Since the line's inception a year ago (as it been a year already?? woah...) two characters have really carried the line to this point, Duke and Snake Eyes. Normally, this would signal irritation and distaste in me, because some of my favorite aspects about toys are the new characters that get introduced and the different storylines that evolve from that. Well, Hasbro has managed to sidestep my irritation by simply producing some fantastic figures, even if a lot of them are the same old characters.

We've been totally inundated with Dukes over the past summer months, but they've been, for the most part, such great figures, it's hard to be upset about them. Sigma Strike Duke, Jet Wing Duke, Arctic Duke, etc... have all brought such great things to the toy table that it's really hard to be mad that they're all the same character. Now, the last Snake Eyes released did leave me a little cold, and I couldn't find a whole lot of merit for the figure, and really, I have grown a little tired of the constant Snake Eyes exposure.

But, as Hasbro has managed to do over the past year, this Snake Eyes is so impressive, and such a fun figure, that the fact that it's yet another Snake Eyes doesn't even matter so much. It's a fun figure, and it's a useful figure, so it's hard to complain too loudly.

Upon first glance, it's easy to tell that the bulk of this figure is reused from the original Snake Eyes (though not the Kamakura mold, which has been used for a couple of versions as well), but Hasbro took a few steps to make this figure more winter-friendly, and they make the figure look really neat, too. They've retooled his hands and gave him newly sculpted lower legs as well, which add some padding and warmth to the figure, giving him really cool looking split-finger gloves and split-toe boots. Each of these make him more resemble a snow-themed ninja, along with his new head sculpt, which helps matters as well.

It's really incredible how much some slight tooling changes can really improve a figure...this is a perfect example. The new head sculpt immediately makes Snake Eyes look more at home in the North Pole, and the added texture of his three-finger gloves is just as cool. He can still hold his weapons well, yet he looks as if he's wearing the protective garb that he should. I really love how animated his hands end up looking, yet completely functional, too.

His legs look great as well, with protective armor on his shins and a nice thick wrap around the back of his legs, which adds padding, yet still gives him the junction points that all of the Sigma 6 figures are known for. The split-toed boots are very reminiscent of his regular uniform look (and very ninja-like) but are still thicker and look more polar-friendly. All in all, even though it's mostly a re-used mold, the figure looks a lot different and functional. As a neat little additional side-effect, the split-fingered format in his mittens allows him to hold his whipstars very nicely and get in some cool poses, looking like he's about to let loose with his shurikens.

One keyword I just used was "functional", and that can sometimes play a lot into my enjoyment of a figure. Sometimes random uniform changes just for the sake of changes can get a little old...but changes that make sense tend to make me a little less upset. While I'm not really a huge fan of environmental figures, I can see why there would be a need for more arctic themed uniforms, and Hasbro is doing it very well so far. Duke's version looks terrific, and Snake Eyes goes right along with it.

Paint-wise, Snake Eyes strongly resembles the black/white uniform look of the version that came in the Ninja Showdown two-pack, which is okay, because I actually really like that somewhat lighter color scheme. The light gray on the boots, the white uniform trim, and the rubberized white vest all really make the figure stand out nicely. Even though the bulk of the figure is black, which is fitting for the character, there's enough light colored aspects to make him potentially fit in as an arctic-based figure.

As for accessories, Snake Eyes has very large, elaborate accessories, just not a whole lot of them. He's got the very nice rubber winter vest, which supplies some decent protection against the elements, and makes the figure look nice and different as well. The sculpting on the vest is fantastic, and I like how it hangs low and has those trademark ports. His snowboard is cool, too, and a nice compliment to the ski's for Arctic Duke. The missile launching feature is nicely integrated into the board, which thankfully means we don't get a rediculously oversized regular launcher for him to carry around. A very neat cloth facemask fits nicely over his head, which is good, and he's also got a cool little trio of shurikens, which are surprisingly nicely sculpted.

But of course, the main accessory draw of this figure has just got to be Timber, Snake Eyes' venerable canine companion. Ever since 1985, Snake Eyes' partnership with this lone timber wolf has been something that fans have latched onto, in spite of the fact that it doesn't fit a very realistic military protocol. I don't think that's important, though, and I really think kids will end up liking Snake Eyes' wolf friend quite a bit. Timber is quite simply the most well-articulated G.I. Joe animal ever to be released, and Hasbro manages to give Timber quite a bit of character in his sculpt as well. Timber manages to be a major reason why a lot of collectors are looking forward to this figure, which isn't something that accessories usually accomplish. Timber alone is a great reason to pick up this figure, in my mind.

Keep an eye on those Timbers, too. Some time shortly, there should be some Timber variants being sprinkled into assortments, and they should start hitting around the same time throughout the country. Expect black Timbers and white Timbers, each in varying levels of release, not as common as the gray version you see in this review. Collect your own "pack"!

When it all comes down to it, regardless of the fact that this is yet another Snake Eyes figure, they do a terrific job of modifying it enough to still make it desirable, and also add some great things to it (like the snowboard and Timber himself) to make it a great value. If you've got Arctic Duke, this figure looks like a fantastic compliment to it, and even if you don't own that figure, there are several reasons to think about picking this one up. Is he yet another Snake Eyes? Yes. Is he still a great figure with some good stuff to bring to the table? Definitely. He is far from the greatest figure of this fact, besides Storm Shadow, he's probably my least favorite. But least favorite compared to terrific offerings like Lt. Stone, Zartan, and COBRA Commander is nothing to talk bad about.














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