We’ve touched on plastic free packaging in previous Figure Friday columns. This week I thought I’d share with you one of the ways that Hasbro is trying to treat this change as an opportunity to provide a unique experience for collectors.
The Blue Ninjas are exclusive to Amazon with limited quantities available on HasbroPulse.com. These Blue Ninjas figures come ready for action, with multiple points of articulation for high poseability and 16 character-inspired accessories including an arsenal of ninja weapons and alternate heads wearing Oni and Kitsune masks; plus a footlocker to stow all their gear! And with custom artwork by Billy Christian, the G.I. Joe Classified Series Blue Ninjas 2 Pack will make a mark on shelves.
One of the highlights of the G.I. Joe Classified line has been the beautiful artwork. While it may not have been the Retro Cards with file cards that many of us would have preferred, the Classified line has become a wonderful artist spotlight. The plastic free packaging creates an even bigger canvas for these artists to work with and Billy Christian has knocked it out of the park with this piece. An army of Blue Ninjas on a moonlit mission, fleeing the scene with fiery explosions in the background. Why haven’t we gotten a Classified Animated series yet?!?!? Pulse Con kicks off today. That would be an excellent surprise announcement! You heard it here first! (I’m just spitballing here. Lucky guess if it happens.)
Inside the box are a tray with the figures tied down using eco friendly ties and a “footlocker” to hold the accessories. The footlocker is cardboard and features graphics that make it appear to be an in-scale crate that your figures would store their weapons, complete with a small keypad to access the goodies inside. Slap on some Cobra logos and the Blue Ninjas Classified number of 51 and it’s a pretty fun accessory that makes you forget for a moment that it’s “just a box” holding everything in place. Inside the footlocker are two small sealed paper bags with both the Cobra and Joe logos splashed across them. A nice little detail that shows that Hasbro is trying to make for a pleasant unboxing experience.
And that’s what I think we’re getting. A pleasant unboxing experience. You can say what you want about the decision to go plastic free. I’m sure Hasbro understands that they’ll lose some folks along the way, but for those that stick around they’re trying to add little things here and there that will punch up the presentation. It’s fun opening toys. You should try it some time.
One thing I think that could be done to provide some reassurance to collectors is a tamper proof seal or tape. The clear tape that Hasbro is using currently is too easy to peel off and replace. I’ve got friends who are Mint on Card collectors that are leaving the hobby because they don’t trust what’s inside the box. With as many figure swaps as I’ve seen over the years, the concerns are valid. I can’t foresee myself buying any figures in plastic free packaging with the intention of keeping them mint on card unless there’s some type of tamper proof seal. There are too many people out there looking to get figures for free and not enough quality checks to make sure that a returned item isn’t going to make it back into circulation for consumers. I hope Hasbro takes some steps to instill confidence in their customers during this time of transition.
Alright! Enough about the box, let’s talk about the figures!
We get both a male and female Blue Ninja in this two-pack. The male Ninja is identical to the previously released Red Ninja, save the paint, of course. This time around we get an additional Oni demon head. The female figure comes with a Kitsune fox head. These alternate heads feature some very nice paintwork which is carried over to both figures as well. Yes. These are just Blue Ninjas. But they’re not. Look a little closer and you’ll see there are multiple shades of blue with clean accents in black and white. Even the throwing stars get a nice metallic silver finish on the male Ninja.
My only complaint about these figures, and it’s extremely minor, are the legs on the female Ninja. The baggy pants that have been sculpted on just don’t do it for me. There are holes in the sways of the fabric that are pretty glaring when you catch them from certain angles. It also feels a bit lopsided when you’re posing the thigh. It reminds me of the pants on the Star Wars Black Series Darth Maul, and I don’t mean that as a compliment.
Overall, this is a great offering. Two really good figures and a ton of weapons packed inside a fun unboxing experience. I can’t wait to see some epic army builds of these Blue Ninjas. This will be one to keep in your Amazon list and hope for a flash sale on Prime Day to add a few more!