#2530: Profit Director Destro

PROFIT DIRECTOR DESTRO

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

Remember when Destro was pretty fliggity-fly for a chome-headed guy?  No? Yeah, that’s fair, because that’s totally a phrase I just made up, and if I’m honest, I’m kinda regretting it just a touch.  It’s okay, let’s just move on and not dwell.  Today, I get to touch on one of my favorite things: weird toy production trivia and oddities!  Yes, today’s focus figure has a definite story behind it, going back to the year 1997.  The 3 3/4 scale Joes had taken a 3-year break, and Hasbro was looking to attempt a relaunch of the line.  The result was the Real American Hero Collection, a collection of mistakes, mishaps, and misfortune that somehow still managed to be an overall success and bring the line back.  Interspersed with all the madness that surrounded the project, Hasbro was still trying to inject at least *some* new life into the franchise, and subsequently brought in some outside artists to try and spruce up some of the mainstays with some new color schemes.  Amongst these new designs was one for Destro, which replaced his usual black and red number with something more…exotic?  Okay, look, you’ve seen the picture at the top, I don’t need to beat around the bush: it’s leopard print.  They gave Destro leopard print.  What began as more of a jokey concept on the part of artist Steve Masso actually managed to get approved and go into production…briefly.  Once a few people higher up on the Hasbro chain saw the design, this new Destro design was deemed a step too far, and the leopard print was replaced with black on the final production figure.  A small sample of the original design, dubbed Pimp Daddy Destro by the fanbase, managed to make it out, however, and the whole thing has become rather legendary in the Joe community.  Hasbro paid its first bit of official homage to the design as a SDCC-exclusive in 2007, and is now following that up by bringing the design into their latest re-launch of the line, with a figure I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Profit Director Destro (rather clever way of getting an official take on the name on Hasbro’s part) is a fan channel-exclusive Classified Series offering, numbered at 15 in the line, making him chronologically the latest figure in the line.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation.  At his core, this figure is the same as the standard Destro from Series 1, which is pretty sensible, since PD Destro’s always been a repaint.  It’s also a really strong sculpt through and through, so I’m not unhappy to see it show up again.  He does actually spruce things up a little bit more than the prior two versions of this design, gaining a fairly swank cape.  Oh wait, did I say cape?  I meant capes, plural, because he’s got not one, but two fur capes going on there.  It’s definitely a fun piece, and manages to actually stay in place quite securely once you’ve got it one there, and definitely adds to the whole look.  The rest of the appearance has been achieved through paint work.  There were a lot of smaller detail changes on the body suit of the main Destro, and so this figure kind of adapts the PD color scheme around them.  The main red of the body suit is definitely more present this time around, and the leopard print is slightly more downplayed.  Also, much like the variant edition of the 2007 release, he swaps the silver helmet for a gold one.  It calls back to his V2 design, and it actually works a bit better with the overall color scheme of this design.  Destro’s pretty decently packed when it comes to accessories, including the briefcase and pistol from the standard release, as well as a pair of sunglasses and a stack of money that’s been lit ablaze.  The last two extras are definitely the coolest ones, as they perfectly complement the overall over the top nature of this design.  I dig the vibe.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m a sucker for cool toy history throw-backs, and I was always kind of bummed that I’d missed out on the ’07 edition of this design.  As soon as this one was shown off, I was definitely on board.  Obviously, he’s not going to be my standard Destro by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s a really fun little side figure, and he’s got a really fun design.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2529: Arctic Mission Storm Shadow

