He had been here for forty minutes, upside-down, one hand dug into the tree via a climbing claw, the other clutching a combat knife. The target was running late.
He waited. This wasn’t unusual, but if the target didn’t appear soon, he’d have to change position. He could feel the pressure starting to build behind his eyes.
A mosquito buzzed in his ear, landed on his arm. Its proboscis attempted to pierce the deceptively thin fabric of his suit; after a few seconds, it gave up and flew off to find prey that wasn’t wearing body armor. He hadn’t moved a muscle.
Then he heard it…soft footsteps, coming his way. He tightened his muscles, working out the stiffness and increasing blood flow before he had to move. Still, he didn’t move.
Every so often, a toy comes along that is the plastic equivalent of a wildly successful, critically-acclaimed blockbuster movie. It gets almost everything right. It brings in people who aren’t even fans of the franchise. A few recent examples include Masterpiece Optimus Prime, MOTUC Battle Cat, and the Big Millennium Falcon. Well, you can add another toy to those ranks–the Pursuit of Cobra Snake Eyes.
As I’ve often noted, I am not, nor ever have been, a G.I. Joe fan. My childhood went from Star Wars to He-Man to Transformers to Ninja Turtles, more or less in that order and with few deviations. However, at the recommendation of a friend, I’ve recently read and enjoyed the old 1980s G.I. Joe: Special Missions comics, which focused on somewhat more realistic plots (fighting “real world” terrorists, rescuing diplomats, aiding defectors, etc.) than the more science fiction-oriented stories of the cartoon.
But I wasn’t immune to the appeal of certain characters, particularly the franchise’s Boba Fett, Snake Eyes. He was a ninja dressed all in black who used both guns and swords; like Grimlock, who was both a tyrannosaurus and a robot, Snake Eyes was ideally designed to appeal to young boys.
Hasbro has made a few Snake Eyes figures over the years. By YoJoe.com‘s count, this one is the 54th since the first one hit stores nearly thirty years ago…but it’s hard to imagine a future figure that surpasses this one.
Before we go further, I must thank Poester FakeEyes22 for obtaining this figure for me (as well as the Snake Eyes on the left in the final pic). He is a prince among men!
Design & Sculpt: As I understand it–and G.I. Joe fans can feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, I’m less than a casual collector on this line–the Pursuit of Cobra design aesthetic is to create somewhat more realistic takes on the iconic looks of G.I. Joe characters, sort of marrying the live-action movie style to the classic characters instead of actors. The result is the “Special Missions” of the toyline.
From a design perspective, Snake Eyes is wearing a fairly realistic outfit–in fact, it’s arguably more realistic than the skintight rubber suit worn by the character in the film. There’s a lot of detail here, especially for this scale, such as the texture on the suit. Perhaps because there aren’t any licensing fees involved, Hasbro seems able to sink more money into the tooling budgets for G.I. Joe and Transformers toys than they can Star Wars or Marvel Universe, and this is one of the most significant examples of that.
Plastic & Paint: There’s not a whole lot of paint here, as Snake Eyes is nearly all-black. I do wonder if his visor should be gray, as that seems to be the way it’s usually depicted, but I don’t know enough about the character to know whether they took a shortcut here.
There are tiny tampographs on each bicep, which I’m sure have meaning for G.I. Joe fans (I believe one is the Arishkage sigil, and the other is maybe the Joe sign?) but other than noting that they’re well-applied for such a tiny figure, I can’t say much about them.
Articulation: Snake Eyes has what I’m guessing is the standard current G.I. Joe articulation: ball-and-hinge joints at the neck, shoulders, elbows, upper torso, ankles, and hips; swivels at the wrists; and double-hinges at the knees. [UPDATE: Astute reader T. pointed out the wrists are actually ball-and-hinge as well; they can be moved up and down, so that he can hold the sword straight out in front of him. The joints were so small I didn’t notice them.]
I have mixed feelings about the articulation. It does give you a surprising amount of posing possibilities, but it’s also frustrating to get the figure into those poses, as the range of motion tends to be just a bit less than you want or expect it to. Still, for this scale and price range, you’re not going to find better.
Accessories: The accessories are what makes this figure the definitive Snake Eyes (at least for now). As many fans know, the original Snake Eyes came with the “commando” head with the goggles, only later to be replaced by the iconic segmented visor. Most fans prefer the visor but some do like the original, so this figure gives us both heads. And they’re interchangeable–no need to buy a special rare variant.
In addition to the heads, Snake Eyes comes with:
- Two silver/black knives (one with a removable shoulder sheath, the other can be sheathed on the right calf)
- Two silver/black swords & sheaths
- Black sword (a nod to the v2 vintage fig)
- Two pistols
- Removable tactical harness (a.k.a. web-gear)
- Two suppressors
- Explosives pack (nod to original figure)
- An Uzi submachine gun (original figure)
- An FN SCAR assault rifle
- Removable kneepads
Quality Control: No problems.
Overall: I’m as casual a fan of G.I. Joe as they come, but I know an excellent toy when I see it. By giving this figure a dynamite sculpt, forgoing the full-figure variants and including the alternate head, and packing in a ridiculous amount of accessories, Hasbro created what I see as clearly the definitive (at least for now) Snake Eyes.
Maybe diehard Joe fans see something wrong with this figure…but I don’t.
Where to Buy: