#3087: Gabriel “Barbecue” Kelly

GABRIEL “BARBECUE” KELLY

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

A new G.I. Joe review?  In this economy?  Are you sure it’s legal?  I wouldn’t want to be accused of taking part in a rumble.  Or, you know, in this case, a Barbecue.  Right?  It’s funny, right?  Cuz he’s…you know…Barbecue?  And that’s a thing that you can take part in?  Much like the “rumble” to which the original quote referred? Am I getting too referential in my humor?  Yeah, probably.  Okay, fine, no more comedy for the whole rest of the review.  Just completely dry.  You know, like a Barbecue.  …I’ll see myself out.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gabriel “Barbecue” Kelly is figure 32 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line-up, and is the latest of the line’s Target-exclusive Cobra Island subset.  He gets to use his whole name, as, like Breaker and Beachhead, it’s not really possible for Hasbro to trademark a word as commonplace as “Barbecue.”  He started hitting retail around the same time as the Breaker and RAM Cycle pack, if not just a touch later.  There’s no full assortment set-up with him, so he’s presumably a solid case figure, much like Major Bludd was.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation…sort of.  The ab crunch is notably pretty restricted on this guy, so he doesn’t really have much use of that joint.  Beyond that, it’s pretty standard movement for the line, which is pretty solid.  Barbecue is built using Destro as a starting point, which serves to make him a little bigger and bulkier than most of his team mates, barring Roadblock.  It makes a fair bit of sense for a guy who’s covered head to toe in protective gear.  As with some of the other more recent figures, Barbecue is a rather close recreation of his original v1 figure.  There are obviously some updates, just to modernize him ever so slightly, and also fill in the visual space just a little bit more at the larger scale.  He gets a little more armoring on the shoulders and wrists, as well as a little more tactical gear around the middle.  The helmet is a particularly cool piece; it very faithful to the original design, while sharpening things up just a little bit, and also adding some smaller details, again to help with fill in that extra visual space.  Barbecue’s paint work is generally pretty basic; it matches up with his established color scheme quite well, and the application is all pretty sharp.  I wouldn’t mind seeing maybe a few other smaller details worked in, but he checks all of the basics off, which is still pretty solid.  Barbecue is packed with his classic backpack, hose attachment, and spray gun, as well as a smaller axe based on the one included with the original figure, and an all-new larger axe piece.  The smaller axe and spray gun are able to be holstered on the legs, and the larger axe has a spot on the backpack.  The ones on the legs work well, but the backpack one isn’t quite as practical.  That said, it’s nice to see them still try to give everything proper storage.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve effectively given up on the hunt when it comes to the Target-exclusives for this line, and I had no major need to have Barbecue in any sort of a rush, so I made no concerted effort to get one at retail.  I’d honestly almost forgotten he’d even been released, but then an almost complete run of Classified Series figures got traded in at work, so I had a much easier time of snagging one.  And who am I to argue with that?  So, boom, now I’ve got a Barbecue.  He’s pretty great.  He’s fairly by the numbers, but that’s not a bad thing, and he’s a pretty great update to the original.  All in all, not a bad offering at all, though again one that feels a little odd as an exclusive.

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.

