Saturday, March 5, 2011

REVIEW: GI Joe: Pursuit of Cobra - City Strike Low-Light

Low-Light is the GI Joe team's night operations expert, specializing in image itensification techniques and reduced-light combat tactics. As a child, he was afraid of the dark, until he got lost in the woods and was found three weeks later with a flashlight and compass, skillfully finding his way home. In the dark Cobra warehouse, he positions himself to take Destro and the Shock Troopers by surprise.

Low-Light comes in the standard GI Joe packaging. It's difficult to really say anything new here, so I'll just give you the CliffNotes - it looks fine, the figure is secure without being bent, opening the pack requires cutting/tearing and it's non-resealable.

Low-Light is a night-ops specialist - essentially a sniper - and his look reflects this, with a uniform that's not intended for close-up combat situations: he has no armour-plating and little in the way of rapid-response weapons. Instead he's dressed in basic fatigues and armed with a long-range sniper rifle. This gives him a good, strongly-defined role and look when contrasted against the other Joes and - overall - he looks good.

The head sculpt is good. His face has a realistic look and his hair has a very lifelike texturing. I was disappointed to find his hat isn't removable but that's not really a big issue - it would only be another piece to lose anyway...

One thing I'm not so keen on though are his padded forearms. Like his kneepads, they're part of his sniper outfit (obviously he does a lot of lying-down/kneeling) but they do tend to get in the way when you try to pose him and it's especially difficult to get him into a two-hands-on-weapon stance.

The poseability problems don't end there. Forget about trying to pose him lying down and using his rifle. His neck and torso joints simply don't have the range of movement to allow you to do so. And despite my many attempts, there's no way I could get Low-Light to stand or kneel and hold his rifle anywhere near his face, let alone his eye. I didn't expect to see that level of flexibility on a figure of this scale but given that Low-Light's whole deal is he's a sniper, it's strange that he can't do any, you know, sniping.

Paint is nicely applied (what there is) and accurate. His numerous pieces of equipment (see below) include more detail than the figure and the app is good.

The figure includes a mind-boggling number of items. I've seen Joes in the past with a large arsenal but Low-Light's inventory goes beyond detailed into the realms of overkill.

His sniper rifle includes a removable bi-pod, retractable (and removable) stock, silencer and scope (again both removable), a second night-scope (with removable tripod), night-vision goggles (removable), a radio (with removable aerial), a box of ammo (with removable round), a satellite phone, an Uzi, a gun case and a backpack. Oh and he also has a dagger (removable - seeing the pattern here?) in a leg-mounted sheath.

This is the problem with Low-Light: he simply has too many pieces of equipment and they're simply too delicate. Posing Low-Light for these pictures was an exercise in panic combined with frustration, which ultimately resulted in disappointment. There are just too many fiddly details, too many minute pieces to drop-out and too many tiny parts to misplace.

Some of the detailing is simply too, well... detailed. The clasps on the gun case and the backpack are incredibly tight and difficult to open (the former is actually quite frightening, as it feels as if the latches are going to snap off) and I had to use tweezers to pop the backpack open.

On the plus-side, Hasbro provided both the backpack and gun case in which his spare gear can be stored. But there's an illogical decision here: the scope fits into the gun case but Low-Light's left thigh has a port into which this scope can also fit. But it's the only piece that fits here. I don't understand why the designers did this, given that the space in the case (or on his leg) could have been used to store another piece like the silencer or his sat-phone.

Low-Light also includes his own stand.

Final Thoughts
Like Shadow Tracker, Low-Light is a figure that's swamped with extra pieces that don't work as well as they should. Look at Jungle Assault Duke and you'll see how a figure can have a good level or equipment without being overwhelmed. I'd much prefer to see something like Duke's five or six, fairly solid pieces than the dozen or so tiny parts here.

With a bit of extra thought, though. this wouldn't have been an issue. The scope, for example, should have been part of the rifle. The radio aerial doesn't need to be a separate piece. The single bullet is too small and will get lost. If Hasbro insist on using these pieces, they should at least fit more snuggly into place. 

Don't get me wrong, he's a nice toy and the attention to detail is exceptional - in principle. It's just the execution is lacking. Despite how crazy it sounds, I actually found the only way I was happy to display Low-Light was with his gun case in one hand and his backpack on his back - with all his gear stowed within. And that kind of defeats the whole purpose really, because without his rifle, he looks less like a night ops ranged specialist and more just a heavily-armed tourist.

Production QualityB
Final ScoreB

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