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GeneralsJoes Back on the clock – G.I. Joe Classified reviews incoming

GeneralsJoes Back on the clock – G.I. Joe Classified reviews incoming

Things have been a bit quiet around these parts recently, but that looks like it could be changing. I’m not sure what it was, whether it was participating in the fan roundtable a short time ago or the flurry of activity around the H.I.S.S. HasLab, but whatever the case, I’ve been bitten by the Classified bug and have spent quite a bit of time over the past week playing a little catch up.

If you look back at my G.I. Joe: Classified Review Page you’ll see that I actually didn’t fall THAT far behind. Yes there are definitely some gaps, but considering it’s been a year since I posted a review — could be a lot worse.

I’ve played a little bit of catch up, posting (or finishing partially written) reviews for Flint, Lady Jaye and Major Bludd. Yes, they are older figures, but I promise that’s just the start.

At some point this week I’ll be posting reviews for Spirit, Storm Shadow and COBRA Officer, and I’m hoping for Croc Master shortly thereafter.

If everything goes according to plan, perhaps I’ll even work to fill in some of those other gaps before Tomax, Xamot and Stalker arrive. Time will tell.

So, stay tuned — hopefully lots more still to come!

G.I. Joe: Classified – Lady Jaye

One of the strengths of the G.I. Joe mythology over the years was the prevalence of strong female characters, which was something you didn’t always see back in the bygone days of the 80’s. From the very first, many of the central, most important characters who drove the G.I. Joe world were female, and certainly within the confines of the Sunbow animated series, Lady Jaye was at the top of that list.

While she was paired with Flint throughout much of their time in animation, she was clearly her own character as well, often starring in episodes as more than just “Flint’s other half” and carving out her own identity and personality. All that being said, I was a little surprised to hear her mentioned as part of the G.I. Joe: Classified line so early in its life. That surprise, however, swiftly became anticipation, as Hasbro revealed a fantastic iteration of Lady Jaye.

While I’m thrilled to see Lady Jaye’s inclusion within G.I. Joe: Classified, I wasn’t sure how well her look would translate to a more modern aesthetic. She’s always had a pretty unique old-school appearance, and even as Hasbro gave her new tooling throughout several updated versions, she never really got a new “look”, always just the same vintage uniform with some minor alterations.

I’m pleased to say for the Classified version they managed to draw inspiration and spirit from her original ’85 appearance, but updated it in a few key ways that manage to make her look vintage inspired, but also mesh with the more modern Classified style pretty seamlessly.

DESIGN

Lady Jaye has her familiar green uniform that she’s been shown in since day one. The color is very much as its always been with a somewhat bright sheen, though not too bright. She’s got her familiar popped-up collar, though Hasbro did dial back the plunging neckline a bit, definitely for the better.

She’s got combat pants and boots and her rolled-up sleeves, all of which call back to her vintage appearance, but also give the modern designers some freedom to do a few interesting things.

As we’ve seen with several other Classified figures, the additional texture and sculpting detail allowed at a six-inch scale is put to very good use here. Several seams are sculpted into her uniform as well as a nice application of layered texture and padding, which adds some depth and dimension to the figure.

Pockets, pouches and straps sculpted on top of her base uniform adds some really cool detail and this Classified aesthetic and the secondary belt and straps are pretty terrific. I like the hip pouch and what’s become the trademark blue communications device that also helps tie her in to the rest of the team.

What’s perhaps my favorite aspect of this figure’s design, however, is how they handle her head.

As any G.I. Joe fan knows, the original Lady Jaye figure wore a baseball cap (as did several of her more recent releases as well) however in the animated series, she was featured without it. In fact, it wasn’t until the 25th Anniversary line a little over 10 years ago that we even got a Lady Jaye figure without her baseball cap.

With this Classified update, Hasbro finds a way to please both camps! The figure comes with the cap-less head, but the hair is removable with the ability to swap it out for a hat with hair attached. Honestly? It works perfectly.

ARTICULATION

As with most of the Classified figures, Lady Jaye features some impressive articulation, only this figure actually goes even further above and beyond.