ARCTIC MISSION STORM SHADOW

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

Even before G.I. Joe went heavy into its ninjas, they’d been present for a while.  While everyone associates Snake Eyes with the whole ninja thing, it’s worth noting that he wasn’t so much responsible for bringing it into the franchise, since in 1982 he was still just a commando.  It was actually Storm Shadow’s arrival on the scene in 1984 that really ushered in the ninjas, with Snake Eyes getting a bit of a re-work to match Storm Shadow’s ninja skills for the other side.  The two have subsequently become rather intertwined, and ninjas have become a fixed piece of the mythos.  So, it’s not too much of a shock that Storm Shadow cropped up pretty quickly for this new incarnation of the line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Arctic Mission Storm Shadow is figure 14 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line-up, and is an Amazon-exclusive item.  He’s our first Storm Shadow, so it’s kind of interesting that he’s an environment-specific figure, rather than an all-purpose version.  That said, with the exclusive status on this guy, it makes sense to do something a little bit less standard, while still giving us a taste of the character.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 37 points of articulation.  In the history of environmental specific Joe appearances and Storm Shadows, there’s not actually been an Arctic Storm Shadow (well, okay, there was *technically* one in Sigma 6, but he was just the standard figure with the arms painted grey, so it’s iffy), so this is *technically* a new design.  That being said, he’s actually *not* really a new design, because Hasbro’s aptly repurposed Storm Shadow’s Ninja Force design for this release.  As with any of the designs for this line, there have been some adjustments to update it, give it that slightly sci-fi bend, and just generally fill the larger canvas a bit better, but the broad strokes are certainly all there, and I really like how this thing turned out.  There are a ton of layers to this design, and the most impressive part of it all is definitely the mask and removable hood.  The original figure had a permanently attached hood, but this one takes advantage of the scale and modern innovation for the removable factor, allowing a lot more depth of detail to the underlying mask, and the neck and collar of his uniform.  There’s a lot of really cool details I like in there.  The figure’s shoulder pads are also designed much like Baroness’s from yesterday, moving on their own, and allowing for more movement on the shoulders.  Another touch I like quite a bit is the absence of any sort of a Cobra insignia from his outfit; the Ninja Force figure was released while Storm Shadow had switched over to the Joes, so he didn’t have the Cobra logo, obviously.  Since this figure is *technically* still a Cobra, he can’t very well have any Joe logos either, so instead he got his Arashikage emblem, which definitely looks cool.  Storm Shadow’s paint work is what really sells the Ninja Force-esque design, with the proper black and white with gold accents.  It’s pretty clean and slick, and he’s also got printed eyes, which keep him nice and lifelike.  Storm Shadow is packed with another impressive selection of accessories, including a bow, arrow, quiver, sword, sheath, grapple, and sickle.  It pretty much covers all of the major bases for what a Storm Shadow could need, so I definitely dig it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since this is an Amazon exclusive, it’s probably not too hard to piece together where this guy came from.  He went up for order, and I ordered him, and then I received him in the mail.  Very exciting story, right?  Obviously, I had Snake Eyes, and I needed a Storm Shadow to pair off with him.  I gotta say, while he may not be standard, I really dig how they managed to get this particular design out there, and it makes for a really fun figure.  I can’t wait to see how the proper version turns out.  Also, can we possibly get a V4-inspired “Arctic” Snake Eyes to pair off with him?  Because that would make me very happy.

#2528: Baroness & Cobra C.O.I.L.

BARONESS & COBRA C.O.I.L.

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

Since its move to the 3 3/4 inch scale and subsequent re-branding under the “Real American Hero” branch of the franchise, vehicles have been a somewhat central piece of G.I. Joe.  When it became official that the line would be jumping to 6 inch scale, one of the early questions to pop-up amongst the fan base was: “What about the vehicles?”  Vehicles have been a hard-sell for the line pretty much since the end of the vintage years.  Obviously, at almost twice the size, they’re an even harder sell, but Hasbro’s dipping their toes in the water, much like they did with Star Wars, with a smaller-scale vehicle to try things out.  And, it’s also packed with one of the franchise’s central characters, so let’s see how all of that works out, I guess.

THE TOYS THEMSELVES

Baroness and the Cobra C.O.I.L. are another piece from the Target-exclusive “Special Mission: Cobra Island” sub-line of Classified Series.  They’re numbered 13 in the overall line-up, showing that the vehicles will also apparently be getting in on that main numbering scheme as well.  Also, for those of you tracking at home, you’ll see I went from 11 to 13.  That’s because 12 is the Cobra Trooper, and I haven’t yet become a miracle worker.