#3038: Alley Viper

ALLEY VIPER

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

Introduced into the vintage line rather surprisingly late into its run in 1989, the Alley Viper has nevertheless become a memorable piece of the franchise.  Perhaps it’s the utter absurdity of the neon orange and blue camo on a supposedly urban-setting specializing trooper, which somehow manages to make even the most fervent of anti-neon Joe fans make an exception for this one.  Who knows.  What I do know is that this particular Viper-variant has certainly faired better than the rest of its ’89 compatriots, with a subsequent 14 variations on its design over the years, including today’s focus, the trooper’s introduction into the Classified Series.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Alley Viper is figure 34 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line-up, released in the newest assortment of the line, alongside yesterday’s B.A.T. and a reissue of Gung-Ho.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation.  Structurally, the Alley Viper uses the Duke body as a starting point.  It’s definitely Hasbro’s favorite starting point for the line, which is sensible, since it’s a basic set of tactical gear.  For the most part, it’s really just the legs that are re-used, with pretty much everything else being all new.  Like yesterday’s B.A.T., the design on the Alley Viper is decidedly a lot closer to the original V1 figure than some of the line’s earlier offerings.  This one does update some of the details for some more modernization and a slightly more real world tactical feel.  All of the major design elements from the original figure are present, and in the same spots, with some additional details to help fill in the larger canvas, which is certainly cool.  I really dig the moving visor, which is one of the original figure’s coolest features, and works out much the same on this one as well.  There’s also just a ton of detail work going into the sculpt, which gives him a nice feeling of depth to his design.  The color work on the Alley Viper is one of his most distinctive features.  He’s bright orange and blue.  That’s kind of the point, and it’s kind of an important one.  This figure sticks to that, and it’s super silly, and goofy, and gaudy, and I absolutely love how it turned out.  The V1 Alley Viper included the visor, shield, backpack, and a submachine gun, all of which are present on this release.  He also adds a pistol and two knives for his holsters, plus a larger rifle.  Additionally, the backpack, which on the V1 release had a gun worked into the mold, actually sports a third fully removable rifle, complete with a grappling hook, again throwing back to the V1 version.  It’s a really fun selection of extras.  The two main guns both have removable magazines, and while the new shield doesn’t have the window at the top for him to look through, he does get a really cool decal showing some sort of wire frame readout.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ll admit, I don’t have much personal attachment to the Alley Viper.  It’s outside my main focus for the vintage line, and the early ’00s line, which served to get me into things, was when they were really downplaying the design’s funky colors, which does sort of hamper its staying power.  My favorite Alley Viper is the Resolute one, which honestly barely even counts as an Alley Viper.  So, when these guys were first previewed hiding up at the top of that back-of-the-box illustration, I wasn’t jumping up and down for them or anything.  When they were finally confirmed, they were of course in tandem with the B.A.T.s, which did sort of steal the thunder a bit.  That said, I did really like the look of him, and I wasn’t going to pass up on getting at least one of them.  While he’s not competition for the B.A.T., he’s still a really, really good figure in his own right.  It’s honestly a fantastic update to the original, and I can definitely dig it.

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.

#3037: B.A.T.

B.A.T.

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

Alright, I gave some love one of Hasbro’s in-house properties, how about the other?  It’s been a little tricky to devote proper love to G.I. Joe in the last few years, what with the line essentially dying for a bit, and then its subsequent re-launch in 2020 being absurdly hard to get ahold of for the first two years of its run.  Perhaps 2022 is the year that things start to turn around?  That sure would be nice.  Something that does seem to be pointing to things being at least a little better is how they’re handling the army builders.  The line’s first few army builders were wonky, with the initial Cobra Trooper and Viper as really hard to get exclusives, and the Red Ninja being the short pack of its respective assortment.  This year, we’re getting two army builders, packed at heavier numbers, in standard assortments, right out of the gate.  The first of them is an update on 1986’s own Battle Android Trooper, better known as the B.A.T. for short!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The B.A.T. is figure 33 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line-up, hitting in the first assortment of 2022, alongside the Alley Viper and a re-pack of Gung-Ho.  The B.A.T. is the heaviest packed figure in the assortment, which certainly makes a lot of sense, and will hopefully help to keep the figure from being quite as prohibitively hard to find as some of the line’s earlier figures.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 36 points of articulation.  The articulation scheme more or less just follows what’s been previously established with the line, and I’m quite alright with that, really.  The B.A.T.’s sculpt is an all-new one, very clearly patterned on the original V1 version of the character.  As with the rest of the line, there’s certainly some updating and modernizing, but on this release in particular, it’s rather down-played.  This one feels much more like a rather direct update, as opposed to more of an overhaul.  I really enjoy just how much detailing goes into this particular look, from the mechanics of the arms, to the heavy texturing of the overlying uniform.  I also really love the in-depth sculpting on the torso panel; to think that used to just be a sticker on prior figures.  The color work on the figure largely follows the V1 set-up.  It’s fairly basic overall, but does what it needs to.  I’m not crazy about the molded plastic silver on the arms, thigh strap, and grenades, especially when all the other silver is painted, but it’s not the end of the world, and, at least on the arms, it’s true to the V1.  The B.A.T. is packed with a handgun, two removeable chest plates (one standard, one damaged), an alternate damaged head, a backpack, and three different alternate hand attachments, mimicking those seen on the original figure.  The chest plates being solid black is the one notable design change here, and while it’s not my first choice, it’s also not a terrible look either (plus there are third party clear plates out there, if you’re a stickler about it), and I love the damaged option.  The damaged alt head is really awesome, calling back to one of the best features of the 25th line, and just further expanding upon it.  The alternate hands are rather standard, and aside from maybe wishing the claw had gotten extra movement like on the 25th release, I’m quite happy with them.  In general, it’s just a really solid selection of extras here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After the Viper, the B.A.T. is a very close runner-up for my favorite Cobra army builder.  I knew it wasn’t going to be long before we saw them, but I was still a little bit anxious to see them when we were early in the line.  Once we got the rumors, and then the eventual confirmation, I was very down for these figures.  No way was I gonna pass on a really cool B.A.T.  And that’s what this is: a really cool B.A.T.  I love how close they stuck to the original, while still giving him enough subtle changes to fit in with the rest of the line.  All of the extras here are fantastic, and I look forward to seeing what possible re-decos and such we might be able to see of this one.

