Cobra Blue Ninjas are not figures I thought I needed before they were announced, but the solicitation photos totally sold me on the concept. I ordered these in June, so this feels like an incredibly fast turnaround time these days, but my Amazon Exclusive Blue Ninjas shipped this week! Let’s take a look.
I have no dog in the plastic-free packaging fight since I’m an opener who orders online, but I do feel the need to address it since this is the first plastic free Classified figure I’ve received and the subject is fairly controversial among collectors. I think this box looks fantastic with all the extra front real estate devoted to some beautiful artwork. I also like that the G.I. Joe team put some really clear graphics on that back that shows what’s included and the size of the actual figures. I think some of the other plastic free boxes I’ve seen are potentially confusing in that respect to the uninitiated.
I’ve heard Emily from Hasbro talk about wanting to create a pleasant unboxing experience with these and while that is not something I would not usually care about, I do think they succeeded. When you open up, there’s a little tray for the figures and a little box with foot locker printed graphics that contains all the accessories.
The accessories come in little tissue paper packets with some cool G.I. Joe and Cobra logos printed on them and taking all of the stuff out reminded me a bit of those treasure surprise min-figure things. The accessories that need to be flat are in pieces of cardboard for protection, but you could possibly miss them, so I recommend doing an accessory check against the back of the box contents list before tossing anything. The footlocker box was kind of useful to me for collecting up all the little pieces and moving the stuff from where I opened it to where I photographed it. The graphics are excellent, but not really to scale with the figures (for example, the “handles” on the footlocker would be massive to a figure), so I probably won’t use them for display, but I could see keeping some for accessory storage.
The amount of trash generated in opening this set did strike me as somewhat ironic but I suppose by volume it’s not more trash, just a lot more little tiny pieces of trash.
The set comes with two ninja figures (male and female), two alternate heads, and a boatload of re-used weapons from the red ninja and first Storm Shadow figure including three swords, a sheathe, two axes, two smaller kama (scythes), a larger kama, two sai, a bow, a quiver, a grappling hook, and a pack that holds weapons.
The sheathe can plug straight into the back of the figure or a hole on the quiver. The quiver doesn’t really stay on the male figure and the weapon holder from the red ninja doesn’t really fit all the way into the hole in the female ninja’s back. The weapon holder piece works best with the male ninja and between that and the sheathe on his hip he can hold all of his accessories. The female ninja can’t quite do the same and I wish there was a way to store the bow and hook on the quiver.
The accessories are mostly plain, solid plastic (some blue, some gray) but I like that the swords all get silver paint on the blades, but miss it on the sai and kama. Both figures hold the weapons well, though the hands on the male are super stiff plastic.
The bow has no string and no arrow, so you have to supply those yourself. The string I get, but the arrow is a weird omission. On the other hand, I’m over stringing bows and delicately posing arrow firing poses. Give me a one-piece bow in a fixed firing position any day.
Grappling hooks were always appreciated back in the day, so I’m glad to pick up another here. The strings could always be longer on these things.
The highlight of the accessory pack for me is the new heads. The male sports an oni (demon) mask and the female a kitsune (fox) and they add a nice variety to your blue ninja army and have a lot of personality. I was thinking of making the Oni and Kitsune as leaders of the blue ninja with the regular heads as the standard.
The figures are mostly re-use. The male is a straight repaint of the red ninja from earlier in the line and the blue is the movie Akiko with new feet and a new masked head. Both figures are solid, so I’m good with seeing them repainted and I think Akiko works really well as an army builder.
The articulation is Classified standard with the main deviation being that the female doesn’t have double elbows or the ab crunch. The figures have:
- Swivel/hinge shoulders, elbows (female only), wrists, hips, and ankles
- Ball and socket waist, mid torso (female only), lower neck, and head
- Hinged abs (male only) and neck
- Double hinged knees and elbows (male only)
- Drop-down hips
- Swivel thighs and boots
- Butterfly hinged pecs
The butterfly hinges are a little blocked by the overlays on both figures, but otherwise the articulation moves well. I do find I miss the double hinged elbows on the female for bow firing poses.
Paint detail is good with the figures cast mostly in Cobra blue with some darker blue details and white accents but there aren’t any washes or drybrush that I could see. I do really like the eye printing on the female and the male’s eye area looks a lot better than the original red ninja. White is an odd accent color choice for ninja, but it looks pretty great and ties them in nicely with Storm Shadow.
Something I didn’t notice until looking at close up photos is that the teeth on the oni mask aren’t quite painted right on either of my figures. The white extends down past the actual teeth sculpting and doesn’t quite cover them all the way around.
Overall these are really cool for almost straight repaints. The new heads go a long way toward differentiating them from the original figures and add a ton of character and the plethora of weapons is great for an army builder. It’s also nice to get a female ninja and an army builder since G.I. Joe as a toy line is male-centric and I appreciate it when they can create more women characters.