BARONESS

Baroness was an early addition to the toyline (and an even earlier addition to the franchise, due to being present in the comics well before her toy appeared), and has long been at the core of the franchise, so it’s no surprise that she’s getting added to this relaunch pretty early on.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and she has 35 points of articulation.  She’s got the same articulation scheme as Scarlett, meaning she’s a touch more limited in terms of posability than some of the others in the line, but as I noted on Scarlett, she’s still very serviceable on that front. In fact, she’s actually got one improvement over Scarlett in terms of construction; her shoulder pads are their own piece, allowing them to rotate out of the way, giving the shoulder’s slightly cleaner movement.  I do still wish there was a deeper range on the elbows, but I’m overall pretty happy with the mobility on this one.  In terms of design, Baroness joins her boy-toy Destro in staying pretty faithful to the vintage figure.  Obviously, there are a lot more parts and depth to this particular iteration, but the major parts of the costume all line up pretty much piece for piece with the layout of the V1 figure’s gear.  I definitely dig this.  Her head sculpt definitely falls slightly more into the modern era depictions of the character, and I definitely see a lot of similarities to Sienna Miller’s take on the character from Rise of Cobra going on.  That being said, there really are worse parts of that movie to be borrowing than Baroness’s design.  The glasses are a separate piece that’s been glued in place, and they’re quite well scaled to the figure.  Sometimes, I’m sketchy on that sort of set-up, but it actually works here.  Baroness’s color scheme is classically just a lot of black.  This figure takes that as a starting point, but does a fair bit more with it, adding dark grey sections to her underlying body suit.  She’s also got a printed face, which looks pretty solid, apart from one errant mark on my figure.  I also quite dig the gold tips on her glasses.  That’s a fun touch!  Baroness is quite well accessorized, with a second head sporting a helmet, two golden pistols, a strange snake gun thing, two rifles, and a knife.

COBRA C.O.I.L.

Our first vehicle for the new line is honestly not a huge surprise.  Motorcycles have been a piece of the Joes since pretty much the very beginning, and it’s a good, fairly low-cost way to introduce a vehicle to the line.  The only thing that I’m left to ponder is just what C.O.I.L. stands for, because the box doesn’t share that info with us. Alas, we’ll have to figure that out for ourselves.  The cycle measures 4 1/2 inches tall by 8 1/2 inches long, and has working wheels.  When I first saw the cycle, I was honestly expecting it to have a fair bit in common with Black Widow’s bike from Marvel Legends, but the two are wholly unique from each other.  This one’s got a rather unique design to it, which looks pretty decent, and fits well with the whole overall Cobra aesthetic.  It’s definitely in line with the line’s high-end sci-fi elements as well.  Baroness sits well on it, and you can even mount the two rifles each on the sides of the bike, for some proper armaments.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Given the nightmare that other people have been having trying to locate this one, I was anticipating not getting the chance to grab it at all.  However, like with the Roadblock from yesterday, I got a call from Max, who found one while on a grocery run.  Dope!  Baroness is a really nice figure, and a fantastic companion to the Destro figure from Series 1.  I feel confident she’ll be out again in some shape or form, and probably rather soon.  The bike I can kind of take or leave, because I don’t really associate Baroness with it, and I don’t really have anyone else who quite fits it yet.  Still, it’s not a bad piece either.

