As a young GIJoe fan, a new version of Snake Eyes was an event to look forward to. This was in those halcyon days of yore—before every other wave contained a new version of the team’s premiere commando and the odd waves offered repaints. Back then, Snake Eyes was a character I knew primarily from the comic books and that version made the greatest impression upon my “fragile little mind”. While I always appreciated the ninja aspects of his background, my Snake Eyes was a soldier first and foremost and I always gravitated toward figures that emphasized this less mystical aspect of his nature. When the 25 th Anniversary series was announced, I figured that I’d see yet another version of the classic Snake Eyes v2 mold and I was only partially wrong. Saving the v2 for a single pack, the classic 1982 Snake Eyes design is back in the premiere battle pack and I have to say, it’s not all that bad.
Remember the cover to GIJoe: America’s Elite #16—the one with Snake Eyes returning to his classic gear and commando roots? This is what I see when I look at this figure—a more modern approach to the debut character design for the Silent Master. Once the combat harness is removed, this is the most basic character design in the entire 25 th line and one that I have no doubt will see lots of reuse in this age of near-excessive parts recycling. Snake Eyes is clad in his long-sleeve black shirt and pants with the totality of the figure molded in gray plastic. Aside from a few highlights on his boot laces, accents on the snaps on a few pouches, and a light coloring on his visor this figure is entirely devoid of paint. This works to the figure’s advantage in several key areas—most notably is the fact that his paint applications were not applied with a trowel, as is the case with a few other figures. His lines are clean and this makes for fitting homage to his original figure. In many ways, this design was intentionally kept non-descript so that it could be adorned with various combat harnesses to produce multiple versions of the character—something that will be seen in the single carded Snake Eyes v2 just now hitting retailers. There is an attached knife sheath on his right thigh as well as a holster on his web harness, sculpted just above his left hip. Both of these allow Snake Eyes to store most of his sculpted gear in a particularly convenient manner. (It is worth noting that the knife doesn’t sit all the way down in the sheath and can become bent when the leg is moved in a lateral direction.)
The head sculpt of this Snake Eyes is darned near perfect in my eyes. For some reason I find the goggles to be slightly over-sized but the other almost imperceptible detailing on the mask makes up for this. There are small vents over his mouth and sculpted seams over the top of the cranium which makes for a very classic Snake Eyes head. I can’t fault the sculpting on this figure one bit. The same can also be said for the included gear and the Silent Master comes with a fair amount of it. He’s packing his signature Uzi, a combat knife, an automatic side arm and an explosives satchel. Not since 1982 has an incarnation of this character included the satchel which puzzled many young fans back in the day. Surely, someone like Snake Eyes wasn’t carrying a purse! The “man bag” is actually surprisingly well-detailed and even features two small paint applications—one for the draw strings and one for the word “explosives”. Snake Eyes also comes with the requisite figure stand and replica original file card.
I’ve noticed a pattern with this line in writing these reviews: figures with double-jointed knees cannot sit properly. Snake Eyes is no exception to this as the “diaper crotch” as it has been referred to on various forums simply does not allow for the same range of movement found in his 1982 version. The mid-torso joint, which was presumably designed to compensate for this as well as the lack of waist joint, is once again completely ineffective and Snake Eyes ends up slouching in his seat with the best of them. This is real shame as I find myself drawn to this figure’s design more than I did the VvV wave 7 version preferred by so many collectors. The only other issue I have with this figure, and this one is really pretty minor, is that he has a sculpted trigger finger on his right hand that cannot fit inside the trigger guard of his Uzi or his pistol. It keeps him from achieving a proper pose with his pistol but, to be fair, this has been an ongoing issue with 3.75” Joes since trigger guards were sculpted on the weapons. Still, it’s something to pay attention to when trying to insert his weapons into his tiny tiny hands.
I’m going to come across as one of those “old fogies” but had this figure been built on DTC construction, he might have been the best Snake Eyes figure produced to date. In all honesty, the sculpting on this figure is fantastic and he works well with both the more animated style used for most of the figures in this line as well as more traditional Joes. He’s one of the shortest figures in the 25 th line which means that he might have a prayer of interacting with some of the GvC 4” figures reasonably well. However, like many of his 25 Anniversary brethren, his movement is restricted by an ill-conceived design that doesn’t offer any significant improvement in articulation. (I suspect that these figures are cheaper to produce—hence the design change.) As a result, he’s just not the “the most detailed and articulated G.I. JOE figures ever” that was described in the initial press release. Snake Eyes is one of those figures that reaches his tiny hands out toward greatness only to stop mere inches short of grabbing the brass ring. Aside from Roadblock, he’s the only other figure that I can give a decent recommendation for inclusion into most collections. It’s just a shame that he won’t fit in with the majority of the figures.