Motto: “I’m a back-breaker, a face kisser, and heartbreaker! Don’t mess with me, or I’ll go Pat Benatar on your ass!”
Rumor has it that DICE was once a Cobra NIGHT CREEPER, but was kicked out for being TOO evil! He refused to donate to the Broca Beach Fire Department for their annual Cobra Hook and Ladder Viper calendar, and that was more than NIGHT CREEPER LEADER was willing to tolerate!
Dice operates as a partner to the Cobra Ninja Swordsman SLICE, specializing in choke holds, pressure points, snares, traps, blunt instruments, woodwind instruments, and eye-gouging. His weapon of choice is the Bo-Staff, which he can manipulate with blinding speed and bone crushing power. It’s a hockey stick, wrapped in duct tape, with a steak knife taped to one end, but that doesn’t seem to blunt its effectiveness in combat.
His most dreaded technique is a motion he calls the “Flying Dragon.” Everyone else calls it “a sort of awkward backhand slap.” Dice is most troublesome when he gets behind the wheel of the Cobra Rat, simply because he never wears his glasses while he’s driving.
- Double bladed steak knife and salad fork bo-staff
- Battle axe
- Throwing spikes ammo pouches, spare car keys
- Delayed blast smoke bombs
- Tranquilizer throwing spikes for sleepless nights
- Steel-piercing throwing stars, bought in bulk discount at local mall
- Combat bandolier
- Padded, combat knee protectors/dashboard denters
- Traditional Dice Clan face mask (there is no Dice Clan, so traditions are arbitrary)
- Arm brace with convenient tattoo viewing window
Ninja Force Slice and Dice: Two Reviews!
Hey! You can’t have Dice without Slice! Click here to read Mike T.’s Slice review at Forgotten Figures for a proper dose of Double Trouble!
1992 GI Joe Ninja Force Dice, a Treasured (and lost) Childhood Figure
I turned eight years old in the autumn of 1992. I was seven years old when I received 1992 GI Joe Ninja Force Dice, a 1992 Firefly, and Ninja Force Nunchuk from my Mom.
Before that, I had a smattering of Joes from 1990 and 1991, and a few from 1989 and 1988. Many of those Joes had since lost pieces, or were in bad shape. In 1992, I was old enough to take better care of my toys. I appreciated them more.
But, that sadly didn’t stop me from losing them once in a while. To this day, I’m still prone to losing anything I’m carrying around that isn’t my wallet, keys, or phone. Scarves, hats, and sunglasses are the biggest offenders.
When I was a kid, there was an equal chance that I’d lose glasses, coats, or action figures. I was that carefree and absent-minded. We’d usually find the coat or the glasses, but the figures didn’t often reappear.
Such was the case with Dice. For the few precious months I had him, he and Firefly became my main Cobra antagonists. I didn’t have many named Cobra characters up to that point (though I’d get the 1992 Destro and Cobra Commander figures for Christmas in 1992), and those two fit the bill nicely.
But, I lost Dice and Firefly. I don’t even remember how I lost them. Now there were no real challenges for 1992 Duke, 1991 Sci-Fi, Eco Warriors Flint, Sonic Fighters Tunnel Rat and Falcon, Heavy Duty, and Nunchuk to take on.
I’m still kind of sad when I think about losing Dice.
But, later in the year, I received Ninja Force Slice and Storm Shadow. Storm Shadow instantly became one of my favorite good guy figures, and joined the ranks of Flint, Falcon, Tunnel Rat, and Heavy Duty as one of my favorites.
Slice, on the other hand, became my go-to bad guy. He was the baddest of the bad. With Slice in hand, I forgot all about Dice and Firefly.
I liked Slice so much that I took him and 1992 Duke with me to church camp that year, and played with them in the cabin after lights out.
Slice was Cobra’s elite fighter, swordsman, and assassin. He could take down anyone on the Joe team except for Storm Shadow, or possibly Flint.
Slice was a favorite just because ninjas were exceedingly popular in the early 90s.
Sure, all of you “80s kids” were around ninjas all the time, too. You got the party started. But we 90s kids? We perfected the party. We brought the kegs, put firecrackers in the toilets, and got the cops called on us.
I was obsessed with ninjas. It started with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (which I’d largely abandoned by 1992), then fed into movies and video games. I was always playing Ninja Gaiden, The Last Ninja, Ninja Crusaders, and TMNT 2 on the NES.
Amongst the Leslie Nielsen and Mel Brooks movies we loved, my childhood friend Mark and I would watch every ninja and martial arts movie we could find. We bought plastic ninja swords at the county fair. We bought any comic book with the name “ninja” in the title we could find.
And, to us, ninjas were a perfect fit for GI Joe. It just made sense. Plus, ninja figures were useful long after you lost their accessories.
Throughout the rest of my childhood, Slice was still one of my main Cobra figures, particularly because there were so few “named” Cobra agents in the 90s. We had the Commander, Destro, Cesspool, Interrogator, and a couple of others.
But, most importantly, we had Slice and Dice. If you were playing with GI Joe from 1982-1985, there’s no doubt Storm Shadow was one of your favorites.
Slice was my Storm Shadow equivalent, since my Storm Shadow was a good guy.
I still have my childhood Slice, but I hadn’t paid Dice much mind again (other than a few fruitless searches on eBay) until a friend of mine sent me a gift.
My friend Jeremy (check him out on Twitter) sent me a gift of all six original Ninja Force figures, sealed on Spanish cardbacks. I was elated! Thanks again for the amazing gift, Jeremy!
A few months later, I posted a Twitter poll asking who people would like me to review.
Dice won by a long shot, and Mike T. offered to review Slice if I reviewed Dice.
So, I opened the figure, started taking photos, and was flooded with memories.
