Storm Shadow (2013 12 inch)
The Renegades Storm Shadow released a couple of years ago was one of the most impressely articulated and accessorized versions of the classic Cobra ninja. It featured all the articulation improvements of the modern line, along with incredibly detailed and intricate accessories. If you thought that figure just had too much of both, then I’ve got the perfect figure for you.
Five point articulation (in this case seven, since the figure has swivels at the forearms) has been a huge subject of consternation with Joe collectors of late. The Retaliation drivers were most certainly a disappointment from a poseability standpoint, but the sculpts still maintained the modern line’s quality. In fact, the absence of ball joints gave the figures a more naturalistic appearance, despite the. Much like the Star Wars figures of the 70s and 80s, without a lot of moving parts, a sculpt can become a large part of one’s focus when appreciating a toy.
From a design perspective, I’m finding Hasbro’s recent twelve inch figures quite interesting. From Star Wars to Marvel and now GI Joe, a figure with a standard five to seven point articulation, packed tightly in an ultra slim window box, is the norm. Their severe upright stances, akin to the style of Greek sculpture before the development of contrapposto, is a stark contrast to the current Renaissance in action figure design. If I didn’t know better, I would think that the figures were sculpted to fit into a specific size of box.
The packaging is severely economic as well. The figure is literally wrapped up in its box, which is opened via flaps at the top, bottom and side. The whole thing then folds out neatly, and the figure can be removed from its cardboard ties. It’s quite an economically engineered package. Perhaps that’s part of the reason that the price point is just a bit higher than the smaller scale toys.
At JoeCon this year, the Hasbro team didn’t spend much time talking about the three figure twelve inch assortment; the most memorable being a comment by John Warden that they’re great for kids to bash together. Having already been intrigued by the sculpts, this statement spoke directly to the toy loving part of me. Having the figure in hand, I have to say it’s impressively large, and also rough and ready. There’s something about a figure at this scale without much articulation that plays to the kid in me who grew up with jumbo Shogun Warriors. It doesn’t do much, but the scale itself is a lot of fun. Considering the aesthetic of 70s jumbo figures (and being inspired by Gentle Giant’s scaling-up of the vintage Star Wars line) I can forgive the stiff sculpt. Now what we really need are scaled up versions of the 80s Joes, complete with giant rivets and o-rings.