#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.

#2849: Major Bludd

MAJOR BLUDD

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

We’ve had something of a hiatus from G.I. Joe reviews around these parts, mostly because there hasn’t actually been all that much to review, surprisingly.  We’ve got a lot just now hitting and also on the horizon, but since I reviewed Zartan back in May, there’s only actually been one true addition to Classified Series, and, surprising very few people, it was an exclusive.  This time around, it’s another member of the Cobra forces, Major Bludd.  First added to the line in 1983, Major Bludd gave the Cobra side some variety in ranks, as one of the first actual face characters for them, as well as one of the very few to truly fit into the overall Cobra ranking structure, unlike Destro, who was more an outside contractor.  Bludd is often a character that gets no respect, and you know what?  That’s appropriate.  He hasn’t earned it.  No respect for Sebastian.  I shan’t allow it.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Major Bludd is figure 27 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line-up, and is part of the Target-exclusive “Cobra Island” sub-line of figures.  Unlike other Target-exclusives from this line, Major Bludd is the only new figure from his round, as he initially shipped with restocks of Firefly and the Viper.  His initial stock disappeared as quickly as anything else in the line, but there was a pretty decent push for solid restock cases, which made him *slightly* more available for about a week or so.  That was kinda nice.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation.  Major Bludd’s design is generally a pretty straight forward updating of his original V1 design, with that little bit of the Classified sci-fi upgrading to help fill in some of the gaps from making it too bland at the larger scale.  Structurally, the core of Major Bludd’s build is shared with the Cobra Trooper.  It’s a pretty sensible choice, since he’s kind of the highest ranking grunt, and has classically had some design elements in common with them.  He gets a new head, right arm, torso overlay, belt, and boots in an effort to change him up.  Ultimately, it ends up working pretty well.  Bludd’s original head was a little nondescript, but this one is very descript.  He’s grizzled and angry.  His eyepatch is no longer just a standard patch, but is now this more armored, squared off looking thing, which appears to be mounted to his eye in some fashion.  The face is scarred beneath the patch, and the expression on the face is definitely not a pleasant one.  The helmet is, for the second time on a Major Bludd, a removable piece.  It sits securely in place, which is nice, and it adds a slightly more severe shape to the design than the original.  Perhaps the star piece of the new sculpt is the right arm.  Bludd’s V1 figure had an arm that lacked the usual articulation, but which sported vaguely cybernetic details, which weren’t mentioned in his bio, and were ultimately left off of all updates until 25th.  This time, he leans hard into those details, with an all-new appendage that is clearly a robotic replacement.  It’s a very cool design, which immediately reads as different from the rest of him.  It’s very cool.  Quite frankly, it’s too cool for Major Bludd.  He doesn’t deserve it.  But he gets it anyway.  Oh well.  Bludd’s paint work is largely very brown.  True to the character, but not terribly exciting.  The face gets some very strong detailing, though, so that’s cool.  Bludd gets a decent enough accessory selection, which includes the previously mentioned removable helmet, as well as a necklace of dogtags (a detail lifted from the V1 figure), an update on the V1 rocket launcher, two rockets, an update on the V1 backpack, and a very large revolver.  Despite not being V1-homaged, the revolver is probably my favorite piece.  But, again, it’s probably too cool for Bludd.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m not the world’s biggest Bludd fan by any stretch, and I certainly wasn’t jumping up and down for this figure.  Originally, he was brought up to some retailers as a standard release, at which point I would have just gotten him the usual way.  But, then he was suddenly a Target exclusive, and orders were being cancelled, and he was harder to get.  And that’s a lot of work for Bludd.  And is he really worth that?  I certainly didn’t think so.

FYI, there’s gonna be some Post-Jess talk here.

Three days after Jess’s passing, I was staying with my friends Tim and Jill, and I woke up one morning with a sudden urge to go to a Target.  No idea why.  I’ve pretty much entirely given up hunting these days, but I was feeling it for some reason.  Tim, Cheyenne, and Christian obliged, and off we went for a quick little trip.  The toy aisle was predictably barren, but I again felt an urge, this time to walk over to the “collectibles” section, which was a total mess.  I happened to pick up one of the NECA figures, and spotted the corner of a Classified box behind it, which turned out to be this guy.  I wasn’t actively searching for him in the slightest, but there he was, so I bought him.  Like the Disney+ Legends, he helped me navigate that first week without Jess, even if in a small way.  And, if I’m entirely honest, I almost feel like finding him was somehow her looking out for me.  I know it’s cheesy and hokey, and probably a very reductive way of looking at it all, but it makes my days a little brighter to think that some part of her is still out there, even if it’s only in my own mind.

