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Published: April 8, 2009 at 2:07 PM
I have to admit, I was shocked when Sideshow Collectibles announced they had acquired the rights to produce 1/6-scale G.I. Joe figures. G.I. Joe has been a staple of Hasbro's portfolio for going on 5 decades and along with Mr. Potato Head helped transform a small-town, textile remnant company into one of the world's largest toy makers. So what would cause Hasbro to lease the rights to one of their most successful brands?
Hasbro's business plan relies on mass-production and volume sales. High-end collectible figures, such as the ones produced by Sideshow, don't fit that plan because they pose too great a risk when you factor in research and development, production time, price-point and mass appeal. By giving Sideshow a shot at the G.I. Joe license, Hasbro satisfies the demand for collector-quality merchandise without taking that risk; and they make some money while they're at it.
If it's collector quality you're after, Sideshow's first offering in the G.I. Joe line, Snake-Eyes, delivers. Fans of the G.I. Joe animated series will immediately recognize Snake-Eyes' signature black wears, balaclava with visor, bandolier and Mk-23 pistol. Those unfamiliar with the animated series should have no problem appreciating the layers of military-accurate, holsters, harnesses, arms and accessories that accentuate the stealthily silent character. The figure's level of meticulous detail, coupled with the vast number of accessories is unprecedented in any of Sideshow's previous offerings. Snake-Eyes is Sideshow's best figure to date; by far.
It's worth noting that Sideshow's G.I. Joe line focuses on the 1980s A Real American Hero series and not the 1960s-era kung-fu grip, Chia Pet hair-styled Joes. Sorry old-timers. Anyways...
Snake-Eyes' comes armed with a number of detailed knives, ninja swords and firearms, and his countless magazine rounds and grenades never lack a storage pouch or pocket. His equipment and arms arsenals are complimented by several pairs of interchangeable hands and boots that, when geared-up on Sideshow's newly-engineered Prometheus body, can achieve a broad array of life-like action poses. The Prometheus body is much improved since its debut on Sideshow's Indiana Jones figure, earlier this year. The loose limbs and frequently disconnecting joints have been corrected, though the body silhouette looks a tad on the thin side for Snake-Eyes, who is usually portrayed as being a bit more muscular.
Snake-Eyes' clothing and accessories are well made. The hooks, clips, belts and harnesses are to scale and function just as you'd expect them to, if not better. The stitching on and around the pockets and Velcro did have some exposed threads and the Velcro's stick is a little weak on some pouches. This tends to result in pouches that won't fully close or flop open when you move the figure, which isn't so much a detriment as it is a nuisance. My only real gripe—besides the omission of Snake-Eye's pet wolf Timber, which Sideshow addressed in their upcoming Recon at Waypoint 12 Environment—was fitting the ammo clips into the pockets of the light assault vest. The clips just didn't want to fit and I found the canvas-constructed material would tear if I tried to force the clips in without wiggling them around. I eventually got them in, but it was frustrating.
I give Sideshow Collectibles' 1/6-scale G.I. Joe Snake-Eyes figure a 9.5 out of 10. Yo Sideshow!