G.I. Joe: 25th Anniversary Snake Eyes v.2
For some helpful hints concerning the 25th Anniversary figures, click here
Folks who have read my reviews know by now that I'm not big on new figures that are direct representations of the classics. I'm a big fan of the vintage line, and many of those figures are represented pretty darn well, so I don't necessarily need Hasbro to spend resources on making new figures that look exactly like the old ones. I prefer new ideas and new concepts. Despite this, I have been enjoying most of the Anniversary offerings, and it's probably because of that opinion that I really find myself liking this version of Snake Eyes.
Fans who are looking for an exact replica of the immortal 1985 Snake Eyes will be disappointed with this version, flat out. This is not a direct copy of that version, and while that will probably upset some folks, to me, it works. See, this may be blasphemy in the Joe world, but I was never a huge fan of the '85 Snake Eyes. I prefer my Joe Commando as a Commando and not so much as a Ninja, and for as many cool details as the '85 Snake Eyes had, the mold was kind of plain and kind of "dumpy". It had some great elements that really served to identify Snake Eyes (such as the visor that has now become one of his trademarks) but for the most part it seemed like a more super hero representation of him, instead of a military operative.
The head sculpt for this Anniversary representation is fantastic, in my opinion. The very highly detailed visor is the central focus, but you can't overlook the little details like the seams on the head and the slight wrinkles throughout the cloth covering the head. A really nice looking head sculpt that captures the spirit of the '85 version very nicely.
The upper body is obviously the same as the v.1 Snake Eyes (which I don't yet own, so maybe the repeat use doesn't bother me so much) and looks very nice. He's got a standard commando sweater with some great little details around the neck, and some awesome shoulder pouches. The two silver bands around his wrists look like they were placed there to sort of act as an homage to the '85 version. I am bummed that the wrist-mounted dart launcher wasn't somehow included, but that is a minor gripe, and aside from retooling the entire arm I'm not sure how they would have worked it in there.
The mid-torso joint actually looks okay on Snake Eyes, though it definitely does disrupt the texture of his chest a bit. He's got swivel wrists which are awesome. Both hands are in permanent "trigger finger" mode, which wouldn't be so bad if the weapons came without trigger guards. However, as these guns all come with those guards, the permanent trigger fingers can kind of hamper how well these figures grip their weapons.
Working to differentiate this figure from the first version, we have a removable bandolier that is reminiscent of the one that the '85 figure wore. Is it an exact replica? Not at all. But it captures the spirit of the '85 version very well, and is actually sufficiently more detailed than the tooling on the '85 version. I love that they used different colors throughout it and you end up with a figure that is considerably more vibrantly (but realistically) colored than the original. I'm still not a huge fan of these new elbow joints that seems to sort of limit the range of motion there, but that was an ongoing issue with the later o-ring figures as well.
Most of the complaints about this figure center around the reuse of the legs from the version 1 of the figure, since the tooling is significantly more military in appearance than the bodysuit look that the '85 version had. Personally, I don't have as much of a problem with it from a functionality standpoint. Can you imagine a Commando sneaking through the woods in black spandex and no boots? I definitely appreciate the '85 version for what it is, and it remains an iconic, important figure in the Joe mythos. But I do think it gets praised a little bit more widely than it sometimes deserves and the reverence with which it is looked at sometimes seems a little excessive. I wouldn't begin to say that this Anniversary version is better...not at all. It's a totally different animal, and they really can't be compared. But I sometimes think that the '85 Snake Eyes is universally lauded as being the best of the line, and that's a designation that it doesn't really live up to.
With the Anniversary homage, we get a very military style pair of legs with nicely detailed pants, gray straps and combat boots. The sheath on the right hand side holds his Spec Ops knife amazingly well and I love how the military look intertwines with his more unusual visored look.
Unfortunately, Snake Eyes does suffer from the same old hip articulation problems that have plagued several figures from this initial assortment. It is kind of a bummer because so much of these Anniversary figures are pretty successful. There is increased range of motion through most of the toys, but this one point of failure, if you will, does limit what can be done. Fortunately, with the help of a hobby knife or exacto knife it takes maybe 5 minutes to trim the plastic around the hip sockets a bit and you end up with a great figure that has really good range of motion in most articulation points. It would be nice to get that straight out of the box, but the alteration is pretty quick and painless if you so desire.
A lot of folks have also pointed out the paint applications on these figures...Snake Eyes has always been done in faithful black, and the two versions here have more been different shades of gray. That doesn't bother me very much, honestly, and the different shades of gray (with silver and green here and there) all work well, in my opinion.
This second version of Snake Eyes comes with many of the same accessories as the first version, but with the addition of his bandolier and Timber the wolf!
Timber himself is merely a repaint of the same version that came with the Valor Vs. Venom Wave 7 Snake Eyes, so really the only new gear is the bandolier and belt combination. I absolutely love this cross-strap, though with some incredibly well detailed grenades and the texture of the strap itself is quite impressive. I really like how it works with the belt system as well.
The sword, knife, and Uzi are all pretty nicely tooled as well. I really dig the Uzi, though as I mentioned, the trigger guard does somewhat impact how well Snakes can hold this gun, especially with his trigger finger.
He's not straight up black, he's far from an accurate representation of his '85 version, and he's got some limited hip articulation, but from a new figure standpoint I think Snake Eyes is ultimately very successful. He does all of the things that the Valor Vs. Venom version did (that I should note gets a LOT of praise, myself included) and does several things better. So in that regard, I think this makes for a great update to everyone's favorite Joe commando. Tons of detail, a nice combination of Snake Eyes' style and his military roots, some decent accessories, and a great overall classic look. Not as cool as the first version of the Anniversary Snake Eyes, but has his own appeal. I approve.