G.I. Joe: 50th Anniversary - Baroness
Social Clash, Hasbro? Really? Social Clash?
One of the strengths of the G.I. Joe brand has always been a reliance on strong female characters that are able to mix with the males seamlessly without feeling as if they're pandoring. Really, it's okay for two girl figures to actually be fighting. It doesn't have to be some softened "Social Clash" between two delicate lady types.
With that out of the way, there isn't a whole lot to cover with this version of the Baroness, since it's more or less a direct reproduction of the one that came in the final Cobra 5-Pack from the 25th Anniversary. I felt as if that Baroness figure was the best one ever made, so I'm glad it was used as a template, though I'm always looking for something new and interesting.
Really, though, the term "template" can only be used in the most general way, because while this new Baroness figure was modeled after the earlier version, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Considering the previous version of the figure was released five years ago, I really cannot fathom a reason why the new figure would look so much worse, especially when it comes to the face paint.
I understand that the retail landscape is a bit different now and Hasbro is looking for unique ways to cut costs, but I'm really hoping they can find ways to do that without making these retail figures look like geisha dolls made up by blind stylists.
In the comparison shot below you can see that with paint apps just a little less crisp, the results are dramatically... well... awful.
Heck, a repaint of the Resolute Baroness in G.I.Joe: Renegades type colors could have been neat. There are other things that could have been done, but as a 50th Anniversary homage, I appreciate why they went back to the classic well. The base figure is a great one, and this should have been a quality update, but the radically reduced paint apps and cheapened plastic give you a figure that manages to be lesser than the previous release from half a decade ago.
She comes with some good weapons and accessories to compliment the new figure. It is a somewhat strange mix of Rise of Cobra Baroness accessories with the 25th anniversary version this figure is based on. I'm not entirely sure why they were chosen that way, beyond perhaps being organized as Baroness accessories at the factory. The weapons offer a nice selection, though the grapple platform doesn't make much sense at this point. Love the briefcase and the machine guns, though.
As part of a 50th Anniversary celebration, including a very vintage accurate Baroness makes total sense, and this figure isn't exactly easy to come by these days. For that reason I don't hold Hasbro to blame for the easy way out on this one. It feels appropriate, especially with Destro in this first assortment. The issue really lies in the execution. Sloppy lipstick and pale skin nearly ruin the figure, and hopefully as we look forward to more product in the coming year or for G.I. Joe 3, Hasbro finds a way to button some of this stuff up.