At what point does a great figure and fun army builder become a bit tired and redundant? I’m not sure, but if the Steel Brigade figure isn’t there yet, he’s getting close. Don’t get me wrong, this figure is fantastic and has been from day one. While I’ve never been a huge fan of G.I. Joe using “troops” I’ve always loved the G.I. Joe Collectors Club take on the Steel Brigade and have been able to rationalize the existence of these Troopers as a support squad for the International Peace Keeping Force that the Club devised for the team.
That being said, I bought a few of these figures when they were first released in the Pursuit of Cobra. I bought a few more in the 30th Anniversary. I even have some zombie versions from the 2014 Convention set. Now the figure sees release again as part of the 50th Anniversary line. The figure was never exceptionally hard to find, so I’d think most fans have well built Steel Brigade squads at this point, but we’ve got him again here.
Not a huge deal, and for folks who missed him the first couple of times, this is a good opportunity to stock up, but as I said, when I’ve got almost 10 of the same figure already, it can be a bit tough to build up excitement. He uses the COBRA Shock Trooper as the base figure, with a Beachhead head sculpt. The paint apps work well, being a nice mirror of the vintage version, but with some new elements as well. The helmet appears to be a slightly different color and the legs don’t match precisely, mostly due to the different material turning out slightly different shades of tan.
As a figure, it’s a great mix of vintage and modern, and is an excellent update, the only real issue I have is that this is the third such almost identical version released since 2011.
Like the figure itself, the accessories are familiar as well. He has the Shock Trooper vest in Steel Brigade green as well as the Duke bandolier. The bayonet machine gun, rocket launcher, backpack with spare rockets, as well as the Duke backpack gives a good mix of accessories inspired by the vintage version as well as typical trooper weapons. He’s got a heavy machine gun, and the SCAR assault rifle comes with him too, though press release images show the Iron Grenadier with that gun. Lastly, he has the removable Steel Brigade themed helmet.
As I said, from a pure execution standpoint this is a great figure, and I know the 50th Anniversary formula necessitates certain “carry forward” figures. As G.I. Joe troop builders go, the Steel Brigade is about the only option. It can just be a little tough to get excited about a figure I’ve bought on store shelves a few times already.