2004 Black Dragon Ninja

2004 Black Dragon Ninja

The Ninja Cobra Strike Team set from 2004 should’ve probably been Hasbro’s second best 6-pack from the era. Sadly though, poor mold choices, bad accessories and most of all, absolute shit quality control takes what should have been a classic and downgrades it to a mere passing memory. The Black Dragon Ninja here would be great as a poor man’s Ninja Ku, but he barely works as that, though he’s still probably the best figure in the set.

I’m rather salty as to this figure at the moment, mainly because a portion of his heel cracked off while trying to photograph him recently. As someone who likes buying copious amounts of aging plastic, I’ve come to accept figures growing more brittle and yellowing as a part of life. Still, there’s a sense of resentment I have as to just how cheap the plastic was on this set. I’ve already had a Red Ninja Viper’s shoulder crumble for no reason, but now this figure is crumbling too. His heel just sort of exploded while trying to balance him on a peg, flying off into the void never to be found again. It was a weird kind of break, as normally I’m used to taking chances with figures that are way more notorious for being fragile (Slaughter’s Marauders, figures with GPS), but this almost exploded like the plastic was under constant stress.

Putting that aside, the Black Dragon Ninja is a pretty cool lookin’ little dude. Like with Argentina’s Ninja Ku, he uses the V1 Storm Shadow mold cast in solid black. Ninja Ku’s gold details have been swapped for white, brown and silver, so the Black Dragon Ninja is certainly more detailed, though the flesh tone and gold makes Ninja Ku still look far more attractive in my eyes. Oddly, the more monotone white and black of this figure makes me think more of Snake Eyes, maybe in an alternate world where SE joined Cobra as their ninja. That’s gimmicky enough I’m surprised it never happened.

I have some minor quibbles with how the figure looks, mainly stereotypical 2000‘s issues like the flesh-tone on his face being too peachy and the Cobra symbol on his chest being a bit too detailed, but really it’s an excellent looking figure. Truth be told, I think it’s my favorite figure from his set. In spite of all of that, is it enough to overcome the quality issues? This figure isn’t even as old as V1 Storm Shadow was when he came out, yet the plastic is already incredibly brittle. The Black Major ninjas from a few years back weren’t exactly the best quality figures he’s produced, but they already had a leg up on this guy for their paint jobs and accessories, at this point I’m not sure I’d buy any more Black Dragon Ninjas.

Accessories are weird on this one. A major flaw of the Ninja Cobra Strike Team, is that it’s a set themed around Storm Shadow repaints, yet you don’t get even one set of V1 Storm Shadow or V2 Storm Shadow parts. The Black Dragon Ninja has a bag from Agent Faces, the comic-pack M-16, and the 3-piece nunchuk from V3 Snake Eyes. I like the bag and the nunchuk isn’t a bad part, but the M-16 is random. A ninja with a gun can be okay, but why not a suppressed SMG? The M-16 was just lazy. It would’ve been nice if someone here had the original Storm Shadow gear, but hey, at least he doesn’t come with a tiny, non-functioning cupid bow like the Red Ninja.

Like many figures from the 2000‘s, you don’t see Black Dragon Ninjas for sale so often any more. These are usually sold incomplete, but I don’t think any of his accessories are complete (or desirable) so that really doesn’t matter. Last figure that popped up for auction, no accessories, only hit $10, which is a lot cheaper than some of the more insane BiN listings I see floating around. If I saw another one for around $10 I might be tempted to buy it, but if I never do, I won’t lose any sleep over it either.

cobra ninja strike team valor vs venom tru 6-pack storm shadow

cobra ninja strike team valor vs venom tru 6-pack storm shadow

2004 Black Dragon Ninja Links:

Forgotten Figures

Half the Battle

Joe A Day

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3 Responses to 2004 Black Dragon Ninja

  1. Mike T. says:

    This set should have been great. But, yeah, it just didn’t deliver. Honestly, I think their attempt to mimic the Argentine figures without actually making them similar enough to replace them for Americans was a mistake. They weren’t Red Ninjas or Ninja Ku. So, what were they? Stormshadow was weird at the time. But, I’ll argue he’s aged the best of all the figures in the set. And, the overreliance on Vypra and her intricate paint masks sucking up most of the design money for this set didn’t help, either. The lack of V1 Stormshadow gear remains baffling.

    Fortunately, Black Major has solved the ninja problem by giving us all the V1 Stormshadow repaints we’d ever want (and a few we don’t!) and including plenty of V1 gear.

    Sets like this were the most frustrating of the repaint era. They were close to being what collectors wanted. But, Hasbro always made a few incredulous choices that left the sets as wanting. And, yes, the quality on these is just atrocious. It was bad in 2004 and is only getting worse.

  2. A-Man says:

    The red ninja shoulders were a problem BACK THEN. I had one break out of the box and returned the set. It led me to only getting two of the Ninja 6-pack.

    Sad to know Black Dragon Ninja has issues, too.

  3. R.T.G. says:

    Hahaha, I’d been thinking about writing about this figure for months! I don’t really view him as anything but a different outfit for Storm Shadow.

    Bummer to hear yours broke. I’ve had death come to the Red Ninjas from the set, but never the Black Dragon figure.

    While, you’re right about the laziness aspect of including the M-16, you have to admit that’s a better choice than say the Sand-Viper gun the Rock-Viper Gun or that Blackout Sniper rifle that Hasbro was so fond of throwing into TRU 6-Packs

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