#2527: Roadblock

ROADBLOCK

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

For the second day of this week of G.I. Joe: Classified Series reviews I’ve got going, I’m gonna be doing some retreading….which is what I did for the second day of my last round as well.  Am I getting predictable, or is Hasbro?  Probably both of us, really.  The line’s first retreaded character was, unsurprisingly, Snake Eyes, but the second character to get the follow-up treatment is, a little bit surprisingly, Roadblock, a character that Hasbro seems to be really getting behind for this reboot.  Hey, I can’t really knock it myself, especially when it means more cool toys.  Let’s check it out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Roadblock marks the second figure in the “Special Mission: Cobra Island” sub-line of Classified Series figures, which is currently exclusive to Target…and eBay, I guess, but let’s try not to dwell.  Roadblock is numbered figure 11, picking up from Beach Head, and by extension the whole main line.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation.  Unlike Snake Eyes, who was just a straight deco change between the two figures, Roadblock’s gotten a rather adjusted design for his second outing.  While a lot of people were pulling for a Roadblock that came close to the V1 figure, this one actually moves even further away from it.  He’s got more of a covert ops feel to him, befitting the Cobra Island mission theme of the set.  It also seems to take a sizable chunk of its inspiration from Roadblock’s successor Heavy Duty in his Sigma 6 incarnation.  Given my vocal approval of Sigma 6, I’m definitely okay with this.  In order to get this new appearance, this guy uses the same core body as the prior Roadblock, but without the vest piece, and with the addition of a new head, and add-ons at the wrist and thigh.  Removing the vest does a lot to change up the body from the start, but the new pieces take it even further.  The new head is really the star piece, and the thing that brings up the Heavy Duty/S6 similarities.  He’s sporting a bandana and a sort of high-tech comm piece on his ear.  It also appears that Roadblock’s been on his mission for a little while now, because he’s got a large, bushy beard, and his friendlier expression from the last figure has become much more intense and worn down here.  I like how they’ve convincingly changed so much about his appearance.  The add-on pieces for the wrist and thigh straps are actually a bit of a preview here, initially being designed for the Gung-Ho figure that’s in the second main assortment.  They add a bit to the sci-fi elements of the design, and also do a little more to mix up the body, which certainly is fine by me.  Roadblock’s paint helps to sell the more covert elements of this design, transitioning him to more blacks and greys.  It’s not eye-catching, but then it’s not meant to be.  I don’t hate it; I can kind of dig the understatement.  Roadblock is armed with the same weapon as the last time, so he’s still toting around the big rail gun thing.  It does at least get a slightly altered paint scheme, with a bit of graffiti on the side, which I really quite like.  He’s also packed with a pair of sunglasses, which help to further sell the Sigma 6 feel on the design.  I’m down for this, you guys.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Roadblock is actually the first of these exclusives I was able to get my hands on.  It’s not much of a surprise, since he’s the one that everyone seems most willing to pass on.  Nevertheless, Max found this guy while on a grocery run, and hit me up, and boom, there he was.  I know he kind of pales in the light of new versions of major players and the line’s first army builder, but I really enjoy this Roadblock figure.  Honestly, with the number of changes, I’m thinking I might just find a slightly more Roadblock-y weapon for my Series 1 figure, and keep the rail gun with this guy so he can just be Heavy Duty.  Boom.  Then I can keep them both on my shelf, and my Joes get one more member.  I don’t know about you guys, but that seems pretty downright awesome to me.

#2526: Wayne “Beach Head” Sneeden

WAYNE “BEACH HEAD” SNEEDEN

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

It’s been a month since I took my last look at Hasbro’s re-boot of their G.I. Joe line under the Classified Series banner.  The initial drop from the line was a general release.  The immediate follow-up has been split between a few different locations.  The majority of the second round of product is courtesy of Target’s exclusive “Special Mission: Cobra Island” assortment.  It’s…not been a smooth process getting them out there, but….well…it’s not smooth.  That’s kind of the central piece to these figures.  Fortunately, it does seem like they’re finally making their way into some dedicated fan’s hands.  And hey, look at me, over here, being a dedicated fan.  The first of the new figures I’m taking a look at is the Joe’s own resident Drill Sergeant Nasty, Wayne “Beach Head” Sneeden!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Beach Head is the first figure in the “Cobra Island” sub-line of figures for the Classified Series line-up.  He’s numbered figure 10, and it looks like all of the other exclusives will be following suit, and keeping the on-going numbering for the line.  That’s different from how Hasbro handled the Black Series numbering, so I was a little surprised to see them go this route.  Given the total lack of any sort of actual exclusive branding, its possible that these might end up getting wider releases later?  One can only hope.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Beach Head’s design remains quite faithful to his V1 figure from ’86.  In terms of vintage accuracy, I’d say he’s pretty much only rivaled by Destro.  The specifics of his design have, of course, been somewhat refined, both to fit in with his more sci-fi-esque teammates, and to take advantage of the larger canvas that the new scale gives the character.  Beach Head marks the line’s first instance of cross-character parts re-use, making use of Duke’s legs and hands.  Given the sort of standard issue nature of both characters’ designs, it’s hardly an issue, and honestly not that noticeable at first glance.  The rest of his parts are new, and they’re really impressive.  From the incredibly dedicated texturing and stitching of Beach Head’s sweater and mask, to the angry and determined expression clearly visible beneath his mask, there’s a lot going on in this sculpt, and it’s all pretty awesome.  Quite honestly, it’s probably the best sculpt produced by the line so far, and that’s really saying something.  In terms of paintwork, Beach Head again stays pretty close to his vintage routes.  There’s one spot of the bright Tron-esque blue that’s been on all the Joes so far, but that’s it, and it’s honestly pretty tame.  The rest is drab greens and browns, and it works.  There’s actually a paint variant on this figure, which concerns the eyes.  Mine are blue, but there’s also one with black eyes out there, for those that care about such things.  I personally prefer the one I got.  Beach Head does quite well when it comes to accessories, getting a rifle, pistol, small crossbow, backpack, knife, and a beret.  I don’t know how I feel about the solid green on the weapons, but it’s not the end of the world.  I guess I just got accustomed to the painted weapons from Series 1.  Overall, definitely a fun selection, though, and he’s only an ammo case away from covering what was included with the original figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

