Cobra Ninja (Code Name: Storm Shadow)

Hard to believe it’s been almost eight years since I started this project. It’s probably even harder to believe that in those years, I’ve not covered the original Storm Shadow figure. 1984 Storm Shadow: the figure that launched five-dozen variations and pushed GI Joe into places the brand had never been before. As much responsible for hooking American kids on the ninja craze as Cannon Films, Sho Kosugi, and Stephen K. Hayes, this mystery man was an instant must-buy. I recall asking my dad to hunt all the way through the then seemingly high rows of endcap Joe pegs at Children’s Palace to snag a Stormy.

I’m not ashamed or afraid to say that this is one of my favorite Real American Hero era figures. Heck, it’s also one of my overall favorite GI Joe figures. Note, that certainly doesn’t mean I think it’s the best representation of what GI Joe is, or the best example of sculpting and painting, etc, etc. It is for me, however a great example of what made me fall in love with the brand those many years ago. I also feel that at least some of its spirit has lived on since its debut thirty five years ago.

The closest I’ve seen to toy ninja perfection since this figure was the Renegades version of the character that debuted in 2011. Later iterations of Storm Shadow and his stealthy cohorts improved upon sculpt, articulation and accessories, but I doubt they’ll supplant the original in my mind. Thanks for the memories, Storm Shadow.

5 comments

  • FABULOUS figure.

    This was the one I wanted from the Action Force 1985 release. So much gear. I saw it ONCE when I had no money.

    Fortunately he was one of the three carded figures (the other two were the Cobra trooper and Destroy) who came back for the 1987 Action Force range…. And then he was difficult to get, he and Snake Eyes ALWAYS vanished first!

    He continued to be sold into 1988 and was still difficult to get, as were many 88 figures where I lived. So he did three years here when most figures only got two at most.

    I see from the US card backs that he was still available in the US in 1986, the only 1984 character to be carried over for a third year.

  • FABULOUS figure.

    This was the one I wanted from the Action Force 1985 release. So much gear. I saw it ONCE when I had no money.

    Fortunately he was one of the three carded figures (the other two were the Cobra trooper and Destroy) who came back for the 1987 Action Force range…. And then he was difficult to get, he and Snake Eyes ALWAYS vanished first!

    He continued to be sold into 1988 and was still difficult to get, as were many 88 figures where I lived. So he did three years here when most figures only got two at most.

    I see from the US card backs that he was still available in the US in 1986, the only 1984 character to be carried over for a third year.

    • Yeah. I actually got my Storm Shadow in 1986. The card’s back side was updated. Wow, hardcore collectors could go crazy trying to get all carded variations.

  • As a fan of bright colors, ninjas, and lasers, I do appreciate how un-military the 1984 Storm Shadow and Zartan were. While my favorite Storm Shadow is the 1988 version I did gain appreciation for this mold through its Ninja Viper repaint. He’s just that good of an action figure

  • As much as I am an Original 13 fan, I loved the new direction the line took in 1984. Storm Shadow was, and is, an amazing figure. I remember buying him at our Hills Department Store that summer. The card art was a huge selling point. The fact that all of his gear fit into his backpack was the coolest. I even notched out a slot so he could shut his nunchucks inside. Add to this the classic Marvel Comics saga with Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes . . . my brothers and I had many awesome adventures with him that summer.
    I still have my original figure, but somewhere around ’86 or ’87, I decided that white wasn’t a good color for stealth missions. I taped off the arms and eyes, and spray painted him flat black. I love the pictures above. They remind me of that summer and all the possibilities the RAH line held. Great figure, great review.

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