Monday, May 21, 2012

REVIEW: GI Joe Basic Assortment Shipwreck

 Produced by Hasbro | Released May 2012 [Dollar General Exclusive]

Basic Assortment Shipwreck (AKA Dollar General Shipwreck)
Following on from this weekend's Review of wave-mate Snake Eyes, Shipwreck is another figure in the recently-released series of ''Basic Assortment'' GI Joes - AKA the Dollar General Joes, a line of six figures equipped with a minimal amount of gear and released at an allowance-friendly $6 a piece through Dollar General stores.

The Basic Assortment GI Joes all use the same identical packaging, including the rather small back card. A small insert within the blister pack identifies the character but that aside Shipwreck's packaging is identical to that used by Snake Eyes (hence the repeated use of the image below, which also includes a 25th Anniversary figure pack for comparison purposes.)

Sculpt and Design
Shipwreck's sculpt may not be an immediate hit with purists expecting a direct update of the Real American Hero-era sailor, but there's actually a lot to like here once you get past that [UPDATE: I've since been informed that this is Hasbro's nod to the IDW/Devil's Due Shipwreck]. For starters, Hasbro has done a great job with the head sculpt and even though he's ditched his little white sailor hat in favor of a more practical stocking cap, there's no mistaking who this is.

What's particularly cool is that - unlike the Rise of Cobra Shipwreck, from which this head comes - the Basic Assortment Shipwreck is also clad in a uniform that has a nautical sense about it. Granted, he may look more akin to a fisherman than a sailor but there's something very cool about Shipwreck's whole look that says ''sailor'' without being too ''hello, sailor'' if you see what I mean, as Hasbro has ditched his Village People look in favor of something a little more practical and dare I say it, even cool.

The other thing I like - and I don't know if I'm drawing a parallel that's not here or whether it's deliberate - is that Shipwreck has a real Adventure Team vibe about him. As I'm sure regular readers know, I'm not a fan of the ''cartoon character'' GI Joe figures and I do prefer my Joes to look as if they could be part of a military organization rather than a bunch of weirdos in costumes, but it's refreshing to see a character not clad in green combat fatigues or dressed as a soldier. In that respect, Shipwreck reminds me of the Polar Sharc Ice Storm and I could imagine him being as much an adventurer and explorer as he is a member of the armed forces. 

Moving away from character design and inspirations for a moment, the physical sculpt is very good, with a fair amount of detail on his cable knit sweater and his wrinkled/pouched pants have enough going on so as not to be too ''busy'' but at the same time there's plenty of detail for those looking for it. The leg slot - into which his plasma pistol can be fitted (see below) - is straight out of the Renegades Duke school of parts but it works incredibly well and when the pistol is popped in place, it stays there.

It may not be the most complex of sculpts but it's a very effective update that looks really cool.

Shipwreck comes with the standard GI Joe set-up and the actual joints are very good - indeed, you may find, as I did, that your Shipwreck is actually a little tight at first. Thankfully a quick play/workout will get the joints limbered up and you'll find him very easy to pose once you work the stiffness out of the joints.

Both hands are particularly adept at gripping his pistol, but I did find the weapon sat in a more realistic manner in his left hand than his right, which is more a sculpt issue than anything else but it's worth noting.

Shipwreck's paint app is very good. Indeed, having examined all six of the Basic Assortment GI Joes I've been very surprised by the high level of QA applied to each - it's certainly better than we've come to expect from Hasbro's Marvel Universe line and although there are still some minor errors, for figures at this scale - and price - the paint is very cleanly applied.

The only real drawback I've found with Shipwreck's paint design is that his exposed neck is the same blue as his sweater, rather than a flesh tone. This isn't a big deal when viewed from the front but turn him around and it can look a little odd.

That minor point aside though, the paint app is very good indeed.

Extras and Accessories
The Basic Assortment GI Joes come with limited accessories but I personally find Shipwreck has just about enough gear to keep him interesting and allows for a few display/play options.

