Toy Review: G.I. Joe Classified Croc Master, Spirit, Baroness and More
For ’80s kids, one of the coolest factors of the original G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero action figures was the gear. Even the way accessories would have separate bubbles on the card made it seem like they had extra value relative to Star Wars. But for kids playing, one factor frustrated sometimes. The figures who had grenades or guns sculpted to their bodies, aside from the separate gear. It seems a minor thing in hindsight, but for kids, one might capture a character and take his weapons. Then the other kid whose character got captured would insist that the grenades sculpted to Snake Eyes’ chest counted, and hadn’t in fact been confiscated. Fights might ensue over such things.
Little kids probably won’t be shelling out $22.99 a pop for the 6-inch G.I. Joe Classified figures. But for collectors with long memories, there’s beauty in the fact that all previously sculpted-on small arms are now removable. If not by themselves, then at least as parts of removable backpacks and straps. Captured characters will look properly helpless in dioramas, or even play scenarios. (It’s okay to play, at any age.)
As part of “Yo Joe June,” Hasbro sent out review samples of several new figures: Croc Master, Baroness, Spirit Iron Knife, Storm Shadow, and Python Patrol Viper. What better weekend to showcase them than Fourth of July?
Baroness, on the retro-ish card, is Walmart exclusive. It’s the same basic figure mold as a previous Target exclusive that came with a motorcycle, but improved in several ways. For one, better weapons. The holsters in her back now hold pistols, and she can wield two rifles besides. Her face now features a digital face print, and the glasses are fully removable. So, if nerdy girl figures are your thing, they’ll work elsewhere on similarly scaled characters, like so:
An all-black paint job also improves this Baroness, but she still suffers from an annoying double-standard for elbows. Hers use limited disc-and-pin ball joints rather than the double-hinges on the guys, and no upper arm cuts either, though she does have the butterfly shoulders. It still limits her weapon-holding poses. She does at least sport double-knees, and has a mid-torso ball joint instead of the waist.
Also, without the glasses on, the grooves on her head look a bit odd. Chalk it up to nanites?
Nonetheless, a marked improvement over the costlier bike-riding one with the disappointing bike.
Python Patrol Viper, like all Python Patrol repaints, sells exclusively at Target, at least initially. The yellow and gray crosshatch style may be a matter of taste — it mostly complements the original purple vehicles, of which there are none in this line yet. But as a way of varying up a blue and red Viper army, sure. The leg handgun holster hangs quite loosely, and the utterly silly goggles over a face shield can come off. Since they aren’t translucent at all, and designed for a helmet fit rather than a head fit, they don’t look as good on other figures…
This Viper looks better next to a black-clad villain like Baroness than a blue one like Cobra Commander. The two handed rifle grip works well, and the bright yellow parts make effective decoys toward less damaging body parts. The Viper’s throat looks a bit exposed, though — that’s the only obvious weak point of the design. At least he doesn’t flaunt bare arms like his ’80s version. Note that the flak vest effectively kills his ab-crunch joint.
Croc Master, who comes from that late ’80s G.I. Joe period where the line went insane with weird characters, is like Bane before DC invented him. And he’s the second character in the Classified line to come with an animal sidekick, after Snake Eyes and Timber the wolf. Fiona’s a big, fully-poseable Croc. And she even comes with two little babies!
Fiona features fully ball-jointed neck and tail base, hinged jaws, disc-and-pin ball hips and ankles, and a bendy wire in the tail. Her skin is slightly rubbery over a joint frame. Pop her head on and off to get the leash on or off.
Croc Master’s butterfly shoulders face fairly strict limits form his wrestler physique and croc-skin vest. Still, he’s a brawler, not a technician. His legs feel more bendy and allow more poses below the waist. Weapons include a whip, butcher’s hook, gun, and knife. Both of those last tow come in separate-piece sheaths. So again, the gear is awesome.
He may never have been a major character, but who knows when another crocodile figure like this will ever hit market again.
Storm Shadow, in his original Cobra gear, comes ready to rumble. In addition to alternate hoods (one raised, one lowered), he wields two katanas, a bow, and one removable arrow from his quiver. All of which store in his backpack.
He has odd white spots on his inner elbow that look like errors, but might be some kind of clan markings? It’s hard to say. Some nice detail around the eyes, though.
Maybe that outfit’s a bit too gleaming white to have legit seen combat. Or maybe he uses Persil.
In the cartoons, Storm Shadow had a feud going with Spirit, who was somehow also a martial arts expert despite being primarily a tracker. Now called Spirit Iron-Knife for copyright-related reasons, he makes a gem of a figure. Now, in some ways, he’s arguably a noble Native American stereotype. He’s a tracker, he wears denim shirts, he has a headband and long braids, and a pet eagle. But to Indigenous kids growing up — Taboo from the Black-Eyed Peas among them — he was a rare example of heroic representation. And he still is.
Freedom the eagle includes two sets of wings, depending on what pose he needs to take, and has hip articulation.
Now, if you’re thinking about another recent action figure who should have come with an eagle but didn’t, we got you. And yes, it works…
Spirit’s two knives hold fairly loosely in his hands. Threading fingers around them is key to making any literal iron-knife pose look good.
Again, all his sheaths and sidearms? Separate pieces.
Entertainment Earth has the three non-exclusives in this bunch up for preorder, at $22.99 for Storm Shadow and Spirit, and $41.99 for Croc Master and Fiona. Note that Entertainment Earth is an affiliate partner of Superhero Hype, and Superhero Hype may earn fees based on purchases made through links.
Want to see more? Check out the gallery below. Then tell us your thoughts in comments.
Recommended Reading: G.I. Joe: Snake Eyes: Cobra Civil War Volume 1
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