I was a bit conflicted on how to handle this review, simply because Tomax and Xamot are, at their core, the same figure, only with some minor cosmetic changes. In a way, each twin is a counterpart to the other, so I think writing up a single review that covers both of them is an appropriate course of action.
Back in 1985, I still remember my trip to the local Ben Franklin, which was a craft store of all things, but had an action figure section. Not a huge one, but G.I. Joe was prolific back then and I saw that fantastic mirrored packaging from half an aisle away and immediately sprinted to it, snatching up the twins eagerly, even though I had no clue who they even were.
My interest was piqued and to be honest, it’s never let up. Tomax and Xamot remain two of my all time favorite characters nearly four decades later. Unlike in 1985, however, these days you can’t buy both twins in a single box — you need to purchase two separate Classified figures, which actually doesn’t bother me in the least.
As the Crimson Guard Commanders, not only do I really love these two characters, but they’re also the men in charge of one of my favorite elements of the G.I. Joe mythology as well. The idea that these two men are business suited executives during their normal life, while funneling cash and resources to COBRA via Extensive Enterprises is just a brilliant turn. The fact that these two crazies are also acrobats and potential mind readers just ramps up the awesome ridiculousness to a new level.
I hate to sound like a broken record, but the fact is, Hasbro’s philosophy remains mostly the same with every one of these releases. They look at the vintage version and design a 6″ figure around that aesthetic, all while doing what they can to take advantage of the larger scale. That philosophy remains true with both Tomax and Xamot who use a combination of the same base body with opposite secondaries to both conserve tooling dollars and mirror what was done back in the 1980s.
Tomax and Xamot have been through a bevy of different looks if you consider the Marvel Comics, the Sunbow animated series, not to mention Devils Due and IDW, and Hasbro leans into their vintage, and likely one of their most recognizable versions. It works. I always really loved the sculpts for the original twins, though considering how heavily COBRA themed their armor was it always struck me as interesting that they seemed only tangentially interested in COBRA’s success or failure.
I’m happy to say that this COBRA themed armor only looks even more impressive at the six inch scale and I really love the scale-infused detail and the hooded thigh pads. The figure designs translate almost perfectly to a larger scale. I really love these figures.
Of course, one variation they have to go with is the head sculpt. While Tomax and Xamot are twins, the distinct scar along Xamot’s face is one thing that separates him from his brother, and they include that with these figures. Not only that, but they add a bit more expression as well, really infusing each face sculpt with its own unique personality. It’s pretty impressive how the two figures can look the same, yet still so distinct.
If I have one complaint about these Classified updates — the vintage figures seemed to have a really cool laser weapon embedded in one of their gloves, a raised, distinct sculpt that I really loved. That’s lacking on the Classified figures for reasons I’m not too sure of — probably to conserve tooling dollars for what is essentially a minor design element.
Even though most of these Classified figures have the same points of articulation, some of them just feel like they can move better and more smooth than others. The twins fall into that camp. I just love the way these figures pose and move, which is partially due to the lack of restrictions based on their bandolier. They are just really fun figures to display, which is great, considering their circus acrobat ties and history.
One thing to point out and it could fit either here or the design section. The plastic of the Crimson Twins seems to be just slightly different than some previous releases, though I can’t really pinpoint how. The legs and boots certainly feel a little “softer” though that doesn’t dramatically impact the overall success or failure of the figures. Just something to note. I’m not sure if there will be any additional degradation over time, or if it’s just a surface feel that seems a bit different in comparison.
Compared to some other figures, Tomax and Xamot come with surprisingly little, but in a way, I don’t mind that. Hasbro has made it clear that they want to design a sensible accessory compliment per figure — give them the gear they need, but also the gear they can carry. The Twins aren’t typically weighed down with heavy backpacks or elaborate pouches, so as a result, there’s less that they come with. I’m fine with that.
They each come with a submachine gun (with removable silencer) and a pair of knives that fit nicely into twin sheaths. Simple and straight forward, and I like it a lot, even if, compared to someone like Outback or Stalker, they seem a bit thin.
Yes, Hasbro, once again, leans into the vintage look pretty heavily, but I really have a strong nostalgia tie to the 1985 Tomax and Xamot and I have to admit, it’s pretty fun to get close approximations of those zany figures in six inch scale. The sculpting and articulation are spectacular as always and even though they don’t have a ton of accessories, simpler is sometimes better. It doesn’t feel like they’re missing anything, so how can you ask for anything else?
I look forward to the eventual deluxe 2-pack with pinstriped suits.
G.I. Joe Classified Tomax & Xamot
I’ve always loved Tomax and Xamot and Hasbro gives them the credit they deserve, even as they lean heavily on the vintage aesthetic. While they are limited on accessories and might have benefitted from a somewhat less expensive two-pack option, I can’t argue that they’re great additions to the COBRA roster.
Personally I would have loved to have had Hasbro include the zipline accessory that was in the original set, but other than that, it seems like I will be very happy in about a month when those hit retail.