To say that these Target-exclusive Joes have been hard to track down is something of an understatement.  I didn’t even come close to getting in on the online orders, so I’ve been relying on the kind nature of others to help me track them down in person.  Fortunately, Max was able to set me up with this guy via one of his collecting acquaintances, so I didn’t have to do too much searching on my own.  I’m glad I got him, because he’s probably my favorite thing to come out of the line at this point.

#2488: Scarlett

SCARLETT

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

To wrap up up my look at the first assortment of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe relaunch, I’m making my way to the First Lady of the franchise, Shanna O’Hara, aka Scarlett.  Debuting as one of the Original 13 back in the day, Scarlett has a sort of hot-and-cold run when it comes to action figures.  She’ll go long stretches between updates, and finds herself frequently left out of line-ups where she should be included (Sigma 6 being the biggest offender on that front).  Fortunately, she’s right here at the start for Classified.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Scarlett is figure 05 in the Classified Series line-up.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 35 points of articulation.  As far as mobility goes, she’s definitely the most limited of the first series figures, thanks to actually just having less articulation.  For the most part, she’s still pretty serviceable on that front, but the elbows are a lot more limited than I’d like, especially given that she’s got a weapon she’s meant to hold two-handed.  Some deeper bends are really needed.  Of all the designs in this first set, Scarlett’s is the one that’s the most far-removed from her original figure.  Now, in her defense, even the original animation and comics designs were a little bit removed from how the figure looked, so she’s already starting from there.  That said, there’s still a lot more modernization and tweaking going on this one.  It kind of makes sense, with her being the least regulation of the original bunch anyway.  She was running around in a leotard and was just shy of a super hero costume, so she’s always been a little bit of an outlier.  She’s also the one most prone to rather sizable re-works as the line progresses, so this is really just the next one of those.  For me, this design really works, because it possesses all of the broad strokes elements that really read as Scarlett, while still fitting in a little bit better with a modern aesthetic.  This design has a nice fusion of practicality and fantasy, and it keeps it pretty fun.  The sculpt does a solid job of bringing her into three dimensions, with a nice set of balanced proportions, and a ton of small detail work that helps her really pop.  In terms of paint, Scarlett is definitely a brighter splash of color than the rest of the assortment.  That’s not a bad thing, and it’s in keeping with usual depictions of her.  The use of the gold that’s been on most of the Joes looks a lot better here, especially when merged with the yellow that’s already there.  I’m also quire a fan of the variation on her hair, which gives it a nice sense of transparency and light.  I did notice a few spots of slop on the base paint for my figure, especially on the wrist guards.  I’m hoping Hasbro can tighten up the paint a little more on this line going forward.  Scarlett is packed with an updated version of her crossbow, plus three knives.  The crossbow is in two parts and has a tendency to pop apart a lot, but is otherwise pretty cool.  The knives can all be stowed on the figure, which gives them a nice extra interactive feel which I really enjoy.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m a very big fan of Scarlett, so as soon as I saw Snake Eyes, I was waiting to see the corresponding Scarlett.  I know she’s not everyone’s jam, but I really dig this new design a lot, and I like having her to go with my updated Snake Eyes.  I wouldn’t mind seeing a more classic version at some point as well, though, since I’m hardly going to turn down the chance to get another Scarlett figure.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2487: Duke

