Python Patrol Storm Shadow

The Storm Shadow version 1 mold is amongst the most popular G.I. Joe figures ever made, so it wasn’t much of a surprise when it wound up being used by the third party factory customs. There’s been quite a few released, and some of them have been really good, some have been forgettable, but overall it’s such a strong figure it generally looks decent at worst.

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Python Patrol really made a comeback in 2017-2018, a fair number of customs were done up in the various diamond patterned colour schemes, and eventually Storm Shadow found himself undergoing the pythonization process. It’s led to an interesting looking figure, and a new look and role for ol’ Stormy. Storm Shadow was done up in the 1989 Python Copperhead style, which seems to be the favourite, likely because of the 1989 Pythons, it’s the least disjointed scheme. It’s the best looking choice, but it does lead to an abundance of yellow waist pieces. I’m actually fairly happy that the Python Patrol has become the colour palette of choice for a while, because it’s a known entity, and those I feel have a place, alongside some of the new ideas we’ve also been seeing from the custom makers.

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With this Storm Shadow, I wouldn’t say the yellow waist is the biggest detriment, honestly the biggest issue with the figure’s colourscheme is the fact he’s got an insipid green as the base colour of the figure. It’s bright, but not neon. It’s kind of a pastel, and isn’t hideous, it just doesn’t match any Python Patrol figure I own. The black highlights are well placed, and the use of crimson for the accents does tie it in well, with the vintage Python Patrol, even if the base colour isn’t a match at all. I think the yellow mask, might actually be my favourite detail on this figure, though. It ties in with the waist, but also provides quite a bit of pop to the actual figure, if only because it’s the first time his mask hasn’t matched the rest of his body.

There’s a few issues with the current Storm Shadow mold in use, it’s got an odd pinched head, and elbow joints that aren’t natural, I don’t know what the deal with the elbows are, but it’s a thing you notice and can’t un-notice. It doesn’t help that the flesh tone is always painted on, so it’s even more noticeable. The one thing I will always give credit for, with the factory Storm Shadows is they come with the full v1 kit of accessories, which have been incredible since day 1, and are part of what puts Storm Shadow over the top. The latest batch only came with black accessories, but there’s a few other flavours out there, there’s tan ones that look like wood, silver and glow in the dark as well.

As a character, Storm Shadow isn’t really one of my favourites, the comic book’s portrayal, is a good story, but I don’t care for every person in the G.I. Joe universe somehow having a connection to each other, especially when it winds up being Hawk, Cobra Commander, Stalker, Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, Firefly, Zartan, Baroness, Destro, it’s absolutely ridiculous. Funnily enough, the Action Force continuity has similar aspects for Storm Shadow’s backstory, except instead of his uncle being killed, it’s his brother. He also did it, and is shown to be a real ice cold killer. I like that a lot more.

Ninjas are an important aspect of G.I. Joe, however I don’t see them being an incredibly abundant group, as they tend to dilute after Storm Shadow. To me there’s Storm Shadow, and then it’s hard to figure out what to do with the rest of them. Ninja Ku is unique enough to have a place, and the Red Ninjas are classics, plus it’s plausible for there to be a few kicking around as spies, but I wouldn’t be bent out of shape if they didn’t exist, either.

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Stormy to me is a loyal COBRA Agent, who is somewhat of a bogeyman, that no one, Cobra Commander included, really wants to cross. The line in his filecard about him being able to endure unspeakable hardship and pain, always stuck out to me. It’s always made me think of Storm Shadow as an individual so calloused that none of the horrors of his actions, and those of everyone involved in the G.I. Joe vs. COBRA conflict, would even cause him to blink, and that’s what puts others off, as unlike someone like Firefly, there’s little separation between him and his actions.

Overall, this is a figure I actually like, of all the factory customs out there, this is one of the few I like as Storm Shadow himself. Environmentally specific figures have there place, but if I’m looking for a figure to represent Storm Shadow in a photo or display, this is probably a distant third on the list after the COBRA Blue, and classic White. Considering not many members of the COBRA High Command have multiple unique usable outfits, that’s pretty good actually. 

 

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Great Moments In G.I. Joe History

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He’s Not A Barracks Soldier And Never Could Be

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200? Desert Trooper (Early Factory Custom)

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The earliest examples of third party factory produced COBRA Troopers came about in the late part of the 2000s, there was 4 or 5 shown that were entirely unique and very cool figures that set us up for the O-ring revival that has happened in the last decade. Of the various flavours of the COBRA Trooper, the one that I liked the most was the Desert Trooper.

