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GeneralsJoes Reviews G.I. Joe: Classified Crimson Guard

GeneralsJoes Reviews G.I. Joe: Classified Crimson Guard

I must say when I received this shipping notice last week it was the most pleasant of surprises! Seems like more often than not, the one place I pre-order from is typically the last place that actually sees stock arrive, but in this case, I guess I chose right!

Big Bad Toy Store came through with the early drop and I couldn’t be happier. Seems only appropriate I received them just as I was getting ready to write a review of Tomax and Xamot.

As always, check the G.I. Joe: Classified Review Page or click the link below — this has gotta be one of the best figures I’ve reviewed yet!

GeneralsJoes Reviews G.I. Joe: Classified Tomax and Xamot

GeneralsJoes Reviews G.I. Joe: Classified Tomax and Xamot

I will admit, I wasn’t quite sure how to handle this review at first, not wanting to be too repetitive as I ran down the pluses and minuses of each figure. So instead, I combined them into a single review, trying to showcase the various similarities, differences and the value of buying the twins in two separate packages versus a single two-pack.

Now, for as much as I generally push back against the strict adherence to vintage look and feel, I will admit — I got a little giddy having these figures in hand, what with the twins being some of my favorite characters and figures within the Real American Hero mythology.

To see my full thoughts, check out the G.I. Joe: Classified Review Page or the link below.

G.I. Joe: Classified – Crimson Guard

So, here it is — this is the figure you have to blame for suffering through a week of new GeneralsJoes reviews. While I’d been stacking up my new Classified figures over the period of a few weeks, I hadn’t buckled down and actually done any reviews yet– then I got the shipping notice from BBTS for my four Crimson Guards and knew it was time to get off the pot. After all, the “Siegies” are one of my all time favorite elements of the Real American Hero mythology and by all accounts, Hasbro did a spectacular job updating them for the G.I. Joe: Classified line.

The Crimson Guard are one of those characters who really came to life throughout Larry Hama’s original run of the Marvel Comics, evolving far beyond the “COBRA troopers, but in red” sense that you sometimes got in the Sunbow series. I think as time went on, the animated continuity did make some efforts to differentiate them (ironically, it seemed to be the DIC series that really went the next step in their separation, with Scoop’s role as a Crimson Guard). Throughout Marvel, you had the Fred’s making frequent appearances, with one of Snake Eyes and Stalker’s Vietnam buddies Wade Collins even falling into their ranks. Looking back at some of those runs, it’s pretty amazing how they shaped the G.I. Joe universe as we know it. Hell, one of them even donned COBRA Commander’s battle armor and took over for a time.

Though it’s interesting — while folks will immediately see the vintage inspiration in these figures, I find it necessary to point out that these Crimson Guards are not in fact quite as strictly based on the 1985 original. Instead, they seem to pull from a few different more modern iterations of the Crimson Guard. And yes, while the 25th Anniversary and more modern versions are, in their own way, faithful to the ’85 originals, there are some key differences and the Classified version seems to prefer the 25th Anniversary look and feel over the ’85 one, mostly in their choice of color scheme.

DESIGN

Upon first glance, it would be easy to simply say Hasbro copied the original Crimson Guard’s aesthetic for their six inch update, but in fact, that’s not entirely true. While the overall look is remarkably similar there the paint deco is much more evocative of the 25th Anniversary version of the character than the ’85 vintage.

Where the original 1985 Crimson Guard was a vibrant shade of red, most future iterations leaned more darker and matte versions of the color. I understand why, but part of me really latches onto that original brightness and wishes we could see that translated to the Classified scale. The 25th Anniversary also went with the matte red over glossy, which is one reason why I label that as more of an inspiration than the ’85 original.

The sculpting on this figure is absolutely first-rate. The various textures throughout the torso, arms and legs really accentuate a feeling of multiple layers of real material in a way you just can’t capture at the smaller scale. I love that the buttons on his tunic are all raised, as are the ribbons and medals, making it clear that this is a unique figure, apart from the rest of the COBRA cadre.

When G.I. Joe: Classified first launched, I think there was a suspicion that they would heavily leverage existing tooling for updated figures, and while that’s certainly happened throughout the line, I’ve been totally thrilled with just how much new tooling they’ve used as well. I think a lot of fans suspected that the Crimson Guard might share significant re-use with COBRA Commander, but that’s simply not the case, a large amount of this figure uniquely sculpted and designed just for it (and its eventual Python Patrol repaint, among others). That helps make each of these characters really stand alone.