DUKE

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

Alright, we took a slight detour over to the Cobra side of things yesterday, but today we’re returning back to the Joes with perhaps the most Joe-y Joe there is, Conrad “Duke” Hauser.  Since joining the teams ranks in 1983, Duke has pretty much been the face of the franchise, taking a major role in the the last several revisions of the franchise as well.  He’s also nowhere near as cool as anyone else on the team, but I guess we’ll try not to hold that against him.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Duke is figure 04 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line.  Initially, he was supposed to be heavier packed alongside Snake Eyes, but when the cases dropped to 6 figures instead of 8, he went down to one per case.  It’s okay, though; it’s just Duke.  It’s not that big a deal.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation.  In terms of posablilty, he falls between Snake Eyes and Roadblock, being not quite as agile as Snake Eyes, but still getting a little more range than Roadblock.  Much like yesterday’s Destro, Duke’s a more faithful recreation of his old figure than the others in the set.  There are still a handful of changes, of course, to help bring him more in line with the slight sci-fi flair of the rest of the updated line, and to just sort of modernize him a bit.  I know some people weren’t big on the shin armor, but it feels rather Aliens-like to me, and I’m definitely down for that.  The head sculpt has gotten a little bit of flak from collectors who think he either has too modern of a haircut or looks a little too young for Duke.  I myself quite like the sculpt.  It’s got a little bit of a John Cena vibe to it, which actually works surprisingly well.  I also like that they’ve kept the scar that Duke frequently sports (in reference to the original Joes, of course), though it’s been moved up to his eyebrow instead of his cheek.  The overall end result definitely amounts to a very Duke-esque figure, and I can definitely get behind that.  Duke’s paint work is rough; definitely the roughest of this bunch.  My figure’s got quite a bit of slop on his uniform, especially at the top of the shirt and on the gloves.  Like I said, it’s rough.  At least mine has a decent looking face, which I can’t say for every other Duke that All Time got in.  I don’t know if there are line-wide issues with him or what, but he definitely ended up way worse on this front than the rest of the group.  Duke’s accessory selection is almost a match for his V1 figure’s set-up.  He gets a rifle, a pistol, a back pack, and a small pair of binoculars.  The rifle and pistol are again more sci-fi-esque designs, though I really dig how they’ve matched the silhouette of the rifle to the vintage counterpart’s sub machine gun.  I also really like how the binoculars clip onto his belt.  About the only thing this guy’s missing for the full vintage set-up is a helmet, and that’s honestly never been a very intrinsically Duke piece.  I definitely can’t knock what he’s got here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Classically, I’m not the biggest Duke fan, but of the Toy Fair reveals, he was probably the one who impressed me the most, because I think he’s a very nice merging of classic with modern.  The final figure has to contend with some production errors, which makes him a little touchy in some spots, but I’m overall quite happy with the end result.  I suppose he’ll be a suitable leader to my Joes for now.  You know, until Hawk arrives and I kick this guy to the curb.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2486: Destro