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.

#3023: Scarlett

SCARLETT

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

It’s hard for me to say what I thought the best movie from 2021 was, but it’s not even remotely difficult for me to say what the worst movie was, because, I’ll tell you straight up, it was Snake Eyes.  I discussed the film’s terribleness already back over the summer, when the wound was still fresh, but I’ve decided to re-open it here, I guess.  It’s okay, because I actually get to talk about one of the only things I actually liked in the movie, Samara Weaving’s portrayal of G.I. Joe’s first lady, Scarlett.  I’ve actually been waiting for her Classified Series release, and its finally hitting, well after the iron is cold, but hey, at least she’s the one figure I still felt compelled to buy after actually seeing the movie.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Scarlett is figure 20 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line-up.  She’s numerically the final of the Snake Eyes movie figures, and also is way lower than the rest of the Joes released around her, due to the whole delaying the movie’s release.  Technically, she was in the second movie assortment, alongside Akiko, but it appears that there was some sort of production snafu or something, because the actual assortment cases don’t seem to have appeared, and Akiko wound up showing up much earlier.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and she has 34 points of articulation.  Scarlett’s articulation scheme pretty much just matches up with what we saw on Baroness, with the updated pinless construction on the knees, while still having the single joints on the elbows.  The elbows at least have a slightly better range than the standard Scarlett, so that’s a definite plus.  Scarlett’s sculpt is an all-new offering, based on her fully-geared up appearance from the film’s climactic battle.  It’s not a bad modernization of Scarlett’s classic look, and it also gets more than 15 seconds of screen time, which gives it a definite leg-up on Snake Eyes, right?  The likeness of Weaving isn’t bad; maybe not spot-on, but it’s fairly clear who it’s meant to be.  The uniform work has some decent detailing, with a nice bit of depth and sharpness.  Scarlett’s paint work is overall alright.  There’s some pretty solid work on the detailing of the torso armor, and the face print works pretty well to keep her lifelike.  She’s missing a handful of the color applications on her armor as seen in the movie, which makes her design a little drabber than it is in the film, but for the most part, it looks pretty decent.  Scarlett is packed with her crossbow, which is a nice piece, but also a rather small one.  That’s all she gets, and, if I’m honest, that feels pretty woefully light compared to the rest of the set.  At least another gun or something would be nice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Before even seeing the movie, this was really the only figure in the set that I knew I wanted.  After seeing the movie, she was still the only one I truly wanted, though I had already picked up the first assortment by that point.  The long wait on this one’s release was a bit of a bummer, but I finally got her.  The paint’s missing some details, and I’d really like to see more accessories included, but I generally really like this figure.  It’s a good design, and it’s a reminder of really the only good thing about the movie, so I’m all about 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.

