Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Alexx Shorts: PoC Steel Marauder with Kickstart (7/30/10)

Well, this is it: I've finally decided to start reposting my old "Alexx Shorts" G.I. Joe reviews.  They're the reviews that lead to what eventually became this blog!  I'll be posting them in straight copy-and-paste format, separating them with bold dotted lines so you know where they begin and end, and then I'll post some final thoughts on what I think of the figure currently.

For those unfamiliar: I used to take random pictures here and there, but by the time the Rise of Cobra toys came out, I was getting annoying with how much people had been bashing the figures which were clearly better than the previous 25th Anniversary offerings.  I set out to show people how awesome they were, and things went from there, forming into "Alexx Shorts", named so because I thought I was going to keep to a short format with a few pictures.  I did not do that.

It's about time!


We have mechs in the G.I. Joe line! Finally! It's not an exo suit and it's not a mech for a smaller toyline: it's a full on mech that fits 3 3/4 figures; made for G.I. Joe! This day should have been here long ago, considering the Armor Bot, back during Star Brigade. So many times we had come so close; the closest being the Defense Mech (which will be compared in this review). We've had little hints of armored suits here and there, and robots have certainly been a part of G.I. Joe since the B.A.T., but now we finally have a small scale mech to pound the ground and turn over some vehicles!

This is the Steel Marauder! You may remember it, of course, as the Iron Hammer Mech in the 2.5 inch sub-line of Sigma 6. The original mech came with many more attachments that are now being spread over a few different mechs (leaving some without the much needed firepower, and I have yet to see the double cannon arm) and adding a few new items (those will be mentioned in their respective reviews).  In this review, you'll see how they've reworked the 2.5 inch mech and made it fit seamlessly (at least in my eyes) into the 3 3/4 inch line.

As usual, let’s start with our pilot: Kickstart!

Kickstart shares some great parts with Reso-Duke, a Viper, and Airborne. I'm very happy with the Airborne head, because it was one of my favorite sculpts (and I rarely like the unmasked guys). 

Unlike the last time they used this head, the hair and skin color are changed, and he looks like a whole new man! Best part is that there's this slight smirk on his face, which works for the kinda guy he is.

Sadly, though, the only thing he comes with is a helmet.

I normally knock the figure for not coming with at least a pistol, but the mech is kinda clouding my eyes right now. Regardless, he's got a sweet helmet, and it would go really well with a pistol like he has on the side of the box! As usual, though, I've got a million freakin' weapons, so he'll certainly be able to borrow one.

As for his character, he is, of course: A Gamer. Can't drive a mech without being a fan of video games! I like that, though. He's not just a gamer, however; it states that he's an expert in electrical and bio engineering and computer technology. So this guy not only pilots the mech, but he'll be able to hop out and fix problems if the situation calls for it. (But you know he'll be busy making a point system for the kills).

But we aren't here for the pilot, no! Not completely. We're here for the mech! 

Great thing about this is that it's nearly as poseable as the figures that sit in it. The knees may not bend, but the ankles, hips, and waist are all ball jointed, and provide an array of positions for him to take. The arms also have a double jointed shoulder so that he can even reach in front of the cockpit and shoot across! It's a stubby little guy, but you can totally see him stomping in, quick regardless of its bulk, and smashing stuff up with the claw or blasting holes in enemy vehicles with the machine cannon. 

Another great part is the details! Amazingly enough, most of those are taken care of by the stickers. I've never been this impressed with the stickers before!

Here you see they're continuing the same display screen that they have going on the HISS and the Ghost Hawk. Basically a view screen with a targeter and other readouts you'll need for a good mech outing (or to give someone a good meching). I really hope they keep these stickers up for cockpit canopies; I really love how it looks! Otherwise, the cockpit also has other stuff on the top and sides:

Then, there are other stickers outside the mech that display information (some gibberish):

If that one makes any sense to anyone, let me know. The cannon also has this:

Can anyone tell me how big 144mm rounds are, and if that's crazy for a cannon like that to shoot?

