G.I. Joe: Retaliation - G.I. Joe Trooper
Well, Hasbro, you did it again. I've never loved the idea of G.I. Joe "green shirts" but when Hasbro gave us the Steel Brigade figure from the Pursuit of Cobra (and later the 30th Anniversary line) I started to come around, just because the figure was so cool. Now they've gone and done it with G.I. Joe: Retaliation as well, taking a generic G.I. Joe trooper and managing to make him the highlight figure of the first wave.
I find it somewhat surprising, with G.I. Joe being such a heavy character-based brand, that they would make a conscious effort to take a nameless trooper and give him all of the bells and whistles. And when I say all the bells and whistles, I mean all the bells and whistles. The G.I. Joe Trooper has the full articulation compliment, from the wrists to the rocker ankles, the double joint knees and everything in between. His elbows bend extremely well, he can hold his weapons almost perfectly, and all of this articulation is woven into a great looking sculpt. Granted, without the accessories, it's a pretty plain looking sculpt with basic military cargo pants, kneepads, a featureless shirt, and basic baggy sleeves, but that still works really nicely. Removing the webgear gives you the template for any number of potential customizations. He has some really neat details on his wrist, as well, which serve some unknown purposes, but do manage to add a bit of detail to the figure.
There aren't a whole lot of paint apps to speak of here, with a very basic green uniform, much the same shade as Duke and the Ghost Hawk II. The first release G.I. Joe Trooper has a very strange, somewhat out of place blue collar, designed to mesh with the cape that can be hung over his shoulder as well. I'm not entirely sure why that color blue was chosen as it not only clashes pretty heavily with the more muted colors of the rest of the figure, but it is also such a Cobra-themed color that it seems strange to have it on a G.I. Joe Trooper. Rumor has it that future releases will have a much more military color scheme. It was funny, actually, during Toy Fair in New York this year, Derryl DePriest talked quite a bit about choosing the color for the cape and the collar, and apparently the Cobra connection didn't really occur to any of them, but they seemed quite interested (at the time) in changing it up. Looks like we're seeing the end results in future assortments.
While most of the Wave 1 G.I. Joe: Retaliation figures are sparse with their accessories (aside from spring-loaded behemoths) the G.I. Joe Trooper is absolutely littered with awesome, functional gear. He's got a grenade launcher, a machine gun, and a long range rifle, four pistols, two knives, a backpack with shovel, removable gas mask, and a swappable head. There is a ton of stuff. Not only that, but thanks to the ingenious design of this backpack, almost all of it can be easily carried by the Trooper. The end result is a figure that actually looks quite awesome and almost post-apocalyptic. I'm sure we've all seen those movies (Mad Max, etc...) where some of those final survivors in a war-torn planet have fastened together backpacks that hold all of their various weapons or gear. Well, this backpack, combined with the poncho tossed over one shoulder really gives off that very cool nuclear winter vibe. I like it a lot.
Probably the coolest combination of accessories for this figure, though, would have to be the twin knife sheaths with knives that he carries at his hip. That is an awesome touch.
His weapons serve to add to this feeling, too, with some very futuristic gun choices that not only look like they're from 30 years in the future, but are also pulling some strong elements from Halo. Obviously the swappable head is a clear homage to the Microsoft video game, but I think at least two of the guns are very reminiscent of the standard assault rifle and the battle rifle (with extended barrel). Some of that could be pure coincidence, but I'm not so sure.
Now in some ways it almost seems like the G.I. Joe Trooper has got too much. Once you get the backpack and cloak all together with all of the weapons in each place, a slight bump can send things flopping all over.
It is truly amazing just how different this figure is conceptually than pretty much any other figure in the first wave of G.I. Joe: Retaliation. With a focus on accessory quantity and avoiding the spring-loaded gimmicks, this figure gains immediate cool points. Give him an amazing new head sculpt (a pair of them, actually) some really unique weapons and improved articulation, and you have yet another damned G.I. Joe Trooper that I now feel compelled to own.
Between the Steel Brigade, the Steel Brigade Delta, and now the G.I. Joe Trooper, I'm amassing quite an army of G.I. Joe troop builders for a guy who doesn't like the idea of G.I. Joe troop builders. Ah, well, the figure is very cool and I'm going with it.
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