure that I’m very glad that I own. Of course, that’s just this Joe fan’s opinion.
The Bottom Line: A solidly designed figure that is far better than we’d anticipated! A worthwhile addition to any modern ARAH generation 3 collection!