Sigma Six Storm Shadow


Kevin Apgar is back tonight, with another great review.  This time he covers another of the excellent Sigma 6 figures, Storm Shadow.  What's the scoop, Kev!

Those of us who grew up in the 70s and 80s remember the heyday of Saturday Morning Cartoon programming. It was great. 

These days, however, Saturday morning is just plain sad. If you can even find a cartoon, it is a sad shadow of what it once was.

A few weeks ago, though, I happened to be flipping through channels on a Saturday morning when I found G.I. Joe Sigma Six. Normally, I would not have bothered to watch it, but my wife wasn’t home and I had nothing to lose. So I did. And I’m glad I did.

The new G.I. Joe is nothing like its predecessor. Done in an anime style it visually kicks some serious butt. Heck, I even set a Season Pass on my TiVo for it, much to my wife’s chagrin. 

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I must’ve been watching pretty close to the first episode. Soon after that first dose of the show, I found a review here from our very own fearless leader of Snake Eyes from the Sigma Six line. Well, what better way to complement it than by reviewing Snake Eyes’ ninja counterpart, Storm Shadow.

And I would like to apologize for all the shadows in my photography. I was just snapping quick shots. But, you’ve got to admit, in retrospect, it’s pretty appropriate. Shadows… Storm Shadow… don’t you think?

Packaging - ****
I am definitely seconding Michael’s assessment here… these are singularly the greatest piece of packaging I have ever seen on a toy. Heck, in many ways, it’s better than the packaging of just about anything I have ever purchased before (although my iPod box is still cooler).

Overall, the package is much larger than I had anticipated from Michael’s pics. You cannot miss them on the shelves.

There is a clear plastic sleeve all the way around the faces and side panels of the package. Inside is Storm Shadow to one side with a display of his weapons on the other side. Capping off both ends are the two pieces that make the carry case for his armory. And when I say “armory”… well, more on that in “Accessories.”

A one-inch wide plastic tie strap wraps from one cap to the other on each end and is wound through plastic loops and back around where it is sealed down with a tongue-in-groove lock and then taped down for added security. That was a severe pain in the butt to remove. 

Beware that there are a lot of rubber band-like straps, plastic ties, molded plastic casings, tape, and cardboard holding Storm Shadow, and, I would assume, his compatriots as well in their packages. There is absolutely no way to get this thing open without mangling it.

But am I letting that bother me? Nope. Still the coolest, most functional packaging ever.

The back has the lineup for the first wave of the figures, which number only five, as well as the traditional G.I. Joe file card. I did take a picture of it, although I forgot to keep the actual card. Dangit.

Sculpting - ***1/2
Yeah, sorry, but there is no intermingling of old and new G.I. Joes should you want to play with them all at once. These are over eight inches tall and would look a bit odd next to their predecessors. And, yet, they don’t fit in with their 12-inch partners either. Seems as though Hasbro is just going all out trying to cover every imaginable figure scale.

But I like these far more than any of the Joes to date.

There is a mix of molded plastic and fabric with Storm Shadow. He has white nylon pants that have elastic banding at the bottoms of each leg. The pants are topped off with a red sash belt that velcros in back and has each end running loose down his right leg. Very cool touch.

The musculature of Storm Shadow is very over exaggerated and it works beautifully with the anime style. I mean, this guy is ripped. As if it weren’t enough already that he is a ninja, now he looks like he could completely forget any of his martial arts skills and still whoop some serious hide.

Other than his musculature and the little face we see, the only other real sculpting is in his wristbands/guards and his footgear (can’t remember the real name of these items offhand; I apologize to all you martial arts aficionados).

Even with the change in appearance, it is still clearly Storm Shadow. There just ain’t no mistaking him with anyone else.

