Well, this is it: I've finally decided to start reposting my old "Alexx Shorts" G.I. Joe reviews. They're the reviews that lead to what eventually became this blog! I'll be posting them in straight copy-and-paste format, separating them with bold dotted lines so you know where they begin and end, and then I'll post some final thoughts on what I think of the figure currently.
For those unfamiliar: I used to take random pictures here and there, but by the time the Rise of Cobra toys came out, I was getting annoying with how much people had been bashing the figures which were clearly better than the previous 25th Anniversary offerings. I set out to show people how awesome they were, and things went from there, forming into "Alexx Shorts", named so because I thought I was going to keep to a short format with a few pictures. I did not do that.
Ya'll saw this coming. It's a damn motorcycle that transforms into armor in Joe scale. Not only in Joe scale, but IN THE G.I. JOE TOYLINE. You could go back in time and meet me at various ages and you'd probably get the same interest in this set. This is simply the best idea.
...course you also gotta wonder: does it WORK? Tons of great ideas out there, but so many of them fall flat in the making. I bet many of you saw this and thought the same thing as me: AWESOME...but will it work?
So here we are! When you think about it, they have sorta been trying to build up to this, or something like it. There was the good 'ol fashioned S.N.A.K.E. armor, and I honestly think that still kinda stands the test of time (though maybe not with the weapons). It was a simple idea and I think it worked! It was also a little out of ordinary for the time. I mean, it was the 80's and we did have the likes of Robotech, but still, G.I. Joe wasn't as interested in the armor as they would be when they got to the 90's! Those bright neon times brought us Star Brigade (quiet, you! I liked it) and with it came the Power Fighters and the totally awesome ARMOR BOT that I always wanted.
Then, for some reason, they broke away from mechs 'n powered armors again until the 2000's. I don't know why mechanical stuff and robots seem to ebb and flow; you'd thing they would be cool ALL THE TIME. Still, they didn't show back up until it was obvious that they were working toward the canceled Robot Rebellion line (rest in peace you magnificent S.O.B.) with stuff like this and this. Thankfully, the general idea has tried to stick around, and for that I'm thankful! They kept the idea for Sigma Six, and you know that Sigma 6 mech carried over to the Pursuit of Cobra line (and carried over well, I gotta say). Rise of Cobra kept it alive before that with the idea of the Accelerator Suits (another holy grail idea that I always wanted as a kid) and the re-release of the S.N.A.K.E. armor.
So, what better to go with the previous mechs than something completely new! Well, new to G.I. Joe. Motorcycles (or any vehicle, honestly) that turn into armor were invented in Japan a long time ago! Funny thing about this one is that the idea of it matching the mechs kinda...fell flat, thanks to this not even hitting stores like normal. What a wonderful place to cut PoC! Right before the new and interesting idea.
But I digress (a LOT, but thank you for reading as long as you have). First things first I say we get the figure outta the way. Deal?
Let me lay my Man Card to the side for a second to say that this is the cutest little filecard ever! Lookit! He he! Apparently the international packages have to have all the major languages that they're sent to, so the cards have to be small and printed multiple times all over the package: makin' this little guy! *AHEM* Okay Man Card back in the wallet: THIS dude is a ninja stunt driver that totally rides motorcycles. I mean come ON! Do I even need to write these things? This is obviously hilarious and awesome, and these writers know what kids want. Seriously, they coulda just made this a normal dude. But where's the fun in that?
As a badass ninja, Ashiko must of course use a Snake Eyes mold, and thankfully they went with one that also shared parts from Wraith (since Wraith was usin' Snake Eyes parts anyway). Sadly, using Wraith parts also brings along his baggage, which is the high collar that restricts the head and the shoulder armor that restricts the arms. There are ways of fixing those things (I did, in an old post), but the collar sorta acts as a piece that holds the helmet in place; otherwise the helmet is too big to really stay on his head. It makes me hesitant to operate on the armor. That, and the armor feels harder than Wraith's, so cutting at the shoulders wouldn't create the flexible shoulder pads...possibly. One way or another I haven't tried yet, and further into the review I'll talk about other reasons why I'm not sure I want to.
Movin' on: Ashiko comes armed. ARMED armed. With weapons.
I'm serious! Don't mess with this guy. On multiple levels. Dunno why they decided to give him all this junk, but considering the vehicle, I don't really mind that they don't go anywhere. Except the knife...that's a little odd. The knife's sheath comes in either peg-on form, or glue-on form, and they just gave you the glue-on version. So, even if you wanted to find a hole to peg it into - you can't. Still, it's a knife! And there's a sword. So...ninja accomplished! Plus there's all those other fine weapons that can be passed around to his neighbors. If they're gona toss in a bunch of random stuff, I'm glad it was some good weapons. He can't always hold them all well, but that's not really his fault (especially with the uzis that always point downward no matter who holds 'em).
