Wednesday, June 8, 2011

REVIEW: GI Joe Rise of Cobra - Sgt Stone

Produced by Hasbro | Released 2009

Sgt. Stone is a Special Operations Instructor who trains the GI Joe team in combat tactics, marksmanship, survival techniques and other commando skills. He battles Neo-Viper forces who drill their way into the GI Joe Pit Headquarters.

Packaging Shots

Sgt Stone
Sgt Stone is a character created (I believe) for the GI Joe: Rise of Cobra movie and, as such, there are no previous versions of the figure to compare this toy to. Although there's a vague likeness to Brendan Fraser (who played Stone in the movie) it's not a particularly keen representation of him. If you can get past that though - and the fact that he's a ''new'' Joe - this is actually a pretty cool figure.

The sculpt is relatively simple but effective. Like the previously-released Cover Girl, Breaker and Scarlett, he's clad in the standard grey fatigues as sported by the GI Joe team. An again, like the previously-listed figures, there's enough uniqueness about the figure to make him stand-out whilst also looking like part of the same unit.

The pants and boots are pretty much as you'd expect and are something we've seen before. However, the upper body features Stone clad in a black t-shirt and combat vest, the latter of which is removable. These are new parts and they're what give Sgt Stone his unique look.

The vest is nicely sculpted, with some cool panel detail and plating, but the exposed forearms are a little plastic-looking. They really would benefit from a little more detail in the sculpt, as there's very little muscle definition and due to that, somewhat resemble flesh-coloured tubes rather than arms.

The head sculpt is pretty solid. In some lights and from some angles there's a passing look of Brendan Fraser about it but unless you knew that's who the figure was based on, you'd assume it was simply a made-up face (and even when you do know, it's only a very vague resemblance.) That said though, it's a nice-enough piece of work and the beret (which is sadly not removable), hair and facial features are all well-defined and sculpted.

Articulation is good, with no problems encountered. The vest does little to inhibit movement, especially as the figure features waist articulation that allows you to pose him without any real problems. The wrist joints feel a little delicate but that's not a big deal.

The paint app is also good, with the base camo pattern being nicely applied and facial details are neat. The vest paneling is especially well-done and the figure's overall colouring is good. The only minor point is that his flesh is a little shiny, presumably due to the plastic used. A plastic with a more matte finish would have been good but I can live with what we've got here.

Sgt Stone comes with a pistol, bullpup rifle, knife and heavy duty cannon (with control cable.)

This is the same weapon as featured with Breaker but here Stone doesn't have a laptop to connect to it. Presumably the connector has a big FIRE button on it, then.

The included weapons are good, with the bullpup rifle being cast from a nice black plastic and the knife and pistol using a grey/silver that, whilst it doesn't look quite so good as the black plastic, works well enough. My only real gripe is that Hasbro's designers have again neglected to give Sgt Stone anywhere to stow his gear. He doesn't have a single sheath or holster and the addition of just a hip holster or boot sheath would have really lifted the character. It's not a big deal but for people like me who like to fully dress their figures with their gear, it is a pain.

Sgt Stone also includes a base.

Final Thoughts
Sgt Stone is a nicely produced, well-sculpted, cleanly-painted toy figure. Note I specifically called-out that he's a toy. This is definitely one for the kids and, although adult collectors will enjoy owning and displaying him, he's really intended to be played with. That's obvious from his relative simplicity and robust construction. There are no fiddly parts or weapon-storage sheaths/holsters to get in the way of having fun running him around and shooting Cobra guys.

There's nothing wrong with that and as a toy, he works brilliantly. He's a good-looking, heroic-style figure kids will love. It's just a shame Hasbro didn't add a holster or somewhere he could store his gear, as with that he'd have been even better. As seems to be the way though with the Rise of Cobra Pit figures, he can only be displayed with whatever he can hold.

If you're expecting a highly-detailed, equipment-toting collectable to display in your collection you may be disappointed with the simplicity of the figure. He looks fine for what he is but he lacks that intricate detail seen in many of the Pursuit of Cobra figures. But if you can live with that, or if you're looking for a cool army man to take into the wilds of your backyard, to drive your vehicles and to shoot the baddies, then you could do a lot worse than pick up a Sgt Stone.

Production QualityB+
Final ScoreB+

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