Action Force’s first jointed figures, were repainted Hasbro G.I. Joe molds, but there were no connections to G.I. Joe at all. I assume, through the use of the molds, some of the already copyrighted Hasbro names were made available to Palitoy as well, and that’s why there’s a couple of figures with G.I. Joe molds, and G.I. Joe names, but no connection to G.I. Joe. Unlike, Steeler who shared both mold and name, there was also Stalker, who was actually just Snake Eyes.
As a figure, this is just Snake Eyes version 1, with additional paint apps. The grey facemask is the most striking difference, and something that Hasbro tended to avoid painting on the numerous repaints of the v1 Snake Eyes mold. Pre-2003 the Stalker repaint of the mold was probably the best repaint of the figure, and still has the best construction of any Snake Eyes v1 repaint. It’s interesting how, this figure is far less paint app heavy, as any other post 83 release by Hasbro, it still manages to look more unique than the rest of them. Since the figure is so similar to Snake Eyes, it’s almost disingenuous to use him as anyone else.
The lack of an original codename, hurts too, as it’s even harder to pass him off as someone else. Gaucho might look the same as Gung Ho, but the idea of someone named “Gaucho” running around in the G.I. Joe world is slightly more believable than two separate dudes named “Stalker”
Stalker, might share the same codename, as our pal Lonzo, but the character is definitely not the same. He’s Ragnar Ragnarsson, an off road driving champion, and loner. So he drove the SAS Force repaint of the VAMP. In ol’ Ragnar’s biography, there’s one more detail that adds a lot to his character, and that’s that he’s a former mercenary that joined up and fought in the Angola war.
That little detail, means a lot to me, as I’ve previously mentioned that in my silly little universe, Snake Eyes isn’t so much a member of the G.I. Joe team, as he is a former US special forces, who is involved in a lot of military adventurism, and is brought on for certain G.I. Joe missions, because Hawk has dirt on him, and it’s better not to cross Hawk, or else he’d be doing 200 years for being D.B Cooper.
The fact the reference is Angola, is great, because I have a silly little universe that takes place mainly pre-1982, and a lot of the 1970s involved Mercenaries going into African bush wars, because the dark continent was rife with civil wars, proxy battles between the Superpowers, and resource protection. It’s also got some historical context within G.I. Joe itself, as Major Bludd and the Crimson Twins were both noted to have done some serious business in Africa.
So to me, it’s pretty cool the Euro Snake Eyes repaint, has a biographic detail, that fits in with my vision of the character. The fact his codename was Stalker, is kind of amusing to me, too, as I figure that Snake Eyes humorously uses it when he’s off doing the Uganda Stomp (bop-Idi-bop). Marvel #18 showed that Snake Eyes has a sense of humour, specifically in the name department.
Snake Eyes when he isn’t involved in G.I. Joe missions, tends to work for whoever pays him. Usually he involves himself into things that tend to side with US Foreign Policy interests, and won’t openly work for COBRA Command. He’ll occasionally take on very visible assignments that go directly against US interests, just to show that he’s not playing favourites. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but Snake Eyes’ behaviour in Marvel 14-19, where he would rather hang out with Kwinn and go out for vengeance, than return to the G.I. Joe team, really formed my basis for the Snake Eyes character. He’s not a team player, and kind of selfish, so mercenary work is what’s become his lot in life.
Despite not being much more than a Swivel Arm Snake Eyes with three paint apps, it’s a figure that feels decidedly different from the original use of the mold. The original Snake Eyes is a very unique feeling figure, I think it’s partially based on who the character is, but it’s also the only figure with zero paint apps, and there were also a half dozen attempts at taking the pitch black figure, and trying to breath life into it. Stalker doesn’t have all sorts of details and colours added, but is probably my favourite overall take on this mold.