Tuesday, November 1, 2011

REVIEW: GI Joe 25th Anniversary - Scarlett

Produced by Hasbro | Released 2007

Her father and three brothers were all martial arts instructors. She began her training at the age of 9 and was awarded her first black belt at age 15. Graduated: Advanced Infantry Training and Ranger School. Special Ed: Covert Ops School; Marine Sniper School; Special Air Services School; Marine Tae Kwon Do Symposium. Qualified Expert: M-14; M-16; M-1911A1; M-79; M-3A1; M-700 (Remington Sniper Rifle); Mac-10; XK-1 Power Crossbow; Throwing Stars; Garotte; Ka-Bar.

GI Joe 25th Anniversary Scarlett
We've previously seen the 25th Anniversary Scarlett in a different guise - namely the ''Pilot'' Scarlett, based upon the Argentine version of the character, Glenda. Today however we're looking at Atlanta's most famous daughter (at least in the Joeniverse) in her ''regular'' edition ahead of the release of the upcoming Renegades version of the character (which hopefully will be landing at retail very soon!)

Scarlett uses the standard 25th Anniversary-style ''vintage'' packaging. Although the proportions and anatomy may be a little off, there's a charm about these 80s-style illustrations that appeals to the nostalgic side of me.

Confession time: I didn't realise until after I'd opened the packaging that the above image was so out of focus. I've therefore included a second image of the packaging (although note it does include some minor differences) which should at least give a better idea as to how the card art looks.

Sculpt and Design
Scarlett's sculpt is fairly simplistic but works well and does a good job of capturing the character's look. I have to admit that when I started collecting GI Joes I was much more drawn to the highly-detailed, multi-accessory, more life-like style of figure I'd started my collection with - namely the Pursuit of Cobra figures. However, as time has gone by I've found myself appreciating the earlier, more cartoon-like designs of the earlier Joes more and more and there's certainly a lot of good in Scarlett's look.

The figure - as mentioned above - captures the character's look well. There's some cool detail on the figure, such as the throwing stars on her glove, the pouch-topped boots, thigh-mounted knife sheath (which sadly isn't functional) and - coolest of all - the removable belt, which features a holster (again non-functioning) and a quarrel of crossbow bolts.

What I like is that for all its simplicity, there's a lot going on with this design. I've mentioned in the past that some of the Marvel Universe figures can be a little ''flat'' due to the original costume designs being fairly ''iconic.'' This figure manages to capture Scarlett's ''iconic'' outfit yet at the same time the details (such as the roll-neck sweater, boot accessories and asymmetrical vest) add an extra level of cool to the figure's design.

The head sculpt is pretty good, overall. There's a good sense of Scarlett's hair being, well, hair (as opposed to a painted extension of her head) and the flow of her ponytail adds a nice dynamism to the figure. I'm personally not so keen on the facial sculpt, but that's probably because to me it looks more akin to a Disney character like Ariel the Mermaid, but what's here is fine for what it is.

There's also a little bit of a problem with the way the head connects to the neck peg, namely that there's a bit of an obvious gap between the two. This perhaps wouldn't have been so bad had Hasbro applied flesh-tone paint to the ''underside'' of the head. 

For me, modern GI Joe figures have pretty much set the standard in articulation. Sadly whilst Scarlett is still a highly-poseable figure, she's not without her issues.

Firstly, she has no waist joint. Her torso moves just fine and allows for a good range of movement but at the same time, having an extra joint never comes in wrong. There's also an issue with her hands, which lack wrist articulation, although you can still pose them using the mid-forearm twist joint. Perhaps worst of all though her hip joints seem to be quite limited in their range of movement, a problem that appears to arise from her sculpt rather than any actual articulation issues. She's by no means immobile but I could imagine getting her to sit in a vehicle could prove problematic.

The actual joints themselves are - on the whole - very nicely produced. The only minor issue I found (and this could be limited to my figure alone) was that the mid-forearm twist joints seem a little loose. I occasionally found her hands twisting as I tried to pose her and whilst this wasn't a big issue, it was still something I was aware of.

Scarlett's outfit is a far cry from some of the more militaristic, life-like uniforms seen with the more modern GI Joe figures. Yet for all that, it's a pretty neat design and is surprisingly muted - which is a definite plus in my books.

The actual application is pretty good. Aside from a minor mis-app on her left buttock and the aforementioned lack of head ''underside'' paint, this is a pretty clean-looking figure. Details such as the throwing stars, knife sheath and belt accessories are all sharp, as are her facial details.

Extras and Accessories
Like most of the 25th Anniversary GI Joes, Scarlett's equipment is fairly limited, although what's included is pretty good.

Starting with the simplest of pieces, Scarlett includes a name-plated stand.

There's also a small automatic pistol. I like that this is cast from a realistic black plastic (rather than being some weird green or grey as we've sometimes seen Hasbro employ) but unfortunately whilst it looks cool, getting it to sit properly in Scarlett's hand can be an issue. The trigger guard tends to force it into an odd position and it also seems slightly too-large for her to grip properly. I'm also a little disappointed that her belt and pistol weren't designed to be used together, as it would be great to have a working holster.

Scarlett's signature weapon - the XK-1 power crossbow - is also included. Whilst the pieces fit together reasonably well I've learned from past experience that they can also be very easily parted from each other if accidentally brushed. If you happen to pick-up this Scarlett figure do as I did and leave the storage/retaining band in place and you'll experience no problems. Minor fit-issues aside though this is a neat-looking accessory which, again, Hasbro has wisely cast in a lifelike black colour.

Final Thoughts
Reading the above Review, you've probably formed the opinion that I'm not massively impressed with Scarlett. There are a lot of ''pretty goods'' and ''fairly nices'' in the above text and it does come off as being a fairly lukewarm reaction to the figure. On paper, she's certainly got a few problems: the articulation set-up is limited, her weapons can be a little awkward to get into her hands; she's not really what you'd call life-like or realistic. Indeed, she's actually a very simplistic toy.

But none of that matters, really. Put simply, Scarlett is just a fun action figure. And I mean that in the best possible way. As collectors we sometimes overlook the fact that there's fun to be had in collecting, displaying and - for many people - playing with their toys and Scarlett is a figure that reminds us that a good, simple action figure can be fun and it's not all about high-end collectible details and rarity. Sometimes the fun of owning a figure comes from the fact that the figure itself is fun.

Put simply this is Scarlett at her most iconic and most fun and if you're looking to add a Master Sergeant O'Hara figure to your collection then this is the definitive version. 

Sculpt and DesignB+
Extras and Accessories B
Final ScoreA-

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