Paint - ***
There is very little paint on this figure. No wash to make shadowing a bit more prominent in any way, shape, or form. Basically, SS has white on his entire trunk and legs save for his lower calves and feet which are red. His arms are skin tone with red forearm guards and shields on the backs of his hands. And his head is mostly white with some flesh coloration around his eyes and then the detail on the eyes themselves. Other than that, all he has is his Cobra logo on his left pec and his tattoo on his left bicep (refer back to the original G.I. Joe comic books “Snake Eyes: The Origin” parts 1 and 2 (#26 & 27) and “Silent Interlude” (#21) for more information about the tatt and their history).

But be careful when you pick yours off the shelf. Do some comparison work if there is more than one available. Particularly around the head and eyes. There is some slop. I managed to find one that only had a few small marks on his forehead which, luckily, rubbed off with a bit of spit on my fingertip.

Articulation - **** 
Again, where to start?

Ball-jointed head, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles as well as a cut waist and a swivel chest for added flexibility. He’s gonna make Scarlett very happy. If he can steal her away from Snakes.

Many of the joints have a clicking lock feature to keep them in place. Sometimes, it’s a bit of struggle to work them into a useable position. But, oh, the number of position this figure can be posed in. I used to think it was a big deal when they introduced “kung fu action grip” on the old Joes. Pfftttt…

Accessories - ****
This is where this figure is serious fun. A quick recap…

· A Katana sword with sheath
· A Wakizashi sword with sheath
· Nunchakus with swing out blades (none of that stupid molded rope either; this is corded)
· Two Sai
· A Bo staff with cupped ends to hold both swords
· Climbing claws for both hands and both feet
· A grappling hook
· Bandolier strap with spots for either sword as well as both Sai
· Display rack for his swords
· The carry case (yes, this is officially packaging, but it also works as an accessory, although I don’t think it would fit in SS’s carry on compartment on a United flight)

What else can you say? This is some serious armament. And to think that some of it is expandable so it works together. Just utter coolness. 

And, if you’re a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan, these weapons work with them as well. Heck, they even look like some of the old TMNT accessories.

The only problem I have with it is that the Sai holders on the bandolier are so close to the sword holder that they don’t seem to sit right. It just looks a bit awkward.

Fun Factor - ****
It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a toy and that is simply because nothing has compelled me to write one. These figures compel me to no end. They are the epitome of cool. And they are a ton of fun. They really make me wish I was a kid again so I could justify my desire to play with them. I’ll have to settle for the occasional battle scene between Storm Shadow and Hellboy. At least until I buy more Joes. I think Spirit Iron-Knife may be next.

Value - ***1/2
I’ll be honest. I was a bit hesitant when I first read the $15 price point. But then I saw them at Meijers. And for only $12.97 to boot. The spectacular packaging, the sculpting, accessories, and sheer kick-ass qualities of the figure more than make up for the price. I’ll buy more at this price. I’ll just have to wait a little between each. Can’t buy them all at one time.

Overall - ****
Far and away, G.I. Joe Sigma Six are the coolest toys I have seen in some time. Even cooler than my Darth Tater. Here I thought G.I. Joe had died, never to be fully revived. I was sooooo wrong.

The first series includes Storm Shadow, Snake Eyes, Spirit Iron-Knife, Duke, and Heavy Duty. From watching the show, I know that we can also expect Hi Tech, Long Range, Destro, Scarlett, Baroness, Cobra Commander, Tunnel Rat, Zartan (and a few of his Dreadnaughts), and some kind of Cobra Trooper, among a few others I may have forgotten.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ****
Sculpt - ***1/2
Paint - ***
Articulation - ****
Accessories - ****
Fun Factor - ****
Value - ***1/2
Overall - ****

Where to Buy - 
I have not found these at Wal-Mart or Target yet. Heck, I haven’t even seen shelf tags for them. But Meijers had a ton. You just have to look. And be sure to look up as most of the ones I found were on the upper storage shelves.

EDITOR'S NOTE - they have hit many Targets at this point, and are often on end caps.

Figure from the collection of Kevin Apgar.

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