I also love their use of secondaries on this figure, the shoulder braid firmly attached, yet also separate, adding a key third dimension to the figure. The dual-strap belt, holster and sheath also give him some added realism. It’s the small touches, too– the helmet is a fantastic representation of the elite trooper’s look and those sleeves angle just over the back of the hands in the best way possible. Also, the figure just feels– bulky. His shoulders seem a bit broader than some others, the buck a little more solid. Just looking at the figure seems intimidating in only the best way.

Everything about this figure seems to have been designed and executed as a perfect representation of COBRA’s elite guard.

ARTICULATION

Absolutely spot-on. Because he lacks any sort of cumbersome belt or vest, the figure moves flawlessly throughout his torso range of motion. His double jointed elbows provide a wealth of options from standing at rigid parade rest to holding his various weapons in all sorts of great poses.

While the Crimson Guard look ceremonial, I still consider them some of the most highly trained combatants COBRA has, so it’s terrific that this six inch update can achieve so many great poses offering playability and poseability for almost any situation. I can’t wait until more people get these in hand and we see what some of the Instagram wizards can do with them!

ACCESSORIES

Hasbro didn’t just hit a home run with this one, they hit a bases-loaded, bottom of the night game-winning grand slam. Every decision they made from an accessory perspective was exactly the right one they needed to make.

The Crimson Guard comes with his instantly recognizable rifle/bayonet combo complete with a removable magazine. Where we’ve had some challenges in past figures with the magazines staying in place, the design for the CG’s mag is perfect. It easily slips from its spot, but then equally easily slides back in and locks tight without risk of falling out and getting lost.

He has a great, realistic pistol and knife, a backpack, and a ceremonial sword and sheath. Here’s where some of the similarities between this figure and the 25th Anniversary version shine through again. In 1985, the Crimson Guard only game with his backpack and rifle, it wasn’t until some of the more modern updates where Hasbro thought to include the ceremonial sword (which looks fantastic, by the way) and the Classified update takes its inspiration from that decision. I’m glad they did.

As we’ve come to expect from Classified figures, there is a place on the figure for everything and even multiple places. The sword’s scabbard can fit either in a hole on the CG’s belt or on his backpack. The rifle can fit in a peg on the opposite side of the backpack along with the knife in its sheath and the pistol in its holster. He truly can hold everything.

If I have any questions it might be the choice of black for the backpack (the Crimson Guard has historically had a red backpack) and while the backpack is certainly a critical aspect of the character, the lack of clear shoulder straps that might hold the backpack on make it seem as though it’s sort of floating back there. Granted, that’s been an issue since day one, but it seems more obvious with the larger scaled figures.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m glad they didn’t ruin the aesthetic of the CG’s unique tunic with straps, but it’s just something I felt I had to point out.

CONCLUSION

What else is there to say about this figure? From head to toe, it hits all the exact right marks. Although they lean heavily into the vintage look, I absolutely love the look of the vintage CG and find few reasons to complain about that. The sculpt is terrific with a great, unique helmet, the layered texture throughout the body, not to mention the raised elements on his torso.

The color balance is a thing of beauty as well, the red, black and silver all playing great off each other.

Honestly, I’m finding it very difficult to think of anything to complain about here. If this is a sign of things to come for the Classified line, we are in for one heck of a treat.

General Gallery

G.I. Joe Classified Crimson Guard
  • Design
  • Originality
  • Articulation
  • Accessories
  • Value
4.9

Summary

I so wanted to give this figure a full five stars, though I had to drop just a bit for originality, considering it’s leveraging a nearly 40 year old design. Even so it’s doing it exceptionally well and the execution is about as great as one could ask for. Nailed it.

Pros

  • – Perfect compliment of nearly flawless accessories
  • – Great, solid, bulky figure with fantastic range of motion
  • – A beloved backbone of the COBRA organization!
  • Cons

  • – Would have been cool to be a little bit brighter shade of red.
  • GeneralsJoes Reviews G.I. Joe: Classified Stalker

    GeneralsJoes Reviews G.I. Joe: Classified Stalker

    Seems these days it’s almost impossible to tell what the release cadence of G.I. Joe: Classified figures are. While Stalker and the Crimson Twins aren’t due for domestic release for some time yet, I was able to get a hook up from a friend who got their hands on them early, then promptly canceled my outstanding pre-orders. The global supply chain has thrown things in a bit of an upheaval, but in spite of that I’ve seen a relatively consistent stream of Classified releases in 2022, especially over the past month or two.

