If you’d asked me if we’d get a six inch version of Beachhead before, say Flint, Zartan, Storm Shadow, or any other countless characters, I would have said you were crazy. Yet here we are, and not only did Hasbro give us a Beachhead, but they gave us a fantastic one.
Granted he’s not going to be an easy one to find. Like the COBRA Trooper and Roadblock, Beachhead is currently available as part of a Special Missions: COBRA Island exclusively available at Target, and by “available” I mean unavailable, because he flies from pegs nearly immediately and is only available online for milliseconds before being snatched up by eager fingers.
But like I said with the COBRA Trooper I’m going to try not to focus on availability issues and just focus on the quality of the figure itself, and there is a lot to focus on there, because Beachhead is flipping awesome.
Beachhead is one of those characters who seems somewhat on the fringe. He doesn’t crack anyone’s Top 10, yet he somehow ends up released in each iteration of the G.I. Joe brand, being a mainstay in the 80’s, in the new sculpt era (in Joe Vs Cobra and Valor vs Venom), Rise of COBRA, Pursuit of COBRA, G.I. Joe: Resolute, 25th anniversary, Sideshow Collectibles, the list goes on and on. Suddenly, over the years, a somewhat fringe character has amassed nearly twenty different figures. So, I suppose it shouldn’t come as so much of a surprise that he’d make an appearance early on in the Classified line, too.
From my personal perspective, Beachhead never really appeared high up in my list of favorite Joes, though I can’t really explain why. Perhaps it was because he was such a dick in the Sunbow animated series, but to the cartoon’s credit, at least he had a great, distinctive personality beyond being a cookie cutter “hero”. However, while I’ve never been especially attached to the character, the figures have, more or less, been pretty good.
So, it comes as no surprise again, that the Classified version maintains that level of quality. Actually, in some ways, it surpasses it.
Beachhead, one of the Army Rangers of the G.I. Joe team and looks every inch a bad-ass commando in this version of the figure. The textured sculpting throughout really brings a certain style to Beachhead, from his knit facemask to his commando-style sweater, military pants, kneepads and shin guards. Unlike some of the earlier Classified figures, his colors are a lot more muted and understated, the protective gear more slim fit and less conspicuous than the pseudo-futuristic armor of some of his squad mates.
I continue to rave about the six inch scale, especally focusing on how much more detailed they can make the sculpts. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my 1:18 stuff, but looking at the layered textures of Beachhead’s sweater, the intricate fabric texture of his pants and the layered protective gear, it’s hard not to be infatuated with what’s possible at this larger scale.
I find myself really enjoying the layered secondaries as well. The vest, the holster, the magazines on his left thigh, as well as the knife sheath on his leg, wrapped over his shin guards. Including all of these various items that can be swapped out adds awesome layers of customizability and variation.
In fact, it wasn’t until I got Gung Ho in hand that I realized some of the cooler parts of the COBRA Island Roadblock (his grenades and wrist communicator) had actually been carried over from Gung Ho.
I’ve seen some complaints out there about the lack of a removable vest (well, technically Beachhead’s vest is removable, you just need to figure out how to take it off) but I actually don’t have an issue with that. As cool as some of the removable gear was for the 25th Anniversary figures, in most cases the fasteners got warped and wouldn’t fit, or the seam was so visible that aesthetically they just didn’t look right.
Doing it like they do it with G.I. Joe: Classified gives the opportunity to mix and match parts for other figures, and in a pinch you can customize if you really want to, but it also is much more aesthetically pleasing.
Speaking of the vest, Beachhead’s is not a direct translation of his vintage version, but a more modern, more tactical looking vest layered with great pouches, buckles and seams. It works really well.
Overall, Beachhead’s design is nicely reminiscent of the vintage version, but thanks to a larger canvas to work with, the detailed texture work truly brings the design to new and exciting life. The color scheme is great, with a somewhat muted (yet vibrant) green base color from the waist up, brown pants, and a nice mix of different shades reflecting the different textures in the uniform.
It should be noted that people are reporting a variation in Beachhead’s eye colors (some brown vs some blue), though I have not seen this variation in person.
As with the other Classified offerings, Beachhead’s articulation is just about flawless. The design of his vest is slim and close to the shoulder enough that it doesn’t hinder his arm movements, and while, of course, his chest articulation is negated by the vest, I don’t feel that it significanly impacts the different poses that he can achieve.
He’s got double jointed elbows and knees, rocker ankles, a double jointed neck, ball-joint drop hips, ball joint shoulders and the jointed wrists which allow some awesome flexibility in stance or pose. He’s well balanced and has been able to maintain nearly every battle pose I’ve put him in.
Beachhead’s accessories are nearly perfect.
The constant complaint among many Joe fans right now has to do with the various weapons these figures come with, especially the lack of “real-world” military gear. Beachhead certainly doesn’t come with real-life weapons either, but Hasbro does a good job of designing a futuristic assault rifle that still has some threads that feel like they could exist in real life. Interestingly, Hasbro has been including Nerf designs in these figures and while many fans bemoan and roll their eyes at this, I actually think it’s a pretty neat crossover, and especially in the case of Beachhead, I find that the rifle actually looks really awesome, even if it’s not the least bit real.
Along with the rifle, Beachhead comes with a pistol and knife, each of which fit into his leg holster and sheath seamlessly. I believe the pistol is the same one that Duke comes with and I love it’s pseudo-real look as well. Clearly it’s not authentic, but it can at least pass for authentic.
In what I think is one of the most clever aspects of his accessory compliment, the Army Ranger comes with his familiar backpack and crossbow, only unlike the vintage version, this crossbow is removable and is able to be held by the figure. Love it. To be fair, the 25th Anniversary line did this as well, but at this larger scale, the weapon feels like a real weapon for the figure and not just a removable part destined to be lost.
Finally, Beachhead comes with a removable beret. I’ve seen a lot of complaints about this, which is really bizarre. First and foremost, the vintage version had a beret sculpted into a strap on his shoulder, so it’s not like there’s no prescedent for this. Secondly, it’s a Ranger beret and Beachhead is a Ranger, and after all the complaints about Gung Ho’s hat not being 100% accurate, I have no idea why people are rolling their eyes at this. And, of course– THE BERET IS REMOVABLE. If you don’t like it, take it off and forget about it.
If I have any complaints about the accessories, I do wish the weapons were a bit more realistically colored. The single-hued green isn’t working for me and I think Hasbro did their weapons a disservice by not adding more paint applications. I don’t blame them, I know they’re working under budget constraints, but that would have been a cool touch.
I find that one of the highlights of getting each of these figures in hand is just taking a moment to enjoy the packaging. Each character has their own individual art and look and Beachhead is no exception with some fantastic, unique artwork by Ashley Witter Maczko. It really does add something nice to the presentation of the figure and I think it was a great touch by Hasbro.
Like the COBRA Trooper, Beachhead provides a very mixed feeling for me. The figure is fantastic. Great sculpting, impressive articulation and a high quality assortment of functional accessories. I did promise not to get too deep into the Target bashing weeds, but the fact remains that this figure is terrific, yet also nearly impossible to acquire at retail which is a shame.
G.I. Joe Classified Beachhead (Special Mission: COBRA Island)
An awesome updated version of Beachhead with fantastic sculpting, a great design aesthetic and a great collection of accessories. A really great addition to the G.I. Joe: Classified line.