The most recent arrival in my G.I. Joe Classified collection, is the generically named Red Ninja. Even though this is obviously intended to be an army builder figure, I only ordered the one because I’m pretty full up on Ninja figures in my house. I may have made a tactical error in that regard. Let’s take a look!
The box art has a pretty brilliant realistic style and I like the deeper red color pallet on the costume art a bit more than the red on the figure. It is interesting to me that on the box, the lead ninja has the Arashikage clan symbol where my figure has a Cobra symbol. Well, sort of. More on that later.
The figure comes with a pile of weapons including a long sword, a short sword, two sai, two kama, two throwing axes, and a weapon holder backpack. The weapons might be familiar to you as these were all included in the first figure in the line, the deluxe Snake Eyes. If you missed that set, this figure gets you almost all the weapons rack weapons save the longer spear.
The weapons are all cast in black and as an old-school fan of the ARAH figures, I’m sort of primed to accept and even like gloss black plastic ninja weapons. However, the box art poster on the back shows the weapons with red and silver deco and they look really cool like that.
The figure holds all the weapons well and have a decently sharp edge for a mass-market toys that have to meet safety standards. The figure has three weapon holding belt loops and the back pack can hold three weapons.
I think the best configuration for the weapons is placing the long sword in the center tube of the pack with the kama flanking it in the side tubes. The short sword and sai also fit there, but the sai are a little loose. The side loop is best for the short sword and it has a little flexibility to it. The back loop can also fit the throwing axes. While I appreciate the attempt to create storage for all of these weapons, a part of my mind just can’t get over the idea that the Red Ninja is going to cut himself up something fierce on all of these exposed blades hanging from his body. Fortunately the part of my mind that appreciates that the figure can store all the weapons overrides that concern. Besides, it’s a nice option that you in no way have to use.
The figure re-uses the Snake Eyes body with a new shoulder overlay, belt, and head. I am surprised at how effective this is and he re-use doesn’t feel overly obvious to me. Something about painting the armor parts that bright red makes them stand out differently than they do on Snake Eyes and Snake Eyes’ straps and weapons make a lot of difference too.
I do think the belt here rides a little higher than Snake Eyes’ belt and that sometimes makes the hips stand out a bit more than I’d like. The amount of armor this guy has does also make it harder for me to think of him as an army builder. He’s just a little too well equipped for what I usually think of as cannon fodder, but I’ve also seen other people’s army pics of him and it looks great.
The head is magnificent and is just packed with detail. The face mask is super creepy with snake-like skull details etched into the glossy black material. There are also some higher tech elements in the costume’s headband, shoulder overlay, and belt that makes it fit in with some of higher tech stuff we see in the rest of the line. Of course there are also snake skin textures in the shoulder pads and skirt. It’s not just the soldiers yelling COBRA in the G.I. Joe Classified line, it’s their outfits too.
The articulation works just as well here as it does with Snake Eyes, except sometimes his wide collar can get in the way of the head, but the collar is pretty flexible rubbery plastic, so it will bend. You can’t get a two-handed sword grip over the head due to the shoulder pads, but they do allow for a lot of movement otherwise. The Red Ninja has:
- Ball and socket head, neck, and waist
- Swivel/hinge shoulders, wrists, hips, and ankles
- Double hinged elbows and knees
- Swivel biceps, boots, and thighs
- Hinged mid-torso, neck, drop-down hips, and butterfly pecs
The paint is good, though the black areas on the shoulder pads do have a little slop on my figure. One thing I also noticed is the Cobra Symbol on my figure is lacking detail, so much so that it looks a little more like a red snake eye than the snake symbol. I don’t know if that’s just a my figure thing or they weren’t able to get the proper resolution on such a small detail, but I honestly didn’t notice it until I started taking up close photos.
Overall, this figure is pretty fantastic. I don’t think I was much looking forward to him because at first blush, he wasn’t what I think of as a ninja and he’s way more armored than I would think a ninja would be, but the design team won me over in hand with a fun toy, ample accessories and sharp sculpting. The mask is so super creepy and the poseability of Snake Eyes is fantastic to have in a ninja figure. A couple of Fwooshers have posted some group shots that sold me on the idea of army building this guy, so I’ve got a couple more ordered from Dorkside.