    By all accounts, things are just going to pick up, so hopefully you’re all glued to Hasbro PulseCon in October to see what the fine folks with the G.I. Joe team have up their sleeves.

    Meanwhile, here’s a look at the simple, yet spectacular Stalker from the ninth wave (at least I think it’s the ninth wave) of G.I. Joe: Classified. Check out the review at the G.I. Joe: Classified Review Page or linked directly below.

    A week of reviews – starting with Dr. Mindbender!

    A week of reviews – starting with Dr. Mindbender!

    It’s been a great couple of weeks here at the GeneralsJoes HQ with several new G.I. Joe figures either received or on the way. As a result, I’ll be posting reviews every single day this week!

    We’re starting off the weeklong event with the SDCC/Hasbro Pulse exclusive Dr. Mindbender. A great, deluxe figure with somewhat limited availability, I was able to get my hands on one early, thanks to the fine folks at Robot Kingdom. I try not to overpay just to get stuff early too often, but every once in a while the bug bites me.

    Check out the latest review at the G.I. Joe: Classified Review page or follow the link down below.

    Super 7 Ultimates G.I. Joe – COBRA B.A.T. (Comic)

    When Super 7 first announced the G.I. Joe Ultimates line, I was really excited. Most importantly, because as amazing as it sounds, in the 40 year history of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero they have never produced animation accurate versions of our favorite G.I. Joe characters. Sure, they tried throughout the 25th Anniversary line with mixed success, but still, it was mostly a tooling-safe deco rather than a full blown figure based on the Sunbow aesthetic. The approach we’ve seen (though so far, just in images) seems fascinating and from what we’ve seen so far, Super 7 could have a decent hit on their hands.

    With my anticipation for the Ultimates line at a high, I jumped on the recent SDCC Exclusive COBRA B.A.T. 02 (which ended up coming out before the COBRA B.A.T. 01 go figure) though this version is built more from the comic than the cartoon. Overall, the figure is– decent.

    One thing I will warn folks off the bat, however, do not buy this figure thinking you’re getting a larger version of a Classified figure. The Super 7 Ultimates line and the G.I. Joe: Classified line are two entirely separate things for an entirely separate market. I know people love the comparison game, measuring the greatness of one thing by how it compares to another. Don’t do that. Let Ultimates be its own thing while Classified is something else– they serve wholly different purposes and each one does its thing well.

    I do find it interesting that Super 7 pitched the Ultimates line mostly as a companion to the Sunbow cartoon, yet this figure is clearly based on the comic version of the Battle Android Trooper that debuted in Marvel issue #44.

    In digging into this figure and reviewing the initial release of the COBRA B.A.T. on the Super 7 website, I was pretty pleasantly surprised at just how different this version was.

    DESIGN

    Like with most releases in their various Ultimate lines, Super 7 eschews heavy detail work for a softer, more “animated” looking sculpt, which isn’t to say its inferior, it’s just different. I would argue it actually takes a very unique skill set to sculpt a figure in this way and Super 7 does a great job. The fabric of the B.A.T. uniform looks drawn rather than built, though the mixture with the heavy lines of metal panels within the artificial limbs gives the figure a very unique look and feel.

    And when I say unique, I mean its unique, even compared to the regular release of the B.A.T. The more Sunbow themed version has totally different arms, built with the animated version in mind, where the Rod Whigham penciled Issue #44 features far more intricate metal and circuitry work.

    The head of this version of the B.A.T. is also more narrow, while the faceplate is a bit more angular, mirroring that issue #44 appearance to great effect. It’s always interesting to see how comic book colors try and mimic real life colors, creating a blue color meant to resemble black– then to see Super 7 take that color and reproduce it to a more three dimensional figure. Pretty cool effect and it does make it look as though it stepped from the comic pages.

