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Snake-Eyes & Timber: Alpha Commandos

GI Joe Classified Series
by yo go re

Gettin' real retro now!

Snake-Eyes is a total mystery, but when it comes to GI Joe operations, he's the best there is. Snake-Eyes is a natural fighter with abilities that border on the supernatural. His unique blend of skill, stealth, Arashikage ninja training, and strength of character makes him an unparalleled combination: a hybrid ninja-commando who still hasn't reached the limits of his potential or his true destiny as a warrior.

Yes, that's the same bio we quoted before - Hasbro only lists them on their website, not on the toys anywhere, and it's not like they're going to write multiple versions of a story for multiple versions of a character. This is the third Snake-Eyes they've released (fourth if you count the movie version, which, like, you should, it looks just as good as the others do), so that would be a lot of entries for just one guy. Though if they did, maybe one of them would tone down the superlative praise a few notches? He can be a great soldier without being the most perfect human who ever lived, you know.

The first Classified Snake-Eyes was based on his best look, the one from 1985 that everyone actually thinks of when they think "Snake-Eyes." This one goes further back, updating his original 1982 appearance. You know, when he was just a boring guy in ski goggles and a sweater. The boring days. And yet this update is looking pretty good!

Unsurprisingly, most of his molds are reused - Hasbro has enough Classified parts now that they can begin mixing-and-matching to make new things pretty easily. While he's got the same legs as Duke and Flint, his upper body comes from the Target-exclusive Beachhead. Hey, that's pretty neat! Beachhead wore a sweater, Snake-Eyes wears a sweater, it's a cool choice to reuse (especially since most people never found Beachhead, so this will be new to the majority of fans). Don't worry about him looking second-hand, though: his web gear is a new mold, and it covers a bunch of the torso, so the toy still has a totally distinct look.

One thing that was weird about the older Snake-Eyes figure was the proportions. He was like an inverted triangle, super wide at the top and supper narrow at the bottom. The feet and ankles seemed way too skinny, while his shoulders were bulbous. Not only does the change in legs help with that (the shinguards glued into his boots are new, but fairly simple), the tac vest also adds some bulk around his middle, making the chest look like it's properly scaled to the shoulders this time.

The 1982 Snake-Eyes was famously solid black because it was a great way to save money; if you don't have to paint, you don't have to pay. This one is similarly dark, but does get two paint apps: a white GI Joe logo tampographed on the grenade hanging from his chest (so Cobra knows who's blowing them up, I guess?), and gloss black for his goggles. Even his accessories are solid black! He gets the silenced pistol and Uzi Deluxe Snake-Eyes came with, but no sword, since this design pre-dated the character's reimagining as a ninja. He's then got two more rifles, which are advanced, but not as "future tech"-y as we were initially getting with this line. One's a submachine gun that looks a bit like an LWRC SMG-45, the other like a heavily modified FAMAE SAF. And for times when that would be too noisy, a new knife can fit in the sheath on his left leg.

But none of that has anything to do with why fans want this figure. No, that honor goes to Timber, Snake-Eyes' pet wolf. Possibly the only animal companion more iconic than Timber is Shipwreck's bird, Polly, so his inclusion in this line is highly welcome.

(Well, maybe "his" - the original Timber led a long life, by wolf standards, but he did eventually die of old age. But he did father a litter of wolf cubs before the end, and they, like their sire, hung around Snake-Eyes' cabin enough that they all came to trust one another. At some point, one of them became Timber II, but it was never specified whether that was a boy or a girl. Hardly matters when you're talking wolves.)

Timber is such a fan favorite, Hasbro could easily have gotten away with making them a totally pre-posed figurine, a la the original 1985 toy. Some recent releases have really gotten exotic, though, sometimes including a balljointed head! Fancy! This one, though? Way, way better. Like, remember how surprised we all were by Guenhwyvar's articulation? This is that all over again!

Timber has a barbell-jointed head, hinged neck, balljointed waist, swivel/hinge tail, balljointed hips and shoulders, and swivel/hinged in all the important leg joints (so three in each leg). The only thing missing is a hinged jaw, but that's taken care of by an alternate head. The one they've got on in the packaging is calm but intense, staring through you in that way confident dogs do, while the second has their ears folded back and lips back in a snarl, ready to rip a Cobra's throat out.

Another area where this Timber outshines all the rest? The paint. There have been 12 Timbers over the years (1985, 2003, 2005, 2007*, 2008, 2008, 2008, 2009, 2009, 2009*, 2010, 2013, with those asterisk ones representing releases that had color variants), and nearly all of them have been one solid color. Usually gray. Which makes sense, since Timber is a gray wolf. ("Timber wolves" are a subspecies of gray wolves [formed by interbreeding with coyote populations] that primarily live in the Eastern US, while Snake-Eyes met his companion in California's High Sierras.) Classified Timber gets a wonderful variety of colors, from nearly white on the paws to nearly black on the ridge of the back, with a decent fade in between. Their paw pads are black, as is their nose and the lips on the snarling head. That one also shows off the pink mouth. Timber also gets two straight scars on their muzzle and another over their eye - the dangers of protecting your master when there are ninjas after him!

The original Timber came with 1985 Snake-Eyes, which is the costume homaged by the first Classified Snake-Eyes; this figure is an update of the 1982 figure, so pairing him up with his wolf doesn't make much sense. Honestly, Timber would have been a better thing to give the exclusive than a weapons rack, but then fewer fans would have the chance to get them, and that would have been a shame. Snake-Eyes is cooler than expected, but Timber is awesome!

-- 04/01/22

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