If I hadn’t lost Dice, he would have been just as important to my childhood as Slice– if not even moreso!
So, join me as I revisit 1992 GI Joe Ninja Force Dice, one of the few named Cobra characters from the 1990s.
1992 GI Joe Ninja Force Dice Review
The 1992 GI Joe Ninja Force Dice I’m featuring in this review is the Spanish version. I took him straight off the card, and he’s in beautiful shape.
Other than the card itself, there are no differences between the Spanish and American versions. In Spain, he was called Dado instead of Dice. So, if you’d like, you can code some sort of Chrome extension to replace the word ‘Dice’ with ‘Dado’ and keep reading along.
I don’t usually have the full card for any vintage GI Joe figure I review, but I figured I could include it this time.
Here’s the front of the packaging:
And the back of the card:
I always liked the Ninja Force packaging. It stood out to me on shelves as a kid, and I find the pink very aesthetically appealing as an adult. Your mileage may vary, but keep in mind where you are before you start telling me about how these cards “ruined GI Joe” and how I should “absolutely buy war bonds to support our troops on the European front.” Also, don’t forget to renew your AARP membership! I can’t wait for that Sizzler discount, man.
Dice is a dynamic looking figure that features great colors. He’s rendered in a nice, dark purple, with black and silver accents. This subdued color scheme would be a good fit for any year of Cobra figures. His unique mask, which seems to represent some abstract depiction of a dragon (complete with nostrils– gnarly!), sets him apart from every other Cobra figure– including the ninjas!
Here’s a look at the figure:
Other than the mask, you’ll also notice his enormous kneepads. I really like them, as it adds another tactical dimension to the figure, and they’re something that few other figures from the vintage GI Joe line feature.
I also love the various grenades, throwing spikes, and throwing stars strapped to his chest. They’re not overdone, but they add some great dimension to the figure. They’re also nicely picked out in silver paint.
Dice also features a nice little Cobra tattoo on his right bicep. If I have one complaint about the figure’s sculpt and deco, it’s that the “straps” on the lower mask aren’t painted on the sides, and are rendered in flesh tone. I think these probably would have been far too difficult to paint with the technology available in 1992, however.
So, even before you include the accessories, Dice comes across as looking stealthy, practical, ominous, and deadly.
But let’s get to the accessories!
Here they are:
Dice comes with a bo-staff that features a blade at one end, a smaller blade at the other end, and wrappings on the handle. The weapon is made of a slightly softer plastic, and is cast in a silvery-grey. It looks great, and it’s easy for the figure to hold.
He also comes with a short, one-handed battle axe. This is also a fantastic weapon, even if it was reused with many future Ninja Force figures.
Dice comes with the requisite battle stand, as well, which is always welcome.
Here he is All Geared Up:
In 1992, Hasbro was still equipping its GI Joe figures with unique accessories. Sure, many Joes in the main line came with absurd, spring-loaded weapons (and a few came with great spring-loaded weapons), but they all came with more practical accessories, too.
If you ignored the giant launchers, they gear loadouts matched what you’d see in 1980s GI Joe.
Dice’s weapons are great and unique. Before him, only Jinx came with a staff and only Barbecue came with an axe.
Dice used weapons other than knives, swords, and bows, which made him stand out among other ninjas.
These weapons work very well with him, and really sell him as his own character.
Now, for the elephant in the room– the spring-loaded ninja action feature. In Dice’s case, it’s the “Flying Dragon.” Basically, you twist Dice’s waist to the right, and he springs back. It’s not dissimilar to the action feature many Masters of the Universe action figures had. But, it does completely hamper his waist movement. And it’s less a ninja move than a backhand slap.
Still, Dice gets off easy for a Ninja Force figure. Other than his waist, he features full range of movement. He poses and plays nicely, and that’s more than many Ninja Force figures can say.
The named Cobra agents of the 1990s are some of my favorites. We got Cesspool, Interrogator, Overkill, Sky Creeper, Overlord, Slice, and Dice. This list isn’t on the same level as the group of named Cobra Agents from the 1980s, but it was still good enough for me.
Slice and Dice are two of my favorite Cobra operatives. I still love ninjas, and these are the two best ninjas Cobra ever got. Storm Shadow switched sides enough times that I’m no longer sure whether I prefer him as a Joe or a Cobra– but Slice and Dice will always be the evil silent assassins an organization like Cobra needs.
In the end, I’m not sure how or why I forgot about Dice. He’s every bit as good as Slice, and you can’t have one without the other.
And, the cherry on top– Dice’s mold and his primary weapon weren’t reused a million times, so he still feels fresh. His axe was passed around a good bit, and his body was repainted for Mortal Kombat’s Kano (and a “red ninja,” which we should all forget about), but he still retains his originality.
Everyone forgets about Dice. But, if I’ve accomplished nothing else with this review, I hope I’ve made you think twice about Slice and Dice, and maybe even think thrice about Dice.
Verdict: Although he’s part of a “gimmicky” sub team, the much derided Ninja Force, Dice has much to offer as a named Cobra agent. He’s a perfect partner for Slice. Cobra always needs sneaky assassin-types, so he works well in that capacity, too. He’s got a great look, and his spring-loaded action feature doesn’t really get in the way. Those factors, combined with his great colors, nice weapon selection, and unique look, make him a real winner. Dice is Nice. Highly Recommended.
Closing Thoughts on 1992 GI Joe Ninja Force Dice
I am still surprised at how much I love this figure. If I’d held onto him as a kid, I think his nostalgia value would be unparalleled. I don’t think anyone else on the web has reviewed Dice, which means he’s about as ignored as they come.
I still love most of the 1992 Ninja Force releases, and many of their 1993 compatriots.
What do you think of Dice and Ninja Force? Let me know in the comments!