G.I. Joe: 50th Anniversary - Beachhead (Viper's Pit)

For a character who's most defining trait is either being a major a-hole or having horrendous body odor, Beachhead certainly gets a lot of love. In many cases the exploration of a character beyond their representation in plastic is what drives more interest in that character, but when it came to Beachhead, I actually liked him a lot more before I really got to know him.

As G.I. Joe's second Army Ranger, Beachhead's first appearance in 1986 was decent, if somewhat unheralded (in my opinion). The large head and the somewhat softer details of the figure didn't make an indellible impression on me, and it wasn't until his appearance in the animated series that his personality really separated from the rest of the crowd. But the separation wasn't necessarily a good one, it just led me to not really liking the character.

Yet, throughout G.I. Joe's history, Beachhead has gotten many different representations and many opportunities to shine, throughout the classic, the new sculpt, G.I. Joe: Resolute, and even as part of the Rise of Cobra movie universe in a major supporting role throughout the video game. Heck, even Sideshow Collectibles got in on the action. Beachhead has had plenty of opportunities to take off, and I'll hand it to Hasbro, they've made it tough to keep disliking him. Between his G.I. Joe: Resolute and Pursuit of Cobra versions, Beachhead was escalated quite a bit in my mind, thanks to some really awesome action figures that did him justice. I'll admit, I've never latched onto the idea of him as the fourth guy in charge of the G.I. Joe team, though, as the Sunbow universe would have you believe.

This figure is a very basic upgrade to this Army Ranger, but an upgrade in (mostly) the right places. Using the same formula that we saw in the Concept Case what feels like forever ago, this Beachhead uses the Pursuit of Cobra Snake Eyes base figure, but unlike the G.I. Joe: Retaliation version, we get the more traditional color pallet here. It works amazingly well. I'll never complain about that base figure, as it's about as good as it gets for a military figure, with great articulation, nicely functional holsters and sheaths, and just a really nice all around build. The Steel Brigade head sculpt just finishes off the base figure nicely.

Colors match up to previous releases, going all the way back to 1986 as homage, with a pretty faithful interpretation of his green and camouflage colors. This figure isn't revolutionary, but it's an upgrade in all the right ways. I do wish they had either used the plain cloth knee joints or painted those kneepads, though. The brown color in obvious different material just looks a little off. Not to mention some gold paint slop on his right shoulder below the gold star logo. Some cut corners from a cost perspective are certainly evident throughout small points of this figure.


Going back to the well of the 25th Anniversary version, we get the same machine gun and backpack with crossbow, which is cool enough, even if the crossbow ends up looking kind of dated (and doesn't stay together all that well). The ammo pouch is from the comic pack version (but it lacks the extra magazine) while the pistol and knife are from the Pursuit of Cobra era. This pistol is not the familiar silenced pistol that most figures with this build come with, but I'm happy to say it still fits nicely in the holster.

There aren't a ton of ground breaking accessories here, and I'm actually not a huge fan of the old 25th Anniversary rifle, but beyond that, these make sense and suit the character well. If I have any complaints, they lie with the webgear. The vest isn't shown above, because I couldn't get it removed, and unfortunately it looks a little bit silly. The torso on this figure is a bit longer than previous releases, so there's a lot of empty space below the webgear, which looks pretty obvious without the addition of some kind of belt. It's not a serious issue, but it certainly does draw the eye to it.

As a whole, this figure is fine. For Beachhead fans, they should find a lot to love here, though after getting both a 25th Anniversary version and an updated Comic Pack version, then finally a Hall of Heroes version, one has to wonder just how many different Beachheads we need based on the classic look. Maybe this one will finally satisfy.