DESTRO

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

At the mid-way point of this new set of Joe reviews, we’re breaking from the Joes themselves and taking a look at their opposition.  Of course, it’s not a hard line Cobra member, but instead Destro, a mercenary arms dealer who has the potential to fall on either side of the conflict.  He’s gonna fall on Cobra’s side, because that’s how he always do, but there’s that option there, right?  That keeps things fun and funky fresh, right? Sure, let’s go with that.  Onto the figure review!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Destro is figure 03 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line-up, and is so far the line’s lone villain, though he will be joined by a number of others in the coming months.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation.  With all of the shifting designs with this new line, Destro stands out, actually being a pretty darn straight update of his original ’83 design.  All of the core design elements are maintained, with the metal head, the chained pendant, the open collar, and the general layout of his costume’s major details.  The updates to this particular design amount to adding some extra piping to the bodysuit and a few differently textured patches to the shoulders.  It all amounts to rather minor changes to the overall aesthetic of that classic design.  The sculpt is definitely a strong offering, with sharp and bold line-work, and some really well rendered features on the mask in particular.  The texturing on the outfit is also really well implemented, keeping things intriguing, while still saying overall pretty basic.  Destro’s paintwork is all pretty solid, and is probably the best to come out of this particular assortment.  It’s crisp and clean, and there’s just enough small pops of color to keep him from looking too drab on the shelf.  The silver paint for the helmet works quite well, and I like the minor shifts from grey to black.  In terms of accessories, Destro includes two guns, one larger, one smaller, and a briefcase with a Cobra computer and some stacks of money on the interior.  The larger gun and the case replicate the original Destro’s accessories quite nicely, and the additional gold pistol is a rather fun piece, that can easily be stowed in the holster on his side.  The only slight downside to the accessories is that the larger gun ended up a little too large to fit into the case, which would have been a nice storage option.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Destro was the last of the first series figures we got a preview on, and I honestly never formed all that much of an opinion on him.  He’s here.  He’s nice.  He’s a good recreation of the classic design, and that’s definitely cool.  It just doesn’t give me quite as much to say about him, honestly.  But, hey, he is a good figure, so there’s that.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2485: Snake Eyes

SNAKE EYES

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

For my second day looking into Hasbro’s relauched G.I. Joe, I’m already retreading.  I know, that’s crazy.  Here me out, though: it’s Snake Eyes.  Having one Snake Eyes is like having one potato chip: I just prefer not to have any at all because potato chips are weird and so are the people that like them.  No, wait, that’s not right.  I mean, the potato chip thing is right.  You potato chip people made your bed, now lie in it, and all of its inevitable potato chip crumbs.  But the Snake Eyes thing is definitely not right, because I will buy just about any Snake Eyes figure you put in front of me.  So, here’s this Snake Eyes.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Snake Eyes is figure 02 in G.I. Joe: Classified Series, and is notable for being the one figure in the first assortment to be double-packed.  That’s a smart move, because people sure do love Snake Eyes.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation.  Do you remember my review of the deluxe Snake Eyes?  Do you recall how much I loved that figure’s sculpt?  Good, because this guy has the exact same sculpt.  I’m not surprised, because it’s not like Hasbro was quiet about Snake Eyes also being in the main line, and it would be silly to only use such a great sculpt for a one-off exclusive.  What sets this guy apart is the color scheme.  The deluxe release went for a palette that was overall more complex and varied than we tend to see on Snake Eyes, with lots of browns, greys, and silvers.  I remarked in my review of that figure that Hasbro could have just left a lot more of the figure straight black.  Well, turns out they had that in mind, because this release strips things down a fair bit more, to mostly just black this time around.  Lest anyone think they just cheaped out, there’s still plenty of variation in the finish of the various black sections.  Personally, I enjoyed the slightly updated design colors from the prior release, but the all black does really feel more like Snake Eyes to me, so I like having both options available.  The other slight change-up for this guy is the accessory selection.  Obviously, he doesn’t get the whole rack of weapons of the deluxe, and he also drops the extra set of hands.  In addition, the Uzi and Beretta have been dropped in favor of more sci-fi-esque weaponry, more in line with the how the rest of the line is armed.  They’re both pretty nifty designs in their own right, and I’m sure a slightly easier sale to retailers in this day and age.  He does keep the backpack, silencer, and knife, although there seems to have been a slight mold error with the knife and its corresponding sheath this time, as it doesn’t want to go all the way in.  I may need to see about modding that, because it’s a little bit annoying.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was absolutely thrilled with the exclusive Snake Eyes, and honestly didn’t know what to expect of the standard retail release.  I honestly wasn’t even sure he’d be any different, at least as a core figure.  The paint change-up was not expected, but I really do enjoy it, and I’m just as happy with this guy as I was the initial release.  It will be hard to decide which one will be my main one for display.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2484: Roadblock

ROADBLOCK

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

“G.I. Joe is a highly skilled, on-demand, special operations force of men and women from around the globe. These extraordinarily talented heroes are selected for their elite abilities and tasked with defending the world from Cobra, a ruthless criminal organization bent on total domination. With unwavering courage and steely determination, the brave members of G.I. Joe are prepared to seek out Cobra in any environment on the planet. From hostile jungles to ice-clad arctic peaks…wherever there’s trouble, G.I. Joe is there.”

