Tuesday, July 31, 2018

2005 Heavy Assault Squad Snake Eyes

The 2000's brought us a great many failures within the Joe line.  The line flopped at retail several times.  Individual products could pegwarm at unprecedented levels.  And, Hasbro's commitment to making quality products was often called into question.  But, there were good times, too.  There are several figures from that era who stand apart.  Most were nice updates of more obscure character molds.  A shining example is the 2005 Heavy Assault Squad Snake Eyes figure.  All told, this is, probably, the best paint job of this 1991 Snake Eyes repaint.  While it's far from perfect, the HAS Snake Eyes figure features decent colors and a useful purpose.  

The HAS Snake Eyes is something different for the character.  While he retains the signature black color, it's not prevalent all over the figure's body.  The pants, most noticeably, are grey and blue.  (The blue is a bit too close to Cobra blue, though.)  The cammo pattern is a bit distracting.  It's the same set of paint masks as were used on the 2004 Desert Patrol Snake Eyes: just done in different colors.  The figure's upper half is the exact same as the Desert Patrol figure.  So, this Snake Eyes felt overly familiar upon its release.  Thirteen years later, those similarities remain, but they are less fresh in the collective mind of the Joe community.  

Accessory wise, this figure is terrible.  The HAS set was useful in that it dropped a ton of accessories into one set and gave collectors a quick way to gets lots of extra weapons.  But, this was also bad since most of the weapons included with the set were awful.  Snake Eyes was given a Snow Job rifle and a Major Bludd rocket launcher.  The gear was not matched to the characters in the set so you're left with a good Snake Eyes figure with no real weapons that help define his character.

The hallmark of the 1982, 1985 and 1989 Snake Eyes figures was signature gear that complemented and enhanced the figure.  While the 1991 figure featured a poorly colored gun and sword, the gear was still unique to the character.  This HAS Snake Eyes lost that personalized touch that was so evident with the weapons from his prior releases.  So, you're left to the aftermarket to outfit the figure.  Fortunately, easily found 1989 Snake Eyes weapons are a good figure for this figure.  And, if you can find them, you can get a golden version of the 1991 sword and gun from the Night Fighter Guile figure.  The figure even works with an Iron Grenadiers Uzi.  It's not great that you have to go to the aftermarket to get some worthwhile gear for a full factory release.  But, this was pretty much Hasbro's standard in 2004 and 2005 and collectors came to expect it.  (The one big upside is that Hasbro's laziness with weapons helped to spawn Marauder's Gun Runners who did brisk business during this time releasing nice weapons that were far better fits for the retail G.I. Joe figures than anything Hasbro came up with.)

For me, this Snake Eyes is an encapsulation of the early 2000's era of G.I. Joe.  He was a product made for collectors, marketed to collectors and sold to collectors.  Yet, he didn't feel like a collector geared figure.  In the end, this Snake Eyes feels somewhat cluttered.  It's a fun take on Snake Eyes and it's nice to get the character in a different mold.  But, the lack of gear and somewhat offset color scheme take away from what could have been a solid release.  Hasbro made the HAS set as cheaply as possible.  I would have rather that they dropped one figure and released 5 better figures instead of 6 figures that were all flawed.  But, that didn't happen and it left collectors very frustrated.  One of the reasons that the ARAH style exclusive sets started to fail was for that reason.  Every set had so much unrealized potential and all had one flaw that simply made no sense.  

As a mold, this figure got no use and then got a ton of use.  The first Snake Eyes to utilize the mold was released in 1991.  This figure was not carried into 1992, though, and was rather obscure for many of the early years of online Joe collecting.  The 1995 Night Fighter Guile that utilized the body was even moreso.  The figure didn't reappear in any form until 2004.  The entire body first appeared in the fall when the Desert Patrol set featured a full 1991 Snake Eyes, but painted in better colors.  Then, the head appeared on the amazing Winter Operations Snake Eyes.  (This figure is one of the top ARAH style Joes Hasbro created in the 2000's for sure!)  While this HAS figure isn't bad, the tan pants are a different look for Snake Eyes and keep this figure from being the definitive release of the mold.  In the summer of 2005, this HAS Snake Eyes appeared.  The mold was then retired.  While it might have been cool to finally get a definitive repaint of the mold in a DTC or convention release, that was not to be.  But, the mold has all good releases and there's enough untapped potential for an enterprising collector to kitbash together better figures without much effort.

