Thursday, January 5, 2012

REVIEW: GI Joe 30th Anniversary - Renegades Ripcord

Produced by Hasbro | Released December 2011

RIPCORD is a daredevil who thinks nothing of taking risks to prove his skill to more senior members on his team. Trained for airborne operations, he is a HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) expert and loves to jump from planes. He putshis life in jeopardy to save his team during a mission to investigate a COBRA weapons plant.

GI Joe 30th Anniversary Renegades Ripcord
Ripcord was originally intended to appear as part of the Pursuit of Cobra line but - for whatever reasons - the figure was retooled at the last minute to create Skydive. Now fans of the HALO jumper have a chance to get their hands on a new version of the character, as seen in the GI Joe: Renegades animated show. But the question is, should they?

Ripcord features the standard GI Joe blister pack-style packaging. There's not really much to find fault with here and it's eye-catching enough.

I do like that the clip and collect ID card explains what HALO is, just in case anybody thought Ripcord's chief skill was that he was really good at videogames...

Sculpt And Design
Like the previously-seen Renegades Scarlett, Ripcord's sculpt is simultaneously great and a letdown. I'll come back to that in a moment, but first let's take a look at the figure's body sculpt.

The figure's body is actually very good on the whole. Of all the Renegades figures, Ripcord probably has the most militaristic look (at least in this guise, because as fans of the show will know, he sports a couple of outfits) and the sculpt does a good job capturing his style. Although there appear to be a few recycled parts here (such as the vest as worn by Duke) the overall look is effective. There's a good amount of detail on his pants, kneepads and the aforementioned vest and the removable harness pairs well with the parachute pack that can be slotted into his back port.

It's by no means perfect though. Although really more of a production issue than a sculpting error my Ripcord's inside elbow on his right arm features a nasty bit of excess plastic and both forearms have some pretty nasty mold lines. It's only a minor point but it's still worth mentioning.

But that's nothing compared to what's coming up.

This is going to sound odd but stick with me, as I try to explain the problem here. You see, Ripcord's head sculpt is excellent. It's a remarkably lifelike, well-detailed and very good-looking bit of work. But sadly, it looks absolutely nothing like the Renegades character.

I know the art style used in the animated show has been translated from a 2D, very stylised rendering into a 3D figure and that there will be changes made in the process. But look at the Scarlett or even Duke figures from the line and you'll see that the designers managed to carry forward the essential details of the animated character over to the figure. Now look at the animated Ripcord and compare it to this figure. Were it not for the nameplate, this could be anybody.

Personally I really like this head sculpt and I think it looks great. I'm not even bothered that it doesn't look like Ripcord from the cartoon but purists may be upset with the older, tougher - smaller-eared and balder - look this figure sports.

Unlike Duke - who features the new wrist joint - or Scarlett - with her ball-ankles - Ripcord doesn't incorporate any new articulation. It's not that big a deal, given how great the bog-standard GI Joe set-up is, but I always like to see a little bit of innovation when it comes to poseability.

The actual joints are fine, with no issues to report although I did find that getting Ripcord to remain on his base took a little work. For some reason he never seemed to ''slot'' onto the base pegs properly and was prone to falling down.

The parachute straps and harness do little to inhibit movement although the vest's high collar does limit forward head movement somewhat. There's not really much to complain about though and chances are you'll be able to pose Ripcord in pretty much any position you can think of.

Maybe it's just the way my TV is set-up but the orange details on this figure seem extremely day-glo when compared to the cartoon version of his outfit. The remainder of his colour work is fine though and the paint app - although basic - is clean and works well enough.

Like the other Renegades figures, Ripcord uses a fairly bold colour set, which works well in representing the figure's animated look. It may not be the most intricate or realistic palette but it's fine for what it is.

Extras And Accessories
Ripcord's gear is - again - paradoxically great and awful.