Lady Jaye was actually one of the first Hasbro female figures to feature double-joint elbows, and she also has the latest state-of-the-art pinless joints so the aesthetic of the figure is not interrupted by the obvious round pins that keep the parts together. In spite of this new revolutionary construction, she manages to retain full range of motion and is just as highly articulated as any other figure in the line (and actually even better articulated than Scarlett and Baroness).

There have been some reports that the elbow joints do restrict motion a little bit, though mine has been fine with some careful moving and an application of some heat from a hair dryer.

ACCESSORIES

As great as the figure design itself is, Lady Jaye only shines further in the accessory department.

While the original ’85 release figure had a somewhat funky javelin/gun sort of combination, the Sunbow animation really leaned into the whole javelin idea and actually gave her spears to throw, many of them with unique tips that could provide all sorts of different functions– explosive, acid, even one that formed an airtight bubble to protect her and Flint from lava. Yes, you read that right.

The Classified version manages to meld both ideas, giving her a modular javelin gun that can be separated so she ends up with spare javelins for throwing, and they even have removable tips! Not only that, but the spare tips can fit within recesses in her backpack, which also has a fantastic modular surveillance camera system for some of those covert operations she is sent on. There’s also a removable knife that fits into a sheath, and as I mentioned before, the whole hat/hairpiece combination.

In short, her accessories are fantastic. It would have been cool if she could have come with some other sort of combat weapon that leaned a touch more realistic, but Hasbro was clearly leaning on the ’85 version for inspiration, which is what most fans want, so hard to blame them there.

CONCLUSION

Sort of like the upcoming Target exclusive Barbecue, Lady Jaye wasn’t a figure I realized I needed quite as badly as I did, but now that I’ve got her in hand, I’m really impressed and thrilled that Hasbro got her in collector hands so early in the line.

To anyone who fell in love with the Sunbow cartoon, Lady Jaye was clearly a central cog in that machine and it’s great to see Hasbro giving the character her due.

They did great work with this figure and I really don’t have any complaints, though the pinless elbow joints have been reported as issues either with their mobility or their durability. I feel fortunate that I haven’t experienced that myself, but it should be mentioned regardless.

As an aside, I’m hearing and seeing reports that both this figure and Flint have been relatively easy to locate at brick and mortar retail– a great and hopeful sign of things to come as the world continues its recovery from 2020 and looks ahead to a renewed explosion of G.I. Joe popularity.

General Gallery

G.I. Joe Classified Lady Jaye
  • Sculpting
  • Paint Applications
  • Articulation
  • Accessories
4.4

Summary

The way Hasbro handled their six inch update to Lady Jaye is about as good as it gets, from my perspective. The unique way they handled the javelin weapons, the swappable hat/hairpiece and the added elbow articulation all add to a terrific overhaul.

Pros

  • – Great mix of vintage call backs and modern stylistic updates
  • – First female figure with double-jointed elbows
  • – Brilliant use of accessories with the javelin and the hat/hairpiece
  • Cons

  • – Added articulation does make the elbow joints a bit more fragile
  • – The javelins are great, but I would love some more traditional accessories included as well
  • G.I. Joe: Classified – Major Bludd

    Yes, this figure, as it stands now, is about a year old and we’ve seen a couple dozen Classified figures emerge within that window of time, but Major Bludd, for my money, stands at the top of the list of favorite figures even as the roster has grown significantly since his release.

    Major Bludd seemed to emerge right on the cusp of the shift from modern back to vintage aesthetic and I’m absolutely thrilled that he fell on the right side of that line. This figure, almost more than any other, truly benefitted from a more science fiction approach and it’s for that reason that he’s as successful as he is.

    Major Bludd fever felt like a turning point in the G.I. Joe: Classified franchise. Frustration over the COBRA Island Target exclusives reached a fever pitch and it was with Bludd, Barbecue and Breaker that Hasbro seemed to find the right formula that mixed desirability and availability. While Bludd’s initial sell through sparked some of the familiar complaints, he eventually became more accessible with reports of collectors finding upwards of 30 of him on pegs throughout various regional Target locations.

    At this point, an eBay search seems to bear that out with figures averaging around $30 – $40 on the secondary market. A bit of an uptick from MSRP but it doesn’t appear to be an indication that these figures are exceptionally scarce.

