Saving Face

The Americans are finding out the hard way that a fact-free zone is not a comfortable place to inhabit. The initial knee-jerk allegations, voiced by Obama, by the screechy UN representative Samantha Power, by John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and any number of talking heads, were that the downing of flight MH17 was all Putin’s fault. These were swiftly followed by a complete and utter lack of official evidence of any Russian involvement but lots of strange, unexplained coincidences pointing to Ukrainian and American involvement. These were, in turn, followed by an uncharacteristically frank admission from US intelligence that there is no proof of Russian involvement. The newly installed Ukrainian oligarch-turned-president Poroshenko (code-name “Piglet”) switched from claiming that he had proof of Russian complicity to being very very quiet. Incompetently concocted fake “evidence” of this and that continues to appear on social media sites, only to be swiftly disproved. Once disproved, the fake evidence vanishes, only to be replaced by more of the same. The latest fake is of Russian artillery bombardment from across the border. All of this has added up to quite an awkward situation for the Americans. Barefaced lying may be fun and profitable, but it does not provide a solid foundation for foreign policy. Nobody wants to go down in history for blowing up the world over some fake Youtube videos.

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Check out this upcoming Soldier Story release of a 1/6 scale French Special Forces 12-inch figure

Forces spéciales (English: Special Forces) is a 2011 French war adventure film directed by Stéphane Rybojad and starring Diane Kruger, Djimon Hounsou, Benoît Magimel, Mehdi Nebbou, and Tchéky Karyo. Filmed on location in France, Djibouti, and Tajikistan, the film shows a group of elite French soldiers on a desperate hostage rescue mission in the Afghanistan / Pakistan area. Forces spéciales is mainly in French, with brief scenes in English and Persian.

Djimon Hounsou stars as Kovax, leader of the team of French Naval Commandos entrusted with the rescue of a Kabul-based French journalist Elsa Casanova (Diane Kruger). The whole theme of the movie does remind me of “Tears of the Sun”. While filming the action scenes, the actors were overseen and advised by French naval special forces according to the press folder available on the official site. Moreover one of their former chief instructors (Alain Alivon) played his own role.

This will be the Soldier Story upcoming release of their 1/6 scale French Special Forces 12-inch figure. The head sculpt seems to have a resemblance to Djimon Hounsou but the shirt, necklace, MP7 and Glock configurations, FAST helmet, shoes, radio set, along with breaching tools… all look to be referenced from the widely distributed pictures of the dead French commando from the failed Bulo Marer rescue attempt in Somalia about a year ago. On 11 January 2013, the French military attempted a rescue operation in Bulo Marer, Somalia to free a hostage known under the code-name “Denis Allex” from Al-Shabaab. The operation failed and Allex was executed in response.

Important Note: This product is for military collectors and historic education purposes only, and it is not intended to glorify nor exploit the horrors and atrocities of war.

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This upcoming Soldier Story release of a 1/6 scale French Special Forces 12-inch figure seems very loaded with lots of gear and accessories. Other than the distinctive French camouflage pants, everything else on this figure are rather generic and could easily pass off as any Private Military Contractor (PMC) or mercenary which gives this figure a lot more options for collectors and 1/6 scale kitbashers.
Check out the MP7 with folding grip and T1 Aimpoint

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Review 1: Sideshow Collectibles COBRA Ninja Assassin 1/6 scale Storm Shadow 12-inch figure

You can order this from Sideshow Collectibles

This was part of my last haul for June 2014 (posted HERE) and it’s time to do a review with lots of pictures. This Storm Shadow sixth scale figure is only my second Sideshow G.I. Joe related figure. The other figure I got was also an enemy of G.I. Joe, a Cobra Saboteur who goes by the code name: Firefly (You can check out my review and pictures posted HERE, HERE and HERE).

Storm Shadow is a fictional character from the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toyline, comic books and cartoon series. He is best known as the Cobra Commander’s ninja bodyguard, and for his history with fellow ninja Snake Eyes. Throughout their history, he has changed sides several times; conflicted in loyalties between Cobra, G.I. Joe, and his blood brother, Snake Eyes. Storm Shadow is one of the most prominent characters in the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero franchise, and has appeared in every series since its inception.

