G.I. Joe: 50th Anniversary - Destro (Eagle's Edge 3 Pack)

Was it really two years ago that the G.I. Joe collecting community was thrown on its collective ear by the surprise Concept Case reveals at the 2013 G.I. Joe Convention? I clearly remember I was actually on a panel for the What's on Joe Mind Podcast when John Warden and Derryl DePriest snuck those figures into the Hasbro booth. It was so quick that folks at the panel didn't even get a chance to see them (I'll remember that, John and Derryl!) so I was left to fawn over images after the fact.

By far the most impressive elements of that small group of figures (for those who have forgotten, the new figures it included Gung Ho, '88 Storm Shadow, Rock n Roll, Leatherneck, and Destro) were Destro, Gung Ho, and Leatherneck. Now here, in the 50th Anniversary, two of those impressive figures are being checked off the list.

I've spoken quite often about the ironic duality of modern G.I. Joe figures in that the most popular figures were done first, so because of the evolution of toy production, those popular figures are actually pretty dated compared to many newer versions. So you end up with a Version 1 Roadblock, Duke, or Scarlett from 2007 which looks absolutely ridiculous next to a relatively unknown character like Big Ben or Repeater. By the nature of that marketing tactic, more obscure characters are actually far better toys.

Because of this, Hasbro started going back to that well and giving us what they were calling "Ultimate" versions of those characters. The tail end of G.I. Joe: Retaliation gave us fantastic versions of Cobra Commander, Storm Shadow, Snake Eyes, and Firefly... yet still on the G.I. Joe side pretty main characters are sadly lacking.

I consider the original 25th Anniversary Destro to actually be a pretty decent figure, especially when compared to the others that shared that same 5-Pack. But, with Hasbro's toe-dip back into the vintage waters with more modern design techniques, this Destro is head and shoulders above its various predecessors. With this Destro, honestly, you probably don't need another one. Well, unless someone wants to go back and redo the Spy Troops version. I'd have ZERO problems with that mindset.

This figure is large, broad, and exceedingly well sculpted, coming from the talents of the Boss Fight Studio before they struck out on their own in record breaking fashion. With harsh angles and an awesome expression, Destro's head sculpt looks appropriately hideous, and probably the best representation of that original card art that has been seen yet. Immaculately well sculpted. The majority of this figure is new tooling, and it shows with much more detailed musculature and an impressive stature. It's tough to imagine that he's based on the same design aesthetics as the 2007 version. It just goes to show how far we've come in the past handful of years when it comes to toy production and design. And I hope this shows you just how much credit some of those designers deserve as they refine their skills and are able to take these amazingly intricate sculpts down to 1:18 scale. Truly amazing and impressive.

However all is not completely rosey in 50th Anniversary land. While the design looks great, the toy feels... well... soft. And cheap. The price for these sets is right. It's very right, but you can definitely tell that they used some different material to make those dollars work. It's not terrible, but it's noticeable. The paint masks also aren't quite as sharp as we might all be used to. Still, this is a production level Destro update that 2 years ago I think we all thought was lost to the sands of time. It's not, and the figure is fun regardless of some material deficiencies. Not just that, but the leg construction is... well, it's strange. The hips are a bit too large and don't allow for much sideways range of motion. The knees are small and he appears a bit pigeon toed. Hip joints, knee joints, and shoulder joints are all fairly loose as well, making certain positions difficult.

ACCESSORIES

Destro also comes with some really fun accessories. His enlarged briefcase holds a disassembled rifle, which is terrific. I really, really love the design of this machine gun and all of the little pieces that pop off. Granted, it makes it a bit tough to pose the rifle with all the items attached, but it looks good. One thing to keep in mind is that two of the pieces appear to just be for filling in the suitcase and don't actually attach to the gun itself.

I want to love this figure. And you know, from a display and design perspective, I do. The design is great, the sculpting and paint deco are all spot on, it just feels a bit on the cheap side, which is a shame. Far from a deal breaker, though. This was a figure I was greatly looking forward to ever since it was first shown two years ago, and if you want to set it up and look at it on a shelf, it delivers. Just know what to expect when you get it.

Get this figure at Big Bad Toy Store!

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