Moving on: the cockpit has been reworked perfectly for the 3 3/4 size.

He not only fits just fine, but the cockpit also has these cool control sticks attached to ball joints! Much like the controls in the HISS: I love how they are doing more than just some sticks that come out of the plastic. These things look like they control the arms, and they fit perfectly in his hands (though it may be easier to pop them off, put them in his hands, and pop them back in again). Anyhow, like I said, he fits perfectly, and the cockpit only just touches his head if the helmet is on. You press down the canopy and it stays shut!

Now, if he wants to get in when there's no docking bay, he's got a handle on the front to...I dunno, pull himself up?

Next, his choice of armaments: there's the claw for...ya know, grabbin' suckas.

Then he's got the big honkin' machine cannon:

When you turn the big yellow part on the back it fires the missiles out one by one (like you do). I don't have the missiles in there 'cause I like the look of it better without them. 

Then, of course,  if you don't wana waste the big guns on the personnel, you've got little machine gun turrets on the front:

What do we have for features? Plenty, if you've been collecting since VvV and DTC. This mech uses the same hexagon system that was created for the Robot Rebellion line (which would have seen a lot of interchangeability). So, sadly, if you're only collecting now, you can only swap out with the other mechs they make. If you have been collecting: you'll have a lot of stuff! For instance, there's the old Defense Mech:

You'll probably have little reason to do this, though. Notice the holes on the side of the arms, however. More hexagon holes! Those are quite useful for stuff like the Rhino:

Or stuff from the DTC HISS (in this case, it's the 2.5 HISS from Sigma 6)

And, for no good reason, the spiky thing that I recently found out came off of the Doom Cycle:

So, depending on what you have around (and especially if you have the Iron Hammer from Sigma 6) then you'll have a LOT to do with this guy! I only wish they had kept up the hexagon system so that I could use the items from the HISS and the Ghost Hawk as well. It's going to be a slightly confusing line for kids who are just getting into G.I. Joe. 

You know what would make it better, though? A docking bay to go with these mechs! I know they aren't into playsets much these days, but a dock for the mechs would really bring this together, and heck, the bottom of the dock could have a place for the vehicles to roll up and get worked on. As it is, I had to make my own:

But seriously: even a small playset would do! These vehicles are getting really cool Hasbro, so take another chance with some playsets!

Enough of that, though. This is a mech. A full-on mech for the G.I. Joe line. If you've never felt like this much tech belongs in G.I. Joe, then you're not a happy fan right now. If you're like me, though, and have been waiting for them to inject a good dose of robots 'n mechs 'n all that good stuff, then there's no reason to miss this mech. I may have different views of the other mechs (I'm a little wary of the grappling hook thing on the Cobra one) but this one is all win. It moves well, the figure it comes with is cool looking and has a little flavor in the filecard, and the biggest plus of all: it's FUN! I was super excited to get the Avatar mech not long ago, and I'll show ya here:

They both look wonderful, and perhaps the Avatar mech looks more realistic and cool. Ya know what, though? It's no fun! It doesn't move well, it doesn't feel sturdy, and it can't hold its weapons. This is why I always stand by Hasbro: they may not hit gold every time, but dangit, I can count on a great TOY out of them! This thing is very solid, and I could totally see some kids bashing these mechs together. It'll get scratched up and the stickers will peel, but that's no different from the old days! This is a great mech toy, and I HIGHLY recommend it. 


AAAWWW YEAH BOY, this is where it's at!  And I haven't....touched this thing in years.  The review is making me want to, though!  I forgot how awesome this thing was.  It was high time for a G.I. Joe mech, and this one did an amazing job, considering it was reworked from a mech for smaller figures.  Granted, it is a bit small and the cockpit is a tight fit, but when you got this thing in hand, you really understand how impressive the overhaul is, on the inside. 

I stand by this beast and Past Alexx's thoughts on it.  Great friggin' toy.  Another high mark for Pursuit of Cobra.  I'd check this out if you get the chance; along with the Cobra version, which I never got around to reviewing.  It's an awesome way to get a mech for your Joes without taking up a ton of space.

