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

For a while there, Leatherneck felt like a glaring ommision in the G.I. Joe modern library...a classic popular character that really didn't have a vintage accurate modern interpretation. Sure, we got a desert repaint to match the Special Missions: Brazil color scheme early on in the 25th Anniversary line, and then we got the Rise of Cobra version, and THEN we got a version from the G.I. Joe Collectors Club in an expensive Convention Set... now, we get this one, and I think most folks would agree, this one really gets it right.

First and foremost I have seen people wondering why Hasbro used the G.I. Joe: Retaliation Battle Kata Roadblock tooling for Leatherneck, and honestly, I think it makes sense. In the Sunbow cartoon at least, Leatherneck was represented as a pretty large, hulking guy, and this base figure certainly accomplishes that task. It's a pretty fantastic figure in its own right, too, which certainly helps.

An original head sculpt goes a long way towards establishing this as everyone's second-favorite Marine, finally giving the character an identity beyond "Gung Ho repaint". The ultimate irony now is that Leatherneck has officially surpassed his Marine predecessor in every way, appearing more often in the modern era, and giving us a far better end result. I am consistently amazed at how often Gung Ho seems to get the short end of the stick in toy production. Keep in mind, he was popular enough to be one of the first five G.I. Joe figures in the original boxed set, he was popular enough to headline the G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra prequel novel (not to mention the video game). He was in G.I. Joe: Resolute, the 2002 G.I. Joe vs. Cobra line, and appeared throughout the new sculpt era in various forms as well. Gung Ho is, without a doubt, one of the focal characters in the Real American Hero mythology. Yet, since 2007 he has only received three modern figures (2 of them direct repaints), and they're all pretty terrible. I think I speak for every Joe fan out there when I say to Hasbro RELEASE THE CONCEPT CASE VERSION FOR THE LOVE OF PETE.

But hey, this is a Leatherneck review, isn't it?

Along with a great new head sculpt, the Roadblock tooling provides a stature and range of motion worthy of this great G.I. Joe character. The paint apps are pretty good, though they did cut some corners with the camouflage. But they cut corners in a somewhat weird way. The camouflage is painted on the lower legs, but not the uppers, then again, painted on the lower waist, but not the arms. The overall effect isn't all that noticeable, but it does seem like an odd paint pattern. Even with that cosmetic choice, Leatherneck is quite successful on many different levels.

ACCESSORIES

I feel the need to mention his great new vest first. Well, mostly great. The design is awesome and very vintage accurate, but it's got one of those pesky clasps on the side that doesn't like to stay closed, which is a bit annoying, but not terrible. The rubber material makes it tough to keep it shut, but it's not as bad as the vest on a figure like Techno-Viper. You may notice up above that the stand is for General Hawk. I believe this was just a mistake with the auction, and that shouldn't carry over into production.

Apart from that, he has the M-16 with M203 grenade launcher that the 25th Anniversary version came with, which is fine if not especially new and exciting. He does have Roadblocks M2 Browning and machine gun belt, too.

Hey, listen. I love Leatherneck. He was a total jerkhole in the Sunbow animated series, but that gave him character, and I've been wanting a good update for a while. This is beyond a good update, this is a great update. Like Destro, some of the plastic used feels a bit on the chincy side, but it's not terrible, and the end result is a great update to a neat character that completely overshadows his much more popular predecessor. For some reason I find that exceptionally funny.

Get this figure at Big Bad Toy Store!

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