Thursday, February 9, 2012

REVIEW: GI Joe Slaughter's Marauders Battle Set - Low-Light

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

A self-taught expert in image-intensifiers, LOW-LIGHT maintains and repairs all of his own night-vision equipment. He also holds the patents on two components in the latest models. He is extremely good at staying still and quiet for long periods of time and has a natural ability to blend in with his surroundings. He can watch every move you'll make, and you'll never know he's there.

Slaughter's Marauders Battle Set Low-Light
The Pursuit of Cobra Low-Light proved to be an incredibly popular figure with collectors - at least those lucky enough to find him. Now we're given a second bite of the cherry, thanks to his inclusion in the recently-released BBTS-exclusive Slaughter's Marauders Battle Set.

Before we proceed, it's probably worth pointing out that this Review is probably best read as an updated companion to the original Review. You can read what we thought of the Pursuit Of Cobra Low-Light here.

There's not much else I can say that hasn't already been said about the packaging of this seven-figure pack. It looks great, displays the figures nicely and protects them pretty solidly in transit.

Sculpt And Design
The Slaughter's Marauders Low-Light uses the same body sculpt as that features in the Pursuit Of Cobra release. This Low-Light is a figure that was first introduced during the height of the Pursuit Of Cobra line's outstanding run of highly-detailed figures and, as such, is an solid example of Hasbro producing a great-looking sculpt. From the curl of his hair to the pads on his knees and the folds in his pants, this is an incredibly lifelike figure.

What I failed to mention last time around was how much I like his vest ''layer'' accessory. It's a superbly-sculpted bit of kit that features an impressive level of detail, with zippers, pads and even grenades all adding to its overall look. It's busy without being cluttered or unrealistic and it's a great bit of design.

Low-Light's head sculpt is also pretty impressive. The detail on his knitted hat, curled hair and facial expression are all very good.

If you've read the original Review or skipped forward, you may wonder then why I'm not awarding a higher score for this figure's sculpt. Put simply, whilst it looks good, it's a little on the bland side, especially when compared to the other figures in this pack. Now I'm not a massive fan of the gimmicky Joes (like, say, Bazooka) but there's also really not much here to really give Low-Light much of an identity. Add to that the fact that the forearms Hasbro elected to use are pretty impractical, pose-wise (more on that below) and you're left with a sculpt that looks pretty good but is fairly uninspired and somewhat restrictive.

As mentioned above, the forearm sculpt is this figure's biggest issue in the articulation stakes. Getting him to hold his gear (see below) is awkward, thanks to the bulk of these pieces. The vest - whilst looking great - is also a little on the restrictive side. You can work around these problems generally but the size of the arms can be more serious when trying to pose him with the rifle.

Low-Light also features a tilting left wrist-joint, which allows for an additional range of poses - especially when holding two-handed weapons. It's a shame then that the rifle-stock and forearm issue prohibits this.

The actual articulation though is fine and is as you'd expect from a GI Joe figure.

The paintwork (and accessories, but we'll come back to that) is the major difference with this figure and the previous release. This version sports a dark green/camo outfit, with a burgundy red vest. It's a little brighter than the Pursuit... Low-Light but it's not so garish as to be distracting and works in the context of the set.

The actual app is very good with the camouflage being well-applied and there's a very neat look to the edges on his uniform. Facial detailing is also clean.

Nothing spectacular but it's well applied.

Extras And Accessories
The Pursuit Of Cobra Low-Light came with an abundance of accessories. Too many in my view. I know that sounds odd but what I didn't like was that almost all of the gear he carried was integral to his role as a sniper/spotter. It wasn't a case of giving us options when it came to displaying him as to which accessories he used and which he didn't, as it seemed every piece of equipment was needed.

The Slaughter's Marauders Low-Light on the other hand is completely under-equipped. There's an SMG, a rifle, his low-light visor and a stand. And that's it. Whilst this wouldn't normally be that big a deal, the problem is that this figure's sculpt is designed to accommodate accessories that aren't present. And it shows. The scope slot on his left thigh you can almost overlook but the fact that he has an empty knife sheath really annoys me, especially given how easy it would have been to include a weapon to slot into it.

As for the weapons, the SMG is my favourite of the two - but only by default due to it being the only one he can really hold in a convincing manner. Forget about posing him with his sniper rifle in any kind of realistic sniping  pose, as the bulky forearms make that an impossibility. It's a shame, as the weapons themselves are actually pretty good-looking pieces, cast as they are from a sensible black plastic and featuring a neatly-applied grey/green detail. I just wish they'd given him a harness or a rifle that could plug-into the back-port when not in use.

Final Thoughts
Low-Light is a good-looking figure, overall. The paintwork is nicely applied, the sculpt has some good detail and the overall impression is good (if a little bland.) It's just a shame that again, Hasbro has messed-up his equipment. In the previous Review I complained that he had too much gear. Now he has too little. Maybe one day we'll get the Goldilocks version of this figure...

If you can handle the obvious lack of weapons (which can I suppose be remedied by a quick trip to your GI Joe spare parts box) then this is a pretty cool figure. Of course, part of the appeal of the Pursuit Of Cobra figure was the insane amount of detailing in his gear and this will therefore come as little comfort to those who missed-out on that figure. But at least with this one you can say you have A Low-Light in your collection...

A reasonably well-produced - if a somewhat generic - figure.

Sculpt and DesignB
Extras and Accessories B
Final ScoreB

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