...and while we're at it: Check out the old Valor vs Venom Defense Mech, too!  It worked just like old Exo Squad toys, but for Joes, and as the review shows: you can swap the arms out with this mech.

Assuming these things aren't crazy on the after-market. 


  1. I sold my Marauder last year and I don't think it went for a gigantic amount of money (IIRC, 20 or 30 bucks tops), so it shouldn't be too hard to get. What a great toy, though! I really like how they redesigned the cockpit for the 4-inch Joes, especially the articulated controls. I never bought any of the S6 vehicles so it was entirely new to me, too.

    The claw always looked to me like it could emit some sort of beam or electrical weapon. I also kept the missiles out of the launcher.

    One thing that is a mystery to me, to this day, is how the EXO Squad molds ended up in Hasbro's hands. That was a Playmates toyline! IIRC they showed up in some other non-branded mech line too. Weird.

    1. Glad it's on the cheaper end, 'cause it's a fantastic piece and I like when I can review something old and people can go "WOW that's awesome!" and pick on up on ebay on the cheap. That's a great feeling.

      And yeah, one of my favorite things was how they redesigned the cockpit. Very well done, and like you said: the articulated controls were just brilliant. I can't even count how many vehicles I've run into over the years where the hardest thing is getting the figure's hands on the controls.

      Great idea on the claw! I often did that kinda stuff too, especially when there were no clear guns on a vehicle or ship. Just find something that looks like it could shoot and there you go! Things with claws or prongs like that are ripe for electrical discharge weapons.

      I don't think Hasbro actually owned the EXO Squad molds - the VvV mechs were unique molds just based on the same idea as EXO Squad. I guess there are only so many ways to do a mech like that. I know the molds ended up in a Kay-Bee only line awhile back, but I don't know if Playmates did that or just allowed Kay-Bee to make their own thing with the molds.

  2. My daughter loves to pull this one out of the ol' toy room and knock down other little figures with the missile launcher. It's still a pretty impressive toy.

    1. Yeah, though I didn't use missile launchers much, there's still something about a gatling launcher like this that is pretty dang fun. This is still one of my favorites.

  3. I'm not sure those large missiles are quite large enough to be LARGE MISSILES.

    And a solid super punch fist bump (the cracking is the finger bone fracturing of epic manliness!/dumb) for small mechs. I'm all for packing as much mechy goodness as possible into a small package.

    Now that I see one, I'm pretty sure... Yeah, my cousin had a couple of EXO Squad toys, which were my favorite of his things to use when I went over there. Just never had any idea what they were.

    This one, which was my favorite - https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/59/2e/c1/592ec1afbcdd63dbb5b91363ca161b70.jpg
    And this one, I think - https://img0.etsystatic.com/070/0/8681432/il_570xN.810684162_azu0.jpg

    1. Yeah, EXO Squad was cool as hell! I still have one, and Chris had a few and one of the larger ones which were even more impressive than the one here. The EXO Squad stuff was super detailed, though. They had all these moving pistons and the cockpits always had an extending cable that plugged into the back of the figure's necks for a neural connection. Somewhere on the mechs were removable data chips, as well, which was my favorite thing.

    2. I remember loving the pistons, and also the fold out panels that covered their legs. Being a childhood memory, I have an image of one in my head I'm pretty sure didn't actually exist, mostly based off that first one I linked to.

  4. For whatever it's worth, 144mm seems to be an artillery shell size. Bigger than the rounds for main gun on an Abrams or (for nerdier scaling) a Zaku's machinegun by a decent amount.

    So, pretty heavy firepower, but within the known range for military equipment.

    1. Ha! Man I wonder if those rounds could even fit in that gun. I would expect it would need some place to HOUSE those rounds, as well. Maybe I dunno what I'm talkin' about.

      I love it, though, when they just kinda chose a round size randomly. Just a crazy gatling gun firing rounds larger than a tank's!