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Hall of Heroes Storm Shadow (v31)
Review by Terry Dizard
Storm Shadow, Thomas Arashikage – you have been on the shelves consistently since the beginning of the 25th anniversary line. I don’t think there’s a fan or collector alive who doesn’t have at least five versions of you in the past year. Even though you are one of the most produced figures in recent history, a character of much fan grumbling, you always manage to sell out...unless you’re in a boxed set that seems to hang out at retail.
We have seen so much of both the character and the original (2007) figure sculpt itself, from the boxed set Storm Shadow (and single card), and that other boxed set version (ala 2004 deco), Red Ninja (and all those boxedset ones), Ninja Ku, two comic pack versions (Devil’s Due style and Resolute)…yeah, I’ll be honest, in the past three years of the anniversary line we have seen eleven (11!) versions of just the character and an additional four uses of the same tooling. That’s a heck of a lot of Ninjas, folks!
So here’s one more.
Thanks to fan votes and some glitzy glamour, we have version 31 of Storm Shadow, this time in the Hall of Heroes assortment. So, what makes this Storm Shadow different from the previous versions? Not much, but just enough to make him stand out in a collection (or as Adam Pawlus says in his Star Wars reviews, just different enough to make you angry and have to go buy it).
First off, we have the carded-figure-in-a-box packaging, which I have to admit, is really, really spiffy. I like the gold trim on the packaging, the clear plastic window; these are just some really nice display pieces but it’s pain if you have to open them all up, double the trash - oh well. Please try to recycle what you can.
As to the figure itself, it remains completely unchanged, parts wise, from the v30 figure. Hasbro moved the wrist articulation from the forearm to below the wrappings as to better hide the articulation points, and the aesthetic improvements are very obvious, and the arms are bare flesh-tone instead of short sleeved. I really liked the change on the arms from sleeves to bare skin, as it seems much more Marvel comic book accurate. It just reminds me of the post-Cobra Storm Shadow who was looking to train a young Billy in martial arts.
Also, the head is a (relatively) new sculpt – although it doesn’t look that it’s all new at first, but it is and has improved detailing and facial expression. I also happen to think that the paint masking and detailing of the eyes and skin are improved – but that’s more subjective than objective.
The overall figure deco is mostly unchanged from the v30, with the exception of changing the gray leg wraps to white. Also, there is the usual red Cobra emblem on the chest and light paint apps to the torso details on the shirt.
As for accessories, Storm Shadow comes with his katana, wakizashi (short sword), a tanto (short dagger), nunchaku, a grappling hook with black cord, and a backpack with sword scabbards and a strap to fit around the figure. On the pack is the Arashikage clan hexagram encircled and painted in red. As to the whole, sculpted arrows on the backpack, that's all well and fine, IF Storm Shadow actually came with his bow - an accessory included with many of the previous versions of the character AND figure sculpt. Why, Hasbro, is there no bow? C'mon! Should've swapped out the grappling hook. But I digress, it's a slight oversight and easily solved by adding a spare bow from another version of the figure. Also there is a gold figure stand – which is painted gold, but oddly also molded in the same color.
While the figure comes off as appearing quite plain, it is in fact a marvelous representation of Storm Shadow. The figure is supposed to be Spartan and basic, while letting the accessories and sculpted details bring out the personality of the figure and his role as Cobra assassin, bodyguard and overall really awesome ninja.
If you are in the market for a Storm Shadow that has all of the hallmarks of a definitive version, this is the one. Hasbro got everything right, improved shortcomings of past figures and have delivered a figure with perfect articulation, sculpt and accessories. I recommend picking this one up, whether you have 30 Storm Shadow figures or are just in the market for that one definitive version – this is one worth adding to your collection.