Monday, March 12, 2012

REVIEW: GI Joe: Resolute - GI Joe Battle Set Sgt Stalker

Produced by Hasbro | Released 2010

The survival instincts of SGT STALKER were honed at an early age on the mean streets of his hometown. The lessons he learned may have been tough but they made him a fierce warrior. It doesn't matter if he's facing two or twenty COBRA troopers; he'll make every one of them wish they'd never gotten out of bed that morning. Ranger trained and Airborne qualified, SGT STALKER uses his skills, training and instincts to adapt his actions to the changing situation. He heads to the jungle with ROADBLOCK and BEACHHEAD to rescue hostages held by DESTRO and BARONESS, and teaches that arrogant duo not to underestimate the GI JOE team ever again.

GI Joe: Resolute - Sgt Stalker
We kick off this week with another Review from what's shaping-up to be a rather strong seven-figure pack, the GI Joe: Resolute GI Joe Battle Set in the form of Ranger Sgt Stalker.

The GI Joe: Resolute GI Joe Battle Set (I know that name sounds awkward but there's also a Cobra Battle Set so we need to differentiate the two!) features seven figures, packed in a slide-out restraining tray within a fairly sturdy slip-case/box. It's not the flashiest of packaging designs but it's functional and it looks cool with the figures in-place, thanks to the large windowed frontage.

Original images from Yo Joe!
It's a fairly simple design but it's also pretty in-keeping with the 25th Anniversary line, which is cool.

Sculpt and Design
Sgt Stalker's design is - overall - pretty neat. I've seen in the past people comparing Sgt Stalker to Snake Eyes, as both are Ranger/infiltrator/commando types and so it comes as no surprise to see this Sgt Stalker using the Ninja-Commando's upper body. Which is fine, as it's not like it's a Ninjalicious design that would ''break character'' or make Sgt Stalker look in any way weird. Plus the addition of the roll-neck collar further helps give Sgt Stalker his own identity and overall it works well.

However, I have to admit that whilst the initial impression is solid, the forearms do seem a little on the skinny side. It's not massively noticeable but you will spot it. That aside though, Sgt Stalker features a pretty cool sculpt. The lower body - like the other figures we've seen from the set - features some cool gaiter and strap details, plus a (sadly non-functional) holster, complete with pistol. This is topped-off with a (removable) webbing harness featuring a (working) knife and sheath along with assorted pouches. I like that this harness is unique to Sgt Stalker, with both Beachhead and Flint also having their own unique accessories. The mix of shared and uncommon parts really works well and gives a sense of each having uniform/standard-issue gear  each Joe has then added to and customized for their own purposes. 

The head sculpt will be familiar to owners of the 30th Anniversary Sgt Stalker (as it's the same sculpt), which features a new-look for Sgt Stalker, complete with dreadlocks and a full goatee. Whilst the original look was cool, it was also a little dated looking and although the same will be said about this 21st Century look in a few years, I think it works pretty well and is one of those design-led quirks that works well to give Sgt Stalker an additional visual identifier.

If you've read any of my Reviews you'll know I'm a big fan of the GI Joe articulation set-up, so there's really not a great deal to add here that I haven't already commented on in the past. Movement is fluid without being slack and Sgt Stalker is a very poseable figure.

The harness doesn't interfere with his movement (although you may find yourself re-positioning the knife sheath should you pose him with a rifle or similar) but even the ponytail - which I thought would have been a pain to work around - really does little to limit his head movement.

Sgt Stalker appears to be a pretty good likeness of the animated version of the character. Sadly that means he's wearing green with green trim and mostly green accessories. OK, so that's not totally accurate but this figure sure does sport a lot of green...

I wish Hasbro had applied a darker wash or some other form of additional paint detail to the figure, as the overall green-ness is somewhat overwhelming. Even the grey details on his straps and harness do little to break-up the vastness of it all. And yes, I know it's intended to allow him to blend into his surroundings but it's still just a little overpowering.

The actual app is pretty neat, though, with some cool detail on the beret's badge (for example) and his various pouches and accessories. However, his red, white and blue belt detail  appears to be a little off-kilter on my figure.

Extras and Accessories
As mentioned above, Sgt Stalker comes equipped with a removable harness and roll-neck detail. The harness also includes a knife sheath with removable knife.

Sgt Stalker also comes with a pistol and green assault rifle. Whilst the former looks neat and fits well into his hand, I'm disappointed that the rifle is (A) green (again!) and (B) such a day-glo hue. Thankfully the Resolute pack features a black assault rifle, which I've seconded for Sgt Stalker on my display shelf and which looks much better.

Sgt Stalker also comes with his own base and pre-cut file card.

Final Thoughts
Sgt Stalker is a solid-to-good addition to the GI Joe: Resolute pack. The sculpt is interesting, he's got some neat accessories (once you replace the green rifle) and the overall impression is that this is a fun, cool-looking figure that kids - especially - will enjoy playing with and that collectors will most definitely welcome to their collection.

It's just a shame that Hasbro elected to use such a bright green - and in such massive quantities. Seriously, I'd say about 90% of the figure features some form of (or indeed, usually the same tone of) green. Of course, he's based on the animated show's designs and so Hasbro couldn't change much about the palette. But there's no reason why they couldn't have either used a slightly darker tone in their interpretation or applied a low-light brushing or wash to accentuate the detail, as they really needed to do something to break-up the overpowering green-ness of the figure. Had they done so, Sgt Stalker would have been on for a higher score. As it stands though, he's just not quite up to the same standard as his pack-mates Beachhead and Flint.

A nicely-sculpted, well-executed, fun figure let-down by a garish color-scheme.

Final Score: B

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