YO JOE! 25 years later
by jeremy sung & bill murphy
Welcome to the fist column called “A Discussion that looks Inside the Mind of the Insane Ramblings of Spy Magician & the Fresh Monkey”
Howdy! SpyMagician here! You may know me from the boards here at AFI and on Toymania. Well, the mighty Julius Marx was kind enough to offer my good buddy Fresh Monkey and I the chance to share our thoughts on some toys for y’all! Just think of us as the Siskel & Ebert or Hannity & Colmes of the Toy Review world
Julius has graciously let us play inside his sandbox and we couldn’t be more excited. A few weeks back he asked us to write a review of some of Hasbro’s new 25 th Anniversary G. I. Joe figures. Knowing we are 2 of the biggest Joe geeks in the world he knew we couldn’t resist.
We thought for quite a while how best to tackle a review. Most reviews have some sort of rating system. We thought that this would be best, but we knew we couldn’t top Michael Crawford. That guy writes the best reviews on the planet (next to Julius, when we can get him to write one). If you haven’t checked out MC’s reviews you need too here. ( http://www.mwctoys.com)
So as we knew we didn’t want to rip off the master, we figured the best way to review this stuff would be to just discuss it. So we don’t rate things we just ramble on about them. But we’ll try to make our points the best way we know how and hopefully you folks will tag along with us for the ride.
25 th Anniversary G. I. Joes.
25 th Anniversary G. I. Joe – G.I. Joe 5 pack including: Snake Eyes, Scarlet, Duke, Gung Ho, Roadblock.
25 th Anniversary G. I. Joe – Cobra 5 pack including: Destro, Storm Shadow, Baroness, Cobra Commander, Cobra Trooper.
25 th Anniversary G. I. Joe – Wave 01 5 pack including: Flint , Snake Eyes ver 02, Storm Shadow ver 02, Cobra Commander ver 02, Cobra Officer:
It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since the 3 3/4” Joe line hit the shelves. Except for the late 90′s there hasn’t been Joe product on the shelves even since 1982. The problem with that was that most of these figures were rehashes or re-imagined updates of the classic Joe success of the 80′s. Finally Hasbro has stepped up to the plate and given us a Joe line any Joe can be proud to have on their shelves.
FRESH MONKEY: I thought they did a really nice job here, they chose classic iconic characters and managed to hit all their basis.
SPY MAGICIAN: Yes, it’s a good selection of some of the top Joes from the first few waves. And characters featured prominently in the toyline and Sunbow Animated Series. That’s important, as in a sense this line is an homage to the RAH toyline and the Cartoon, as the great theme music clip proves.
FRESH MONKEY: I thought Gung Ho was a nice treat, they could have gone with any number of Joes, and they chose him. It’s tough because there are SO many Joes to choose from, you’re never gonna make everyone happy at once cause everybody has their favorite Joe.
SPY MAGICIAN: Exactly. You’ve got Snake Eyes v1 and Scarlet from the first wave, Duke, who was the first mail away figure and the "star" of the first TV miniseries and then Gung-Ho and Roadblock, both "big guys" featured very prominently in the TV show. A very good mix.
FRESH MONKEY: To be honest I’m just happy to see these on the shelves in a way that they should have be done years ago.
SPY MAGICIAN: I get a thrill just seeing 3 3/4" guys back at retail! And pretty much perfect in terms of character selection and styling!
FRESH MONKEY: Yes sir!
Unlike the other sections where we will discuss the overall feel of the line, here in the Sculpting section, we are going address individual figures. We will review them in sets: G.I. Joe 5 Pack, Cobra 5 Pack And Wave 01.
G.I. Joe 5 Pack: Snake Eyes, Scarlet, Duke, Gung Ho, Roadblock.
SPY MAGICIAN: Great Sculpt. Captures the v1 look nearly perfectly.
FRESH MONKEY: I agree, I think they did a nice job again here, especially for the initial release
SPY MAGICIAN: I really like how they sculpted her ponytail to not be visible from the front, that way maintaining both the classic toy and TV looks.
FRESH MONKEY: Yeah they managed to keep all the detail from the original design and make her look like a woman. The one thing Joes have needed over the last few years is to have their female figures look feminine.
SPY MAGICIAN: Yup, it’s been a tough task for most 3 3/4" Joe females in general.
SPY MAGICIAN: Not the best sculpt in the set I have to say. His head is a bit doughy and the thick paint on the head masks what could well be a decent sculpt underneath.
FRESH MONKEY: Well at least the paint doesn’t rub off like on most figures in this scale with this amount of articulation.
SPY MAGICIAN: True!
FRESH MONKEY: I felt Duke was okay, not the leader of the pack in terms of sculpt, but I liked him.
SPY MAGICIAN: I actually like him too as he’s the most like an average soldier type figure this far…Never liked Duke much as a kid but I find the character has grown on me over the years, and this is probably the best version to date in terms of look.
FRESH MONKEY: Yeah I was always peeved that him and Scarlett were an item in the cartoon, as I always loved the Snake Eyes and Scarlett relationship in the comic.
SPY MAGICIAN: Very true!
FRESH MONKEY: Not to digress.
SPY MAGICIAN: So… on to the "big guys."
SPY MAGICIAN: I like him a lot, my only gripe on sculpt is his hand is sculpted at an odd angle to hold his grenade launcher. It actually doesn’t hold that weapon very well and the angle makes it less than perfect for holding other more normal rifles and pistols.
