DUKE, SNAKE EYES, SCARLET, FLINT, SGT. STALKER, ROADBLOCK, & BEACHHEAD
G.I. JOE: 25TH ANNIVERSARY (HASBRO)
“The world is threatened once again by Cobra–and only G.I. Joe can stop them! The team races across the globe and into space to combat an evil plot by Cobra Commander to control the world. Cobra even brings the battle right to the team’s doorstep, but the men and women of the G.I. Joe team remain strong, courageous…and resolute!”
Okay, so remember waaaaaaaaaay back nearer the beginning of the site, when I reviewed the massive seven-figure Resolute Cobra boxed set? Well, unsurprisingly, there was a Joe component as well. It’s been six years, but let’s cap things off, shall we?
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
This seven-figure set was one of two (the other being the Cobra set) online-exclusives released in the summer of 2010 as a quick way of rounding out and finishing up the Resolute subline of figures that was supposed to run through the 25th Anniversary line at retail. When it became clear that 25th would not be returning to retail following Rise of Cobra’s tie-in line, Hasbro shunted the molds it already had ready to go, plus a few quickly thrown-together figures into this 14 figure drop.
“A leader is always in the position of making the tough calls and hard decisions. Duke, as the head of the G.I. Joe team, understands the burden of leadership all too well. When it’s the duty of the team to respond to a threat against the world, Duke must be the one to make sure that the priorities are clear: the mission comes fist and everything else comes a distant second. He demands a lot from his team, but doesn’t ask anything of them that he isn’t willing to give himself. His hard-won experience and unflinching determination have earned him the respect and loyalty of his team.”
Duke was pretty fortunate when it came to the Resolute stuff. While the others were making their debut here, this particular Duke marked his third time up to bat for this collection, hence the more environment-specific outfit this one is sporting. He’s based on his look from towards the end of the mini-series, when he and Scarlet make a run on an arctic Cobra base. Given how it figures into the climax, it’s honestly a pretty solid choice for a figure. The figure stands a little over 4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation. He’s mostly compiled from the parts of other figures, with his torso and waist coming from the 25th line’s cold-weather Snake Eyes, the upper arms coming from the second Resolute Duke, and the lower arms and legs coming from the first Resolute Duke. It makes for an okay approximation of his gear from the show, though it’s hardly as spot-on as some of the designs. The figure’s head was all-new to him, and marked an improvement over the standard Resolute Duke head we’d gotten previously. This one was far more on-model for the show, and just generally looks nicer than the previous. The paintwork on this guy is actually pretty great. They’ve included all of the important details, and done what they can to use the paint to make the sculpt look a bit more on-model. They’ve also kept important details like painting the gun in his thigh holster a different color than the holster, which I assure you, is something that will come up again in this review. Duke included the same rifle as the standard Resolute Duke, plus a pistol, a knife, and a display stand with his name on it.
“Snake Eyes is a dedicated member of the G.I. Joe team, but he is forced to put a personal issue first when his archenemy Storm Shadow raises their rivalry to a deadly new level. The G.I. Joe commando confronts the Cobra ninja in a duel that originated many years ago, when they were friends in a ninja school that taught the Seven Steps to the Sun, a lethal martial arts sequence. Snake Eyes has never revealed how many of these steps he learned…and the answer to this question will determine who lives and who dies in this final duel.”
Snake Eyes had *technically* had a Resolute-based figure before, thanks to his planned 25th figure getting shunted into the Rise of Cobra line under the name “City Strike Snake Eyes,” but that release made a few changes to the color scheme, in order to bring him more in line with the other movie stuff. It was also really hard to find, so a second version here made a lot of sense. The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation. His whole sculpt is shared with the previously mentioned City Strike Snake Eyes, and is a pretty good recreation of Snake Eyes’ design from the show, albeit through the slightly more realistic 25th style lens. It’s a pretty sleek looking design, and one of the few times we’ve seen a modern redesign that calls back on his V1 figure, rather than keeping the V2’s distinctive visor. While I’m a V2 man myself, I can really appreciate what’s going on here. Snake Eyes’ paintwork is a solid match for how he looks in the show, which is to say mostly grey. The one thing they changed up is the visor, which instead of being a light grey like it is in the animation, is a bright green, calling back to how he looks when he does his glide into is duel with Storm Shadow. Snake Eyes is the best accessorized of the figures here, with his sword and sheath, a back pack, the same rifle as Duke but in all black, his glide-pack, and a display stand with his name on it.
“A brilliant mind, outstanding martial arts skills, and lethal accuracy with her trademark crossbow – that’s Scarlett. The G.I. Joe team’s counter-intelligence expert has the cerebral savvy to get inside the mind of her enemies and design a plot that’ll outsmart them at their own game. She also has the combat skills to take on a squad of Cobra troopers and be the sole person left standing when the fighting’s over. She can make a HALO dive into hostile territory in the dead of night, then enter a heavily guarded Cobra missile silo and take it over as one-half of a two-person unit, and not even break a sweat. That’s skill. That’s training. That’s Scarlett.”