    DESIGN

    From a design perspective, Major Bludd ticks all the right boxes, especially for being a store exclusive. There was a time when an exclusive to a particular retail chain automatically meant repaint– but with the Classified line, we’ve seen a bevy of great new parts with almost every Target exclusive released and that certainly remained the case with Major Bludd.

    The base body, it should be noted, is mostly a repaint of the COBRA Trooper, though you wouldn’t necessarily notice with the updated secondaries, the new right arm, shin armor and head. Beneath the covers, I’m totally cool with the Trooper body being used, as it represents a nicely updated, bulky looking figure that seems like a great template for Bludd.

    Covering the torso is a thick plate of body armor, more reminiscent of the Sideshow Collectibles release of Major Bludd than the 1983 rendition, which is a huge win in my book. It’s a great design with several sculpted textural elements and great layers, looking protective and future sci-fi in all the right ways. A bulked up shoulder pad on his right shoulder adds to that bulk, which of course compliments the clearly cybernetic right arm included as well.

    There has been a lot of debate over the years whether Bludd has a robotic arm or simply some armor to protect him from his missile-launching weapon, and there are plenty of arguments for both. Classified went hard into the “robotic” arm side of things and I absolutely love it. The sculpting, articulation and overall design of the limb is so great, it really adds a terrific cherry on top of this figure which provides even more separation from the standard COBRA Trooper underlay.

    Perhaps just as great as the arm, however is the head sculpt. That grizzled, angry Mercenary look glowers out from beneath the domed helmet, his scarred left eye replaced by yet another cybernetic attachment once again calling back to a previous version of the figure. Sideshow Collectibles also took this element to heart and I remain ecstatic that Classified seemed to use that as a canvas.

    While the COBRA Trooper left gauntlet is a direct recreation of the one that came with that Trooper, Hasbro gave Bludd new boots which dramatically help make him look a bit new and different. Add to the boots, the vest, the head and the arm, a simple addition like the belt with a low-slung holster just adds all the more appeal to this mercenary figure.

    Then of course there are the colors– as one would expect from Major Bludd, the base body is brown, just like the vintage figure (and several of the ensuing releases since) but rather than a pure flat black to complement it, Hasbro goes with a deep, gunmetal gray, dark enough to look black, but with just the right sheen to it that it gives it added texture and detail.

    Speaking of detail, there are various nicks, and dings taken out of the armor and the shins, which just show that Bludd has been through the ringer, giving the figure a life of its own.

    ARTICULATION

    Beneath the layered armor, Bludd’s articulation remains on point as it does with pretty much every single Classified figure released. Like several others (including the frequently mentioned COBRA Trooper) a full torso armored vest does hinder some of the torso movements which detracts a bit from the overall range of motion.

    Even with that, the figure reaches and maintains all manner of great positions and it’s tough to be too upset because the vest adds so much detail to the look of the figure.

    ACCESSORIES

    Could we ask for anything better? As they’ve started doing more frequently, Hasbro clearly went to the vintage well when providing Bludd his backpack and missile launcher, and because of the larger scale of the figure, they could actually make the rockets removable from the backpack which is a really great detail.

    Those rockets can then attach to the end of the launcher as well to mimic the gun the vintage version came with (though the Classified version looks a bit longer and ganglier than the vintage version did). Along with the backpack, missiles and launcher, Bludd comes with removable dog tags, his familiar helmet, and a really great looking revolver which, yet again, is a call back to Sideshow Collectibles in the best way. Bludd’s pistol remains one of my favorite weapons of the entire line to this day.

    CONCLUSION

    Absolute, utter perfection. An immaculate blend of vintage aesthetic and modern touches, Major Bludd is a spectacular addition to the G.I. Joe Rogue’s gallery. His availability caused some consternation at first, but has loosened up since, which is a good thing, because every fan deserves to have this figure in their collection.

    Major Bludd is a picture perfect example for why I wish Hasbro would still allow for some unique modern aesthetics to creep through as I think he really showcases the potential for that rather than devoting all attention to recreating the old school look.

    Time will tell if Hasbro eventually puts together a more faithful vintage version of Bludd, but I’ll just say up front — they don’t need to. This guy is perfect as it is.