The HAS set had a production run of around 16,000 pieces.  It's release window, though, did not help it at all.  The set appeared after the infamous 2005 G.I. Joe Convention.  You know, the one where Hasbro pulled the set from their display after collector backlash and claimed it was an early sample not ready for public consumption.  Mind you, the EXACT set appeared at retail just a couple of weeks later.  By the time the set was released, Hasbro had succeeded in killing off any remaining interest in the Joe property.  The sets stagnated both at retail and online.  Most collectors decided to wait the set out and see if they could get it on clearance.  And, many did.  Amazon.com blew their remaining stock out for a fraction of the original price.  The set actually sold off faster than some of the Cobra army building sets that were also clearanced.  But, that's more likely a function of Amazon having greater inventory of the Cobras (Hasbro made 20,000 of the Cobra sets during this time compared to only 16,000 of the Joe sets.) than the HAS being more popular than the Crimson Shadow Guard or the Imperial Processional.  

You don't see nearly as many loose Toys R Us six pack figures as you used to.  And, as such, you will see dealers offering this figure for around $25 and actually selling a few to impatient collectors.  If you're willing to wait, you can often get the figure for around $6, though.  And, if you want a loose set and find a lot with in there, you can get the Snake Eyes even cheaper.  Boxed HAS sets will sell in the $50 range...making $25 for just the Snake Eyes a somewhat foolish purchase.  It's a far cry from the days of $6 sets online.  But, more than a decade separates us from this figure's release and the massive overstock bought at clearance prices has now been either dispersed or lost in some former collector's basement.  

2005, Snake Eyes, Heavy Assault Squad, TRU Exclusive, 1988, Shockwave, 1992 Gung Ho

2005, Snake Eyes, Heavy Assault Squad, TRU Exclusive, 1988, Shockwave, 1992 Gung Ho

2005, Snake Eyes, Heavy Assault Squad, TRU Exclusive, 1988, Shockwave, 1992 Gung Ho, Roadblock, Crimson Shadow Guard, General Hawk, Comic Pack


  1. "First, the head appeared on the amazing Winter Operations Snake Eyes. (This figure is one of the top ARAH style Joes Hasbro created in the 2000's for sure!) The entire body then appeared in the fall when the Desert Patrol set featured a full 1991 Snake Eyes, but painted in better colors."

    Your timeline is incorrect. Desert Patrol appeared in fall 2004, Winter Ops appeared around spring 2005.

    I didn't see the HAS marked down online sale. I waited for TRU to reduce the set. Instead it went from $20 to $22 or more. I think caved in and bought it but was so disgusted with myself that I never opened it.

    Some of the HAS figures appeared in random loose Joe lots from China, but those seem to have finally dried up sadly.

    Snake-Eyes' pants remind of those tight pants 80's hard/glam rockers would wear.

    The accessories were so bad. Oddly no packs, this heavy assault has limited ammo! But they also have a guy who looks like Roadblock but is really Mutt...or Ace. We have to go by the packaging!! Roadblock isn't in the set!

    for overall weapons the GI JOE Infantry Division wins at 18 guns! (Though one is a Zarana weedcutter) Plus one knife, 6 packs, 6 helmets and 6 stands. If only they'd been so kind to the Cobra Infantry (or Night Watch).

    1. Thanks. I fixed that error.

      I still have a bin of weapons, mostly from the Greenshit sets, sitting in my closet. Despite a ton of gear, none of it is really any good or useful.

  2. I really wish I had grabbed all of these TRU 6-pack figures at retail or off eBay a few years after they came out. I'm a lot more interested in them now than I used to be, but they've just gotten so hard to find.