And it's no wonder, since Target's colours are red and white that they made this Target Exclusive Stormie, well, more red and white.
So naturally, this set went straight on my Must-Have list.
But I didn't fly into a gotta-have-it-now frenzy and email friends/family in the US for them to DRIVE-DOWN-NOW--AND-BUY-THE-FIGURE-AND-SEND-IT-STRAIGHT-TO-ME-IN-SINGAPORE-EXPRESS-EXPRESS!
I thought that if I waited long enough it would somehow come to Singapore sooner or later.
It did. And ironically it came the day right after I had shot the pictures to do a review for Arctic Assault Storm Shadow.
So thanks to asturedragon on Ebay.com.sg, I bagged this Arashikage Stormie and his bike along with Snake Eyes and his bike, which my cousin/confidant/wingman (;P) The Rangerlord so gladly decide to take off my hands since I had Snakesy already. Not only did I get a great deal, but I also got express service--within hours of Buying it Now! I had met the seller and gotten the goods.
Now, I have my signature Storm Shadow!...or at least until I find the next version more brilliant. :P
Also, somehow at that age, every kungfu movie that had '2' on the end of it had to be better than the first one, cuz by the end of it, the protagonist has attained a higher level of skill and doubled his body count. And for every kid who wants to be a ninja, greater body count = greater ninja master = better movie. How simple things were back then.
So based on that principle, here's my sequel to New Year with Ninjas!--New Year with Ninjas 2!! Will we have a higher body count?
Like: The red trim on his white jump suit. It's automatically pleasing to the eye from near or far. He'll surely stand out when you put him on his bike and display him. Oh yeah, and the red piping on his pants is painted on a sculpted line down the sides of his legs.
Like: His 'utility' belt. 'Utility' because it's only got 2 pouches. It's also a separate piece from the body. The pouches are rubbery and flexible to allow for his legs to fully bend without being obstructed. The belt also the eye-catching red and white colour scheme, so that's pretty cool.
Like: Variety of weaponry. The two-handed laser cannon and claw weapon can't be more different. One's a ninja weapon, while the other look's like a custom made laser rifle, modified and sighted by a mercenary for himself. So the variation of weapons is cool.
Like: Again, the detail on this guy is awesome, just like it has been with almost all the GI Joe movie figures. The detailed tooling of his jacket, sculpted forearm straps and half-gloves, his sneakers, right down to the folds of cloth of his pants--it's really easy to become spoiled on this sort of quality so that other toys of this scale become increasingly disappointing. (eg: Marvel Universe, and they're both made by Hasbro)
Dislike: The paint on his forearms and hands is horrendous. There's a ton of paint on his hands and half gloves that they're waaay shiny. There's also a fair amount of bleeding of red on his left forearm, making the figure look less appealing up close.
Dislike: Both his wrists are loose, along with his right leg joint. Thankfully he holds up his swords and even the big laser rifle no problem. His left hand is also the angled-to-hold-a-rifle sort, so he looks better firing the gun left handed.
The other problem with his left hand has been molded too wide. It doesn't hold stuff tight enough. So while the big grips of the sword and the laser gun might fit, his cat claw weapon just falls right out unless pointed upwards in his hand. The claw fits nicely in the right hand, but I'd like to think of the claw as an off-hand weapon, so he can dual-wield more sensibly with the smaller weapon in his left hand.
Dislike: That the bike's front wheel can't turn side to side. It's a great looking bike, so it's a pity they sacrificed the manoeuvrability of the front wheel and handle bars for a bike cannon in the front. Not only is it tough to pose Storm Shadow on a bike that doesn't pose, it also makes motorcycle seem more like a glorified BFG, and it's supposed to be a vehicle, a vehicle, Hasbro!
Aesthetics: 8/10 - Great colour but it's a pity that the paint isn't so great. The sculpt is not unique, with the top half of the body and the legs a reuse from Ninja Mercenary Stormie. Only the lower torso long coat is different. Still, it is a good sculpt with lots of detail. And while I love the red trimming they've given him, up close it's not a fantastic job.
Poseability: 8.5/10 - This is one of the figure's better areas. I especially love that his pants don't get in the way of his ankle movement and that his elbows bend more than 90 degrees. But two loose wrists? A bogus (loose) right hip? These are fixable problems but they shouldn;t b problems at all. QC. Hasbro, Your Joe toys aren't usually like this. QC.
The bike is another problem because of its inflexible front wheel. But still, it's an accessory that lends itself to making Storm Shadow look good, whether on it, riding it, or leaning on it. And it's got a kickstand to help prop itself up.
Fun: 9/10 - Despite repeating most of his accessories from Ninja Mercenary, he does get a bike. And what I love about bikes is that they are very easily poseable with the figure. I did wish the bike's handle bars could turn, though. The one they packaged with Sabretooth and Wolverine in the "Back Road Brawl" Wolverine Origins set can actually turn, making it much more fun than Storm Shadow's.
Value: 7/10 - I got this baby for S$22, that about US$15.70. Seeing as how it's a Target Exclusive and we don't have any Targets here in the Lion City, it's a steal. Anyhow TRUs here retail this class of vehicle-plus-figure set at that price. But you can't find Arashikage Stormie at TRUs. ;)
I wouldn't advise buying this version of Storm Shadow unless:
1. You're a Storm Shadow fan (and must have every version of him)
2. You like red and white and bikes (and must have every 3.75 inch version)
3. You're a GI Joe completist (in which case you'll get them all anyway)
Overall: 8.2/10 - This is not a bad toy at all to have. Don't be alarmed by the low score--I'm trying to scale down a bit on the generally high scores I normally give. I've had feedback that my heavily-curved-towards-10 scale has caused some impulse-buying that led to great regret. Angry mobs have been throwing bricks at my window. My curtains have been set on fire.
Well ok, it's not that serious. But it does make sense to scale back so that no one gets misled. :)
Anyway, I digress...
If you're looking to get a definitive (movie) Stormie, go with Arctic Assault (masked) or Paris Pursuit (unmasked). Those two are more iconic and movie accurate and just as, if not more poseable. They cost less than half of what I paid, and you a ton of accessories instead of a plastic brick of a bike. Usually figures come with a dud accessory (read: Big Friggin' Gun)--this one is no different, except you have to pay more for it.