    General Gallery

    G.I. Joe Classified Major Bludd
    • Sculpting
    • Paint Applications
    • Articulation
    • Accessories
    4.8

    Summary

    What a great figure. A combination of reused parts and new, a great modern take on the classic COBRA mercenary. LOVE his weapons. Not a whole lot to complain about.

    Pros

  • – That head sculpt is about as good as it gets
  • – Love the cybernetic arm and that future tech pistol
  • – Great modern updates!!
  • Cons

  • – Layered body armor is great, but does restrict movement
  • LOVE the COBRA Trooper base body — but I do wonder what a pure “Bludd” Major might look like
  • G.I. Joe: Classified – Flint

    Flint is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of my all time favorite G.I. Joe characters. He’s another one of those guys who first came to life via Larry Hama’s file cards, even before I saw one second of him in a G,.I. Joe cartoon or on the pages of a Marvel comic book. Coming to the rescue with that lopsided grin– his Rhodes Scholar background– it just exemplified the character of Flint in my eyes.

    I was a bit worried about “going back in time” to review some of these earlier figures, wondering if perhaps the shine had come off. I’m happy to say, in Flint’s case, it really hasn’t, at least not purely from an action figure perspective.

    Ever since the 25th Anniversary line back in 2007 (holy crap was that really 15 years ago?!?) Flint has sort of existed as an extension of Duke, at least from an action figure perspective. Selfishly, I’ve always loved Flint as a character more than Duke, so I’m not a huge fan of his base figure being a Duke clone all the time, but it’s tough to argue with the results, especially once you layer on the updated tactical vest, different leg armor and a new head sculpt.

    DESIGN

    For as much hate as the initial waves of G.I. Joe: Classified get, they still remain, in my mind, a great collection of figures which weren’t afraid to add some unique modern elements to the timeless designs we were all accustomed to. Flint is a perfect example of this.

    The sculpted textures in his uniform’s break up what could have a somewhat bland sculpt and even though most of the figure is essentially a repainted Duke it doesn’t feel that way. Hasbro obviously took inspiration from the vintage figure here, but really modernized the tactical vest and added darker toned shin armor to tie in some of the more video game/future tech inspirations they were going for. The result is excellent in my mind though I acknowledge I’m in the minority on that.

    One thing that I find that I really enjoy about the six inch scale is how the different layers balance off each other with texture, color, etc. Flint’s pants with the pseudo airbrush camouflage beneath the more static color of the holster and straps really draw the eye and make each material feel different and apart. Obviously that’s a credit not just to the scale but to the design choices as well.

    Then you have the updated head sculpt (which really feels like Flint) complete with removable beret, and his awesome updated vest. Rather than just the same old twin straps with shotgun shells we get a more armored, pouch laden “Resolute” style update which always gets bonus points in my book.

    ARTICULATION

    The base figure for Flint retains the same high level of articulation we’re all accustomed to throughout the entirety of the Classified line. Double joint elbows and knees, drop down hips, the nicely poseable ankles and neck all combine to give us a G.I. Joe figure with all the range of motion we expect as long time fans of the brand.

    The only minor downside where Flint is concerned is due to his armored vest, which does end up restricting torso movement somewhat, but that’s a given. You can’t layer on an armored vest across an entire torso and expect the figure to move the same without carving some serious eyesore cuts into the armor. I think for what they tried to do, Hasbro found a great balance.

    ACCESSORIES

    But, of course, not everything is rosy when it comes to Flint. This figure was released during that window of time where Hasbro seemed unwilling to give their figures even somewhat realistic looking weapons. I think for what they had to work with, they did an okay job with Flint’s shotgun, managing to make it look somewhat future tech, but also with some hints of realistic undertones. Many folks have pointed out the inconsistencies with the pump-action and the break apart mechanism of the weapon, to which I say– this is G.I. Joe, not Call of Duty– a world where Trubble Bubbles, Air Chariots and clones of history’s greatest leaders exist. I’m sure why we can’t suspend our disbelief enough to not nitpick over a shotgun.

    Where my complaints really come is with the number of accessories (or lack thereof) especially when compared to some of the newer releases. A single shotgun, pistol and removable beret feels like the bare minimum and while some might argue that Flint doesn’t really NEED more accessories, it does still feel a bit glaring.