#3009: Snake Eyes & Timber

SNAKE EYES & TIMBER

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

I haven’t actually gotten to talk about G.I. Joe, specifically it’s most recent re-launch, Classified Series, since all the way back in October, which on one hand doesn’t seem that long ago, but also really does.  It’s not really like I’m missing much that’s worth reviewing, of course; there hasn’t really been much new.  When last discussing things, I brought up the line’s Original 13, the debut line-up for the Real American Hero incarnation of the franchise.  While some of them remained more or less confined to those early years, a few of them took off.  Most notable was the first year’s resident cost-saver, Snake Eyes, who would become the franchise’s most distinctive character.  Today, we turn our sights his earliest incarnation, or at least a re-imagining of it, alongside his trusty sidekick, Timber!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Snake Eyes and Timber are a deluxe-sized release, thus far unseen in the main retail line, for Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: Classified Series, where they are item 30, placing them right after Breaker and the RAM Cycle in the numbering sequence.  Though pairing off Snake Eyes with Timber is nothing new for the brand, it’s not usually this version of Snake Eyes that gets paired with Timber, since Timber was first included with Version 2.  However, with the initial Snake Eyes being V2-inspired already, it made sense not to double back on variants.

SNAKE EYES

We’ve had no shortage of Snake Eyes variants in this line up to this point, with this in particular being the fourth version.  There have been two versions based on V2, and one based on the film, but this one goes back to the original commando-based V1 design.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation.  Snake Eyes is built on a mix of parts, largely stemming from the Beach Head-version of the Duke mold.  It’s a good starting point for an update on Snake’s classic turtle-necked design, and just a good starting point in general, as it remains one of my favorite figures in the line.  He borrows the holster from the first Snake Eyes, in a nice bit of cross-use, and then gets a new head and shins, along with new overlay pieces for his webgear and the sheath for his knife.  As stated above, the aim of this sculpt is to capture the V1 design, or at least to offer something of an update to it.  It does a good job of that, and in fact stays a lot closer than the more sci-fi-inspired figures from the rest of the line.  It’s a fitting choice, since this is supposed to be an earlier in his career Snake Eyes, presumably from before the Joes get quite as tech savvy.  I particularly like the new head, especially how you can see the separate parts of the assembly.  The webgear likewise has a lot of depth of detail to it.  In general, it captures all of the broad strokes of the original figure, but at a larger scale and with more going on.  Still, it’s not over designed, or anything like that; it’s the right level of detailing.  Snake Eye’s paint work is much simplified compared to the prior figures.  This is on purpose, no doubt to call back to the V1 figure’s complete lack of paint.  This one is a little more detailed than that one, but does have a slight variance to the exact finish of the blacks, just to give him a little bit of variety.  He also gets one small bit of white detailing on his grenade, which is a nice touch.  Snake Eyes is packed with his classic Uzi, as well as an ump45 with, to quote Tim, “a whacked out front end,” an assault rifle that appears to be a combination of a number of things with a lot of customizations, a Beretta m93r (with removable silencer, just like the first release),  and a large knife.  The rifles are fun, since they both feature removable magazines, which I always enjoy.  Snake Eyes includes no sword, of course, as is proper for a true commando Snake Eyes.

TIMBER

First included with the V2 Snake Eyes back in ’85, Timber had appeared in other media prior, notably in the cartoon as the wolf that guides an irradiated Snake Eyes back to safety in the second mini-series.  Over the years, he’s been featured in the main line a good number of times, but it’s rare that he’s ever anything more than an unarticulated accessory.  For his debut in Classified, Hasbro’s given him the proper figure treatment.  He’s about 3 inches tall and 5 1/2 inches long, and he has 29 points of articulation.  While his articulation doesn’t have as full a range as I might like, there’s still quite a bit of range to it, and he can get into a decent selection of poses.  The sculpt does quite a nice job of capturing a rather basic wolf look, with an impressive level of detail work.  He includes two different heads, one calm, and the other snarling, again adding to the display options for the figure.  The paint work on Timber is generally pretty solid.  There’s a pretty nice two-toned thing going on with the fur, which has a rather subtle change-over.  I also really like the gold irises on the eyes, as well as the slight shading to the scars on the face.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I generally do angle towards the V2-style for my default Snake Eyes, I’ll admit I have quite a soft-spot for the commando look for the character, especially as sort of a “starter” look for the character.  I was hoping we’d see at least some sort of a nod to it in the modern line, but wasn’t expecting a full-on update.  I’m very happy with how this one turned out.  He’s just a very nice figure.  Timber’s also kind of an essential piece, and I’m happy to see Hasbro give him the proper deluxe style treatment here.  In general, this is really one of the coolest sets to come out of Classified, and I look forward to seeing what else Hasbro might do with this price-point.

