The 25th Anniversary line's mission is primarily to bring back old favorite characters, in some cases with slavish recreations of older toys, and in others, oddball remakes. This is one of the former, as Snake Eyes is modeled after the 1985 figure with very similar accessories and costuming. (It's also worth noting that the a version of Snake Eyes in essentially this costume, along with Timber, were remade with a different all-new mold for the final wave of Valor vs. Venom twin packs a few years ago.)
As one of the more common figures from the line, it can be easily had for about $5-$6. The figure includes a knife, a sword, an uzi, his pet wolf Timber, and a display stand. So far, two variations exist: one has a white Timber, the other, a black Timber. (Timber is the same mold as the Valor vs. Venom release in the final series.)
Lots of detail, lots of weapons, and lots of fun. Not so much painted detail.
Part of the point of the original Snake Eyes figure 25 years ago was to crank out a really cool, really cheap figure. With no paint to speak of and mostly recycled parts, it was a no-brainer. Kids loved it, and so did Hasbro's bottom line. In 2007, an unpainted figure wouldn't fly, so we see this figure with its original sculpt and numerous painted details. The straps on his legs are painted, his bandolier (and grenades) are painted, his visor is painted, even his pouches have a little bit of paint in places. The outfit is mostly snug but you'll see some wrinkles here and there that make it look a little more real and a little less doll-like. Hasbro did a great job of making some details pop out while others remained more subtle, which is what you want from a commando/ninja-- if he were bright orange and vac-metalized, odds are he'd be a pretty rotten infiltration expert.
Like all figures in the line (so far), there's about 16 points of articulation on this figure. (Some have slightly fewer due to how the construction was done.) With double-jointed knees and wrist articulation, he's ready to do all sorts of fun combat poses. Unfortunately, sitting is not one of his best skills, as the hips were not properly designed to allow the figure to sit particularly well. Hasbro is addressing this in future releases, but as far as this one goes, it looks like they're all a little screwy.
Much like Star Wars figures, the figure's head has a hole in the bottom and it pops onto a ball joint on top of the neck. He can look around, up and down, and generally look cool. Since he wears a mask, there's not much room for human expression or personality here, so any personality you see is going to come from his pose or your imagination. The head is a decent recreation of the illustration on the package, but I don't know enough about military gear to tell you if it's supposed to resemble some real-life commando eyewear. It looks cool, though, and I suppose that's all that really matters. If it's fun for kids and collectors, isn't that enough?
The knife slips into a holster on his leg, but it doesn't go in very far-- a lot of it sticks out and it feels very fragile, so take care not to snap it off. Also, it's worth noting that the figures of this line have the same size peg hole as modern (1995-present) Star Wars action figures. You can switch their stands and they function properly, assuming you like to do such things.
A sword, a knife, a dog, a stand, an uzi, and a removable bandolier (shown not removed). In other words, quite a bit of stuff.
Snake Eyes' wolf Timber has no articulation, and is a reuse of the 2005 Timber mold with new deco. The black and silver sword is very similar (and likely identical) to the sword used on some Valor vs. Venom figures. The Uzi and knife seem to be new for the 2007 releases, but I'm no expert.
The display stand is essentially the same size and shape as those used for Star Wars figures in 2006 (and again in 2008). The peg size is also smaller than other Joe toys, making these action figures compatible with modern Star Wars and not the previous two decades of Joe product.
For the 25th Anniversary, got lazy and recycled the original card art, with some changes. Obviously the layout is different, but the changes to the actual artwork are somewhat minor. The sword handle is different, the belt has been changed, and a few other minor changes were made to make the artwork more closely resemble the toy. That said, the card art from 1985 and 2007 are both really, really close.
It's not a straight remake, but it very closely follows the old design. The old white/yellow/red explosion is there, the old logo is there (but now it's foil), and even the old Hasbro logo is on the front of the package. It's a modern update of a classic, but retails enough of the original design where you won't be confused as to what Hasbro was going for here, nor will any collector with any sense mistake the new release for the old one.
Finally, it's worth noting that, like the rest of the line so far, there are no product photos anywhere on the package. All products are instead represented by artwork.
Comparisons & Variations
As of this review, two distinct versions of Snake Eyes have been released in this line. There's also a notable variant, at least three more upcoming versions, and the same body is going to be reused for other figures.
From left to right: Snake Eyes (individually carded, 2007), Snake Eyes (5-pack, 2007), Stalker (yellow variant, 2007.) The same basic body is being used for all three figures, with a different head, new deco, and in some cases, different bandoliers and belts.
From left to right: Black Timber variant, White Timber variant. Both were released side by side in wave 1, but the black Timber was 1 per box while the grey version was 2 per box. Future assortment ratios are presently unknown to me, but the black one seems intended as a "chase" piece. Aside from Timber, there seem to be no differences between the two-- they have the same item number, packaging, and accessories.
So what does the future hold? So far, there are no known plans to repaint this exact figure, but the 5-pack version will be redecorated for Toys "R" Us as part of a gift set, again as a comic 2-pack repaint, and one more time in black for the basic line. The upcoming General Hawk figure from the comic book line will also make use of this same body-- so get used to it, you'll be seeing it a lot. Accessories will, of course, vary from figure to figure.
Five bucks for a ninja? I'm sold. While the articulation isn't perfect, it's a nice tribute to a classic figure and a decent new release in its own right. (Even though we got a new version of the same figure in the final wave of Valor vs. Venom, it's still pretty slick.)
It's a fun figure for a low price. The sculpt is good, and if you like the idea of owning a Snake Eyes, this one is priced right. Variant hounds should enjoy the Timber repaint, and the rest of us might not care quite so much. Either way, it's neat, and well worth snagging if you didn't get the 5-pack version, or want something more.
Text and photos by Adam Pawlus
Review posted on October 25 2007
Sample purchased in July 2007 at Entertainment Earth [Check availability]