G.I. Joe: 25th Anniversary Storm Shadow v.2
For some helpful hints concerning the 25th Anniversary figures, click here
Who would have thought that Hasbro could use the same tooling for the first version of Storm Shadow that they would end up using for version 2? I would never have guessed, but Hasbro has pulled it off. Regardless of which side you prefer your Storm Shadow fighting on, you can't argue that both his '84 and his '88 version are great figures, and I'm glad to see Hasbro working both versions into this line. They've managed to walk the thin line to include features of both versions into one basic tooling source that services both versions surprisingly well.
This second version of the previous COBRA ninja comes with a new head sculpt that is honestly, pretty great. The glare is a bit less sinister and menacing than the previous version, and the way the hood sort of flows over his head works extremely well. There is detail upon detail worked into the head sculpt and it helps make this figure work very well.
The figure's body uses the same tooling as the original, which actually works better than you might think. With the trim left in white, that detail mixes right in with the rest of the figure and doesn't stand out as it does with the original version. The sash is now done in white, and thankfully the cool sheath for his dagger is still present as well. Even though little details like these throwing stars and knife aren't present in the original '88 version of this figure, it doesn't end up looking out of place at all.
Along with the white base uniform we get the familiar gray camouflage pattern, which looks as odd to me as it did back in 1988, but the pattern itself is pretty accurate to what we got all those years ago. From that standpoint it works well. One minor curiosity has to do with Storm Shadow's tattoo...it is a bit higher up on his arm, due to the arm-wraps, but that doesn't bother me a whole lot. What I am a bit curious about is that the same area of his arm on the first version of Storm Shadow is blank. You'd think if he had the tattoo now, he had the tattoo back then as well... still, that's a minor continuity glitch and nothing important. The actual application of the tattoo looks really nice.
At first glance, you wouldn't think that this figure would work at all based on the tooling for the version 1, but it does end up looking surprisingly good.
Storm Shadow's great detailing continues on throughout the rest of the figure, with his nicely detailed uniform pants, leg wraps, and the same sandles that the version 1 has. All told, even when using the same parts, this version of Storm Shadow ends up looking pretty different from the previous version. The gray camouflage, gray colors on the arm wraps, and the new head sculpt and backpack, we have a figure who really separates from the original well.
The double joint knees work just as well as the previous version as well, which is great. I'm also pleased to say that like the original version of the Anniversary Storm Shadow, this version has nice hip sockets that give him almost full range of motion in the hips. I am thrilled to see this and hopefully this continues through some of the rest of the line.
Storm Shadow comes with very similar accessories as the first version of the Anniversary. The swords, bow, and knife look exactly the same, while the stand was redone to be a Joe stand instead of a COBRA one, and the backpack was painted reddish brown. They also reworked the backpack strap to be the rope across his chest instead of the black belt, which is a pretty cool touch! Not a bad accessory compliment, though it would have been cool to see a compound bow used instead of his more standard one...they could have even carried it forward for Zartan as well.
Even with some minor issues here and there this version of Storm Shadow was surprisingly great. I wasn't a big fan of this Storm Shadow back in the day, but Hasbro has done a remarkable job reusing the tooling from version 1 to make a totally new figure. Whether or not this version of Storm Shadow is truly iconic enough to earn a place in the 25th Anniversary is up to individual opinion (I personally don't think this figure deserves a spot in the 25th, but that's just me), but for what Hasbro had to work with from a timing and tooling standpoint, I think they did a fine job. Not a big fan of the choice, but the execution works.