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

#2926: Alvin “Breaker” Kibbey with RAM Cycle

ALVIN “BREAKER” KIBBEY w/ RAM CYCLE

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

G.I. Joe: Classified Series has kind of slowed its pace in new releases, presumably to allow people a chance to, you know, actually find some of them.  The last two sets of the main line have been devoted to the ill-fated movie tie-in stuff, while the core line stuff is still kind of tied-up with exclusives.  Two years into the line, we’re getting a second vehicle, this time around for the Joes.  It’s another bike, though this time it’s actually an update on one of the vintage vehicles, specifically the RAM Cycle, one of the Real American Hero line’s debut vehicles.  It’s even packed with an updated version of one of the Original 13, Breaker!

THE TOYS THEMSELVES

Alvin “Breaker” Kibbey and the RAM Cycle are one of the two pieces in the latest round of Target-exclusive “Special Mission: Cobra Island” sub-set of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: Classified Series.  They’re numbered 29 in the overall line-up, thus far the highest number we’ve seen.  Breaker with the RAM Cycle feels like a kind of an odd pairing, but it’s actually not the first time they’ve been packed together, since they did the same thing in the 25th line.

ALVIN “BREAKER” KIBBEY

Breaker was one of the handful of greenshirts that launched the ARAH line in 1982, but has largely been confined to purely recreations and anniversary stuff since then.  As such, he’s really only had the one look (we don’t talk about “Stars and Stripes Forever” guys), which is effectively one this one’s recreating, albeit in a more modernized sense.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation.  In terms of articulation, Breaker is rather standard for the line, but I did note that on mine the left hip was exceptionally loose.  Structurally, Breaker’s got a lot of re-use, going on.  The torso is from Beach Head, the arms from Duke, and the legs and waist are from Snake Eyes.  He then gets a new head, chest cover, and boots in order to make him a little more unique.  I’m gonna be honest, I’m already kinda starting to get tired of seeing Duke’s arms; we really need a set with the more proper tighter roll on the sleeves sooner than later.  I’m also not entirely sold on the new head.  It’s not a bad piece, and even bears quite a resemblance to Jake Gyllenhaal, which I guess could work well if you want an unmasked head for Mysterio.  That said, it feels a little too suave and cool for Breaker.  Again, not bad, but it does seem slightly out of character.  The vest is also a little more bulked up, and with him being packed in with a vehicle, I do kinda feel like I’m getting Clutch vibes off of him more so than Breaker.  I guess this is just one of those things that comes along with how similar all of the original figures were.  Breaker’s paint work is fairly one note.  There’s a lot of olive green, which is true to his design, I suppose.  The application is a little spotty, especially on the hairline and on the edges of the wrists.  In general, he gets the job done alright, though.  Breaker is packed with an all-new helmet.  It’s got his comm piece built in, as well as an affixed visor.  The visor is totally opaque, which is kind of a bummer, and also adds to making Breaker look too cool to really be Breaker.  I’m also kind of sad we didn’t get an alternate head with his trademark bubble gum bubble; we got it for Jubilee and Boom, why not Breaker?

