Monday, January 30, 2012

REVIEW: GI Joe Slaughter's Marauders Battle Set - Vincent ''Falcon'' Falcone

Produced by Hasbro | Released January 2012 [Big Bad Toy Store Exclusive]

A second generation Green Beret ''Falcon'' spent his boyhood emulating his father and preparing to be the toughest of the tough. Scaling mountains, parachuting from planes, rappelling down cliffs and crawling through jungle is a walk in the park for him. He can field strip, clean and reassemble most common military pistols, submachine guns and rifles in the dark and not wind up with leftover parts.

Slaughter's Marauder's Battle Set Falcon
Falcon, as I'll call him from now on, is the first figure we're taking a look at from the Big Bad Toy Store-exclusive Slaughter's Marauders Battle Set. Like our per-figure Reviews of the Dreadnoks Battle Set, we'll look at one figure a day until we've covered the entire roster.

I have to admit that in all the excitement, I forgot to snap a photo of the packaging. Thankfully Big Bad Toy Store has a great pack shot which I've ''borrowed'' for the purposes of this Review.

Like the Dreadnoks Battle Set packaging, the Slaughter's Marauders figures are held in place pretty well, thanks to the moulded restraining tray. I found it a little difficult to get Falcon clear of the pack and I'm not sure if the tray actually bent his feet (more on that later) but at least the figures aren't in any danger of coming loose in transit.

Sculpt And Design
Like the Dreadnoks featured in this pack's sibling release, my initial impressions are that the Slaughter's Marauders figures are designed to appeal more to fans of the originals than new collectors. Where the Pursuit Of Cobra designs took the existing characters and reintroduced them to a modern audience, these figures are closer in feel to the 25th Anniversary line, where the original characters were given a modern retool but the designs were left largely untouched. That's not necessarily a bad thing but it's something to be aware of and if you're expecting these figures to resemble the more lifelike, militaristic figures of the Pursuit Of Cobra line, you may find their more retro-styling a little off.

Falcon is, overall, a pretty solid-looking figure. Like the Dreadnoks, it appears that the Slaughter's Marauders figures recycle parts from a number of previously-released figures with new heads and accessories. Which isn't that big a deal for me personally, as Hasbro has a habit of doing this but - unlike the Marvel Universe line, which seems to have about three different bodies to work with - their efforts usually work-out pretty well. Falcon is no exception.

There's some very cool detailing on the basic body, with his rolled sleeves, padded knees and protective vest all being very nicely sculpted and featuring a lot of close-up detail work. The sculpt is further augmented with a few ''layer'' details in the form of a neckerchief, shoulder harness and vest ''skirt,'' all of which add that extra little detail to differentiate Falcon from the original Dusty sculpts used to create this figure (Versions 12 and 14 according to, if you were wondering.)

The head sculpt is very good. Unlike some of the Dreadnok heads, Falcon has a very serious, lifelike look about him. It could be argued that perhaps his features are a little squashed and seem to mostly occupy the front 1/4 of his face, but that's nitpicking. And yes, the beret is removable.

The only minor problem I have is that his feet seem to be a little weird. Whether this is down to the restraining tray bending the ankles, an assembly issue or some problem with the sculpt, I'm not sure. But there's definitely a kink to the way they're produced and, as a result, Falcon can look knock-kneed in some poses.

That aside, there's not really a great deal wrong with this sculpt. OK, so he's not the most exciting-looking of figures but as a military-style figure wearing a quasi-uniform, what's here is solid enough.

Falcon's articulation is good, overall. I was initially concerned that the vest ''skirt'' might inhibit his hip movement but I'm happy to report no such issues with the joints.

As mentioned above, his feet do seem to be at a slightly odd angle. Basically they're a few degrees off-centre, so when you stand him with his feet together, only the outer edges of his boots come into contact with the ground. It's odd but you can work around it without too many issues and I'm sure it could be fixed by soaking him in hot water and re-aligning the pieces.

