Sideshow Collectibles 12" Crimson Guard - A guest review by Mysterious Stranger

I’ve always liked the look of the original Crimson Guard figure.  The idea of an elite guard dedicated to protecting Cobra Commander and doing his bidding without hesitation is something that really works well for the G.I. Joe universe.  But as with most of the earlier figures the v.1 “Siegie” was a figure I never had.  In fact it wasn’t until the DTC figure that I ever had one in my hands.  Then the 25th Anniversary figure came along and though it has its flaws it is a great modern update to that classic figure.  Sideshow has done the same with their 12” Crimson Guard figure for their 1/6 G.I. Joe line and I’m looking at that figure today.

I’m not going to repeat my praise for the Sideshow 12” figure box.  It is one of the best packages on the market and there isn’t really anything else to say.  If you want to know more then be sure to check out my previous Sideshow G.I. Joe reviews.

When the initial press images for the Crimson Guard (or CG as I’m going to refer to it from now on) were shown on Sideshows site the color and material of the jacket was very bright and shiny.  However when the production figure was shown at 2012s SDCC the jacket was a more subdued crimson red and the material wasn’t nearly as shiny and reflective.  Instead they were able to obtain a more realistic looking pleather material that, in my opinion, looks SO much better.

The jacket, as I said, is a pleather-like material and is thin enough to get some realistic wrinkles and folds that only add to the realism of the piece.  The Cobra sigil on the front is screen printed in a nice shiny silver which you can see in the photo above.  The “rank bar” and wings are separate pieces glued to the front flap and are done really well.  Also on the left shoulder we get the Crimson Guard symbol printed in the same silver as the chest sigil.  There are other details as well such as the epaulets on the shoulders, the gold rope braid under his arm and the adjustable straps on the cuffs of the sleeves and sides of the waist.  These all add a level of realism and detail that I’ve come to expect from Sideshow.

The front panel is done is a way that is both simple and elegant.  Rather than use snaps or Velcro the flap is a separate piece that is held on by magnets.  Simply pull off the flap and you reveal the zipper underneath.  This design feature allows the flap to look good and fit well on the front of the jacket and also pulls double duty to hide the backpack straps.

The backpack can be attached by straps that fit under the shoulder epaulets and slide onto the waist belt.  Once they are all connected, the front jacket flap can be magnetically attached to the jacket and with a little adjustment the straps are nearly invisible from the front.

This does wonders for the look for the figure and I can’t imagine this figure using any other method.
Like the Viper, the CG helmet is probably the most iconic part of the look.  It is modeled closer to the DTC version than the 25th helmet and that is just fine with me.  One thing about the 25th helmet is that it had an almost simian quality to it with the front mouth piece jutting out a little too far.  Sideshow has reined that in and the helmet is easily recognizable as the Crimson Guard helmet.

The CG comes with a nice assortment of weapons that give this trooper a few different mission profiles.  He comes with a great automatic rifle with silencer and extra ammo clips for use on the battlefield.  He also gets 2 flash/bang grenades and a magnetic mine, both pieces that we’ve seen before.  The CG has a great black Desert Eagle pistol that fits snugly into his holster and he gets a couple extra clips for it too. 

Finally he has his classic rifle that comes from his ARAH v.1 figure.  It is updated with some great detailing and the bayonet is a removable piece.   There is a small notch in the end of the bayonet handle that slides onto a tiny tab on the barrel of the rifle.  It takes a little work to get this to fit without breaking it but if you take your time you can get it to slide on without too much difficulty.

The backpack is just like an upsized version of the ARAH v.1 accessory.  If Sideshow had just scaled it up and left it at that I would have been happy.  But they didn’t.  Instead they took this as an opportunity to do something Hasbro has never done and that is give the backpack some functionality.  The backpack opens up and you can store all 4 spare ammo clips as well as the grenades inside.  This allows the CG the ability to carry most of his arsenal with him and that’s something I can really appreciate.

The rest of the CGs uniform is pretty standard. He has a black turtleneck undershirt as well as three sets of hands, fists, weapon holding and looser grip.  The CG has some great soft rubber riding boots that looks great and even have the small pouches molded onto the sides.  His pistol holster is a very modern looking combat style rather than a more ceremonial look which helps sell this figure as more than just a fancy guard, he’s rigged for battle.  His pants are a crimson red cloth with a few little pleather patches on the front and hips.  Overall I really like the uniform.  It’s a great mix of ceremonial and combat ready that is something the CG really needs and I like that a lot.

Sideshow has been doing a great job recently of providing an exclusive piece to their G.I. Joe figures.  For most of the figures it has been an alternate portrait and the CG gets what I think is one of the best so far.  The portrait is an unmasked head of the CG and it looks great.  The face has a nice stern look with close cropped hair and piercing blue eyes.  It looks like it sits a little low on the neck but that’s only because of the bulk of the jacket collar and the black turtleneck.  With a little tweaking you can get a look that works.

I do have one negative thing to say about this portrait.  It appears as though there is no paint applied to the hair.  If this figure had a completely bald head like Stalker then the lack of paint wouldn’t be an issue.  However there is clearly some hair sculpted and you can see it plain as day in the photos.  I’m not sure if this is an oversight or something that was done intentionally because from the images on Sideshows website it’s hard to tell if the prototype had paint or not.  If this is just a factory error then I hope it isn’t widespread.  If the paint was left off for some reason other than production error, well then we might have a problem.  Paint issue aside though this is an incredible head sculpt and it looks great.

Overall, as a whole this is another great armybuilder from Sideshow.  The adjustments made to the jacket material give this guy some bonus points but the lack of paint on the exclusive head takes a few of those points away.  The accessory compliment isn’t as high as we’ve gotten on other figures but considering there are only a handful of pieces that are reused and the rest is all brand new tooling I can’t complain too much.  Especially when the end result is this awesome.

So, with all that in mind I’m going to have to give this figure 4 ½ out of 5 stars, with that half star deduction for the paint on the exclusive head.  The regular version gets a full 5 stars as there aren’t any issues at all with that figure.

Pictured with the Collector’s Club 12” Crimson Guard parachute figure from the 2009 convention.