The surprise Amazon-exclusive G.I. Joe box sets are here. Surprise! Is this box set worth forty bucks? Is this Storm Shadow a reasonable substitute for those that missed out on the 30th Anniversary version? Is Duke really short or are the ninjas just really tall? Find out all the answers and more after the jump!
This Renegades set, based on the ill-fated Hub cartoon, is a bit of an oddity. Before photos were available, many assumed this would contain repacks of the single-carded Renegades figures, and many hoped that it would include the still hard to find 30th/Renegades Storm Shadow.
What we actually got is 3 brand new figures and a kit-bash. These are the most animated, stylized looking Joe figures since Sigma 6. And the fan reaction has been pretty mixed.
The packaging on this set is actually really nice. You get an outer box with the classic Joe logo on one side, and monochromatic images on Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow (their Renegades designs) on the other.
Inside this outer box is a second, nicer, slip cover box. The front again features Snakes and Stormy, but in full color, and the back features animated images of all four included characters.
Removing the lid to this box rewards you with a plastic insert tray containing the four figures, each individually bagged, and the pre-cut file cards (nice!).
Each figure comes inside of a plastic bag, taped shut, with it's accessories. Another bit of an oddity, these figures include the classic G.I. Joe figure stands, but cast in a military green plastic. That's a nice touch that further sets these figures apart.
The coat unfortunately is not soft-goods, but it is sculpted well and looks good. But, it does limit the poseability provided by the articulation.
Speaking of articulation, Snake Eyes includes all the standard POA's you'd expect, plus the new (and awesome) rocker ankles. One thing to note here, this figure includes a much different type of hip articulation than that seen in most Joe figures. Instead of a metal T-bar with split-cast legs screwed together, this figure includes ball hinges with thigh swivels, leaving the rest of the upper leg to be cast as one solid piece. The ball hinges are very similar to those used in the current Avengers movie figures; they move smoothly and are interconnected - raising one leg raises the other as well, unless you hold it in place. The wrists, unfortunately, are just swivels. No ball hinged wrists.
Overall, if you're looking for a show-accurate Snake Eyes, this version beats the carded Renegades version hands down.
The only figure in the set not using a full new sculpt. Duke is a kit-bash using the head and torso of the single-carded Renegades Duke, the legs from the Renegades Cobra Trooper, and the arms from Renegades Law. These arms and legs look much better on Duke (he no longer has those weird bulbous wrists), but he is now shorter.
Duke's paint scheme is lighter than the carded release, and looks a little more accurate to the show. Articulation is standard for modern Joes, plus the inclusion of ball hinged wrists.
Duke comes loaded up with the most accessories of any figure in this set. Two identical rifles, two identical hand guns, and two different identical hand guns. The hand guns looks more like price tag guns or label makers to me. I'm not a fan of the Renegades weapon designs. The rifles are difficult for the figure to hold as well, thanks to the positioning of the magazine.
If you already have a Renegades Duke, you can safely skip this one.
Possibly both the most impressive and disappointing figure in this set. Many hoped that this would be a repack, or maybe a slight retool, of the immensely popular and difficult to find 30th Anniversary/Renegades figure from Wave 3. Instead, this is another completely new sculpt, and is again much more stylized and animated looking. But, it looks really good. The sculpt on this figure has some really nice detail to it. In photos, the feet look ridiculously big, but in person, they seem slightly less ridiculous.
Articulation is identical to the Snake Eyes in this set, including the ball-hinged hips and rocker ankles. But with this figure, there's no coat getting in the way of the hip articulation. This Storm Shadow is capable of some really great poses, just like his 30th Anniversary counterpart.
Accessories for Storm Shadow are severely lacking, though. Just as with Snake Eyes, all we get is two swords and a scabbard. The belt has a couple of shuriken sculpted poking out, maybe as a throw-back to the 25th Anniversary versions? It would have been nice if these were removable.
Overall, this Storm Shadow is no substitute for the 30th Anniversary version. That figure has this one beat in every regard. But this one isn't bad if you want something that looks animated and fairly show accurate. It has a certain simplistic awesomeness to it.
This figure is a straight up repaint of Storm Shadow. There is no difference in the sculpt, articulation, or accessories included. Only the paint is different.
It's just as awesome as the Storm Shadow for all the same reasons. It's just a shame that there's no way to army build this figure without buying multiple sets. I wouldn't mind having a few of this guy to go with Storm Shadow.
I wasn't much of a fan of the Renegades show, and I didn't shed a tear when it was canceled, but I felt compelled to buy this set to at least check it out in person just because of how different it looked. I'm not entirely sure yet that I'm going to keep it, since it doesn't really fit with the rest of my Joe collection, but as it's own stand-alone sort of thing that will probably stay on my desk at work, it's kind of cool. Just maybe not quite $40 cool.
If you were a fan of Renegades, or enjoy more animated-looking figures, and have to have this set, it is currently available on Amazon. But if you're on the fence, you might want to hold off and see if the price eventually drops.