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Snake-Eyes (v.2)

GI Joe: Pursuit of Cobra
by Monkey Boy

Hasbro is pretty amazing when it comes to its resident badass, commando/ninja Snake-Eyes. You would think after so many figures of the character, they would be hard-pressed to come up with a new version that fans would flip over. "Snake-Eyes Fatigue" is prominent in the Joe community. However, they somehow manage to keep on pumping out new Snake-Eyes figures that are totally worth buying. Case in point? Desert Battle Snake-Eyes.

Snake-Eyes is the GI Joe team's ninja commando and martial arts master. As the team fights Cobra forces in the desert, Snake-Eyes slips behind enemy lines to blow up Cobra fortifications. He is armed with a pistol, submachine gun and swords to battle anyone who tries to stop him from reaching his target.

So, first off: this is the second Snake-Eyes in the Pursuit of Cobra line packaged in the "Desert Battle" theme. The first, a decent figure in its own right, was originally planned as an Arctic figure, but was recolored as a more generic SE and shoehorned into the desert. While this second DB SE release is an all-new figure, it still might be confusing, especially since you can still find the first DB SE on many store shelves.

This particular version of Snakes is, as we said, made up of all new molds, and borrows heavily in its design from the high-end, 1:6 scale Snake-Eyes figure released by Sideshow Collectibles. He's wearing a simple but nicely detailed knitted sweater and some black cargo pants, with some cool kneepads to spice up the look. None of it is too innovative, but it takes an iconic design and really ramps up the detail. On top of his duds he's got some complex webgear, with loads of sculpted straps and buckles, a working removable knife sheath on the shoulder strap, and some straps that hang down between his legs made of real elastic.

This being Snake-Eyes, the paint is sparse but effective. He's mostly flat black, with gloss applied to his facemask, gloves, boots, holsters, and straps. His kneepads are a dark grey, and the trademark Arashikage i-ching design is present on his right bicep, while his left has a new-styled GI Joe logo.

Habsro has been incorporating new articulation into its Joes, and Snakes gets the new-fangled pegged and hinged wrist joints and double-hinged knees in addition to the standard Joe fare. Though some of the figures with new wrist joints get a different direction of hinge on either hand, both of SE's are hinged so that the hands move up and down on the wrist, rather than inward or outward.

Like his sixth-scale Sideshow doppelganger, DB SE V2 comes loaded with accessories, as we've come to expect from the Pursuit of Cobra line. However, at some point we must stop and ask ourselves: how many accessories is too many accessories for a single figure? As the line presses on, it seems like each successive series is packed with more and more accessorives to the point where it's excessive. Often, there's no way for the figure to hold all or even most of its accessories, which is one thing that always bugs me.

Originally, this figure was to be released in two evenly packed variants. One would feature the medieval looking "ninja" style facemask, while the other would be packaged with the original "commando" goggles and ski-mask look. Ultimately Hasbro decided to include both heads in the same package, which was a nice gesture for the fans. So what else has he got?

Well, there's the complex webgear I mentioned previously. Also mentioned was the removable knife sheath on the shoulder, and there's a tiny knife that goes in it. Then there are his two curved katana-style swords, with two sheaths that attach to both the rear shoulder and waist sections of his webgear. Then there's a third sword which is in the exaggerated style of the 1985 classic Snake-Eyes Generation 1 figure. There's also another knife that fits into a sheath on his right leg.

And we haven't even mentioned the guns yet. There's the classic UZI, with a teeny tiny removable silencer. Then there's the two pistols, one of which can be fitted with a second itty bitty silencer. Then there's the FN SCAR assault rifle. There's also a pack of explosives with a strap, a nod to the original 1982 "commando" Snake-Eyes. This is the most disappointing accessory, as its stiff construction makes it difficult to position on a figure already over-loaded with add-ons and doo-dads.

Is that enough stuff for you? Seriously, three swords and two knives (all but one with sheathes), four guns (two with removable silencers), two heads, webgear, and an explosives pack. Did I forget anything? Oh yes, he gets the usual display stand as well.

See what I mean by overkill? Does any one figure really NEED all that stuff? I suppose it gives you more display options, but a lot of that stuff is just begging to get lost. So how much of his gear can he actually hold on to? Well, if you're a little inventive, darn near all of it. I've managed to load him up with everything, except you'll have to choose which head to display him with. It requires some suspension of disbelief, but if you want your DB SE V2 fully loaded, here's how it's done:

First, the obvious stuff: webgear in the right place, all swords and knives sheathed if possible. This means he'll have to hold onto his 1985 sword. Slip the explosives pack on the preferred shoulder, and holster the non-silenceable pistol. Here's where it gets a little creative. There's a tiny loop in the leg holster that is meant to hold one of the silencers. If you plug the second pistol into the silencer and then slip the silencer in the loop, the pistol can be "holstered" along with it. Stick the second silencer on the barrel of the UZI and put that gun in his free hand. This leaves only the assault rifle, which can be relatively comfortably hung from the elastic straps dangling below his webgear. If the clip sticks between the straps, and the grips are on either side, it fits rather nicely. The only thing that doesn't stay where it should is that dang stiff explosives case, but otherwise everything fits pretty securely.

Now, maybe Hasbro didn't intend for this figure to be displayed holstering an entire pistol by the silencer, or hanging an assault rifle by the straps between his legs, but doing this ensures that everything that came with the figure stays with the figure. Also, what are those elastic straps even for anyway? Seriously, I have no idea.

While the accessory overload makes it hard to actually "play" with this figure, the attention to detail is pretty astounding, and he looks pretty awesome loaded up. This is also the first time Hasbro has given us a Snake-Eyes figure with both of his iconic facemask looks within the same package, so there's that. Your mileage may vary on whether he's got too much bullcrap, but it's hard to argue with the fact that Hasbro has managed to once again get people to care about a Snake-Eyes figure, even after making more than 50 versions of the character.

-- 02/11/11

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