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The MARS Industries 3-Pack with an Officer and two Troopers is slated to be released as a “preview” item in May to whet the appetites of would-be G.I. Joe buyers.  I recently got my hands on these figures and decided to do a semi-review.  Are these figures any good?  Will getting these in hand make folks excited for the upcoming toys, or are they not impressive enough to warrant the enthusiasm?

01MARS Industries Officer

At their core, these two figures are the same.  The same head sculpt, the same body parts, only slightly tweaked colors, accessories, and webgear.  One of the benefits of the Anniversary style is the ability to use similar tooling to get more “mileage” out of figures.  Not only are these figures using the same parts underneath, but the upcoming COBRA Viper Commando and Neo-Viper appear to have the same parts as well.  Granted, they both have new heads and gear, but besides that the base figures are the same.

Ultimately I’m not sure what I think of the figure.  I love the masked head and the knit commando-style sweater.  Many folks have said that the body is the same as the Resolute Trooper, but that’s not the case.  The movie figure has a turtleneck, no embossed COBRA logo, and the metal plate is on the other shoulder.

While I love the mask and the torso, the arms are a bit on the strange side.  The chunky, layered armor kind of seems bulky and out of place.  I could see these cool, thick pads on the elbows, but sitting there on the forearm, it looks pretty weird.  I kind of like the legs, with the leather straps weaving around his shins.  But what separates these figures is the webgear, and I especially love the Officer’s webgear and accessories.  The twin straps with the underarm holster, the officer-embossed helmet, the submachine gun, knife, and pistol are all awesome looking weapons and secondaries that work very, very well.

I really think this is a great looking figure with some great looking gear.  There are some very strange parts and pieces, but cohesively, it’s a nice looking figure with some homages to COBRA’s of the past, and his webgear is fantastic.  A lot to love here…a lot more than with the Trooper, especially.

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011MARS Industries Trooper

Everything that works about the Officer, unfortunately doesn’t work with the Trooper, and to add insult to injury, this three-pack comes with two Troopers, which is the substandard figure in the set.

He’s got the same base figure as the Officer, but with a somewhat more bland light gray and black paint scheme rather than the more vibrant dark gray and silver colors of the Officer.  The things I like figure-wise are still evident with the Trooper, obviously, I’m just not wild about the color scheme.

But where the accessories really made the officer shine, they make the trooper suffer.  I do like his helmet, with a nice red face mask as a tribute of sorts to the old school COBRA look, but that’s about the only thing to love.  His webgear is pretty vanilla, with nothing that really makes it stand out, even though it is at least somewhat neat in it’s simplicity.  The straps are pretty thin and unremarkable, and the flak vest look works to a certain extent, but its not nearly as nice as the Officer’s.  Instead of the great state-of-the-art submachine gun, the Trooper comes with an obnoxiously huge silver laser rifle that is devoid of detail and has a handle that only fits in the Trooper’s hand if you want to stretch it out to the near-breaking point.  He has the same pistol as the Officer, but has no place to put it, and he’s got a pair of red grenades that hook to his webgear, yet do not stay very well.

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At their base, both figures are the same.  Yet, the additional parts make a world of difference, really giving the Officer some life, and really detracting from the Trooper.  The end result, with two Troopers and only one Officer, is a 3-pack that I don’t feel comfortable recommending.  You only get really one servicable figure, and while the other two have the same basic undercoating, the accessories aren’t really worth the investment.  Judging by pictures, the upcoming movie offerings appear to be significantly better, it’s just a bit of a shame that everyone’s first introduction to the movie line may end up being some substandard offerings.