#2774: Zartan

ZARTAN

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

Man, who would have guessed that a master of disguise would be so hard to find?  What is he, good at this job or something?  I mean, come to think of it, what if Zartan’s actually been in my collection the whole time?  I did have two Snake Eyeses floating around at the beginning there…

Joining the line in 1983, Zartan’s been a pretty consistent fixture of the G.I. Joe franchise ever since, cementing himself as one of the most distinctive baddies, right up there with Cobra Commander and Destro.  He’s found himself in every re-interpretation of the franchise since, right down to being one of the few carry-over characters in both of the live-action films.  How about that?  His name’s been high on most-wanted lists since Classified was launched, and now he’s finally here…as much as any of the Classified releases are here, anyway.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Zartan is figure 26 in the G.I. Joe: Classified line, and was technically in the same assortment as the Cobra Infantry figure.  However, as of this time, they seem to only be shipping in separate solid cases, rather than assortment cases like previous (and later) line-ups.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation.  Zartan’s articulation scheme is the same one we’ve grown accustomed to for the line; it’s a good set-up, and I really have no issues with it, so no complaints there.  Zartan looks to be an entirely new sculpt, at least from what I can tell.  Given his non-standard design, it’s not a huge shock, I suppose.  Speaking of design, Zartan’s definitely cut from the Destro styling here, going for something quite close to his very distinctive V1 design, just with some of the very specific smaller details changed, for the sake of the larger canvas to work with.  It’s a good design, and definitely reads well for Zartan.  It’s nice that they went for the classic Zartan, rather than trying to mix things up, because prior lines have tried, and it rarely goes well.  The construction on the figure is rather similar to the others in the line, with lots of separate overlay pieces and the like.  It gives him a nice layered appearance, but it also results in a figure that’s a little less sturdy than I might like.  The hood and scarf (which appears to be a re-use from the Viper) are nice, but they lack any actual way to affix them to the figure, which means they move around a lot, and pop out of place, which can be rather frustrating.  Likewise, as cool as it is that they included the monkey’s paw and the snake head, the fact that they’re separate pieces means that they fall off, making them easily lost (I’ve already lost the snake somewhere, because I didn’t notice it had popped off until after the fact).  Additionally, while the armor on the chest is cool, the fact that the shoulder pads are just attached to it, rather than using the separate attachment like we saw on Baroness and Storm Shadow does feel like a slight step down, and makes posing a little more restricted.  Ultimately, it’s a sculpt that looks very nice, but he’s nowhere near as fun to mess with as some of the other figures.  In terms of paint work, he’s generally pretty good.  He’s very brown, which is right for the character.  The eyes do seem a little wonky on mine, as they did on all of the copies I was able to look at.  It’s not the end of the world, I suppose.  Otherwise, the application’s all pretty good.  He does lack the color changing feature he was originally advertised with, it should be noted, because Hasbro has supposedly lost the recipe for the vintage figure’s plastic.  Zartan is packed with a small gun, a knife, a back pack, and a mask patterned after the one included with the original figure.  Interestingly, while Zartan now has pupils (which the vintage figure did not), the mask doesn’t (which the original did).  I don’t know how convincing a disguise that’s going to be, Zartan.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Zartan was supposed to hit early in the year, but he seemed to be struck by quite a few delays (likely due in part to the plastic thing), so I had more of a wait on him than the Trooper that was shown alongside him, whom I got back in February.  I actually wound up getting Zartan a whole month after the the Flint and Lady Jaye I just looked at the last two days, even.  Ultimately, after all that waiting, I was a little bit underwhelmed by the figure, I think.  He’s not bad, but he’s not quite as good as I’d hoped.  Still, he looks good with the rest of the line, so I’ll be fine with sticking him on the shelf and just leaving him there.

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.

#2773: Flint

FLINT

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

First arriving in the toy line in 1985, alongside his usual compatriot Lady Jaye, the Joes’ Chief Warrant Officer, Flint, was another character that had been introduced just prior to his inclusion in the line, first appearing in 1984 on the cartoon.  Flint’s a character that can easily wind up as very similar to Duke, and has in a few instances (G.I. Joe: Retalliation being a prominent example) just been a sort of a Duke replacement.  I find the character works best as a foil to Duke, but that’s just me.  Whatever the case, I like Flint, and I’ve already looked at Lady Jaye, so I’m pretty much obligated to look at Flint, too.  Let’s do that now!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Flint is figure 26 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line-up, hitting in the same assortment that also gave us yesterday’s Lady Jaye.  As I brought up with that figure, Flint’s actually a non-exclusive item, which is still something of a novelty in this line.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation.  Flint’s design calls back to the character’s V1 design, but is slightly more tweaked than Jaye was, owing both to some actual updates to the design, and also to a healthy helping of re-used parts.  Following in the steps of the 25th Anniversary Flint, this figure uses the line’s version of Duke as it’s starting point.  It’s not a bad idea, and Duke has in general been serving as a basis for a lot of the line’s figures, since he’s rather on the basic side.  Add in that Flint and Duke just generally have similar design elements, and it’s even more sensible.  The only notable change-up is that, like the Viper, the sleeves aren’t rolled up high enough for a classic Flint appearance.  Ultimately, it’s not a major change-up, though, and the overall read of his design still has the same broad strokes.  Beyond the changes brought by the shared Duke parts, Flint’s design follows the general set-up of a lot of the line’s updated designs, taking the classic Flint look, but re-envisioning the exact purpose of certain elements.  Notably, his classic suspenders are now a full selection of chest armor, with the internal pieces being black plating, to match with the shirt’s visual appearance.  He also gains the armor on his lower legs, matching up with most of the other Joes.  Following in the footsteps of a few of the later 3 3/4 inch Flints, this version has a removable beret.  It’s a pretty nice piece, and kind of surprisingly, it’s not a re-use of the one that came with Beach Head.  It’s sits closely and securely on the head.  Said head is a pretty nice sculpt in its own right.  While I saw a touch of a John Cena resemblance in the Duke sculpt, I’m rescinding that comment, and applying it to Flint instead, because it’s even more there for him.  The paint work on Flint is generally pretty decent.  He’s got the face printing, which even features a small scar over his eye (the opposite eye from Duke), and an impressive fade on the edges of his hair.  Beyond that, the base paint work is all pretty sharply and cleanly applied.  Flint is slightly lighter on the accessories than some of the other Joes, but he still gets his shotgun and pistol.  The pistol’s the same one included with Duke, which is reasonable enough.  The shotgun’s a fun piece, and even has a hinge in the middle for opening it up.  Definitely a solid weapon set-up.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m big on having both Lady Jaye and Flint together, so I was pretty happy when the two of them were announced for the line at the same time.  Likewise, I was definitely down to pick up the two of them together at the same time.  Flint’s more by the numbers than Jaye was, so he’s not quite breaking the same ground.  That being said, I’d put him at least on par with, if not maybe a little better than, Beach Head, who was previously my personal favorite from the line.  As it stands, these two are a killer pair, and definitely the highlight of the line for me so far.  I’m hopeful this is a trend for the line this year, alongside the whole them also being standard releases.  That would be a nice trend, too.