RAM CYCLE

Hey, we finally got a second vehicle for the line!  What’s it gonna be this time?  Another motorcycle?  Wow, what a total shock that no one could have possibly seen coming.  Look, we all know bikes are the most cost effective way of doing vehicles at this scale, so I think we can all just get comfortable with this one, right?  Unlike its predecessor, the COIL, the RAM Cycle is a classic Joe vehicle, so it’s nice to see it make a return here.  The RAM is an all-new mold, measuring 5 inches tall by 8 inches wide, and having working wheels and steering.  It’s a pretty decent recreation of the vintage RAM Cycle, scaled up to the new line size, of course.  There are some pretty cool sculpted details worked in, and it’s got a totally different feel from the COIL’s Cobra-themed aesthetic, making it clearly a Joe vehicle.  Breaker also sits on it a little better than Baroness did on the COIL, making it feel like a slightly more coherent set.  There’s a removable side car piece, designed with the included minigun in mind.  It mimics the old toy’s mounted gun, while also allowing for the gun to be used on its own, presumably for someone who’s, you know, not Breaker.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Target exclusives for this line are kind of burning me out at this point.  I’m just rather tired of the hunt, and of not finding anything, and of having to deal with all the related stupidity.  So, I made no notable attempt to get Breaker, because I just couldn’t be too bothered really.  Plus, it’s another vehicle, and I’m not really displaying those right now, so it felt like a bit of a waste.  Max wound up snagging one of these for himself, and after opening it, admitted he really only wanted the bike, so Breaker was going to just be tossed in a bin somewhere.  I admitted I really only wanted Breaker, so we opted to split the set, with me doing the full review here first.  Breaker’s fairly by the numbers, and kind of not terribly Breaker-like, but he’s a decent enough figure that I’m glad to have him.  The cycle is fun, and I’m glad I got to mess with it, but it’s not something I need to own, so this set-up really does work out for both of us.

Flashback Friday Figure Addendum #0016: Scarlett

SCARLETT

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

What’s this?  Another Flashback Friday Figure Addendum?  Yeah, it’s been like a whole year since I’ve done one of these, I know.  And just like the last time, I’ll say don’t get too attached.

Since the second year of the small-scale G.I. Joe line, way back in 1983, running changes on the figures has been a rather common place thing in the line.  When the first year figures were brought out for a second round along side series 2, they had swivels added just above the elbows, increasing articulation, and helping them better match the other figures in the line.  So, it comes as little surprise that such things are showing up in Classified as well.  The first series of the line featured some notable deviations from prior designs, with a few of the color schemes in particular getting some notable complaints.  Hasbro decided to address this with running changes to three of the launch figures, giving them all-new color schemes for refresh cases.  I’m in a Scarlett mood already today, so why not look at that one? First, though, here’s my review of the original release.

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.

I only wrote that review a year and a half ago, so I can’t really say there are any observable changes in my reviewing style here.  As you can see from the above review, I’m not so opposed to the Scarlett figure as she was released initially.  It’s a very different take, but one that I didn’t feel was too out of place for the character.  The sculpt very definitely didn’t bother me, and that’s fortunate, because it has remained unchanged here.  What has changed is pretty much all of the paint work.  All of the gold and bright blue elements have been replaced, with the gold being swapped for a more reserved tan, and the blue just being absent entirely.  Her undersuit has been changed as well, with a black top in place of the purple from the last one, and tan on the pants in place of the grey from before.  Her hair has also been slightly darkened, and her face has just generally been given a little bit more detailing.  As someone who didn’t have issues with the prior version, I can still say that this one looks emphatically better.  She just really pops on the shelf, and I feel she’s really worth the upgrade.

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.