    CONCLUSION

    For a repaint of Duke with a few added design elements, Flint does exactly what Flint’s meant to do. The new head sculpt, vest, weapons and lower leg armor go a long way toward separating this figure from Duke and make it stand on its own two feet.

    While some might argue the futuristic elements were a draw back, I’d almost prefer to see a figure that looked like this rather than a bite-by-bite recreation of something initially released in 1985. From my POV, Flint is a pretty great balance between a throw back and a look forward.

    General Gallery

    G.I. Joe Classified Flint
    • Sculpting
    • Paint Applications
    • Articulation
    • Accessories
    3.5

    Summary

    Coming out relatively early in the Classified run, Flint still holds his own among more modern releases. Yes, he’s a repaint of Duke, but with the right mix of new parts to make him stand out from the crowd.

    Pros

  • – Great mix of vintage and modern
  • – Love the head sculpt and the armored vest
  • – Camouflage paint scheme on the legs works really, really well
  • Cons

  • – Where are the rest of his accessories?
  • – While this figure works as a repaint, it would be awesome to see a version of Flint that truly stands alone
  • G.I. Joe: Classified – COBRA Officer

    Hasbro was still fully in the modernization mindset when they designed the COBRA Trooper to align with the initial assortment of Target releases and I couldn’t have been happier. COBRA’s backbone infantry unit was completely overhauled for 21st Century operations with layered body armor, a metal face mask, armored gauntlets and boots and a uniform rich with layered texture and awesome aesthetics.

    At the time of its release, the COBRA Trooper was quite possibly my favorite figure of the line. Thus, when the COBRA Officer was announced, I was greatly anticipating the eventual reveal, but also, at the same time, a little cautious. What would they do? Simply repaint the trooper with the trademark silver sigil? Or would they make some other, more dramatic changes that might create unnecessary separation and division from within the COBRA forces?

    Turns out, I needn’t have bothered to worry– the Hasbro designers in charge of G.I. Joe: Classified have quickly become some of my favorites and the COBRA Officer is a perfect reason why.

    DESIGN

    First of all, no Hasbro didn’t simply throw a silver logo on the COBRA Trooper and as much as I love the COBRA Trooper (and COBRA Infantry for that matter) I couldn’t be happier that they went in a different direction with the officer.

    First of all– yes there are some connections to the trooper, which is exactly what you’d expect and want for the Officer. With similar blue hues to the uniform, he also has some of the same added texture to his balaclava, his arms and his legs, which immediately makes that much needed connection to the larger group of COBRA Infantry. The effective balance of black on blue, as well, especially on the shoulders and near the collarbone adds a nice divergence of color and breaks up the standard canvas nicely, adding more detail to the sculpted texture and some deviation from what could have been a bland, monochrome color scheme.

    But, of course, they removed the bulkier battle armor, taking him a step away from the front lines, instead using web gear on him that’s somewhat similar to the old school officer, but with a bit of a modern touch.

    With the opened “V” of the web gear, you can see the uniform beneath, featuring a smooth surface tunic with a nice rank ribbon on the upper chest, immediately adding a sense of significance to his position, settling him firmly in a stance of leadership among the other cadre of troopers. It’s a small touch, but a great one.

    Along with the tunic and web gear, the lower half of his facemask is now a smooth cloth rather than the armored look, just as his gloves and boots look like more natural leather rather than next generation armored tech. The result is an update to the COBRA Officer which looks a bit more “real” but at the same time still blends in almost seamlessly with the existing trooper base. It’s a pretty great symbiosis between different techniques and they pull it off perfectly.

    ARTICULATION

    With a look closely aligned with the Trooper, I’m happy to say the Officer actually retains better articulation, specifically due to the thinner straps used for the web gear rather than the huge, full-torso battle vest which restricts movement on the Trooper and Infantry.

    Elbows, knees, hips, all the rest of the requisite joints are present and accounted for and work really well, allowing for a wealth of various poses and positions. I didn’t notice any real stiffness or hindrance to range of motion and the various battle ready stances or gun-firing positions all worked really well.

