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Hot Toys 12" G.I. Joe: Retaliation Storm Shadow

Review and photos by Phillip Donnelly

This time I'm looking at Hot Toy's version of Storm Shadow from G.I. Joe: Retaliation.  Let me tell you, this was not a review I was looking forward to doing!  It's not that I dislike the character, nor do I hate his design.  In fact, I have no real qualms about this figure except its color - it's white.  I take my photos on a white background and then clean them up on my computer.  Non-white figures are easy to cut out.  White ones?  Not so much!

But this is not something on which I can legitimately critique a figure.  It's a situation unique to my circumstances that should have no bearing whatsoever on how you, my loyal readers (I still have some, right?), will or will not enjoy this figure.  By which I mean, read on to see if I enjoy this figure and then you will unquestioningly believe everything I say.  That's the whole point in my writing this, right?  It's not like you're supposed to come to your own conclusions!

Once again, this is a figure with a uniform that is meant to stay on - even says so in the included instructions!  Not that, you know, I enjoy undressing my figures, but, uh....  How do I get myself out of this again?  Either way, you're stuck with this movie costume.  It's very nicely detailed, and incredibly accurate to the movie, so we definitely could do worse.  I'm looking at you, Hasbro, and your current alleged "12 inch figures."  The Hot Toys figure comes with two heads, masked and unmasked.  While the unmasked head is an incredible representation of actor Byung-hun Lee, the masked head really makes me smile.  Why?  Because the facemask is actual cloth over a sculpted mouth that you can barely see through in the proper light.  Why they would go this far for a relatively minor detail eludes me, yet I am all the more grateful for it.  Just don't put your thumb there when you yank the head out.

The costume itself has a great pleather feel to it, but once again, the proportions are beefed up with an inner padded shirt.  I took an image of it in the gallery below - just look for the creepy pic where Storm Shadow looks like he's coming on to you.  I swear I didn't do that on purpose.  I didn't!  Why doesn't anyone believe me??  Besides that unfortunate implication, the range of motion on this figure is superb.  We have double-jointed knees and elbows, swiveling shoulders, ball-jointed ankles, and a mid-torso joint.  This figure is on par with a Sideshow body, and easily puts the old Hall of Fame bodies to shame.  Not that anyone besides me cares about those figures, any more!

Once again, Hot Toys gives us a figure with more hands than wrist joints, but as the hands are of a softer plastic than with Snake Eyes, they're easier to interchange.  I didn't feel the need to go out and purchase more joints upon receiving my figure.  With the hands being softer, that does give them some flex when holding items.  The hand for the pistol can studrily grip the stock, with the index finger fitting inside the trigger guard without fuss.  And while the sword grip hands do an able job supporting the blades, they sort of fail elsewhere.  Sadly, the thin handles on the sais mean that none of the hands can hold them well.  They just sort of balance in place, provided you don't get the figure a good shock.

Accessory wise, we still don't come near the arsenal of a typical Sideshow figure, but what we have is what we need.  The two sais, three throwing stars, a 9mm pistol, and Storm Shadow's two swords.  Not only that, but we get an inanimate silver rod!  Well actually, it's a connector piece for the two swords.  Yes, the figure can join both blades into one, just like in Retaliation and Rise of Cobra.  Definitely a cool feature, that.

If you've already picked up the Retaliation Snake Eyes figure, you have no reason NOT to buy this guy, too.  He's the companion piece, the enemy to battle against, or the wayward sword brother to hunt down and subsequently bring back into the clan.  I may have gotten a little too literal with that last one there.  Whatever, buy this figure!

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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