#2872: Baroness – Origins

BARONESS — ORIGINS

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

Oh, you didn’t think I was done with Snake Eyes, did you?  I mean, if you did, that’s okay.  I can understand the desire.  I wanted to be done with Snake Eyes.  I wanted to be done with Snake Eyes so bad that when the credits started to roll, I legitimately Googled to see if there was a stinger, and upon discovering there wasn’t one past the one that was like 5 seconds in, I promptly got up and left, which is something I never do with movies.  That’s how much I wanted to remove myself.  But I’m still writing the reviews of the figures, so I guess I’m a glutton for punishment.  In my review of the titular character, I did mention a short list of things I did not hate about the movie.  Well, I’m happy to report that today’s focus, Baroness, was one of those things.  Ursula Corbero’s take on the character had the right amount of both camp and menace, and she had really good chemistry with Samara Weaving’s Scarlett.  It’s a shame that the movie didn’t make more use of her.  At least she got the toy, though.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Baroness is figure 19 in the Classified Series line-up, which shows a jump from the other two.  She’s the only other figure in the first assortment for the movie, though.  It’s weird to get the number jump *within* an assortment.  I’d guess that Akiko is probably the missing 18, but they decided to move Baroness, because, I don’t know, maybe they saw the movie and realized people might be upset if neither of the two good characters were actually in the launch assortment?  I mean, that’s just my best guess.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and she has 33 points of articulation.  Her articulation set-up exists in an odd sort of middle ground, as she’s only got the single joints on the elbows, but her knees are using the pinless construction.  Like the Shang-Chi figures from Legends, it feels like she got tweaked once they knew there’d be a delay.  I’m not really complaining, because her articulation does work pretty well.  Her sculpt is an all-new one, and unlike the other two in this assortment, it’s based on something she actually wears in the movie, for the majority of her screen time, no less.  It’s a slight tweak on the usual Baroness get-up, but the important parts are certainly there, and the general feel of the character is captured pretty well.  The sculpt captures the design nicely, as well as sporting a decent likeness of Corbero.  I quite like the texture work that is present in the uniform, an after the standard Baroness’s glasses were permanently attached, the removable ones on this figure are pretty cool.  Baroness’s paint work is pretty basic for the most part.  The face is the most complex part, and the printing gives it a nice lifelike quality.  Everything else is pretty cleanly handled.  Baroness is packed with an MP5k (a rare actual gun for the line), complete with removable suppressor and magazine, as well as two rather large knives.  Not a bad assortment at all.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Before even seeing the movie, Baroness was my favorite figure from this assortment.  She just really seems to click for me in a way that the other two really don’t.  The design works, the implementation works, and even the accessories are pretty solid.  The fact that I actually liked her in the movie just helps the figure overall.  I guess good things can come out of bad things, too, right?

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.

#2871: Storm Shadow – Origins

STORM SHADOW — ORIGINS

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

Okay, I ripped off the band-aid yesterday, and discussed the steaming pile of weirdly out of place giant snakes that was Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins. There was a short list of things I liked about the movie.  Storm Shadow was not on that list.  Admittedly, I was a little biased going in, because I felt that Storm Shadow was easily one of the best parts of the previous live action Joe movies, so there’s a higher bar there, but this version really just left me rather cold.  He’s just rather hollow and two dimensional, and generally not a terribly compelling take on a character that really shouldn’t be that hard to make compelling.  Seriously, how do you mess up Storm Shadow?  How!?!  Okay, I’m getting side tracked here.  Look, I’ve just got to get this figure review out of the way, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Storm Shadow is figure 17 in the Classified Series line-up.  As I addressed yesterday, the lower numbers showcase how these figures were supposed to come out last year, much like the movie itself.  Storm Shadow’s numbering places him right after Snake Eyes numerically.  He’s also in the first of the two movie assortments.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation.  His articulation scheme is pretty much the same as Snake Eyes, meaning he too is missing the cuts on the shins.  Additionally, his hips are a little restricted by the construction of the skirt piece, and generally the articulation is a little more obvious and rudimentary in its implementation.  Given how sleek the rest of the line’s been with the articulation and how it works into the sculpts, this guy definitely feels like a step back, which is a shame.  That said, he’s another all-new sculpt, based upon Storm Shadow’s fully geared up appearance from the film’s final act.  Unlike Snake Eyes, that means its a look that’s in more than 15 seconds of the film, although I don’t believe he ever actually wears the mask in the movie.  I can’t recall for certain, though, and I’m certainly not watching it again to double check.  Generally, it’s not a terrible design.  I don’t like it as much as the earlier movie Storm Shadow look, but it’s workable.  As noted above, the sculpt isn’t quite as strong as others in the line, and in general the design doesn’t really translate well to toy form.  Which, you know, seems like something they should have confirmed before, I don’t know, putting it in a movie that’s entirely toy line driven, don’t you think?  Nah, that’s crazy.  Storm Shadow’s paint work is generally okay.  The suit’s largely an off-white, which is true to the movie, but not as striking as the earlier designs.  Less prone to yellowing, though, I suppose.  The other painted details are generally pretty well handled, though what we can see of his skin on the masked head seems really pink.  Storm Shadow is packed with two swords, a back pack to house them, and an unmasked head.  The head has a solid likeness of Andrew Koji, so I guess that’s okay.  He’s got one less accessory than Snake Eyes, though, which does feel light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with Snake Eyes, I got this guy before the movie came out.  We still don’t have a basic Storm Shadow, so I was hoping this guy might work as something of a stand-in.  Ultimately, I wasn’t wowed by the character in the movie, and I don’t think the design works well as a toy, making this guy by far the weakest of this bunch for me.  Much like the movie, I hoped this figure might surprise me, but I was ultimately left kinda cold on him.

