Kamakura (2004)

I miss having a series of 12 inch GI Joe figures running concurrently alongside the little guys. It seems that, until the first live action movie assortments ended, there had been at least a few based on the main line during most years since the relaunch in 2002. The most recent real-world focused figures that were on shelves at the same time as the Pursuit of Cobra line were nicely done, but unfortunately weren’t based on the GI Joe mythos we’re familiar with. And don’t get me started about Hasbro’s recent weird 12 inch statue-like renderings that are making their way to market. Those things look like they’ve been sculpted specifically to fit in the narrowest box imaginable.

Kamakura was a part of the Valor vs. Venom series, and he’s one of the more interesting choices for a 12 inch figure to come out of that period. The character was given a decent share of new figures in the small scale beginning with the previous year’s Spy Troops assortments. He’s a natural to have included in the toy line, since he was well known at the time as the apprentice to Snake Eyes. He’s even making appearances to this day.

The all cloth uniform is impressive, especially in light of many other figures in the series that were produced with molded shirts. It’s almost like Kamakura was a more premium figure when compared to others that year. Somebody in the design team must have liked him. As nice as the uniform is, the face mask is quite unimpressive. The eye hole is just too small, and the stitching (at least on mine) is sloppy.  Taking the mask off doesn’t help matters much, as underneath is a flat black painted featureless head. Other removable details on the figure are well done, like the arm and leg guards, as well as the new boots.

There is a pretty good assortment of ninja-centric accessories as well. There’s the standard katana, as well as a large bladed thingamabob, shuriken (which can neatly tuck into his sash), and a grappling hook with zip-line.  What is it with GI Joe ninjas and zip-lines? I don’t remember them from the mail order sections of the one-off 80s ninja mags I had as a kid. I do remember tabi boots, shuriken, and wooden practice swords, however. But I digress.

Kamakura also has something every ninja really needs: a radio. That’s a new one, but it makes sense, if he’s out on covert missions. I just hope Snake Eyes isn’t on the other end, otherwise KK’s going to be waiting a very long time for responses to his reports. “Snake Eyes? Come in, Snake Eyes. This is Kamakura. Do you copy, over? Snakes, are you there?”


  • So the head under the cloth mask was another masked head? Weird. Also the cloth mask looks more like something a terrorist would wear…in that case just go with the painted mask.
    As for the radio, maybe it’s like the walkie-talkie I had as a kid, with a “beeper” button you could use for morse code. The beep-codes for the whole alphabet (including neumerics) was molded into the shell of the radio–would have been perfect for any soldier working with Snake Eyes…especially 8 year old me!

  • He reminds me of the red action man Ninja my little brother really wanted in the early ’90’s.

    On the subject of Hasbro’s latest 12′ travesties. I’m a star wars collector too so i picked up the new 12′ Aniken and Clone. The were so cheap and nasty i passed them onto my neice. She hates them too.

    And on a simmilar note, my Joes are commanded by a ’12 Omar Bradly doll [which looks more like Carl Malden than Bradly]

  • Come to think of it, Snake Eyes has never been near a radio in the comic or cartoon, has he? I suppose teaming up with Breaker or Dial-Tone must be a drag for the latter guys.

    @Skymate That Omar Bradley really does capture Malden’s likenesses from the Patton movie, doesn’t it? I’m a huge WWII history buff and might someday get those guys. So far, I have the Douglas MacArthur figure in my curio. He makes a cool centerpiece for any Joe collection.

    The present movie 12” inch stuff is static crapola. I can’t imagine any kid worth his salt playing with those in a focus group. Hasbro is really cutting corners nowadays, much to the brand’s detriment. All these earlier figures now look like Hot Toys or Sideshow product by comparison.

  • @Clutch I wanted Patton but the shop didnt have him.
    I’m a millitary historian so sometimes buisness and pleasure [GI joe] go hand in hand.

    Being a millitary historian i find Heavy Metels real name hilarius

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