Produced by Hasbro | Released 2008
SPECIALIST TRAKKER leads a secret unit which develops ordinary-looking vehicles that convert into advance combat vehicles. Joining forces with the GI Joe team, the Mobile Armored Strike Kommand (MASK) team battles VENOM (Vicious Evil Network Of Mayhem), the unit COBRA formed to construct its own converting vehicles. SPECIALIST TRAKKER uses his next-gen technological devices to preserve peace throughout the world and stop the corrupt forces that are using the same technology to amass power in a quest to control the world.
Wait... Wasn't MASK a Completely Different Toy Line?
Yes, it was.
For some reason, when Hasbro created the 25th Anniversary GI Joe line, they decided to include the leader of the MASK team, Matt Trakker, as part of the range. Their reasoning behind this is unclear. Perhaps they were testing the waters for a MASK revivial... Whatever their reasons, it's now canon - MASK and GI Joe take place in a shared universe.
Despite his origins, Specialist Trakker actually fits pretty well into the GI Joe 25th Anniversary line and - neon glowing backpack aside - is actually more lifelike than a lot of the other figures in the range.
The basic sculpt uses a variant of 2008's Captain Ace figure, with a chest-plate/webbing piece augmenting the core build. It's a fairly basic sculpt, with a few pockets and nicely-modeled folds giving it some texture, but overall it's nothing to get that excited about. It's a guy in a jumpsuit. There's not really much you can do with that and what Hasbro's sculptors have done is just fine - for what it is.
The head sculpt, however, is outstanding, probably one of the best I've seen in the 25th Anniversary range and it can stand proud next to the best of the Pursuit of Cobra figures. There's a superb level of detail to the sculpt: Matt Trakker looks like a real person, not some kind of comicbook caricature or Saturday morning cartoon hero. The hair sculpt is particularly good, with individual locks of hair really setting off the sculpt. It's just too bad he comes with a face-obscuring helmet!
Articulation can be a little problematic, thanks to the jumpsuit sculpt. His elbows are quite restricted in their range of movement and he can't bend them past about 60 degrees. Similarly, the gathered folds at his ankles tend to inhibit foot movement somewhat. It's a shame, as the rest of the articulation is up to standard and the joints are pretty good, overall. And thankfully the chest harness has enough give in it to allow the torso joint to twist to any pose you could want.
Paint-wise the figure is great. Although the white and red colour scheme is a little too dayglo for my tastes, it's not so ridiculous as it could have been and the gun-metal/grey accessories work well with the figure. The paint apps themselves are almost faultless. There's a single mis-applied spot on his right bicep but aside from that this is as perfect an app as you could imagine. His facial details are particularly impressive, enhancing an already-great sculpt and the details on his uniform and accessories are some of the crispest I've ever seen.
Specialist Trakker comes pre-equipped with a harness/chest plate made from soft plastic. He's also packed with a removable helmet, SMG and heli-pack, the latter of which requires a little assembly (and yes, I realised after I'd taken the photos that I'd mounted the control stick upside down and although I've fixed it, I'm still not sure it doesn't look better mounted the way I did in the pictures...)
The heli-pack is a pretty cool accessory. It fits nicely into the figure's back and includes an adjustable control stick and twin machine guns, plus the rotor prop can be re-angled for horizontal flight and the twin rotors spin freely. The only real downer is the colour scheme. The neon green is quite hideous and clashes with the basic figure's look. I wish they'd gone with a gun metal or even more muted green. On the plus side though, it's quite light and doesn't really affect his balance.
Specialist Trackker is an awesome figure, all told. As a toy he's great - he's solid enough to play with, there are few parts to lose and he has a heli-pack I could imagine kids would love to play with. He can run around on the ground or fly and attack his enemies from above. That sounds like a dream toy to me.
As a collectable toy, he's a great addition to the 25th Anniversary line and whilst the heli-pack may be a little outlandish (and hideously coloured), he looks more lifelike and realistic than, say, Croc Master. He's also a very well-finished and nicely assembled figure - minor articulation issues aside - and although the body sculpt may be basic, it works well for what it is. But it's the head sculpt and accessories that really set Specialist Trakker head and shoulders above the majority of the 25th Anniversary figures I've seen.
Purists may argue that he shouldn't be part of the line at all but frankly I don't care and to ignore the figure because of that is to do yourself a huge disservice. If this was part of an attempt to reintroduce the line then all I can hope is that somebody at Hasbro is still considering that move because if they did bring MASK back and they were all as good as Specialist Trakker, then I'd have myself a new obsession.