Review by Chris Chung & Fred Meyer
Pics by Fred Meyer
G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Figure Subscription Service 4.0
G.I. Joe Ninja Commando – Code name: Nunchuk
G.I. Joe is a line that has traditionally adapted to the times and 1992 was no exception. “Ninja mania” had swept the nation and the line was facing competition in the toy aisles from the likes of Playmates Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that debuted five years earlier. In addition, Bandai was just under a year away from launching its new Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers line that would take the world by storm. Always vigilant toward emerging threats, the team in Pawtucket responded with the creation of a brand new sub-team—the G.I. Joe Ninja Force! Featuring Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, Scarlett, and a slew of new recruits, the merry band of martial artists put ninjas front and center in the Joe line. Now, thirty four years after his initial debut, one team member is getting his “generation 3 upgrade.” Meet the camo-clad kung-fu warrior: Nunchuk!
Nunchuk is the latest member of the way-ward Ninja Force team slowly being shoehorned into our modern collection, but on a positive note he was by far the most tactically-colored ‘Joe ninja—and he looks decent in this incarnation. I would have preferred a more dedicated and precise tiger stripe camo pattern that would emphasize modern paint techniques over something from the 90’s, but I know I’m asking too much—especially when it was “too difficult” for the Nigh Creeper Leader. As it stands, this version’s camo is passable and conveys the message, but the thick “kind’a stripes” seems a tad sloppy and hurried. But to be fair, it gets the point across and we won’t mistake this character for anyone else.
Except for Kamakura…
My only concern on the deco, is, the paint representing flesh-tone on the face is thin, and some of the eyes I’ve seen were sloppy and poorly applied. Hopefully this will not be an issue for you.
My Nunchuk definitely suffers from WES. (Wonky Eye Syndrome) I keep hoping that the folks over on Cattle Barron Drive will find a cure for this terrible affliction but it seems that this isn’t destined to happen any time soon. Too bad too as I’d hope for better at these prices.
The original Nunchuk figure wasn’t overly flashy with his parts, so this one follows the same example by using practical but generic parts:
Nunchuk comes with bunch of gear, but most of which he cannot carry:
I’ll be honest Freddie, I don’t like ninjas; I never use them; and they and their gear are just thrown into storage boxes so I don’t pay any attention to their medieval weapons or gear. I would assume the dart pouch fits on the back of his harness, right?
Yep, it fits on the small post that sits just over his right shoulder. The same post that has a tendency to interfere with the back cowling on his helmet.
I also never bothered to see if the tiny dart was removable either. Can you confirm or deny?
There is no way I’m going to pull it out and see. Honestly, this is one of those examples where I felt that originally Hasbro and now the Club takes the concept of accessorizing a figure a bit too far. Sure, in theory the idea of items like Low-Light’s removable bullet or a single removable dart sound great but in practice all you’re looking at is a small piece that is guaranteed to be lost by even the most OCD-afflicted of adult collectors. There’s no way such a piece is designed with children in mind and ultimately, I find it to be just a waste of plastic. Plus, I know that by merely mentioning it, I’ve already lost the piece.
For me, I’m fine with more gear even if it’s not entirely appropriate for the character. It tricks me into thinking I’m getting more for my money. (Plus, in case I ever need men with sais to attack other men with guns, I have more to share.) But with that said, I do have some issues with his gear. The hooded helmet is too large, so it wobbles on the head and the eyes don’t always align with the visor. That’s disappointing.
I’ve also noticed the issue with fit of the helmet on this particular head. Much of the awkward fit is due to the sculpted cowling hitting the peg on the figure’s sash where the dart pack is supposed to attach. Personally, I’m fine with just leaving the cowl off entirely.
My other issue is the length of the nunchakus. Scaled to the figure, they would be around 7-feet long! Way, way, not practical. Yes, if he had magic nunchakus imbued with the power of the Thundera like Panthro had, I could overlook it. But this just looks silly. However, at the very least he came with nunchakus—unlike the ‘Joes new laser rifle trooper Red Spot in Spy Troops, who didn’t even come with a laser weapon… (Yes, I feel a bit catty tonight.)
I think you also had an issue with his gear, correct?
Honestly, my biggest issue with Nunchuk’s kit is that there’s just too much of it. The original 1992 Nunchuk travelled light—a sword and the weapon that gives him his code name. There’s an elegant simplicity in a figure that travels so light; it’s as if he’s stating that he could have carried more but this was more than enough to finish off his foes. For this incarnation of Nunchuk it’s almost like he’s carrying “everything but the dojo’s kitchen sink” in terms of gear. If the Club wanted to throw in more gear, I’d have been happy with just a second nunchaku to round out his kit. (All he’s missing is a bo staff and he’s got the gear of all of the original TMNT.)
Plus, you’ve already mentioned the insane length of the cord on his nunchakus. My own research has indicated that the standard acceptable length of the chain on a pair of nunchakus should be just a few inches longer than the width of the wielder’s palm. However, poor ole Nunchuk’s weapon has a cable that’s almost the width of 10 year’s old palm—far to look to be effective. Now that I’ve shot the review pics I’ll either shorten the string length or replace it with a black twist tie.
While I could name two dozen other figures I’d rather seen than Nunchuk, the figure is a good modern update from the original, and he has no detrimental faults that seriously hinder him. Given his faction and general blandness, I don’t think he’s a must buy for the casual collector, but for those who are inclined to get all the figures; or for those fans of Ninja Force, he fills in his slot nicely and he shouldn’t disappoint you.
At the end of the day, is Nunchuk worth adding to your collection? I think the answer to this question is going to be based on how big of a fan you are of ninjas. With his camouflage outfit and the plethora of ninja weapons, Nunchuk is sure to please any fans of Ninja Force out there. His color scheme also will appeal to those Joe fans who prefer a bit more military realism in their ARAH collection. When he was announced as part of the FSS 4 roster, Nunchuk was immediately on my list of “must haves.” While the execution isn’t quite a perfect as I’d hoped, it’s still a solid figure and far more appealing than some of the other figures coming in this line. All-in-all, I’d give him a recommend. After all, T’Jbang needs SOMEONE to hang out with, right?
The Bottom Line: A solidly designed figure with some puzzling gear choices. A solid addition to the collection of any 90’s Joe fan.