Packaging - **
The packaging is sort of cartoony. The art looks like it was done by
the same artists who are doing the new G.I. Joe comic. The bubble
containing the two figures takes up about 2/3 of the card. The logo and a
picture of Duke and Cobra Commander locked in mortal combat are above the
blister. The figures are in action poses facing each other. Accessories
are displayed in the plastic tray with the figures. Some of the
figures are clearly seen while others, most notably the Moray, are
difficult to see (he is turned away from the consumer).
The back of the card shows
comic book styled drawings of the characters from this first assortment.
Flag Points are apparently a thing of the past as there are none on the
package. Instead there is a UPC code that tells which figure you
The cards are generic within
the assortment. This is disappointing when compared with the
packaging of the original figures. Also disappointing was the
absence of the file cards on the card back giving bios of the
characters. File cards are instead found on the paper insert giving
the character names in the front of the package. They are a little less
detailed than the originals but it just wouldn't be G.I. Joe without them.
Each 2-pack has an individualized comic style drawing/backdrop
behind the two figures. The packaging works but does not stand out. I
almost missed these on the shelf. Selling them 2 to a pack cuts down on
the cost of packaging the figures but is sort of bad for people who want
to build Cobra armies. As a kid, I had a couple of extras of several
Cobras since they were generic soldiers. Now if I want to do this, I
have to spend twice as much and have an extra non-generic Joe that can
only go into storage or ebay.
Sculpting - ***
The sculpting on these figures is hit or miss. While the detail is
generally good, the proportions seem odd on some figures. On many,
the heads look too small for the physique.
The Cobra Moray is the
strongest of this bunch and Destro is the weakest. Hasbro has taken
lessons that they learned in Star Wars and has applied them here. These
figures are sort of like the love child of a 3 3/4" Joe and a 3
3/4" Star Wars figure whose first cousin was Galoob's Jonny Quest.
Most of these characters have bulky belts at their waists to hide
articulation. Some characters also have holsters and sheaths built
in to hold weapons. These work well although some of the weapons
look abnormally large when holstered.
All in all, they look good,
but not as good as a re-launch of this line could or should have looked.
Paint - ***
The paint on these figures is generally okay but there are a number of
places where there is bleed or a nick in the paint. I had to look
through a couple of sets of Frostbite/ Neo-Viper before I found a
Frostbite with a good face. Otherwise, the only paint flaws that I found
were because I was looking very closely.
Articulation - ***1/2
These figures have 10 points of articulation: knee, hip, waist, elbow,
bicep, simulated ball jointed shoulder, and ball jointed neck.
Considering the size of these
figures, the articulation is good, but not as good as it used to be.
The much valued O-Ring has been removed from the torso as a cost
cutting measure. Previous Joe figures had a rubber ring and a metal T
joint inside that allowed for ball jointed hips. This is a change
that a lot of the Joe collectors are not happy with. Joe's legs now
move only forward and back and still have bending knees. The only
figures in this size that are more articulated right now are Gundam suits.
There are rumors that the O-ring will return in future assortments.
Accessories - ***
While the figures are all new sculpts, the weapons are all from
previous series. This isn't a problem as backwards compatibility is
a very insightful inclusion here, especially with the recent releases of
re-decoed Joes. These figures will work with most, if not all, of
the old series' weapons and vehicles. I have had some problems with
the figures holding their weapons because of the positions of hand
Frostbite's backpack will not
stay in his back at all. Some of the more dynamic poses may prevent
some of the figures from using certain more restrictive vehicles; i.e.
places where the legs have to be squeezed together. Everyone comes
with plenty of accessories, only some don't make a lot of sense. The
Neo-Viper comes with bazooka shells but not a weapon that would launch
them. C.L.A.W.S. comes with the weapon that originally went with
them. For the most part, the accessories are decent and appropriate.
Value - ***
These were $7.73 at Wal-Mart. Considering that the nearest
equivalent toy, Gundam, is $6 a pop, this doesn't seem too bad. The
originals were $3 a piece and the re-issues ranged from $5 to $8 for a
2-pack. Getting two figures for this makes it a bit more palatable.
Again, these lose a little bit, probably a half star or so for
making things difficult on the army builder. When I was a kid, my mom
might have spent $3 to slake my thirst for toys on a trip to the store,
but it is doubtful that she would have splurged $8.
Playability - ***1/2
I'm taking some liberties here and am adding another category. If I
were a 10 year old kid instead of a 30 year old kid, I would want to play
with these toys. I would play with them a lot. They seem fairly
sturdy and come with a good number of accessories and they are small
enough that vehicles and playsets for them are manageable. In other words,
these were made to be played with and that means the world to kids and
parents. While the originals would have netted an easy four stars
here, the lack of being able to make a ninja perform a side kick causes a
loss of a half a star. I really respect Hasbro for making a line for
the kids that isn't catering mostly to the collector by reducing the
articulation and jacking up the price. Playmates did the same thing
several years back with Exo-Squad where it was a great line for the kids
that had little collector interest.
Overall - ***
While this isn't the strongest showing Joe has ever had, it is a
somewhat decent one. With vehicles and another assortment that
includes Scarlett and Zartan waiting in the wings, this line has a lot of
potential. It's not living up to its full potential now, but the original
Joe line didn't come into its own until the second year when characters
started having more individualized body parts and swivel-arm battle grip. I
have been looking forward to these for quite a while and with the possible
exception of Destro(who was one of my favorite original characters) am
glad that I picked up the new set of Joes.
Where to Buy -
I found mine at Wal-Mart, where the supply was fairly limited on the
initial shipment. Toys R Us, KB, Target, and a slew of other major
retailers will most likely carry them very soon.