Friday, February 10, 2012

REVIEW: GI Joe 30th Anniversary - Edwin ''Lifeline'' Steen

Produced by Hasbro | Released December 2011

EDWIN ''LIFELINE'' STEEN was a paramedic with the Seattle Fire Department for five years before enlisting in the Army as a corpsman. When something heavy comes down on the GI JOE team, and they're in no condition to walk out on their own, ''Lifeline'' is the one who goes in and extracts them. As a combat medic, he walks into a battle zone to give immediate medical treatment to those in need.

30th Anniversary Lifeline
Released as part of the elusive Wave 4, the 30th Anniversary version of Lifeline is an update to the original figure from the 80s, right down to his colour scheme and even gear. And then some.

It's worth noting that the image included on the card back appears to be either an early prototype or was drawn without directly referencing the final figure, as there are some minor discrepancies between the two. Not that it really matters but it's worth noting.

The restraining tray within the blister pack does a great job of keeping everything in place but if you do you own Lifeline and haven't opened him yet (or you plan on buying him soon) be aware of the fact that some of his accessories are cast in clear plastic and can be very difficult to spot. I'm sure there are probably collectors who've thrown away the packaging and accidentally discarded the IV tube, for example, as it can be quite difficult to spot. Check the package thoroughly against the items listed in below before discarding!

Sculpt And Design
Sadly I never owned the earlier Lifeline figures, so my knowledge of the character comes from the GI Joe: A Real American Hero animated series. But from what I can tell, this is a pretty spot-on translation of the original character. All the elements of Lifeline - his sunglasses, red uniform, weird potty helmet - are all present and correct. And comparing him to the photos featured in his Yo Joe! entry, it looks like Hasbro has pretty much nailed it in this update.

That's not to say the figure's sculpt is perfect. It's close, for sure, but there are a few small issues I experienced that marred my enjoyment a little. For starters, his elbow joint sculpt seems very odd, in that his mid-arms are a little skinny. I'm sure it's to accommodate the articulation but whenever the arm is straight you'll see there's a weird shape to the sculpt. Secondly - and this is purely a personal thing - both hands are sculpted in an extended trigger-finger pose. It's only a minor point but it does make getting him to hold some of his gear a little tougher than it should be. 

Beyond these small irks, the sculpt is very good indeed. As ever, there's some solid detailing on his folded clothing, there are holsters and sheaths to hold his gear (more on that later) and even some sculpted detail such as storage packs and other medical ''stuff.''

The head sculpt is pretty neat, too, although - again - he looks nothing like the card art. It's a pretty good job of translating the cartoon version of the character, though. And if you've ever wanted an Andrew Eldritch head sculpt, your prayers have been answered here.

Articulation is pretty much the standard GI Joe set-up, with the addition of two tilting wrists. In this case they're the ''vertical'' tilt-style, rather than the ''forward/backward'' style used by the Zombie-Viper. The range of movement they offer is pretty good but to be honest, I'm not sure why Lifeline has these specific joints, especially as - having posed him extensively during the photo shoot - the other style of wrist joint would have made more sense based upon the accessories he comes with. Still, at least we have an extra joint to play with, so I shouldn't really complain.

I was disappointed to find that my Lifeline's torso joint is pretty slack. Hold him by the upper body and wave him about a bit and his lower body will jiggle like crazy. I'm hoping this is an isolated incident but I have heard of other collectors experiencing the same problem. If anybody else has experienced this, please let me know.

The rest of the articulation seems fine, though.

Lifeline features a pretty authentic recreation of the first Lifeline figure from 1986. The detailing is good and there are some nice touches such as the ''Rescue'' tag on his leg (even if the lettering is absent under the removable knee pad) and the whole thing is nicely applied.

Even fans of the more militaristic Pursuit Of Cobra line will probably be happy with this uniform, as it's more of an EVAC/emergency response medic uniform than a front-line combatant who also happens to be a medic. Which I think is supposed to be Lifeline's role, anyway. Pair him up with Wild Bill for a EVAC duty and you're good.

The overall app is good and it's a nice to see a figure that retains the look of the original without distorting it too much or looking dated.

Extras And Accessories
Lifeline comes with a ton of gear. Let's start by taking a look at just what's in the packaging.

  • Removable ''Para-Helmet''
  • An Automatic Pistol
  • A Combat Knife
  • Assault Rifle
  • Medic Pack (Case)
  • IV Bag
  • IV Line
  • Oxygen Tank with Mask
  • 2 x Defibrillator Shock Paddles
  • Syringe ''Gun'' 
  • Trauma Board (with restraining strap)
  • Lifeline Base
It's worth noting that the card back mentions a ''medic bag'' as well as a ''medic pack.'' I'm assuming that the detailing on his right thigh could be this pack, but if it is removable it's not something I want to keep trying to get off, as it feels pretty stuck-on to me...

Anyway, this gear is on the whole pretty awesome. The case includes slots into which the shock paddles and IV bag fit nicely and there's obviously been a lot of thought put into these elements. Whilst the oxygen tank and mask can be stowed in the case (although it takes a bit of effort and squeezing), this sadly leaves no room for the IV line. There is however a port on the trauma board into which the line fits. My guess is that the line is supposed to be stored ''on'' the board when not in use. That's what I've done. Maybe they need to start including instructions with the figures...

It's a minor point but the syringe gun doesn't quite sit as neatly in the holster as I'd have liked. Ideally it should sit a little lower and the tip should protrude further through the base, simply as that would make it more secure. It's also worth noting that the combat knife is marginally too long for the sheath and tends to stick-out slightly. They're minor points but both points to be aware of.

Although not a production issue, there's one point that's dividing many GI Joe fans. This version of Lifeline comes with weaponry. Although the earliest figures also included guns, in the comics and the animated series, Lifeline was a confirmed pacifist, to the point where he wouldn't even touch a gun. Whilst I personally think the assault rifle is a bit of an odd accessory for him to carry, that's due to the simple fact that his hands are already full with his other gear. But the idea of him carrying a pistol doesn't really bother me. I'll let you make up your own mind on that and if it is an issue you could try using the spare holster to store another piece of equipment.

Final Thoughts
This is a pretty awesome figure, all told. The sculpt is cool, he's a superb update to the original character and the equipment - minor issues aside - is great.

If I had to pick fault with the figure, I'd have to say the hands are a bit of a let-down. They don't seem very adept at holding the gear he comes with and - especially when he's holding the board and his case - you get the feeling that if you brush the figure even slightly, one - or both - of the accessories are going to come out of his hands.

Secondly, the loose torso - and this could be an issue with my figure alone - is annoying, as it makes posing him quite cumbersome, especially when you're juggling with getting him to hold his case and the trauma board (and keep in mind that I just pointed-out how loosely he grips them.) Like I say, maybe I was just unlucky and your Lifeline's articulation may be just fine.

But even with these errors, this is figure not just an excellent update but an excellent figure in his own right.

Sculpt and DesignA-
Extras and Accessories A-
Final ScoreA-

Image Gallery


  1. This one has become a fan favorite already and it's no surprise because he looks sharp and has some great extras.

    1. Yeah, it's a shame he has a couple of minor issues, as he was on-track for an A Review!


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