In his original A Real American Hero incarnation, Storm Shadow’s real name is Thomas S. Arashikage (トーマス・嵐影) (Arashi meaning “Storm” and kage meaning “shadow” in Japanese), a Japanese American. Storm Shadow served in the U.S. Army special operations group along with Snake Eyes, and later invited him to train as a ninja with his family in Japan. The duo have been everything to one another from the bitterest of enemies, to the most loyal of friends, who would fight and die for one another.
This is the Storm Shadow Sideshow Collectibles COBRA Ninja Assassin is based upon, not the live-action film version portrayed by Lee Byung-hun in the 2009 live-action film G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and the 2013 sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation. That one was released by Hot Toys.

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The box packaging for Sideshow Collectibles COBRA Ninja Assassin 1/6 scale Storm Shadow 12-inch figure is pretty standard for all of their G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero line, one of their most successful line to date, the other being Star Wars. The box shows off the preview / prototype pictures which sold me the moment I saw them being posted. We always knew Storm Shadow was a ninja and very skillful with the sword but forgot that he could be just as good with a bow, which was what this version of Storm Shadow tried to show.
The “classified” file for Storm Shadow. It states that he is now in semi-retirement at a remote mountain hideaway after having infiltrated COBRA to seek revenge for his uncle / mentor’s murder and might join Snake-Eyes on special missions if he is asked “nicely”. Yet on the same box cover, he is branded as “Cobra Enemy”.
The cover flap opens to reveal 12-inch Storm Shadow figure in a window display style packaging with some of the 1/6 scale accessories he comes with. The other accessories are kept in another tray at the bottom of the box.
I liked that there’s a drawing of this particular Storm Shadow featured inside the box that holds the figure and accessories.
Sideshow Collectibles COBRA Ninja Assassin 1/6 scale Storm Shadow 12-inch figure straight out of the box, outfitted in a winter camouflage suit and padded assault vest, Forearm gauntlets, Shin guards, Ninja Tabi boots and Balaclava concealed portrait.
I’m always curious to know what the figure is wearing underneath all the layers of clothing. And there’s only one way to find out. This is only possible with figures that come with authentic fabric outfits / costumes than can be stripped off layer by layer. One of the joys of 1/6 scale collecting :)
Under the padded assault vest is actually two layers of Winter camouflage top that Sideshow Collectibles 1/6 scale Storm Shadow is wearing, a vest over a hooded top. The pictures below show the hooded top with vest and belt.
Pictures below show just the 1/6 scale hooded winter camouflage top that Sideshow Collectibles 12-inch Storm Shadow figure wears, minus the vest seen in the above pictures.
Sideshow Collectibles COBRA Ninja Assassin 1/6 scale Storm Shadow 12-inch figure also wears a white top under the winter camouflage. The sleeves end at the elbows and leave the forearms exposed, covered only by the Forearm gauntlets. The Shin guards are also removable. The pants are also removable and interestingly enough, the legs are white, not skin colored.
And here are the 1/6 scale clothing items removed from Sideshow Collectibles Storm Shadow
Also included with this Sideshow Collectibles COBRA Ninja Assassin 1/6 scale Storm Shadow 12-inch figure are lots of nice accessories, most of which are packed in the accessory tray placed under the main tray holding the Storm Shadow figure.
Sideshow Collectibles COBRA Ninja Assassin 12-inch Storm Shadow figure comes with the following 1/6 scale accessories: Compound Bow with four (4) arrows, Assault pack, figure display stand, katana (sword) with sheath, Two (2) Ninja Tonfas, Climbing rope, additional posed gloved hands including a clawed fighting hand and a hand holding a Shuriken.
Scroll down to see close-up pictures of the Assault pack, Compound Bow, four (4) arrows and Two (2) Ninja Tonfas, posed gloved hands including a clawed fighting hand and a hand holding a Shuriken, and katana (sword) with sheath. Sideshow Collectibles COBRA Ninja Assassin 12-inch Storm Shadow’s 1/6 scale katana has some very nice detailing.
Check out the engraving on the metal sword / katana. They are Chinese characters by the way – Japanese has no genetic relationship with Chinese, but it makes extensive use of Chinese characters, or kanji (漢字), in its writing system, and a large portion of its vocabulary is borrowed from Chinese. The words from top to bottom seem to represent the values imparted in the Arashikage clan (just trying to interpret the meaning): Righteousness, Respect, Courage, Reputation, Compassion, Truth and Loyalty. This was something I totally didn’t expect since it wasn’t mentioned anywhere and it was certainly a pleasant surprise to find it included.
NEXT: Pictures of Sideshow Collectibles COBRA Ninja Assassin 1/6 scale Storm Shadow 12-inch figure wielding his sword / katana and tonfas.

