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GI Joe Figure Subscription Service
by yo go re

Spoilers ahoy!

By now you know the GI Joe Collectors' Club did something very clever with their Figure Subscription Service: while all the figures were known ahead of time, their release order was randomized: thus, no one would know what figures they were getting until the first boxes shipped. And amazingly, the major GI Joe fansites played along, not ruining the surprise; good for them!

Unfortunately, there's no way we can review the figure without telling you who it is, so we waited long enough that all the subscribers should have their figures by now.

Intelligence sources indicate that Dice was once part of the Night-Creepers, but was kicked out for attempting to steal a sacred jeweled dagger from the clan leader. He soon partnered with a fellow rogue Ninja Swordsman named Slice, and the combination of their complementary fighting styles made them a force to be reckoned with. They each took positions as loyal bodyguards to the Cobra hierarchy in the absence of Storm Shadow. Dice is, however, the most sadistic ninja in Cobra's comply by far, and often finds himself undertaking mercenary missions alone.

Dice specializes in close quarters combat and uses choke holds, pressure points, snares, traps, blunt instruments, eye-gouging and other cruel means to incapacitate his opponents. His weapons of choice are the battle axe and double-bladed Bo staff, with which he is a master of bojutsu. He can manipulate both with blinding speed and bone-crushing power. He most dreaded technique is an attack he calls the "Flying Dragon." Dice is unpredictable when cornered and will do almost anything for self-preservation.

Like his hetero lifemate Slice, Dice was an early-90s introduction to the GI Joe line. Even if you didn't know that, you could probably guess by the fact that he's dressed all in purple. The pair of them originally worked for Firefly, when he was posing as an Arashikage master, and then became loyal to Cobra Commander after everybody else (Destro and Baroness, Zartan, Storm Shadow) had abandonned him.

This figure, like many G3 releases, is Frankensteined from existing molds. The majority of the body is Resolute Storm Shadow, but he has fully covered feet instead of sandals. His arms are different as well: he has short sleeves, and Cobra-branded bracers on his forearms. What really completes the look of the costume, though, is the vest. Taken from one of the Comic Pack Storm Shadows, it not only provides him with a large, "ninja-ish" harness, but also triangular shoulder pads that recall the pointy shoulders on the original 1992 toy.

Lavender togs wouldn't be enough to mark this figure as Dice: he needs his mask. In the comics he looked kind of like Hawkeye, but the toy had a mask with a cage over the lower face. Luckily, Hasbro already molded one of those for G3 - it was an accessory for the same Storm Shadow that provided Dice's body. It's solid purple and looks like a demon face. Since it's a removable mask, he needed a face beneath it; strangely, it's the same head used for the Aqua-Viper Officer. How'd they decide on that one? And why did they interpret what used to be a hat as black hair?

In addition to the vest and mask, Dice is armed with two grey claw weapons, a throwing star, and two weapons that directly reference the original figure: a large axe, and a double-bladed guan dao. Those two weapons come from the same source as the body and the mask, so it becomes increasingly clear why they picked that one. There are also silver paint apps on the blades and black for the handles. He's got the same articulation found on most of the G3 figures, but not any of the "extra" joints (like hinged wrists, etc.) that found their way into the line over time.

You have to pay at least $30 to get Dice (if you actually subscribed to the entire FSS - if you didn't, he'll cost significantly more) but at least the Collectors' Club doesn't seem to have cut any corners in his production. The joints all work fine, he comes with more accessories than you'd expect, the paint lives up to its goals and the construction, overall, seems right on par with a toy you'd buy in the store. The only thing missing, really, is his buddy Slice - unless you're like us, and bought the GI Joe Retaliation Red Ninja specifically because you wanted to put the silver mask on it and call it Slice. Besides, while Slice has had six figures over the years - three in Generation 1 and three in Generation 2 - this is only the second time Dice has ever had a figure, and that's a little bit special in its own right.

-- 01/04/13

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