Friday, June 10, 2011

REVIEW: GI Joe Rise of Cobra - Shipwreck

Produced by Hasbro | Released 2009

Shipwreck is the GI Joe team's expert on marine warfare, both above and below the waves. He's trained in advanced naval combat and demolitions. A true sailor with the sea in his blood, he and his parrot Polly prefer the open ocean to dry land.

Packaging Shots

Shipwreck was released as part of the Rise of Cobra movie tie-in toys, despite not actually appearing in the movie. Hasbro however has updated his look to be part of the ''movie universe''-style of GI Joe. Fans of the original character will probably be disappointed to see this and - truth be told - he does lose a lot of what made Shipwreck, Shipwreck. However, look beyond the homogenisation and there's still some good stuff here.

The basic sculpt sees Shipwreck ditch his Village People Sailor outfit in favour of a the standard GI Joe camouflage and Reactive Impact Armor shirt. We've seen these parts used numerous times now, with the Reactive Impact Armor Duke and Sandstorm being examples of figures using these parts. There's nothing wrong with that, as the parts are pretty good and the GI Joes are supposed to be a team, so it makes sense for there to be some uniformity to their look. As I say though, fans of the original look may find this figure a little bland.

The sculpt is fine for what it is. Shipwreck is - as stated - wearing a mix of pieces from earlier releases and they work as you'd expect them to. There's some good detailing on the folds in his pants and his side pockets and the armoured torso pieces look good. I like that they've got a practical feel about them and the numerous panels featured on the chest and arm pieces help break-up what could have been a fairly plain surface.

To further break-up his look, he comes sporting a (removable) belt and holster. It's a simple accessory but it looks good and the addition of a holster to the belt is a nice touch, even if it's non-functional. At least you can display him sans weapons and he still looks ready for duty. I wish Hasbro had done something similar with Cover Girl and Breaker.

The head sculpt is where fans of Shipwreck's old look will find some solace, as he's here in all his salty sea dog glory. The stocking cap is a nice, practical touch but it's the beard that really gives him a unique look. I believe - aside from the quasi-goatee-cum-stubble sported by some Dukes - he's the only Joe in my collection to sport such facial hair.

Articulation is good, with no real problems. I'd have preferred to see a tilt-able head/neck joint but that aside, there are no problems. The sculpt is such that there's nothing to get in the way and the belt doesn't inhibit movement in the slightest.

One thing I'm not so keen on though are his hands, or specifically his left hand. It's very difficult to get him to hold his weapons and the left hand's fingers are angled in an odd manner: anything placed in this hand appears to be gripped at the finger tips, rather than sitting in the palm of his hand.

Paint is cleanly applied, if simplistic. The standard Joe camo on his pants is clean and looks good and there's a little weathering on the torso pieces that give the impression of it having seen some action. The facial details are nicely applied, with the eyes and beard being very cleanly rendered.

Shipwreck comes equipped to fulfill his dual role as sailor and diver.

There's a SCUBA backpack, mask and flippers (the latter of which can be attached to the pack) to allow him to go diving. It looks a little odd to see him dressed in this manner, given his combat pants but the pieces themselves are good and fit together well. However, I'm not sure how much confidence I'd have in a sailor who came equipped in this manner. It's like he believes he's going to live up to his name...

Weapon-wise, Shipwreck comes with a silver pistol, dagger and bullpup rifle. As mentioned above, they can be a little difficult to get to sit properly in his hands, plus the silver plastic looks a little, well, plastic. There's also the standard oversized launching missile weapon.

Perhaps his coolest accessory is Polly, the parrot. Initially I was confused as to how he was supposed to hold the parrot until I realised the backpack features two thin ''stands'' that Polly can be attached to. It's a goofy accessory but it looks good for what it is and it helps define Shipwreck's character.

He also includes a stand.

Final Thoughts
Shipwreck's new look will not be popular with the purists. He's been moderinised and made more believable, with his 1980s Village People Sailor look being ditched in favour of one more in-keeping with the Rise of Cobra universe.

Personally I quite like the change and feel there's enough character here to shine through the fairly generic uniform and look. The head sculpt is great and Polly's presence really defines who he is and Shipwreck is still a figure with a lot of character and an appeal that works as a collector piece.

It's just a shame that he's not a great toy. The accessories are good but a bit fiddly and whilst kids might enjoy swimming him around in his diving gear, when the gear is stowed on his back it can be fragile. The flippers come off easily and Polly doesn't grip the backpack stand as well as you'd like. I foresee a lot of lost pieces.

Still though, if you're looking for a ''character'' to add to your GI Joe collection then Shipwreck fills the role well and you could do a lot worse than pick him up. Just don't pay over the odds or expect wonders and you'll be more than happy with him.

Production QualityB+
Final ScoreB

Image Gallery


  1. He really looks great here Kev and i think there is "Winter" version of him too i think.

  2. There is indeed. I *think* it was one of the half-dozen or so TRU-exclusive ones but I could be mistaken.

  3. I really like this figure. I got him from tuesday morning for $2.99, you can't beat that deal. He's a fun version of a character that can be pretty lame depending on who's handling him, but I have always like shipwreck because of the old sunbow cartoons.

  4. I really need to check my ''local'' Tuesday Morning. And yeah, he's a good figure but I was just disappointed with the way the accessories were a little loose/fragile. And I'm not sold on the dual sailor/diver thing. It just doesn't quite work for me.


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