You can order this from Sideshow Collectibles

Related posts:
April 11, 2008 – Storm Shadow, ninja warrior posted in my toy blog HERE
September 14, 2010 – Modern Ninjas 1+2+3 (pictures HERE)
January 5, 2011 – Arashikage Clan Warriors: Snake Eyes & Storm Shadow posted HERE
February 6, 2012 – Hasbro G.I. Joe Sigma 6 Storm Shadow COBRA Ninja Master Action Figure Review 1
February 7, 2012 – Review II: Hasbro G.I. Joe Sigma 6 Storm Shadow COBRA Ninja Master Action Figure

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Remembering Active Al

Our industry lost another unique and special person in the last week.  A gentleman who did things his own way and did them extremely well.  The passing of Al Shaprio, also known to many as “Active Al” was a stunner and bummer to me.  Al was a character through and through but one that would take legitimate interest in the lives of the people he was dealing with.  While he owned a few extremely successful operations, it was Active Glass that I dealt with.  And despite being a nice guy, Al was unforgiving.  He paid you fast (best around) so he expected to be first in line for everything.  He rode me hard but also made sure that he took care of me and my company too.  He also had a huge heart, when my children were born, Al sent thoughtful gifts that we still have to this day.  He always asked about everyone in my life as well.  And while I didn’t communicate with Al much in the last several years because my life had changed, when I ran into him, he was always as warm as ever- always offering to give me as much business as I could handle (even if I wasn’t a fabricator anymore) and note, that no one will pay me faster… Anyway, it was a shocking piece of news, and I am so sorry to see him go.  My condolences to his family.  Our industry and world lost a great one….

Elsewhere…

–  Are we as an industry in line for another battle?  This past week the Urban Green Council took some shots at glass and its usage.  Now what they said was not all wrong, in fact they made some good points about choosing materials wisely.  However the title alone of “Urban Green Council Warns Against Glass Envelopes” does not portray us well.  Especially in this short attention span society where most folks will only read the headline and move on.  In any case it needs to be said that we’re still vulnerable and still not a product of choice.  Oh and my metal friends, there was a blast on you guys in there too…. So just a heads up, that once again we have people taking shots…
–  Each month I read Glass Magazine and pick out the best ad of the issue.  This month the kudos go to the gang at Quanex.  Their ad for TriSeal was clean, sharp and bold. Good work with a really smart use of call out bubbles.  It caught my eye for sure.  Well done!

–  Also in the always-excellent Glass Magazine was a very powerful letter and picture to the editor by Joe Bruce of Guardian.  I have known Joe for many years and he’s a tremendous guy, and his letter on returnable racks and the cost of people discarding them was excellent and spot on.  We can be our own worst enemy in this industry sometimes.  Hopefully people will read Joe’s letter and be smarter and more respectful with other people’s property.

–  As you surely know GlassBuild America is coming and I am starting to see more and more press releases on products that will be on the floor.  One product that will catch people’s eye will be AGC’s
Dragontrail™It is an ultra thin glass that is mostly used in mobile devices and tablets but will also have expanded use in architectural applications.  AGC will be doing a ball drop test in their booth showing this off and it will be something to see.  I believe it’s just a matter of time before “thin” glass starts to hit in many different applications…  Good call by AGC to show it off at a show with the power and size of GlassBuild.

–  Last this week… the Architectural Billings Index continued to soar.  I think from a sales standpoint things are solid out there.  Not getting any complaints on that.  Cash flow is a different story… that continues to be the bugaboo for many.  Hopefully things will normalize on that end soon.

LINKS of the WEEK

This can’t be real right?  A long list of deal breakers for a man looking for dates…
Are Krispy Kreme donuts that good?  Like being robbed at knife point good? 
Count me as one who hates baseball’s “unwritten rules” 
VIDEO of the WEEK

I’m a huge fan of voice impressionist Frank Caliendo.  This past week he used his immense talent to read a letter from basketball player LeBron James in the voice of actor Morgan Freeman.  Just tremendous stuff (more if you are fan of Frank and followed the whole LeBron saga)

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