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.

#2870: Snake Eyes – Origins

SNAKE EYES — ORIGINS

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

Originally slated for a 2020 release, Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe origins finally hit theaters on July 23rd of this year.  There have been three live action G.I. Joe movies, and the prior two aren’t exactly known for the high praise that follows them (though I do genuinely like Rise of Cobra, and feel that it gets a lot of undeserved hate), so the bar for this one was set pretty low.  Going into it, my only hope was that it wouldn’t be the worst live action G.I. Joe movie.  That’s a reasonable expectation, right?  Well, as it turns out, no, that wasn’t, because Snake Eyes is undoubtedly the worst of the three, and it’s not even that close, if I’m honest.  I can’t say it’s the worst movie-going experience I’ve had, but that’s only because I saw the last Hellboy in the theater, and Snake Eyes was, at least, not quite as bad as that.  But it’s still not great, my guys.  I do have a short list of things that I actually liked about the movie, however, and one of those things was the final Snake Eyes design.  It’s really cool.  Strong design.  Would have been great to see it actually, you know, get used at all, but, well, we didn’t.  Got some toys of it, though.  That’s better than nothing, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Snake Eyes if figure 16 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line-up.  Since the movie was slated for a release last year, Hasbro had presumably already gotten at least some of the work involved with them done, so they’re numbering is quite early in the count, thus explaining the gap that occurred last year in the line-up.  Snake Eyes is the first of the movie figures numerically, and is one of the three figures shipping in the first of the two movie assortments.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation. His articulation scheme is pretty much the same as the standard Classified Snake Eyes, just without the swivels on the shins (which isn’t really that much of a loss anyway.  Getting him posed wasn’t quite as easy on this figure, as the joints were a little tighter and restricted at first, but generally it works out pretty well.  Snake Eyes has a totally unique sculpt, based upon the design that he wears for 15 seconds at the end of the movie.  Sure, it’s not in the movie for long, but it does at least look like something Snake Eyes would wear.  While I still think I prefer the standard Classified figure’s take on a modern Snake Eyes, this design isn’t a bad one, and the sculpt does a good job of translating it into figure form.  There are a variety of differing textures, which to keep him rather visually interesting.  His paint work is predominantly black, as you would expect, but as with the prior figure, there are differing finishes to the various parts of the outfit, again to keep things more interesting.  He’s also got a few spots of red detailing, including the Arashikage symbol on his arm.  Snake Eyes is packed with an alternate unmasked head, a sword and sheath, and two knives.  An unmasked head on a Snake Eyes is real weird, but it’s to be expected, and it does at least have a passable likeness to Henry Golding, and it’s something different for the character.  The sword and sheath are nice enough pieces that match well with what we see on the screen.  The knives are decent, though I dislike the fact that there’s no storage option for them.  It’s also weird to get a Snake Eyes with no guns, especially when he has molded trigger fingers and everything.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I snagged Snake Eyes and the rest of the first set in the lead up to the movie’s release.  I liked the look of them well enough, and I was really hoping the movie might not be terrible.  I then saw the movie for my birthday, and it was, in fact, terrible, which was a bit of a letdown.  But I already had the figures, so I figured I might as well review them.  This figure’s not a bad Snake Eyes toy, especially removed from the film that spawned it.  Given that the first one is still a little hard to come by, this is a decent back-up.

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.