Had the Rise of Cobra line gone just a little bit longer, Scarlett would have joined Snake Eyes under the City Strike banner, with another re-purposed Resolute mold in new colors. It was probably for the best that she waited for this set, though, since, while the grey and black deco of City Strike worked okay for Snake Eyes, it was really off for Scarlett. She finally got her release here, and, well, uhh, let’s just dive right in, shall we? The figure stands 4 inches tall and she has the same 22 points of articulation as everyone else. I like to give credit where credit is due, so I’m going to discuss the body first. Scarlett’s Resolute redesign was one of my favorites from the show, as I think it’s just a really solid boiling down of the basics of her original design, all in a more modern setting. The sculpt on the body does a fantastic job of taking all of the elements present on the animation model, and then adding a whole new selection of little details to make the uniform feel like a real thing. It’s also not super small, which was my main issue with the standard 25th Scarlett. So, why focus on the body first? Because I wanted to be able to talk about it positively before getting into undoubtedly the worst piece in this whole set: Scarlet’s head. Oh boy, it’s not pretty. Baroness from the Cobra set also had some issues, but they pale in comparison to this piece. I’m not sure exactly what happened here, but there’s a rumor that some sizing was off in both of the molds for the female figures (since they had more complicated two-piece heads), which lead to the whole thing being just…kinda unsightly. It’s definitely not right for the design. Fortunately, there are other options for Scarlett heads that are easy enough to swap out; I myself went with the 25th comic pack version, as it was rather cheap. Scarlett’s paintwork is generally pretty good. She gets down the slightly washed out palette of the series, and everything’s pretty clean. The head has more issues here, with the eyebrow placement looking like it’s rather off. But, I ditched it anyway, so no problems. Scarlett was packed with her usual crossbow, plus a sniper rifle, a pistol (the same one included with Duke), and a stand.
“Flint is a classical scholar and graduate of the Airborne School, Ranger School, Special Forces School and Flight Warrant Officers School. He brings a broad intellectual background as well as finely honed technical skills and tactical knowledge to the G.I. Joe team. A thorough and meticulous planner, he has led many dangerous and complex missions in the field and overseen them from the team’s base. His arrogance may be irritating at times, but it comes from firsthand experience, rock-solid skills and extensive knowledge. As the team disperses around the globe and into space to stop Cobra, Flint advises them all from the team’s base.”
Flint takes on a fairly prominent, if slightly lighter on the action, role in Resolute, and is definitely a well-utilized character. If I recall correctly, there were more Cobra figures than Joes planned when everything was moved to the boxed sets, and Flint was one of the couple of figures put together to fill out the set. I might be wrong on that, though. The figure stands 4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation. The figure is largely built from repurposed parts, with the arms and legs coming from Duke, and the torso and waist coming from one of the RoC Hawk figures. He does get a new head, webgear, and gauntlet, which all make for a pretty convincing transition into Flint’s design from the show. The only real inaccuracy is that he’s got two knee pads instead of one, but I’m willing to give them a pass on that one. The new pieces are really strong, and follow in Scarlett’s footsteps of taking the core elements from the cartoon and then adding lots of smaller detail work around them. Flint’s paintwork is largely pretty good, but has one glaring issue. Remember what I mentioned about the gun in the holster on Duke? Well it doesn’t get painted here, and it looks pretty goofy. Beyond that, though it’s a solid paint job. Flint is packed with his usual shotgun, as well as a pistol and a display stand.
“The survival instincts of Sgt. Stalker were honed at an early age on the mean streets of his hometown. The lessons he learned may have been tough, but they made him a fierce warrior. It doesn’t matter if he’s facing two or twenty Cobra troopers; he’ll make every one of them wish they’d never gotten out of bed that morning. Ranger trained and Airborne-qualified, Sgt. Stalker uses his skills, training and instincts to adapt his actions to the changing situation. He heads to the jungle with Roadblock and Beachhead to rescue hostages held by Destro and Baroness, and teaches that arrogant duo not to underestimate the G.I. Joe team ever again.”
Stalker was another piece of the “fill in the set” puzzle, clearly being chosen because he could easily be built without investing in a ton of new pieces. Stalker himself has a relatively minor role, with Roadblock getting most of the focus in their section. The figure stands 4 inches tall and he had 22 points of articulation. Stalker is again pretty big on the re-use. He takes the Duke legs, and throws the Snake Eyes torso and arms in with it. It’s not the oddest choice, since Stalker and Snake Eyes have more than once shared parts. He gets a new head and webgear, and a collar piece he shares with Beachhead. The end result is an okay recreation of his on-screen design, though I’m not sure it works quite as well as Flint. The sweater collar on the skintight shirt looks weird, he’s missing the pockets on his shoulders. He’s also got gloves, which he didn’t in the show. At the very least, the new head (which I looked at when it was re-used on the 30th figure) is a pretty good piece. It’s certainly a unique look for the character. Stalker’s paint is alright, but suffers from the same lack of paint on the gun that Flint did. They also painted his skin tone too far down his neck on the back, meaning it runs past the separate collar piece. Since it’s on his back and obscured by two add-ons, it’s easy enough not to focus on, but it does look kinda goofy. Stalker includes Duke’s rifle in green and silver, a pistol, a knife, and a display stand.