Back in April, I took my first look at the Classified Series, Hasbro’s new attempt at relaunching G.I. Joe as a line of 6-inch figures in the same vein as The Black Series and Marvel Legends, with their fancy deluxe Snake Eyes figure that they offered up as a Pulse Exclusive.  That guy was pretty darn awesome and definitely got me excited for the rest of the line.  Well, just four short months later I’ve finally gotten my hands on the first series proper, and I’ll be kicking things off with the most rhyme-tastic member of the Joes, Marvin F. Hinton, aka Roadblock!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Roadblock is figure 01 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line-up, the first of the five figures that make up Series 1 of the line.  Roadblock at first glance seems sort of odd as number 1, but Hasbro’s really been pushing him as a main character as of late, so this tracks with that.  At 6 3/4 inches tall he’s the tallest of the initial set of figures, and he has 37 points of articulation.  From a movement, he’s got all the same sorts of joints as what we saw on Snake Eyes, but his mobility is slightly more restricted, both by Roadblock’s slightly larger frame, and also by the presence of a somewhat thick vest piece overlay on the torso.  He’s still quite capable of attaining plenty of the necessary Roadblock-appropriate poses, and then some.  For my figure, his legs are a touch loose at the hips, but otherwise, the articulation is solid.  When these figures were unveiled, Roadblock’s design was under quite a bit of scrutiny, with people generally feeling it didn’t look enough like the character.  He’s certainly not a pitch-perfect recreation of the V1 figure, that’s for sure.  He is, however, a pretty close update of Roadblock’s 1986 V2 design (minus a t-shirt, and plus a couple of armored bits on the legs), which, among other things, is the design that was used in G.I. Joe: The Movie.  So, it’s not like that look doesn’t have its own level of prominence.  Now, is it quite as quintessential and appearance?  Perhaps not, but it’s still a valid Roadblock look.  Personally, I might have liked to see them throw a tank top under the vest and make the vest a little more easily removed, but I’m sure a more classically-inspired Roadblock is very definitely in the cards moving forward.  Taken on his own merits, this Roadblock’s sculpt is still rather impressive, and makes for a cool looking figure.  The detail work on his uniform is nice and sharp, and it’s cool to continue to see Roadblock portrayed as noticeably larger than the other members of the team.  His paintwork is generally pretty solid stuff.  There’s certainly a lot going on.  I know people weren’t big on the golden armor plates.  I’m not super crazy about them myself, but I also don’t find myself all that upset with them either.  They’re just there.  I do really dig the tattoo on his left shoulder; that’s a fun little piece of character added to the figure.  Okay, so, let’s talk about the other area that people weren’t so big on: the accessories.  Or, more specifically, the primary accessory.  Roadblock is the team’s heavy gunner, and he was originally packed with an M-2 Browning.  This figure replaces that with a more sci-fi-y rail gun-style weapon.  The thing is, it’s actually far more sensible for him to be carrying something like this in the somewhat sci-fi driven world than it would be for him to be carrying an actual WW2-era M-2 Browning, which is almost a century old at this point.  So, I can really understand Hasbro’s desire to update.  It’s a cool weapon with a cool design, and I really dig its removable clip/battery pack.  And, if you don’t dig the rail gun, I find that Deathlok’s mini gun makes for a pretty awesome replacement.  In addition to the rail gun, Roadblock also includes a small knife, which can be sheathed on his vest.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Going into this line, Roadblock was probably the figure I was looking forward to the least.  You see, for all the defending of the changes to the figure I did up there, I will admit that they amounted to a figure that did feel a little bit less Roadblock-y to me.  Ultimately, he was at the bottom of my list.  However, All Time ended up getting in their Roadblocks a week before the other figures, so I wound up with him on his own, and that allowed me to enjoy the figure in a vacuum.  He’s still probably my fifth-favorite figure in the set, but he doesn’t trail quite as far behind the others as I’d feared he might initially.  He’s actually a pretty fun figure.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.