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Hasbro: G.I. Joe Classified Ralph “Nunchuk” Baducci Review

When Ninja Force figures hit I was a teenager who I wasn’t buying toys and people weren’t buying them for me as gifts, so I’m not as familiar with these characters. My friend’s younger brother had some, including Nunchuk and T’JBang that I remember thinking were cool and I read some Ninja Force stories in Hama’s G.I. book so I still have a vague knowledge of, if not huge nostalgic love for these guys. Still, I don’t need nostalgia specifically to get into these, a cool figure is a cool figure and is enough for me. Let’s take a look at Nunchuk!

Nunchuk comes in a plastic-free box and sports a neat little city scene on the front along with some cool character illustration on the front and sides. Pulse site does have a little biographical info on Mr. Baducci:

Trained by the best of the best himself, Ralph “Nunchuk” Badducci serves G.I. Joe as their chief Martial Arts Instructor passing that knowledge along to the entire team. With his devastating attacks Nunchuk is truly a Ninja force to be reckoned with.

I love the little Ninja Force shout out. He was a martial arts instructor on his old file card, so that makes sense. The file card also said he learned initially from a mysterious blind master in Denver and then moved to San Francisco where Storm Shadow saw his style and recruited him. This is kinda cool because it puts him in the Arashikage lineage as a pupil of the Blind Master.

As you might expect Ralph comes with nunchaku, but also a pair of claws, two swords, and a knife.

The knife is pretty standard Classified gear and fits into a sheathe on his chest web gear and his hands securely. It’s straight unpainted plastic, which is a bit of a bummer because they have been fairly good about painting the blades on the teeny tiny knives lately. Still, it’s a nice feature and having small things like this lend to the overall cool and fun factor of these figures in general. These guys are armed to the teeth and can carry it all on them.

The nunchuks themselves are a little disappointing. They are one piece rubbery plastic and kind of dinky. I don’t feel like they are in scale with the figure, at least my perception of nunchuks. I’m not opposed to nunchaku without a metal chain, they can actually work better to easily show the weapon in movement, I just think the stick part itself here could stand to be bigger. It actually looks best to me in the back belt loops as they have a depth to them that a lot stuff sculpted onto belts doesn’t always hit. It works for me as a nice belt detail, but it is a bit ironic that the weapon Ralph took as a code name is the weakest in the set for me.

The swords are pretty dang cool. They have an interesting shape, look pretty badass and feature a nice silver paintjob on the blades and some green wraps. I always look a little askance when I see a sheathe that doesn’t cover the cutting edge of a blade for weapon storage, but this also is a toyline and I think I would prefer the loops to long sheathes on this belt all the time when not in use. Maybe a back sheathe would have been a better way to go, but it’s a super minor quibble from my perspective.

The claws are probably my favorite accessories of the set. They aren’t something he originally came with, but the three bladed claw for me is an iconic ninja weapon due to characters like Geki and Vega from Streetfighter, so I love these. They have loops that are designed for the hands and fit on solidly. The plastic is fairly stiff and the only quibble I have here is that once again the blades aren’t painted. It would have been cool if he had some sort of backpack contraption to hold the claws when not in use, but I think he’s going to be clawed on my shelf anyway.

Sculpting here is super solid as he uses a lot of the Retro Storm Shadow body which has lovely clothing folds, seam lines, wraps and textures. The arms look new to me and feature some snazzy armor detailing. It’s interesting to me that the shoulder pads are glued to the biceps. I thought the entire pad would be a removeable overlay so you could go for a more classic look if wanted. The cloth bit that trails from his turban has a nice feeling of weight to it.

The articulation is mostly standard for G.I. Joe Classified except of course the skirt thing on his bandana does slightly impeded looking upward movement, though not by much. I was surprised at how much wobble and tilt the head still got with that thing on there. The shoulders are really tight and so outward hinge there is not quite to a standard t-pose. At first I thought the shoulder pads were getting in the way, but I think it was the shoulder disc. The wrists hinge up/down and normally I like that, but I think with the claws I would have preferred and in/out hinge. The headband tail on the back of the head is a separate piece, so it swivels.

Paint is decent with eyes that stand out from his gray mask/bandana combo and an all over tiger stripe camo pattern. I think these figures could always use a bit of wash or drybrush to highlight the nice textures, but I don’t expect that type of thing from a retail figure at this price point any more. The only paint issue I have is I wish there was silver paint on the claws and knife blade.

Overall Nunchuk is a solid figure with a fairly unique look for a guy with this many re-used parts. I’m pleased to see them dip their toe into the Ninja Force and I’m looking forward to the epically ’90s neon-mohawk Zartan.