    ACCESSORIES

    It seems like so long ago that Hasbro seemed wholly unwilling to put realistic weapons in with their figures. COBRA Officer comes with an AK-47 with removable magazine and scope, as well as submachine gun with a second removable magazine, a knife and a pistol. As Hasbro as done throughout the Classified line, there is room on the figure for all of the various accessories, which is an excellent detail, though I’ll admit it was a bit difficult to get the scope and the magazine where they belonged in the back of the belt.

    A separate sleeve backpack is included as well, which will fit either weapon nice and snug, allowing for some customizability when it comes to which weapon he’s holding and which one he’s saving for later.

    It’s not an extravagant assortment of various weapons, but simple and functional, even if the pistol seems a bit old school for the modern Officer to carry.

    CONCLUSION

    I had several different expectations when it came to the inevitable Officer release and somehow Hasbro eschewed them all and managed to surpass them all at the same time. The web gear, the various different smooth and rough textures throughout the body sculpting, the similarity, yet differences to the Trooper cadre– it all comes together to give us a spectacular version of the Officer which simultaneously adheres to classic tropes while at the same time bringing in plenty of more modern twists.

    The COBRA Officer, in its unique and somewhat simple way achieves precisely what I’ve wanted Classified figures to achieve– latch on to some of that vintage inspiration that brings out the nostalgia, while at the same time not backing away from tying in modern elements that make it something new and different from an 80s faithful regurgitation.

    They nailed it with this one and I’m thrilled.

    General Gallery

    G.I. Joe Classified COBRA Officer
    • Design
    • Originality
    • Articulation
    • Accessories
    • Value
    4.2

    Summary

    The COBRA Trooper was an exceptional modern interpretation, several steps apart from its vintage counterpart– in a time when Hasbro seems to be looking firmly toward vintage designs for inspiration, how would they blend the two aesthetics in the COBRA Officer? As it turns out, pretty darn well. The COBRA Officer takes some of the intriguing textural elements of the Trooper while adding some more old school “officer type” layers and creates a figure that, while reminiscent of the 80s, isn’t beholden to it. Yet even with those subtle vintage elements, they manage to modernize it enough to blend with the existing Troopers, a feat that was likely far more complicated than they made it seem.

    Pros

  • – Great modernization to the old school Officer vibe
  • – Love the removable magazines and that there’s a place on the figure for everything
  • – Variations in texture make for a very interesting looking figure
  • Cons

  • – Accessories are good, but somewhat vanilla
  • G.I. Joe: Classified – Spirit Iron-Knife

    There are times, it seems, where nearly every memory of my childhood is at least tangentially related to G.I. Joe, as foolish as that sounds. As I was prepping this review in my head, I recalled that at some point in 1984, my best friend at the time and I were preparing to exchange Christmas presents. It was with some great, barely concealed frustration that I was wrapping a brand new Spirit figure for him– not because he didn’t deserve it, but because, dangit, the figure looked awesome and I wanted it. But my mom had been adamant that we give it to my friend for Christmas, so it got sealed in a box, wrapped in paper and forever removed from my eager, ten year old hands.

    Fast forward a few days and my friend and I exchanged our gifts, both of us eagerly opening them– and much to our pleasure (and surprise) we’d both bought each other Spirit action figures from that new G.I. Joe toy line we both loved so much.

    For whatever reason I clearly remember Freedom’s claws breaking within three days of opening him, but I loved that Spirit figure and by the time it finally saw retirement there was a broken thumb, a broken crotch and a lost belt to go along with Freedom’s claws.

    Now, here were are in 2022, way more years later than I’d care to admit, and I just expressed similar excitement in opening the package of another version of Spirit Iron-Knife, one whose design was overseen by a group of Native Americans who had agreed to work alongside Hasbro to ensure the update to the G.I. Joe tracker was as inclusive and sensitive to their heritage as it could be.

    As a result, some changes were made from the vintage version, but all things considered, this Spirit update is a credit to the fantastic history of the character, who took up prominent roles in both the comic and the cartoon back in the 80s.

    DESIGN

    As with most Classified figures these days, Spirit Iron-Knife certainly seems to take a healthy amount of inspiration from his classic look from 1984, but, ends up with just the right amount of updates and tweaks to thrust him into the modern day.

