Friday, July 8, 2011

REVIEW: GI Joe Jungle Assault Recondo

Produced by Hasbro | Released 2010

Recondo is the GI Joe team's expert in jungle combat and survival. He goes into the jungle ahead of the team to scout for Cobra forces. He uses a solar-powered wilderness survival pack with a claw-JS multi-snare trap to capture Cobra troopers and discover what they're hiding in the rainforest.

Packaging Shots

Jungle Assault Recondo
For many of us coming late to the GI Joe party, Recondo can be a difficult figure to track down. Short-packed as part of Wave 2 and - as far as I'm aware - never re-issued with the other waves, Recondo is certainly a figure in high-demand among collectors. Is he worth the effort, time and cash to acquire? Read on and find out...

Recondo's sculpt is pretty interesting. His ''jungle combat expert'' role is immediately obvious from the way he's dressed and equipped and there are a lot of little nods to his background. Among the cool details are his short sleeves, gaiters and - coolest of all - the tiny darts on his left bracer. It's a pretty intricate sculpt with some good detailing and the pre-attached (but removable) vest is a nice touch, featuring all manner of pockets and pouches. There's even a tiny sat-phone on his left shoulder.

I've managed to get this far but I think I can now state what everybody probably knows - or has figured out from the photos: Recondo is clearly a ''tribute'' to Predator's Blain, as played by Jesse Ventura. Indeed, along with Spirit Iron Knife (as Billy) and Shadow Tracker (as the Predator) (and to a lesser extent, with Duke standing in for a slightly weedier Dutch), it's possible to recreate the movie to your heart's content. It's too bad Recondo didn't come with a large-calibre mini-gun, but there you go.

The head sculpt is pretty cool. Although Recondo isn't an exact likeness of Jesse Ventura, you can see he's an influence on the toy's looks. There's a pretty good ''ain't got time to bleed'' attitude about the figure's expression, too. 

Whilst the sculpt is neatly done, it does introduce a few problems when it comes to the articulation. For starters, his head connects to the neck peg in an odd manner, resulting in Recondo having a permanently downward gaze. Twist the head to either side and the head tends to pop off. It's possible to fix this by shaving some of the back of the head off with a knife, but it's not something I'm confident doing, nor should I have to do.

Secondly, the sheer bulk of his biceps inhibits his arm movement slightly, with his arms being unable to pass much beyond about the 80 degree mark. This can make posing him with a two-handed weapon rather difficult.

The remainder of the articulation is fine though.

Paint-wise, Recondo is a good-looking figure. Eschewing jungle camouflage in favour of khaki, green and brown tones, there's nothing about his colour-scheme that leaps out and makes him appear unsuitably dressed for the environment. The only slightly odd piece of colouring comes with his solar panels (see below) but they still look kind of cool in their own way.

The paint app itself is pretty clean, with his various sculpted details being picked-out well and the facial application is especially good, with his eyebrows and moustache both being clean apps. The only real minor point on my Recondo is that the two yellow... pieces... on his vest are a little splodgy. I'm not entirely sure (A) what they're supposed to be and (B) where they're supposed to end, so it's hard to really make a call on how it should be. All I can say is that comparing the two apps, one is longer and cleaner than the other so there's obviously something not right...

Recondo is a pretty well-equipped figure, featuring an assortment of weapons and jungle survival tools.

Starting at the top, Recondo comes with a pre-applied bush hat. It's a pretty neat looking accessory but getting it to stay in place takes a little effort. He also comes with a jungle mask, which... well I'm not really sure what it's for. It's a good fit though and stays on his face nicely.

Weapons-wise, Recondo comes with an assault rifle, a sniper rifle and two axes, the latter of which are also - presumably - used to cut paths through the jungle. I'd have expected machetes, but I suppose axes can also be used to cut down trees for Bear Grylls-style jungle fun. The weapons fit pretty well into Recondo's hands, although the sniper rifle (which is nicely detailed and painted) can be a little difficult to get him to hold with both hands. It's possible but it takes some work.

Perhaps his most impressive piece of equipment is the solar-powered wilderness survival backpack. This piece fits snuggly into the figure's back port and features a peg onto which one of the axes can be attached for storage. Alternatively you can use it to store the snare traps, which also - in a very cool piece of design - can be attached to the extendable cable at the base of the backpack. At the press of a button this line can then be retracted, allowing Recondo to snare and capture his opponents. The pack also features two removable solar panels that can be tilted on ball-joints. They're a little fragile and are prone to falling off if you're not careful but they look pretty cool.

Recondo also comes with his own base.

Final Thoughts
I posed the question at the start of this Review: is Recondo worth the time, effort and cash? The answer is yes... with a but...

Whilst Recondo looks great and has some cool features, he comes with some serious issues. For starters, the head/neck sculpt is horrible and the downward-staring head position makes it difficult to pose Recondo in a lifelike manner. Secondly, whilst his accessories look great, they just don't quite work properly. The hat doesn't really fit his head; the traps are quite fragile; the axes don't quite fit onto the side peg; the solar panels are femmer and tend to fall off; he's back-heavy and is prone to falling over (even when on his stand). They're all little things but you'll find posing Recondo to be quite a difficult task, as all these minor points add up quickly and lead to a frustrating experience.

If you're wanting to use him as a plaything, then you'll be disappointed. His gear will come apart or get lost during anything but the most delicate of play sessions and without his equipment, he's just another Joe. As a collector's piece he fares better but just don't fall into the trap of thinking that justifies the inflated prices some people would charge you for this figure. Anything at the $12 or under mark I'd say is fine. Much beyond that and I'd seriously suggest you give your purchase a lot of thought.

But if you can look past these problems and find him for a reasonable price, there's a lot of good here and he's certainly a unique-looking addition to the line.

Production QualityB-
Final ScoreB

Image Gallery

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...