“He’s a gourmet cook who can wield his hand-ground, carbon-steel cook’s knife and his M2 .50 caliber ‘Ma Deuce’ Browning heavy machine gun with equal skill. He wanted to be a chef and attend the Escoffier School in France, when a recruiter signed him up with the promise that the army would train him to be a cook. He later joined the G.I. Joe team, where, on any given day, he can whip up haute cuisine for the team – and mince anything in his path with a barrage of gunfire. Cobra gives him plenty of opportunity to perfect his skill with the Browning, as the evil organization spreads its vile presence from the snowy north to the town of Springfield.”
Roadblock takes us back into the territory of pre-existing figures that Hasbro just wanted to get out. Like Snake Eyes, his mold found its way into the RoC line, first as a Night Adder, and then as Roadblock in a Walmart-exclusive battle pack. However, the Night Adder was obviously a different character, and the Walmart Roadblock was painted rather differently, and even ditched the vest overlay from this guy for a different one. At just shy of 4 1/2 inches tall, Roadblock is by far the tallest figure in this set (and one of the tallest in the line, truth be told), and he’s got the same 22 points of articulation everyone else does. Roadblock’s design in the show was not only a solid update of his V1 figure, it also managed to work in some of the V2 design as well, for something that is just so unquestionably Roadblock in nature. For the purposes of these figures, all of the show designs were made a bit more real world, and Roadblock is perhaps the most adjusted, since his animation design had some pretty darn cartoony proportions. This figure instead goes for something more in line with the classic Roadblock in build and facial stylings, but gives him a proper take on the fancy new animated outfit. The vest piece on this guy is by far the coolest bit, because the level of detailing included there is quite frankly amazing. Roadblock’s paintwork is pretty great, taking his classic colorscheme, fitting it into the established Resolute palette and really just running with it. It makes him the most colorful figure in the set, which is a definite point in his favor. Roadblock included his usual heavy machine gun, a belt of ammo to feed it, a pickaxe, a missile, a pistol, and a display stand.
“Beachhead has one goal: to do his best. That’s what infuses everything he says and does. He focuses on the task he’s been given and ignores anything that doesn’t help him complete it. When things go bad, he channels his anger and frustration into fuel to help him go further and fight harder. He pushes himself to exceed his personal best and be an example to others, such as running ten miles every morning in blizzards, heat waves and anything in between. Along with Sgt. Stalker and Roadblock, he deploys to the jungle to rescue hostages held by Destro and Baroness.”
Beachhead rounds out the set as another “constructed to round out the set” figure. Who…you know…rounds out the set. Like Stalker, he’s a character that’s present in the show, but not overly prominent. I don’t actually believe he even has any dialogue. All that said, he’s got one of the more memorable classic Joe design, so it makes a lot of sense to include him. The figure stands 4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation. Beachhead is mostly built from the same bank of parts as Flint, with Duke’s arms and legs, and Hawk’s torso and waist. It’s a decent enough formula for both designs, so more power to them. He gets a new head and webgear, as well as using the collar piece shared with Stalker. The new parts are definitely solid, and this head is honestly my favorite Beachhead sculpt to date. Given that it showed up on every Beachhead figure that followed, I’d say Hasbro agreed. The vest is a nice piece, with the only downside being how freaking hard it is to get his knife sheath back in place once you remove it…which is why mine doesn’t have his in any of the photos. The collar piece definitely works better here than it did on Stalker, leading me to believe it was designed for Beachhead and then also used for Stalker. It all adds up to a figure that doesn’t really feel like he’s at least 75% the same as another figure in the set, despite the fact that he totally is. Beachhead’s paintwork is all pretty decent, apart from that annoying gun/holster issue that I mentioned on both Flint and Stalker. It wouldn’t annoy me quite so much if they hadn’t properly painted it on only one figure in the set, honestly. Beachhead included the same rifle as Stalker, as well as a knife, pistol, and display stand.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
As I noted in my review of the Cobra set, it was these Resolute packs that really got me into the 25th line. Well, that, and the fact that I got them while recovering from getting my wisdom teeth out, while watching my DVDs of the Sunbow cartoon, which led to me tracking down a whole bunch of the other figures from the line. I was expecting to enjoy the Cobra set more of the two of them, but the Joe set ended up being my favorite by a fair bit. I think Beachhead might be my personal favorite of them, because he’s just the best Beachhead figure, but every figure in the set’s pretty darn good. My only major complaint is the Scarlett head, and I’ve had that swapped out for 10 years now, so it feels minor these days.