I also found his knees were very stiff, to the point of feeling ratcheted. Again, I'm sure this is something that could easily be overcome with a bit of bending and I'd personally rather have stiff joints than slack ones...

The hand poses are very good. I was a little disappointed that many of the Dreadnok figures had problems holding their weapons, so I'm pleased to report that Falcon's hands are much more adept at gripping his gear.

I have to admit that whilst the sculpt and articulation (and his gear - more on that below) are fine, the paintwork is a little bit of a letdown.

There's nothing technically wrong with the paint. The app is clean and there's some very nice detail on his camo pants, which feature a very well-produced, cool-looking design. The problem I have is with the actual palette used. I understand that the Slaughter's Marauders figures are intended as a tribute to the brighter-coloured figures of the 80s and early 90s. And I don't have that much of an issue with that (although I'd be happier to see a darker, less plastic-looking green used on his vest.) My big problem is that Falcon is a Green Beret, yet here he is, sporting a... blue beret.

Now I don't own every version of Falcon (or indeed any other version beyond this one) but browsing through the Yo Joe images of the character, it's apparent he's always sported a green beret. So why did Hasbro decide to go with a blue one? Is Falcon now a UN Blue Beret? If that's the case then fine, but shouldn't his file card mention this? It just seems very odd and strikes me more as somebody either having an excess of spare blue paint they wanted to use up or thinking he was already wearing too much green and needed a broader colour palette. Whatever the reason, it doesn't really work and seems a very odd decision.

It's a shame, as the actual app is very clean. 

Extras And Accessories
As mentioned, Falcon's basic sculpt is augmented with a few ''layer'' accessories in the form of a neckerchief, harness and vest ''skirt.'' These pieces are all well-produced, fit the figure neatly and help give him a different look to the other figures. 

Falcon also features the aforementioned blue beret. Aside from the fact that it really should be green, this is a very good accessory indeed. It's a superb fit, has some nice detail and  looks great on the figure - even if he's intruding a little on Flint's stylistic territory...

Falcon comes with two weapons, a drum-magazine submachine gun and a breech-loading riot/shotgun. The former fits well into his hands, is well-detailed and - coolest of all - is cast from a very sensible, lifelike black plastic. The riot/shotgun meanwhile is a particularly well-detailed accessory, being constructed from three separate pieces. Just be warned that it can be a little on the fragile side and take extra care when opening the packaging, as it's very easy to send the pieces flying...

Sadly, though, the shotgun isn't the most practical of weapons. As mentioned, it's quite fragile but add to this the fact that it also doesn't sit very well in Falcon's hand and what you're left with is a nice-looking, unique but pretty useless accessory, which is a shame.

Like all GI Joes, Falcon comes with his own base.

Final Thoughts
Falcon is a difficult figure to really judge. He features a few mistakes or oversights - such as the beret being the wrong colour, his feet being oddly-positioned and his shotgun being a bit useless - but there's not that much you can really criticise. If you're a fan of the original you'll dig him (hat colour aside) and fans of the retro-design 25th Anniversary figures will be well at home with his look.

But if you're more accustomed to the modern-style of figure (particularly the Pursuit Of Cobra line) then you may find his retro looks are just a little too wide of the mark for your tastes. Like many of the Dreadnok figures, your appreciation of Falcon comes down to how you view the design, as the actual execution is pretty solid.

The real problem is that Falcon is a bit of a Krusty Seal Of Approval toy - ''he's not just good - he's good enough!'' In other words, there's nothing much here to fault but there's also not really much to get excited about. I'm just left a bit cold by the whole thing and although I can't pinpoint what's really lacking, I also can't pinpoint any real reason to rush out and grab this figure, either...

Overall, Falcon is a solid-enough figure, letdown somewhat by poor colour choices and an unremarkable design. As a bundled vehicle operator he'd probably be OK. But as a stand-alone character, he's just too bland to really make an impact.

Acceptable and nothing more.

Sculpt and DesignB+
Extras and Accessories B
Final ScoreB

Image Gallery

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...