    Like the classic Spirit he’s got his powder blue shirt and tan khaki pants, though Hasbro removed the belt and the frills along the boots, mostly, I suspect, out of respect for Spirit’s Native American heritage and without leaning on some of the more prominent stereotypes of that heritage. The result is a figure that looks instantly like he did back in the day, but without some of those more egregious design elements that could take away from an otherwise fantastic looking figure.

    The secondary strap and knife sheath on his chest, along with the belt and leg holster and sheath are all in the same olive green color and fit the figure perfectly without restricting his articulation, a delicate balance that Hasbro has achieved to perfection here. The sculpting on Spirit is as terrific as always, his face full with the familiar character that we’ve seen throughout both Sunbow and Marvel, the look of grim determination as well as the red headband and a thin strand of hair hanging over the fabric which only serves to further express the figure in three dimensions.

    The gauntlet on his left arm has two holes in it for Freedom’s claw pegs and the sizing is just right, allowing the large eagle to perch, ready to strike.

    Speaking of that eagle, he comes with folded wings or wings outstretched, and includes ball-joint articulation for both as well as hip and neck– so he can be perched in wait, or in mid-flight. Some fantastic added detail only possible in a larger scale.

    ARTICULATION

    As mentioned, the design of the chest strap and sheath is great in that it does nothing to restrict the movement of the figure’s torso joint or shoulders, so Spirit Iron-Knife retains a full range of motion in nearly any direction.

    A pet peeve I’ve often had for G.I. Joe figures in other scales was that the soldiers could never really quite hold their weapons “right” there were always some limitations to the way the figures moved. Well, Spirit can capture an almost perfect pose with the sniper rifle, either on his feet or on a knee or anything in between and while it might be a little thing, it makes a big difference.

    Spirit Iron-Knife’s articulation is pretty much everything you’d want it to be and it gets bonus points because even the eagle has it!

    ACCESSORIES

    At some point during Classified’s inception, it was decided by the design team that they wanted to do whatever they could to have a spot for all of the various figures’ accessories either on the figure or in an included bag or backpack. They haven’t always hit that mark (there have been spare hands and hair pieces, for instance) but they’ve regularly come pretty dang close.

    Spirit Iron-Knife is a perfect example of how they’re achieving this feat.

    Obviously there’s an exception here — Freedom comes with two sets of wings, so they’re not going to have a place to store the alternate set– but everything else has it’s place. A holster for the pistol, two separate sheaths for both knives, a backpack with a peg for the sniper rifle as well as a mount for Freedom.

    You can pose Spirit Iron-Knife with every bit of gear he comes with and he both holds that pose well and looks dynamite at the same time. Obviously, Hasbro elected to eschew the spear gun from 1984 in favor of a more traditional sniper rifle, and that totally works for me– even as a kid I wasn’t especially sold on that weapon. His pistol looks like an old school combat pistol and both knives are just different enough, while very much looking their part.

    I’ve already expressed my pleasure with how Freedom came out as well, so in short — I cannot think of a single way they could improve the accessory compliment with this figure. It’s just fantastic.

    CONCLUSION

    Whether facing off against Storm Shadow in the Sunbow cartoon, or teaming up with Ripcord and Blowtorch alongside Bongo the Balloon Bear, Spirit has often played key roles, not just on the toy shelves but in various media as well — heck, he even made the shortlist for Sigma 6.

    With this version of the character, Hasbro propels him into a slightly more modern look but with all of the great vintage throwbacks, and took great care to remain sensitive to his cultural history. All three figures in this assortment are spectacular and Spirit, I believe, stands atop that pile

    General Gallery

    G.I. Joe Classified Spirit Iron-Knife
    • Design
    • Originality
    • Articulation
    • Accessories
    • Value
    4.7

    Summary

    It seems only fitting that Spirit Iron-Knife comes in the same assortment as Storm Shadow and although I always bristled at that conflict in the Sunbow cartoon, I find the giddy nostalgia satisfying nearly 40 years later. It certainly helps that Spirit is a hell of a great figure with some flawless sculpting, excellent articulation and great accessories.

    Pros

  • – Amazingly detailed sculpt
  • – Poseable Freedom? Get outta here!
  • – Just the right touch of modernization
  • Cons

  • Knife handles are pretty small and his hand gets stretched out with the rifle so he can’t hold them all that well