Review & pics by Fred Meyer & Justin Bell
Arctic Trooper - Code name: Snake Eyes

  Review & pics by Fred Meyer & Justin Bell

Sometimes the folks in Pawtucket can surprise casual fans and collectors alike. The first instance of this in recent memory was the announcement of the VvV-era comic packs at the 2004 convention in Orlando, FL. It was an exciting new venue for G.I. Joe—offering a reprint of a comic along with two comic-accurate figures for one low price. The line was arguably a hit and the retail model was successfully applied to the Star Wars line as well. Another instance, which draws inspiration from the comic pack line, is found in the fourth wave of figures released in 2008. Directly inspired the second issue of the classic Marvel Comics series and utilizing what is presumably the body for the forthcoming Snow Serpent figure, Hasbro released another version of Snake Eyes and yet managed to make him interesting all in one fell swoop.

When it comes to body design, this figure has an extremely simple uniform. A blue-black parka is worn over a pair of olive BDU pants while thick brown gloves and boots cover the figure’s extremities. The jacket is highly detailed—full of sculpted fabric folds and pockets to such an extent that it’s almost easy to forget this is merely a 4” figure comprised of sculpted plastic. The pants are rendered with a sculpted vertical texture and feature two cargo pockets glued to the front for added detail. A sculpted hood encircles the figure’s neck, further adding to the impression of cold weather gear. (This hood could be potentially be used to produce a bare-headed Snow Job figure down the line.) The figure’s torso is adorned with a brand-new olive-drab set of web gear with features a sculpted grenade on the left shoulder and a pouch with several extra ammunition clips on the right. The real jewel in the crown of this figure’s sculpting, however, is the necklace of “weasel skulls” that encircle the figure’s neck. Held in place by the added hood, this detail firmly places this version of Snakes at the end of issue #2 after his conflict with the Innuit mercenary Kwinn. (Either that or Snake Eyes is collecting Crystal Skull relics from the Indiana Jones line and wants to show off his plastic bling.) It’s a fantastic detail that helps to break up the overall dark color of the figure’s torso and pays homage to the comic series all at once. The same head as found in the original G.I. Joe five-pack is used once again for this figure, this time rendered in the same blue-black shade as the parka. As a native of more snow-filled climate, what’s your take on this particular figure, Justin?

Like our opinions of 2008 Wave 3 in that a Duke repaint was the highlight of the wave, the same holds true here. Perhaps it’s an unfortunate statement about the quality of this wave in general, but when the best figure of a wave (by a wide, WIDE margin) is yet another Snake Eyes figure. Everyone who reads my reviews knows that I love new concepts and new ideas. While this version of Snake Eyes is heavily based on the Issue #2 design (and the previous Comic Pack figure) it’s still sort of a new look and it works exceptionally well. Exceptionally well.

The sculpting of his parka and his hood, his awesome webgear and the heavily detailed design work throughout the entire figure is just amazing and incredible. A terrific looking figure from head to toe.

Normally this is the portion of the review where I’d slip into my “yet another release of Snake Eyes” mantra and yet that isn’t the case this time. For Snake Eyes’ kit, the familiar UZI is still present but the team’s premiere commando has brought along a few other new toys for this particular outing. Hasbro managed to fix the sword that has been included with many versions of this character since the 25A line began simply by sculpting a new model with a thicker pommel. The plastic blade fits extremely securely in the figure’s hands as well as those of the other previously-released Snake Eyes figures. Granted it’s not really applicable to the source of this figure’s inspiration but it’s a fantastic inclusion. The other new pieces of equipment seem to be teaser of the gear that will be included with the forthcoming Snow Serpent figure. The figure comes with a detailed olive backpack and a pair of black crampons for easier traction in ice-covered terrain. The crampons feature a hole in the sole near the front which allows for them to be attached onto a pair of posts on the figure’s backpack or for the figure to utilize the figure stand’s foot peg while wearing the accessories. I’ve complained before that Hasbro seems not to properly plan ahead for how their accessories are incorporated with their figures but this is not the case with the Arctic Trooper version of Snake Eyes. Normally, I’d be tired of continual Snake Eyes releases by now but this just isn’t the case this time. Are you as happy with this figure as I am, Justin?

More! It’s strange, I’m not a fan of Snake Eyes, and I’m not a fan of arctic figures, yet this one figure that has both elements just captures them so flawlessly that you can’t help but be impressed with the figure overall. I am thrilled that this figure will be the base for the upcoming Snow Serpent, I think it will work very well, and even as just another Snake Eyes, this is a great addition to the Anniversary line and I love it.

I’ll be blunt—I thought this was a figure that I was going to write off as “yet another Snake Eyes” and I was wrong. Even though this figure utilizes almost 100% of the parts that will comprise the forthcoming Snow Serpent figure, the combination and colors work together to create a version of the team’s commando that seems fresh and new. Okay, wearing dark blue isn’t the most practical color scheme for the ice-covered tundra—I’ll admit that. Yet I look at this figure and I see an inspired work from the G.I. Joe design team rather than a mere retread of a previously-released character utilizing parts that fans are bound to become more familiar with the longer this 25A style of figure remains on store pegs. I’ll just end my portion of this review by stating that, in spite of my preconceptions, this is a figure that I find myself more and more impressed by. I’ll pass the keyboard over to Justin at this point for his closing comments on the “Arctic Trooper”.

I really can’t say a whole lot more than Fred has already said. I wasn’t looking forward to this figure especially, but I find myself insanely impressed by the end result. I think so much of this has to do with expectations. I had relatively low expectations about “yet another Snake Eyes” so this ended up being a very pleasant surprise, whereas a figure like Major Bludd (or the Viper from Wave 3 for that matter) brings about such high hopes that you can’t help but be disappointed when there are creative decisions that lead to the detriment of the figure. But anyway, because of my low expectations for the umpteenth Snake Eyes in the line so far, I ended up VERY impressed. But a lot of that has to do with the great quality of the figure itself, not just from what I was expecting. An awesome figure all around, and the gem of the wave. In fact for as much complaining as fans do about the multiple Snake Eyes figures, different versions of that character have been the highlight for Wave 3 and Wave 4.



Copyright 2003