I must admit that I was no longer into Joes when the original Ninja Force Storm Shadow, but I was reading that era of the Hama-penned comic when this figure was announced, so I was looking forward to this modern take on that figure even though it’s not “my” Storm Shadow. Fortunately Amazon shipped this exclusive a little earlier than originally planned, so let’s take a look at Arctic Mission Storm Shadow!
The box is what we’ve come to expect from the line and I’m really starting to appreciate the new art styles for each figure. Sure, there’s less cohesion, but we get a nice variety of styles and this Storm Shadow portrait in particular is quite stunning.
The figure comes with a removeable hood, a sword, sheath, quiver, bow, one loose arrow, kama, and grappling hook. The hood is a seperate removeable piece is sculpted to rest on the shoulders facing straight forward. You can turn the hood to the right or left with the head, but that does tend to make it pop up a little and have that bubble hood look. You kind of have to fight with it to stay down.
The kama is simply and cleanly sculpted and cast in an all white plastic. I think a would have liked the blade painted silver here, but it’s otherwise effective and fits in the hand well.
The sword and sheathe are also in the off-white plastic, but the sword has a decently metallic paint job on the blade. It’s a good looking, nicely detailed sword and has a neat little Arishikage symbol near the grip. The sheath can attach via peg to either the figure’s back or to a hole in the quiver and the sword fits in there securely. You can orient the sheath how you like and I think I like it best at an opposite angle from the quiver.
The bow is a dark navy blue with gold accents and also has sharp sculpting and nice detail. There is no string included and no clip to hold the arrow onto the bow, so getting him to hold the bow and arrow in a firing pose can be a little fiddly, especially since his hands are regular pistol grip hands and not really designed for holding an arrow. I like the color scheme on the bow and the quiver, but the loose arrow is off-white and looks a little chunky and lame compared to the non-removeable navy and gold arrows in the quiver.
The grappling hook is fairly plain looking, but gets the job done. This is the kind of accessory I loved as a kid, though I would always kite string to make longer ropes. The rope is a decent length for composing photos.
Sculpting detail is very sharp on this figure with the myriad of armor textures and shapes. Even the balaclava has a ton of little technical detail which can kind of go unnoticed because the eyes are strikingly realistic.
The costume itself is very armor-centric and reminds me a lot of the Batman suit from The Dark Knight.
It’s not really what I think of when I think ninja, but the overall effect is quite nice looking and all the textures and shapes in the costume details are really impressive to me.
One slight criticism I have about the sculpting is that the feet are a little pigeon-toed and stick out to the sides and I wish they aligned more straight with the leg. I suppose that could be an engineering choice rather than sculpting.
The articulation is very similar to previous Classified Series figures except Storm Shadow does not have a boot swivel. I could see why they would omit this point of articulation due to the costume design, but I did miss it when posing. He has:
- Swivel/hinge shoulders, wrists, hips, and ankles
- Swivel shoulder pads, biceps, and thighs
- Double hinged knees and elbows
- Ball and socket waist, neck, and head
- Hinged neck and abs
- Butterfly hinged pecs
- Drop-down hips
The butterfly hinges in the pecs do a great job in getting the arms far enough across the body to get into a two-handed sword pose easily. This in itself is a such a small thing, but really makes the figure for me.
There is a somewhat innovative articulation in the shoulder pads that we’ve seen Hasbro implement recently in the new Black Series Stormtrooper. The shoulder pad is actually connected to a cup within the shoulder swivel. It’s loose, so it can swivel independently of the shoulder and be repositioned as you like. The connection point is a pretty thin piece of plastic, so it is unobtrusive and also pretty flexible so the arm can hinge up without a problem. Fortunately the skirt is also pretty flexible and allows for good leg movement.
I do like that both wrists hinge up/down for sword/kama poses and the joints are mostly good, however I noticed the shoulder joints are very tight. There is also an issue with the ab crunch where it has three main detents and will wobble between those detents. This is mostly not an issue, but more detents would be better. I did have a couple of times where I set up a pose, then the ab crunch wobbled forward, causing the figure to tip over.
Paint is good aside from the non-painted accessories. I especially like the effect of the face printing on the eyes and the metallic gold and silver paints they used. The white splotch pattern is a design element riffing on Ninja Force Storm Shadow and though I never really understood the point of the pattern, they execute it here pretty well, though they omitted it from the legs.
The fiddly nature of the hood and bow and arrow along with the ab crunch wobble keep this figure from being absolute perfection, but it’s still really damn good. I really like the way the shoulder pads work and it gives me hope for characters like Zartan and his siblings.
I do tend to think of this as more Ninja Force Storm Shadow than a snow-themed character, but the Arctic Mission moniker does make me smile a bit and take me back to all the snow mission Bat-Man figures from back in the day. I wonder if they will have more arctic mission themed figures in the future. I could go for the Snake-Eyes in parka with Kwinn’s skull necklace.