    Unlike G.I. Joe: Classified, the Super 7 figures are seven inches tall, so they stand a good deal bigger than their Classified brethren, which doesn’t bother me, considering their aesthetic is so remarkably different they shouldn’t really be blended anyway.

    I find myself really loving the color scheme of this figure a lot– the blue mixed with the orange/yellow and that vibrant almost “chrome” plated look of the metal arms and faceplate– it’s a great combination of colors that makes this figure exceptionally appealing. I really just love how the figure looks.

    PACKAGING/BOX ART

    Super 7 is also really well known for their excellent packaging and the Ultimates B.A.T. 02 is no different. The worn, metallic looking slip cover, the presentation of the figure itself within, combined with an awesome back of the package (including file card!) gives this a really unique look.

    I’m not a package collector, but stuff like this makes it tempting!

    ARTICULATION

    So, I’ve made it clear throughout this review that Classified and Super 7 should not be compared. This could not be any more evident than it is when it comes to articulation.

    I’m going to say it straight up – I’m not a big fan of Ultimates articulation. I know why they do it and from a display perspective, it makes sense, but I much prefer the range of motion of Classified figures.

    First and foremost, there are no real double joints on the Ultimates figures, everything is single jointed, so as a result the limbs don’t move very deeply. I get why– primarily these are display pieces and the more joints you have the more it takes away from the aesthetics of what is, essentially, a three dimensional iteration of a two dimensional character.

    There’s no mid-torso joint here, though I suspect that’s more due to the chest plate than anything, since other Ultimates figures seem to have one. Where there is articulation, it works well, joints move pretty freely and the figure poses effectively, though I will also say the joints feel a lot “looser” than I’m accustomed to as well. Things wiggle and wobble and while it’s not bad enough that the figure can’t maintain effective poses, it’s still enough that I feel it warrants mention.

    Again — I believe this is a conscious decision and one that makes sense based on the aesthetic, but it does take away, at least a bit, from my enjoyment of the figure.

    ACCESSORIES

    Now here is where the Ultimates figure really excels. The COBRA B.A.T. 2.0 comes with a TON of great gear very much pulled from the pages of the Marvel Comic.

    There are two different backpacks, the familiar B.A.T. version and a cannister backpack which is unique to this figure and to issue #44, which features Dr. Mindbender using these B.A.T.s to deploy spores in a COBRA experiment. Both the pack and the spores are included here and look pulled from the page.

    As one has come to expect from various B.A.T. figures, he comes with three separate weapons attachments, the flame thrower, the laser gun and the claw. Another place I would have appreciated some more articulation is in the claw, though it’s just a static sculpt. There’s also a battle-damaged head sculpt and a spark effect that can plug into a small hole within the chest plate (you need to remove the transparent cover to get to it).

    What I really love about this figure and wish Classified would do is the fact that he comes with several other hands that can get into various expressive poses. I really like that element and would love to see that become standard issue in the Classified line. He also comes with a laser pistol and a submachine gun to finish off the assortment. When talking about the removable hands and weapons attachments, I was very impressed by how easy it was to swap those parts out. They stay pegged in tightly, but are very easy to remove without a massive struggle or without feeling like you might break it.

    Another item of note — instead of having a peg in the back for his backpacks, there is a hook mechanism that locks into some spots on the B.A.T.’s shoulders which I think is a really unique way to do that instead of just the simple peg and hole.

    CONCLUSION

    I said at the beginning of this review that you shouldn’t compare the Ultimates figure to a Classified figure, but I did it several times throughout the review. My bad.

    This figure serves a particular purpose and I think it does that well. I do wish there was some slightly improved articulation and the joints managed to be a little bit more tightly fitted, but by and large, I enjoy this figure quite a bit and I’m greatly looking forward to an eventual Wave 1 release.

    General Gallery

    Super 7 Ultimates COBRA B.A.T. 02
    • Design
    • Originality
    • Articulation
    • Accessories
    • Value
    3.8

    Summary

    For my first introduction to the G.I. Joe Ultimates line, this figure was great. Somewhat reduced articulation along with joints that were a little looser than I’d prefer tempered my excitement somewhat, though I think the line still has a lot of potential.

    Pros

  • – Loving the color combo
  • – Lots of differences from the standard release
  • – Rod Whigham influence FTW
  • Cons

  • – A little pricey, though there’s a lot of value for the dollar
  • – Loose joints a bit of a bummer