There you have it! A fully armored ninja with obvious peg points on him. I figured I would be mentioning those peg holes some more but...ya know, they just do not bother me. Don't know why. They obviously stick out, but somehow it works out for me. It's not even that they work into the armor...I just successfully ignore them.
The armored look isn't all you got with this guy, though. Since I like the idea of him, I kinda wanted an unarmored look, so I threw on some goggles:
I mean, this IS still the Snake Eyes v3 (well, V3v2, since it's the 25th; you know what I'm talking about) mold, and if I haven't told you before: it's an awesome mold. You get all the range it originally had and, without the armor, it's pretty great (if you can ignore the hole in the chest). I'd say he would be good for parts if you don't like him but...well he kinda has to go with the cycle, thanks to the pegs. You could change the head, but I honestly like the simplicity of it. For me, the goggles were all it took to complete his look without the armor.
Well, there's Ashiko. Now, where's the cycle?
There she is! Isn't she a beaut? I dunno if the pics get the idea across, but it's a really cool motorcycle! That was my first thought when I opened it: if the armor didn't work out, at least this is the coolest cycle in a long time.
There's some techy stickers to show how it's more than just a cycle, and there's some great guns built right in so that it's not obvious. Also, thankfully, he can ride it very well! Barely any work involved, either!
In most cases it's tough to get the hands on the handles, but they stick out pretty far, so it's no trouble at all. The next problem, with some cycles, is getting the legs to realistically stay to the sides: that's taken care of! His legs slide right into the parts that turn into the legs of the armor, which would be cool if this was something that transformed right around the figure. As it is, though, it still creates a great look and hides the legs.
Like I said, though: his legs being there doesn't help the transformation, 'cause you gotta rip that sucker to shreds and build it on him.
That's not all the parts, but it gives you an idea. Thankfully, it's not really that hard to work out.
"But Alexx!" You say. "HOW DOES IT WORK?! And god help you if you don't answer in the form of a hilarious comic!"
Well fine, geeze.
That's sort of a play-by-play of how you put him together. It's actually not that hard, and not very time consuming. In fact, it goes on so easily that it's part of the fun, as my crazy transformation sequence might show (as something that you might imagine, I mean). If I failed to display something you were questioning, let me know! Otherwise; that's about it.
Final verdict: Once it is together, does it STAY together?
YES! However, I'm afraid you might still be disappointed if you display only, as G.I. Joe hips are NOT made to support this sucker. You stand him up and he will almost always end up doing the splits. But MAN is he fun! If you're like me, you'll be stompin' him around and kickin' over guys. This is a great kids toy overall! Fantastic fun in transforming the figure and having him bash through enemies - which is the best part, because he is so solid! Heck, it's solid either way: a solid cycle, and solid armor! Only thing you might knock off is the arm parts, and those are pretty close to his body, so it doesn't happen often.
Still, in the long run, this is a review that will be read mostly by collectors (I hope; there might be a bit too much swearing otherwise) so here are some things that might be considered downsides:
- like I said, he won't stand in most cases. When I did get him to stand, I found him doin' the splits later when I came back. Only time he'll stand is on carpet, since he won't slide around there.
- As a solid toy in mech mode, there comes a side-effect of him being pretty lacking in articulation. The knees bend, but not to much use, and the arms have some side to side and down movement, but you won't be getting anything dynamic out of them.
If you were hoping for a beat-all articulated cycle armor, then I think you'll be disappointed. It all depends on where your hopes were! I was expecting this thing to fall apart, so I am pretty blown away that this stands up to being a toy that you could smash into other toys. And heck, the inability to stand is only a knock for people that display - if you want to take pics or have a dio story then you'll probably have enough things to brace him on or stuff for his feet to catch on. You do it right and you can get a pretty good shot:
Final say: this thing is awesome. Could be better in some ways, but too awesome for me to care that much. You're gona be frustrated getting this guy to stand, but if you're inventive, then I don't think it's gona bother you much. I would grab this if you get the chance, because not only is it a fun toy, but it's guaranteed to be a unique piece that I doubt will come around again. I mean, how often do you think they're gona make motorcycle armor in G.I. Joe? Seek this one out!
We're catching up to the end, so these are kinda fresh in my memory. I agree with Past Alexx on this one! The cycle armor is still cool, and it still works. It would work today! They could totally sell this again and I think everyone would be happy to get it. Could it work better? Sure! I doubt it could fail to put a smile on your face, though.
This is the kind of stuff the line needed, but didn't get enough. Any new Joe line will need interesting stuff like this. I just hope someone at Hasbro is brainstorming and paying attention to the mistakes of the past, so they can blaze ahead into the future on LASERS.