FRESH MONKEY: That was my beef too.
FRESH MONKEY: I really don’t understand why Hasbro does that.
SPY MAGICIAN: Plus I feel that neither he nor Roadblock need the funny elbow pads… In the past Joes really suffered from too much sculpted details like unnecessary belts, pouches and stuff like that.
SPY MAGICIAN: The Anniversary line has been much better about that, with those elbow pads being the only exception I can think of…
FRESH MONKEY: I agree, why did they put those on the figures? They weren’t on the originals were they?
SPY MAGICIAN: Not as far as I can remember….
FRESH MONKEY: Plus it screws with the articulation, which we’ll get into here in a minute.
FRESH MONKEY: Maybe Hasbro was trying to reuse parts, which I might add I’m all in favor of, if done correctly.
SPY MAGICIAN: Yup! Design a good series of interchangeable base bodies and you save on tooling and make better more FUN toys!
FRESH MONKEY: Nicely done. But again the with dang elbow pads.
SPY MAGICIAN: Yup. Nice that he’s a touch taller too and bulkier. Again, with the vintage RAH line almost all figures were identical size and height, something the Anniversary line seems to be improving on.
FRESH MONKEY: Also one thing I want to add, is the use of the removable gear, belts, pouches, holsters etc… I never thought it could look good at this scale but it works.
SPY MAGICIAN: Yes. It’s amazing how much nicer the figures look when all the gear is separate pieces or even functional. No more globby little sculpted on guns!
FRESH MONKEY: Yeah, when I first heard Hasbro was going to do this, I was like NOOOOooo!!!!!! Because I thought the gear would be too bulky, but it really works
Cobra 5 pack: Destro, Storm Shadow, Baroness, Cobra Commander, Cobra Trooper .
FRESH MONKEY: The sculpt is nice, but he’s just a tad skinny, however I do like that he’s taller than the other Cobra figures.
SPY MAGICIAN: I also really like his somewhat "superhero" proportions, as he’s the most fantasy styled figure in the Cobra set. The more sculptural wrist weaponry is great! Though the working leg holster is a tad large and boxy.
FRESH MONKEY: Yeah, but it’s tough to do that and make it work.
SPY MAGICIAN: True, especially at this size.
FRESH MONKEY: Like with the Joes set Hasbro did a really nice job of capturing the look of the vintage characters.
SPY MAGICIAN: I think if you had to sum up the line in 1 word it would be "iconic".
FRESH MONKEY: Also Destro does come with the sweet M.A.R.S. briefcase that opens up.
SPY MAGICIAN: Yes, I really like that they re-use older accessories where appropriate so they can tool up really nice character specific ones when needed.
FRESH MONKEY: Yeah bravo Hasbro…Good show!!
FRESH MONKEY: The ninja we love to hate.
SPY MAGICIAN: Maybe the best figure in this set.
FRESH MONKEY: Absolutely, the best of the line IMO. Outside of the illogical wrist articulation he’s perfect
SPY MAGICIAN: Beautiful in his simplicity. No unnecessary sculpted detail, working gear, hard to complain about this one!
FRESH MONKEY: Yep.
SPY MAGICIAN: Oooooh. My girl!
FRESH MONKEY: Why is she bowlegged?
SPY MAGICIAN: ….
FRESH MONKEY: Okay let’s move on.
SPY MAGICIAN: I could so make a terrible joke here.
FRESH MONKEY: Me too, this is a family site after all…
FRESH MONKEY: However it should be noted that she does have a great face sculpt.
SPY MAGICIAN: Yah, a bit skinny, but the best face sculpt on a Baroness figure to date.
SPY MAGICIAN: And I wouldn’t mind dating her! Ba-dump Bump!
FRESH MONKEY: She does have reallllly long legs.
FRESH MONKEY: Not my favorite of the bunch, but I even hate to say that because she’s not that bad.
SPY MAGICIAN: True. You might even say they tried to over feminize her to offset the past mannishness (is that a word?) of Joe Females.
FRESH MONKEY: “ mannishness” …I like it. We need to make it a word.
FRESH MONKEY: Me likey!!!
SPY MAGICIAN: Me too!
SPY MAGICIAN: He’s got some of the coolest sculpted detail in the line.
FRESH MONKEY: And the best part is his helmet comes off and Hasbro sculpted the explosive charge he has under there in the comic book so no one can remove his mask but him.
SPY MAGICIAN: Yup! And the working back holster that not only mimics the classic one but fits the vintage laser pistol!
FRESH MONKEY: Yep…good job Hasbro, good show.
SPY MAGICIAN: Some might complain about his closed left fist, but it not only makes for a nice bit of variety, it’s perfect for when the Commander rants!
FRESH MONKEY: Oh yeah, I loved that cause he can hold it up high when he’s angry at Destro.
SPY MAGICIAN: Cobra Commander. Who would think you could love a Terrorist so much…
FRESH MONKEY: He’s not a bad guy, just misunderstood…okay maybe he’s a bad guy, but he makes a cool toy.
SPY MAGICIAN: But a lovable bad guy.
FRESH MONKEY: Again good show.
SPY MAGICIAN: Should be the best army builder of all time!
FRESH MONKEY: No complaints here.
SPY MAGICIAN: Only the same gripe on the elbow problem that Duke/Flint have.
SPY MAGICIAN: The bald head is a surprise too!
FRESH MONKEY: Lots of surprises in this line, Hasbro really went all out here I think