As mentioned above, Shipwreck comes with a plasma pistol, the same piece used by the Renegades figures (Duke in particular.) Whilst this may seem an odd choice of weapon, given that the other Joes in the line-up have more realistic armaments, for a sailor/diver it kind of makes sense for him to have a non-standard weapon and I dig that Hasbro has given him this accessory, as it's easy to stow when not in use and to me again gives him more of an explorer/adventurer vibe rather than an armed soldier kind of role, if you see what I mean. I also like that the pistol fits nicely into his hand and clips well into the thigh port when not in use.

Shipwreck also comes with a SCUBA pack and mask. Getting the tubes to connect to the backpack can be a bit of a fiddly job (and they will pop out if you're not careful how you handle him) but they work well enough and although the SCUBA mask is a little snug, at least it won't fall off during play. I also like that - with a bit of pushing and bundling - the mask can be stored within the backpack when he's not using it.

Unlike the upcoming Retaliation figures, the GI Joe Basic Assortment toys include a stand. It may be generic (i.e. lacking any kind of code-name print) but it's certainly a welcome inclusion.

Final Thoughts
The Basic Assortment Shipwreck is a great addition to the GI Joe line-up. Fans of the original Shipwreck costume design may not be quite so keen but as an update to the original character's look this is a superb bit of work. There's no mistaking who this character is, yet the silly 80s disco trappings are nowhere to be seen. And the fact that he's got a whole Adventure Team kind of thing going on is a great nod to the line's past. This Shipwreck is as much the explorer and adventurer as he is a military man and I could see a lot of kids sending him on exploration missions to climb the coffee table. I really like that.

So much for the design. But what about the execution? Thankfully it's great. The sculpt is detailed but not fussy, the articulation is good, with nice, solid joints and although he's not packed with a lot of extras or accessories, what he does have works very well (even if he is missing Polly). Even his paint app is good. And although he doesn't have any particular stand-outs, he's definitely a figure that's more than the sum of his parts.

An absolute must-have figure and - rather surprisingly, given his relatively low profile when compared to the other Joes - my pick of the Basic Assortment.

Final Score: A

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  1. I was thinking Adventure Team with this one too. When i get a hold of one of these i plan on buying a plastic Shark for him to fight like in Jaws(which i watched yet again last night lol).

    1. Great idea! I might have to form a new Adventure Team with Ice Storm and... I dunno yet. Some other guys. :)

    2. Great ideal Kev! I might have do the same once i start finding and getting these. I want to buy a few of the StormShadows to build a ninja army too.

    3. Yeah I'll have to have a think who else could join. Airtight and Lifeline make a good duo, too but they're too specialized to join my AT!

  2. I originally thought that I would definitely pick up Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow if I ever found them, but actually Shipwreck is at the top of my list. Who can argue against the fun that can be had once a beard and skullcap are introduced?

    1. Yeah, I wasn't overly excited when I saw him in the assortment when it was first announced but - as you can see - he's pretty awesome.

  3. Figure looks cool....6$ apiece, I picked up a few for 3.50$ at the Dollar General out here....

    1. Yeah, the official RRP is $6 but I think a few stores have them in their inventory/on display as part of the Combat Heroes line, which are $3.50 a pop.

      Still, even $6 is better than the $150 some collectors paid for the set off Ebay!

  4. This is sold for $11 here in the Philippines. I'm still thinking if this is a good buy. I like the ROC version, however.

    1. That's not much more than the 'regular' Joe price here in the US now, but at the same time, this figure is only $6.

      I have to admit that although I do like the RoC version, I like the Adventure Team vibe I get from this figure more.

  5. I recieveda case of these dolar store figures as a tip,and as most,thought snake eyes and storm shadow would be the stand outs,but this shipwreck has rapidly become one of my fav figures ever.i could never place what i didnt like about the old shipwreck or why I never had him on display.probaley the village people outfit.and I loved the charcater from devils due comics,i cant believe i didnt reconize the a toy customizer,so i fixed the flesh neck,added some webgear and a satchel and his old trademark saw off shotgun,just got the idea for the flippers and the better painted roc version..this is defentlay gonna be on display from now on when i have him done,i hope his debute in the idw line recently keeps him going as a regular on the prime g.i.joe team.I love this version so much,everyone needs to get one

    1. Yup. I agree - he's a great figure, definitely my pick of the assortment.


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