Storm Shadow (1993 Hall of Fame)
A much as I like the original Storm Shadow figure from 1984, I must admit that the follow-up Ninja Force version also holds a place of distinction in my mind. While the spring-action feature hindered poseability, the design was an interesting departure from the standard ninja pajamas of the 80s. The fact that the Hall of Fame release used the same outfit as its inspiration caused me to snag it ASAP. Would I have preferred a 1984-based 12 inch Stormy? Most certainly, but considering this outfit was prevalent in the media tie-ins at the time (comics and cartoon) the absence of the old costume was a given.
This is a simplistic interpretation of the small scale toy, much like many other Hall of Fame series figures. The intricate shoulder piece didn’t make the transition, replaced with a couple of gold grenades attached to simple tabs at the chest. There are no leg wraps, just plain boots, borrowed from the previous year’s Snake Eyes. Of course, the Hall of Fame body leaves a lot to be desired in terms of articulation and play value, but I think that very few of these figures were making it into the hands of kids. As a bit of added value, the figures were supplied with rifles that featured spring loaded missile launchers. Thankfully, they were removable. I don’t normally picture Storm Shadow brandishing a rifle, but the character is certainly no stranger to the world of automatic weapons.
I recall quite a bit of discount sales on the line, especially at the likes of K-B Toys. As evidence of the amount of figures were being bought up by collectors and speculators, one need only perform an eBay search to find plenty of boxed examples. In the end, it’s somewhat ironic to consider that a larger scale gave rise to a lesser product in terms of detail and articulation.
Overall, the Hall of Fame series achieved its goal, for the time. It was aimed squarely at collectors, an interesting and noble experiment by Hasbro, considering that the Real American Hero era was waning, and that the small Joe collecting community had yet to truly congeal. Most of the figures were, at the very least, striking interpretations of their smaller selves, and they still stand out in a display.