I’m not really sure who made these figures, they definitely pre-date the Black Major’s figures. One thing that really showed this was a fan created endeavour was the use of an incredibly obscure variation of the Cobra emblem, from the 1994 Scorpion Jeep. It’s a cool nod, but also one that if it hadn’t been made, no one would really have missed it, as the old fashioned COBRA emblem is still a favourite.

One area this figure really shines, is how close to the Hasbro tan of the early 80s this figure manages to be. One area that the factory customs tend to be easily identifiable, is by their hues. This figure was a homerun, and it allows for some of the quality issues to be overlooked. These figures have very stiff legs, the crotches tend to have stress marks, and while the arm joints are pretty solid, their hands don’t have the greatest of grips.

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Anyone who spends any time looking at any of my G.I. Joe photography, will be able to quickly tell, I really like the desert themed figures. So, as a predominantly 1982-1984 collector I was in a bit of a jam, before the factory custom Cobra Soldiers came out. However when that happened, my issues were somewhat eased, but the problem became “How the hell am I supposed to get one of these figures?”. These first era Cobra soldiers were very difficult to track down, for a non-connected Joe Fan, and they would go for STOOPID prices on the open market. The Black Major’s first wave of figures put some of the fire out, because they were attainable. However this figure was still somewhat pricier than the others, due to the fact there wasn’t other Desert Troopers. Then TBM’s various Desert Troopers (First 2 Camouflage variants, then 2 similar to this figure!) appeared, and made this figure run about 12 dollars.

One thing I hadn’t noticed about these figures, is that there’s a distinct variation to them. Of the four I own, two have pale faces, and the other two are a healthier complexion. It’s not discolouration, because they’re all uniform, and best I can figure is that there’s something to do with the origins of the figures. The ones with the pale complexion, I got from a seller in China. The tanned complexion figures, came from a lot originating in the USA. It’s odd, because I don’t think the other versions (Stinger, Snow Serpent or Crimson) have this variation.

The fact there’s multiple variations of the Desert COBRA Soldier, is a thing I quite like. This one isn’t my favourite, but I feel stands out the most of the various versions, because he looks the most like a vintage G.I. Joe. If I didn’t like Desert settings so much, I probably never would’ve bothered with this figure, as the Black Major version equivalent with the brown straps and red COBRA logo, is just as appealing, and honestly I think I liked TBM’s first COBRA Soldier mold the best.

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1986 LCV Recon Sled

G.I. Joe is an incredibly large toyline, and because of that a lot of things can fall under the radar. One such thing is the 1986 LCV Recon Sled, which looks like something that should have some potential based on it’s colours, release year, and relative similarity to the H.A.V.O.C.. Instead it’s a toy that sucks.

The 1986 vehicles are a fairly bizarre year, most of the releases are oddly futuristic, and the better ones are vehicles I tend to think of as other year’s releases (I generally say the Tomahawk is an 87, but I guess I’m wrong!). The LCV is a definite 1986 release, it still has the classic G.I. Joe vehicle green, that was fairly consistent from 82-87, and it’s got the silly “lay on your belly” placement of the driver, that was also a defining feature of the H.A.V.O.C.. Unfortunately being identifiable as a total 1986 vehicle, isn’t a nice thing, as I generally think the 86 vehicles are less than stellar, which the LCV most definitely is.

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The idea behind the vehicle makes sense, it’s a small one-man scout vehicle. It gives the Joe sent out on recon duty the ability to cover more ground, and, if needed, a quick escape. It’s a bit of a goofy contraption, and looks like it’d be a death trap, but there’s a solid idea for a vehicle. The big problem,  is that as a toy, this thing is awful. The front multi-wheel thing doesn’t even move, it’s just molded plastic. The head-like cockpit is stationary too, I, for some reason imagined it would be capable of moving left to right, but nope! The cockpit is really cramped, and this is using 82-83 figures, and not the much larger 86s, and I don’t quite understand how this thing is supposed to be operated, there’s no controls and the figure is face down looking at a radar screen.

I’m legitimately disappointed with how bad this vehicle is. I saw one and passed it by a couple of times because I was unsure of it, though I figured “It’s a mid 80s small vehicle, it can’t be bad”, and started to think of possible uses for it, as having numerous vehicles opens up more opportunities for Joe photography. Turns out I was dead wrong. I can’t really see myself ever using this thing as anything more than background fodder, because it’s not a good vehicle, it’s not even a good toy, though it might be decent at taking up a little space in the background of a picture. The colours are alright, I guess.

 

Anybody Home?

 

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Great Moments In G.I. Joe History

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Great Moments In G.I. Joe History

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