Starting with the good, the figure's vest and jump harness are nicely designed and give him a very cool, defined look. The parachute - although rather bright - matches the harness nicely and is an accessory you won't be displaying him without. Similarly, his goggles and helmet are both excellent, to the point where you'll be left with the difficult decision as to which you want to display him wearing. Both fit well, too, which is a definite bonus.

Ripcord's base is pretty much as you'd expect, although - as mentioned above - I did find getting him to stay attached to it could be difficult but it's not altogether terrible or completely unusable.

But then we come to his plasma rifle and pistol. Frankly, I've no idea what Hasbro was thinking when they decided to cast these weapons in this hideous pale blue plastic. Maybe they simply had a batch of left over plastic from the doors to a My Little Pony Dress-Up Barn they wanted to get rid of. Whatever the reason, the decision to cast both his weapons in aqua-marine is utterly, utterly inexcusable. Every other character in the Renegades line-up released so far has come with weapons cast in sensible black/dark plastic. Ripcord - for whatever reason - has weapons that would leave Barbie embarrassed.

And it's a shame, as the weapons themselves work pretty well. The pulse rifle takes a little work to get into his hand (thanks to the grip position) but it fits nicely. Similarly, the pistol is such a good fit it could have been custom-sculpted for his hands. There's even a holster (a rarity for the Renegades figures) into which it fits perfectly. So why - when everything is working so well - did Hasbro decide to cast the weapons in this hideous powder blue?

Highly annoying.

Final Thoughts
It's a tough one to call, as there's a lot of good here but Ripcord is also plagued by some pretty major mistakes. For starters, he looks nothing like the animated character. Depending on your view that may not be such a bad thing but it is odd that Hasbro failed to translate his look from the animated show as effectively as they did with Scarlett (or even Duke.)

Then there's the equipment. Whilst it's great to see the inclusion of some very neat pieces (such as the goggles and helmet) the decision to cast the weapons - which are actually really cool accessories - in such a hideous colour is simply mind-boggling. The other Renegades figures don't feature such day-glo weapons, so why is Ripcord lumbered with such laughably bad accessories?

If you're a collector of GI Joes there's nothing here you can't fix with a quick visit to your spare accessories box (although it is annoying that you'd have to do that just to bring Ripcord in line with your other Joes) but I'm also pretty sure casual collectors, younger buyers or fans of the show will be disappointed to see how little this figure looks like the on-screen character.

Yet even with these problems - none of which are really a deal breaker for me, personally - Ripcord is still a very good figure and is certainly one of the better Renegades toys. I just can't really give him a better score though, simply due to the fact that as a representation of the animated character he's a failure and that Hasbro saddled him with such stupidly-childish weapons.

Could - and should - have been better.

Sculpt and DesignB+
Extras and Accessories B-
Final ScoreB

Image Gallery


  1. I know the weapons look ridiculous in that blue color, but for some reason, I think it works for this figure. Maybe I just like how the blue and orange compliment each other aesthetically. But, separated from this figure, they do look silly and unrealistic.

  2. I just don't dig them myself. I gave him Scarlett's pistol and he looks way cooler now.

  3. Jason, as an old Edmonton Oilers fan I get that, but the rifle's just too much blue.

    Luckily, Duke has an extra pistol lying around, so it's easy enough to fix.

    However, since he doesn't look anything like Renegades Ripcord anyway, I just went ahead and grabbed some spare accessories (he was supposed to come with the climbing pack at one point, I think), painted some facial hair on him with a marker, and volia! 30th / POC Alpine.

  4. Am surprised that they did give him his "powers" from the TV show after he had been given after his capture by Cobra. You know as some sort of extra attachments to his arms maybe? Guess we will get that in some form with the Zombie-Viper.

  5. I think the Renegades toys are the red-headed step-child of the GI Joe line - which in turn is the red-headed step-child of Hasbro. So expecting them to do much beyond the most basic of kitbashes is a bit of a stretch, to be honest.

    It would've been very nice though. And I'd have loved a full-on Bio-Viper figure.


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