G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)
It has decidedly *not* been a while since I reviewed G.I. Joe here, because I just did it yesterday. So, that joke’s not gonna fly this time. Instead, I’m just gonna let this fight for freedom keep on rolling, and look at yet another figure from the latest round of Joes from Hasbro. Yesterday, I looked at Cobra’s top ninja, but today I’m jumping over to the Joe side, with 1984’s resident tracking expert, and perhaps slightly stereotypical Native American addition to the team, Spirit Iron-Knife.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Spirit Iron-Knife is figure 36 in the Classified Series line-up, and is the middle figure of the second 2022 assortment. He’s the only Joe present this time around, and is generally a pretty sensible inclusion alongside a classically-inspired Storm Shadow, given that they not only both debuted the same year in the toy line, but they also served as some-time nemeses in the original cartoon, when it was decided that having the non-verbal Snake Eyes serve as Storm Shadow’s sparring partner would be too difficult to do in animation. So, you know, it’s not a bad set-up, really. The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation. Spirit’s design is clearly patterned on his V1 design. I myself have never been a huge fan of this look, given that it really hammers home some of the stereotyped elements of the character, and have always been more partial to the way Sigma 6 handled his look. That said, it’s the classic look, and it’s not a terrible one, with a bit of tailoring. This version takes the broad elements of the original, and modernizes and makes them a little more “standard issue”, as well as injecting just a little bit of the sci-fi side of the earlier figures from the line. It’s a lot more subtle, and it works better because of it. His construction makes use of a mix of old and new parts. He’s banking on some of the parts from Duke, who has become a fairly standard starting point for the line. He’s definitely using the torso, as well as parts of the legs, and I think the hands as well. What’s actually pretty cool is that he’s *not* using the arms. Yes, for the first time in the Classified line, we get a set of sleeves rolled up past the elbows! I’m very excited about that, and eagerly anticipate getting updated versions of Flint and the Viper with their proper sleeve lengths. Like, legitimately excited. Yes, that’s what excites me most on this guy. And it’s not even a knock on the rest of the figure. The only real downside is that he’s still got the pins at the elbows, suggesting that this was an older sculpt that only just made it to release. The rest of the sculpt is pretty strong. His head showcases the appropriate features for Spirit’s background without going too bold or caricature-esque, and the hair is a little more reigned in. The outfit loses the feather necklace and skirt, which I think are both calls for the best, and he gains a little bit more on the tactical side, with two different knife sheaths, and a holster for a sidearm. Spirit’s color scheme more or less matches with his original figure, though a little toned down on the brightness front. The paint work is all pretty clean, and he generally looks pretty solid. Spirit is packed with a sniper rifle, a pistol, two different knives, a back pack, and his pet eagle Freedom. Freedom’s definitely the coolest part. He gets two different sets of wings, for flying or for perching. He’s also got pegs in his feet, allowing him to peg into either the built-in perch on Spirit’s back pack, or sit on Spirit’s left arm. Definitely a great touch there.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Vintage Spirit never clicked with me, but I recall becoming much more interested in the character when he was redesigned during the Devil’s Due run in the early ’00s, and then I really liked his Sigma 6 look, of course. While this one doesn’t really replicate any of my preferred looks for the character, I will admit that he turned out pretty nicely on his own merits. The changes to the design preserve the feel of the original, while also making him feel less out of place in a modern setting, and I really dig how they handled Freedom with this release. I still look forward to the potential of an update on one of his other designs, but until then, this one will do just fine.
Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review. If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website.