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SIT-REP
This is the Sit-Rep, soldier, the Situation Report! It's here where we get the intel on the new troops, talk to the big brass, and generally do anything else that isn't in an archival capacity! So what are you waiting for? It's time for your debriefing!

Sideshow 12" Storm Shadow

Review and photos by Phillip Donnelly

For my review today, I'm looking at Sideshow Collectibles's second crack at Storm Shadow.  Sideshow's first Storm Shadow was a nearly straight translation of his original 3 3/4" figure.  So naturally, this figure is a translation of the second Storm Shadow.  Never mind that that figure was a Joe, and that the filecard here is a straight copy of that figure's, this Storm Shadow is still labeled Cobra.  I'll be ranting about that in just a moment, stay tuned!

Much like the Cobra Commander and Baroness figures that came before it, the box for this figure features just pne window, with the accessories on a separate tray beneath the figure.  The flap is still held in place with magnets, so there's still a great presentation here overall.  As is standard, we have some great figure photography adorning the box that puts my efforts to shame and makes me question my abilities and usefulness.  I'm such a hack!

I wrote above that this figure takes Storm Shadow (v2) as inspiration, and that's most evident with what Sideshow is calling his "winter camouflage suit."  It's not so much a suit as it is a gi, but that's semantics.  To help set him apart, we're given a gray padded assault vest that's actually two pieces which velcro together.  It certainly makes removing it an easier affair - if only Hasbro could do this with their small figures!  Perhaps an unreasonable request, but I sometimes worry about tearing the little buggers.  One of the things I like most about the figure is found in the hood - unlike Hall of Fame Storm Shadow, the hood on here has a stiff wire inside the lining, allowing you to bend and pose the hood to better suit your needs.  This allows you to better position the hood around where you have the figure's head pointing - after all, you wouldn't want to hide those expressive eyes, would you?

And now for my rant.  Those of you wishing to avoid my version of an old guy yelling at the damn kids to get off his lawn may safely skip this paragraph.  I'm a guy who likes Storm Shadow best as a Joe.  Why?  He's more interesting to me that way.  Instead of just being the ninja that's Snake Eyes' eeeevil counterpart, this guy went undercover to solve the mystery of his uncle's murder.  He had to do bad things along the way and took damage to his reputation, but he wasn't evil.  And when he learned the truth, he got out, made up with his sword brother, and kicked all sorts of Cobra ass.  And he wasn't even a Cora for that long!  In the original run of the toy line, Storm Shadow has three times as many figures as a Joe than he does as a Cobra.  It wasn't until the year 2000 that the people at Hasbro decided Storm Shadow had to be all Cobra all the time.  And I've been grumpy about it ever since.

Now, this figure is clearly based on a version of Storm Shadow who was a good guy, yet they've clearly designated him as a bad guy.  Fortunately, that's easily ignored.  There's nothing on his uniform to designate his allegiance one way or the other.  The only things that label him Cobra are the display stand and the Sideshow exclusive Cobra head katana sword.  The stand is sort of a non-issue and the sword I can safely ignore - he has another, generic katana and only one scabbard.  Be careful with that Cobra katana though, I managed to accidentally snap off the hilt without much effort!

For my money, I actually like Storm Shadow's Ninja Force look best, but then I'm a weird kid from the '90s who loves neon and spring loaded missile launchers, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.  This figure is actually a pretty reasonable translation and update of his 1988 costume, right down the the compound bow and climbing rope.  That compound bow is pretty nice, actually, as is hands down my favorite piece of this set.  The bow string holds tension!  You can actually pull the string back, see a noticeable bend in the bow itself, and position one of his four arrows between the bow and his appropriate hand attachment.  A pretty nice backpack replaces whatever red thing he used back in the day, and a pair of nifty tonfas round out his removable accessories.

As for nonremovable accessories, Storm Shadow has two as part of separate hand attachments: one hand has him gripping a shuriken, while another wears that great claw the 3 3/4" figure had.  They're actually opposite hands, so you can plug both in at the same time, if you so choose.  All in all, the accessory complement is a bit sparse compared to earlier figures, but he comes with everything you would expect him to have.

If you're a fan of the urban camo Storm Shadow looks, this figure should be right up your alley.  If, however, you only want Storm Shadow in his classic white Cobra duds, you're probably better off tracking down the eariler Sideshow figure elsewhere.  This figure is for those who appreciate that Storm Shadow can be more than just the bad guy ninja, or those who might accidentally get a bit of dirt on their figure without fear of ruining it.  It's also a great toy for people who want to buy a high-end sixth-scale figure with a wicked awesome compount bow.  And maybe the next time Sideshow revisits Storm Shadow, they could give us a figure with some splotchy transitions to black on his uniform, possibly with old highlights.  It can also have some spring loaded feature in the arms.  Or not, I don't want to pressure anyone.  I'm just saying, Sideshow, think about it....

Editor's Note:
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More action shots:

Images from the collection of: Phillip Donnelly

Figure courtesy of Sideshow Collectibles!

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05/07/14

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