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.

#2772: Lady Jaye

LADY JAYE

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

G.I. Joe: Classified Series has certainly had a kind of a rough start.  The line’s certainly far from a failure, and was honestly one of Hasbro’s hottest lines last year.  The trouble is that it’s so darn hard to actually collect it, since more than half of the releases last year were actually hard to find exclusives (and even the non-exclusive hasn’t been overly plentiful, either).  Fortunately, 2021 looks to at least be trying to keep a little more of it in the main line, so hopefully that might help with some of the distribution issues.  I managed to get my hands on some of the most recent figures, so I’m going to be jumping into things with a look at one of my favorite Joes, Lady Jaye!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lady Jaye is figure 25 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line.  She’s a main line release, not exclusive to any specific retailers, and is, along with Flint, one of two new figures in the latest assortment of the line.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and she has 36 points of articulation.  Jaye’s articulation scheme marks a notable change from and improvement upon the articulation set-up for prior female figures in the line.  Where both Scarlet and Baroness had more restricted movement than their male counterparts, Lady Jaye actually pretty much just matches the male articulation, right down to keeping the double joints on the elbows, which have previously proved problematic implementing on female figures, due to the smaller arms.  Fortunately, they’ve taken advantage of their new pinless construction joints in order to help the arms look not only more seamless, but also be more stable in terms of construction.  It really works well, and makes her even more fun to play around with.  Lady Jaye’s design is actually a fairly faithful recreation of her classic V1 look from ’85.  Admittedly, her original, rather utilitarian design is one of those ones that lends itself best to modernization, so it still looks fine in the updated setting of the new Joes.  All of the elements of the original design remain present, with some extra details added in to help to fill out the larger canvas just a bit more.  So, she’s bee granted a few extra panels of detailing on her fatigues, as well as a few more armored elements on her legs, to match the rest of the line a little more.  As a send-up to the V1 figure, Jaye has her hat, of course, but that’s the one element she notably lacked in the cartoon.  In order to give collectors both options, Jaye has a removable hat, but not quite the way you’d expect; it’s actually a whole wig that comes off of the figure’s head, which makes it look a lot better proportioned to the head.  I was a touch concerned about it falling off easily, but it actually stays in place securely, and adds a lot of extra display versatility to the figure.  The rest of the sculpt is a pretty impressive summation of the character as seen in various media over the years, and that facial expression in particular feels pretty spot on.  Jaye’s paint work is, as expected for the character, pretty reserved, but a good match for her usual look.  She’s got the printed face work again, which looks quite nice, and they’ve placed a couple of insignias, in order to help spice things up a bit, I guess.  It’s all quite nice work.  Lady Jaye’s accessory selection is pretty decent.  In addition to the previously mentioned alternate hair pieces, she’s got her usual javelin set-up, which in this case is a multiple piece construction, which can be disassembled and reconfigured.  It’s made up of two actual javelins, with three different heads to swap around between them, as well as the actual hand held mechanism of it all, which can hold one javelin, while the other, as well as the two tips not in use, can be stowed on her back pack.  Said back pack also has an articulated arm featuring a camera at the top, calling back to the original figure’s separate spy camera piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Given her prominence in the old cartoons, Lady Jaye has long been one of my favorites when it comes to Joes, so I was definitely happy to hear her name get leaked early on for this line-up, and I was even happier when she was shown off, because she sure did look pretty cool.  I was very fortunate to be able to snag her from one of All Time’s early cases of the wave, and I have to say, in hand, she may very well be the line’s most impressive figure.  What she does, she does very well.  Hasbro’s really set a new standard with this one.

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.