This here a recent acquisition. Sandstorm was released in 2010 as part of the Rise of Cobra line based on the live-action movie of the same name (though he did not appear in said movie). In a recent Snake-Eyes review I talked about how by and large I ignored the movie figures. I just wasn’t a fan of the movie aesthetic. I picked up a few core figures of course but left the majority of them hanging on the pegs. I never had the chance to leave this guy on the shelf though because I never saw him at retail. He came packaged with a tan colored version of the RAM motorcycle and was exclusive to Target I believe. Other than the fact that there are no Targets where I live, this figure was released as the movie based line was fizzling out and retailers were devoting their shelf space to other properties so he would’ve been pretty hard for me to come by anyway. So if I had seen him at my local Toys R Us would I have picked him up or left him behind? I don’t know.
First off he comes with a vehicle which is a huge strike against him. I hate paying for vehicles that I don’t want just to get the included figure. I would almost rather pay $20 for the lone figure online than pay $25 for the figure and vehicle in the store. I have no room to display vehicles and yet I can’t bring myself to get rid of them once I own them so they just end up cluttering up my closet. On the other hand, the RAM motorcycle is pretty small as far as vehicles go and I probably could’ve squeezed it into my display. Plus it’s a classic. The original RAM was one of the first Joe vehicles that we (Doug and I) owned as kids. The original was army green and I have a modern green version in my display already. A tan version might’ve actually been kinda cool.
Sandstorm’s second strike comes from his color scheme. One of the biggest turn offs for me about the movie figures was their bland outfits. Most wore gray camouflage or solid black. I get that the filmmakers wanted the team to have a unified look but one of the most appealing aspects of G.I. Joe has always been the uniqueness of the characters. I think the matching uniforms was a step in the wrong direction and it made it easier for me to pass on buying many figures. However this guy isn’t decked out in gray camo. Instead he’s got a digital desert camouflage thing going on. This pattern first showed up on a Toys R Us exclusive 5 pack of figures. I passed on that pack because seeing 5 figures side by side wearing this desert camo pattern from head to toe made it look just as dull as the gray camo. However since this Sandstorm figure is packaged all by himself it doesn’t seem nearly as generic and gives him a bit of original flare.
His third strike comes from the sculpt itself. There is nothing new about this guy. He’s got Shipwreck’s legs, Dukes’s torso and arms and Firefly’s head. I’m really not a fan of Joes made up entirely of re-used parts. Especially lackluster parts. The Duke torso has him wearing that stupid plated under-armor type thing that they all wore in the movie. It was way overused in the movie figure line. The arms are scrawny and the fingers are clasped in such a way that he can’t hold his gun for s**t. There’s nothing wrong with the head necessarily, in fact I quite like it, but I don’t like it when iconic character’s parts get reused; especially their heads. This head might seem generic to you but to me it’s clearly Firefly and on Firefly’s shoulders it should stay. However, the torso is somewhat saved by the paint job. Rather than being solid black and gray as it appeared on other figures it’s dark brown with tan accents which bring out all the scratchy detail. The paint job makes the armor feel real and lived in. I believe that this guy spends his days cruising around the desert on a motorcycle. I can almost feel the sand in his boots. As for the head, yes it‘s Firefly’s head but Firefly has a great head. What saves this piece is again the paint. The mask is just painted dark brown but this guy has the craziest looking eyes that I’ve ever seen on a Joe figure. They’re a really light shade of baby blue with white pupils. His eyes are so creepy/dreamy that they alone establish this guy up as a unique character despite him being built out of other Joe’s parts like a little plastic Frankenstein.
As for accessories Sandstorm came with the bike obviously (which I don’t have because I bought him loose on ebay) a rifle he can’t hold, and a helmet. Safety first kids. The inclusion of the helmet is nice because those people bothered by the reuse of the Firefly head can simply cover it up with the helmet. I personally don’t like the helmet very much and will be displaying him without it.
So would I have left this guy on the shelf? Maybe, but I would’ve regretted it later. I’ve considered buying him on ebay a number of times and I’m glad that I finally pulled the trigger. I think he’s pretty darn cool. 7 out of 10.