One of the biggest surprises for GI Joe collectors in 2012 was the release of the Arashikage Series (also known as the “Dollar Wave”), a set of six repainted and kit-bashed Joe and Cobra figures specifically designed for low-budget retailers like Dollar General. A second series of this assortment, all new repaints of the same six figures, was discovered last Summer, and now this new wave is starting to hit retailers such as Marshall’s TJ Maxx and Dollar General.
The new assortment brings us new colorways for Duke, Shipwreck, Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, Cobra Commander and the Cobra Trooper, including a few original designs and some clever Easter egg figures for long time Joe fans.
The three new Joe figures are all original variants. The Original 13 style Duke now sports a grey uniform with black gear, and he remains a nice, generic figure that you can easily troop build a new squad of Greenshirts with. The Resolute-inspired Shipwreck, in his sweater and knit cap, get an olive and forest green repaint, which gives the seaman a Navy SEAL type look. Once again, he includes his oxygen tank and diving mask, plus two Renegades guns.
Snake Eyes uses the same kit-bash version of the ’91 Ninja Commando costume, now in a green and black motif. The repaint looks cool, and it’s honestly much more in-line with Snake Eyes’ character than the original light grey/ blue colors.Cobra Commander is the most basic, a blue and gold repaint of his hooded look. It’s essentially a figure we’ve already seen released in the 25th collection, but for around $5, he’s worth picking up to round out the collection.
The other new Cobra colors are where this line gets really cool–Ninja Force Storm Shadow has been repainted in a white and orange gi, which keen-eyed Joe collectors will instantly recognize from the file card art of T’Gin-Zu, driver of Ninja Force Pile Driver vehicle! While the original T’Gin-Zu was fairly blah, his card art sported a much more interesting orange and white pattern, which was used as the base for this new figure. So even though the card still says “Storm Shadow,” this is Hasbro’s way of slipping an all-new character into the Joe line (much like the black costumed Storm Shadow look-alike Ninja-Ku).
Rounding out the set is the new deco Cobra Trooper, and he is awesome– using the modern 30th Anniversary Trooper base, this guy gets the classic 80s Sunbow colors, with blue gloves and yellow webgear. While the figure’s meticulous detail makes the brighter colors a little silly, this is a great nod to RAH fans searching to build their cartoon-colored armies. I’ve very much hoping to see this new assortment hit in larger quantities, mostly because I’m sure I’m not the only one jonesing to build a squad of vastly improved Sunbow soldiers to add to the ranks of Cobra.
Overall, these repaints are quite fun and inventive. There’s just the right mix of original designs and fan nods to keep this line interesting, and at only five to six bucks a figure, these guys are totally worth checking out… if only they would see a heavier release.