Sgt. Stone

It's obvious just by looking at some of the film pictures that there was a definite Sigma 6 influence in the production of The Rise of COBRA. While I would expect that probably bugs the hell out of a lot of fans, to me, that's just icing on the cake. I am, after all, one of the biggest Sigma 6 fans on the planet. As if the Reactive Armor wasn't enough indication, we even get a character wearing a beret named Sgt. Stone. For folks who don't realize, one of the more popular characters in Sigma 6 lore also wore a beret and was Lieutenant Stone...just another tie in to a forgotten era that seems like much more than two years ago.

But we're talking about current toys, aren't we?

Straight out of the package, Stone has a slightly different look than some of the other Joes, but only slightly. Instead of some souped up impact armor, or the spandex bodysuit, he's got a more traditional military dress shirt and the typical camouflage pants. I find it pretty remarkable that for a figure as ordinary as he is that he ends up being quite so fantastic. There is a lot to love about this figure, even as just a somewhat generic character with short sleeves and camouflage pants.

His head sculpt has a fairly hard edge to it, and the little touch like the new G.I. Joe "Falcon" logo on it is very cool as well. But perhaps Stone's most defining characteristics are those freakish arms. I've seen some complaints here and there about his pythons, but if I remember correctly, he's a trainer in the Joe film, so to me, the musculature makes sense. Not only that, but even though the arms are large, they have a great range of motion and he can hold weapons in all sorts of great poses. Speaking of holding weapons, probably one of my favorite parts about this figure are his hands. The sculpting and detail on those gloves is just nutty. It's funny how little things like that can really give a figure some appeal.

Beyond the unusual arms, he's got great articulation in the legs, too, and the sculpting, while fairly basic, is really fantastic. It's amazing just how far Hasbro design has come in the past couple of years...if I stood the version 1 Duke next to this figure it would look simply ridiculous.

Of course Sgt. Stone is meant to be equipped with his body armor, and that's fine, too. There's nothing really special about the patterned chest plate, but it looks fine, and it doesn't seem to restrict his motion too much.

From a paint applications perspective, Stone is very nice, too. Sure much of his uniform is standard black, but even the camouflage pattern manages to look realistic, yet still have a very nice allotment of different shades of gray. It meshes with the other camouflaged members of the Joe team as well. That's one interesting thing about this film that has generated some opposite opinions. Where in the old days, pretty much every single Joe was unique, in The Rise of COBRA, there's a definite sense of uniformity. That can be good or bad. So far I don't have a problem with it, but I suppose we'll see what happens as things move on and we start getting some more characters.

Accessories are something that has been a major hit or miss on Hasbro's part, and with Stone, it's kind of a miss. I love his machine gun, but it seems to be coming with a lot of figures, so it's not at all unique. His pistol is nice, but he's got no holster or a place to put it. The knife just looks silly with that short, stubby blade on top of that longer, contoured handle. Not sure I even want to get into the whole mammoth spring-loaded launcher thing.

For the most part I've been impressed with some of the gear I've seen, but Stone just didn't knock me out. I do love his gun, and the armor is cool enough, but the weapon isn't unique to him, and the armor is nothing exceptional either.

However, apart from the issues with the accessories, Sgt. Stone is still a terrific action figure, and a great candidate for some Marauder "Gun Runners" love. He can hold two-handed weapons nearly flawlessly, has great range of motion, and a fantastic design aesthetic, even though it's somewhat simple. The only downside to the figure itself I can mention at this point is that I am experiencing some paint rub on his hands already, which is too bad. I'm not sure how prevelant it is everywhere, or how bad it'll get...right now it's just right behind his clenched fingers. Just something to keep an eye out for.

Stone is a minor departure from the more typical fare in the movie line, but still successful in many ways. A very cool figure, and one I definitely recommend in spite of some minor faults.

Buy this figure at Big Bad Toy Store