G.I. Joe: Resolute - The Baroness
When Resolute mania was at a fever pitch and the overseas auctions were flying through test shot figures, there was one that never really caught on. Ironically, now that these final 7-packs have hit, that same one will probably end up being one of the more desirable, simply because she changed so much from test shot to final production model. And all of the changes, in my mind, were for the better.
I'm not really sure where the powder blue came from on the Baroness test shot...I'm sure the toy designers were going for an animated feel of an all black uniform, but it didn't really work, and didn't match the concept art in the least. With this new version, they went for a much more Resolute accurate gray and black paint scheme, which makes a big difference, and the figure ends up being more successful for it.
That's not to say this figure is perfect, though. As I mentioned already with Scarlett, female figures are often produced with two separate "tools" making up the head and the hair, and somewhere along the way, whoever sealed those two tools together...well...they didn't do their job. The end result with the Baroness, as it unfortunately was with Scarlett as well, is that the hair sits up way to high on the head, showing too much forehead, and also giving the impression that the head is far larger than it really is. This is really a shame, because by and large this is a really nice figure (using most of the parts from the highly regarded 5-Pack Baroness figure) but the odd shape of the head and the somewhat sketchy design of the removable sunglasses immediately give off a somewhat bad impression. Speaking of the sunglasses, I'm really not sure what the thought process was behind those, considering she never wore glasses like that in the cartoon, but whatever it was, they don't work especially well in this capacity. However, I did find simply by swapping the 5-Pack Baroness head onto this body, the figure is remarkably cooler.
I will say, even with the oddly sized head, the color changes here are a vast improvement over the test shot version, and I really like this figure from the neck down. The embossed Cobra logo, the nicely designed coat/skirt (that doesn't impact articulation too much) and the updated gray and black color scheme all add up to a pretty nicely updated Baroness, even with the funky noggin. Granted, Baroness' head isn't nearly as bad as Scarlett's, but Scarlett's body sculpt is a lot better, so it kind of equals out in the end.
One thing the test shot version had going for it were the accessories. Simply put, she came with a metric ton of them. Rifles, pistols, even a rocket launcher! This updated version isn't nearly so well-equipped, but the pistols she comes with are at least accurate to the Resolute animation.
During her stand off alongside Destro, The Baroness toted around two very distinct and cool scoped pistols, and now she comes with both of them, ready to exchange gunfire with Roadblock and Gung Ho! Sure, there are far fewer weapons that she comes with now, but these two are at least direct influences from the cartoon, and I love that. She also comes with removable sunglasses, which is a great touch, even though she never wore them in Resolute itself. I'm amazed at how Hasbro design can continue shrinking down the scale, yet maintain functionality the way they have. I still remember getting an original Comic Pack Baroness in 2004, the first time we got removable glasses, and they were awful. Absolutely awful. Things have come a long way since then.
Standing alone, this figure has some benefits, and some weaknesses. In comparison to the original test shot, the updated 7-pack version is an improvement in nearly every way. I do kind of wish the Hasbro marketing folks had okayed more tooling dollars to fix the head sculpt, but I understand the limitations, and I'm glad we got as much new tooling in these sets as we did. Still, amongst all of the great figures, the Baroness is one that falls a bit short, though mostly due to her head.