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.
And yet: No Slaughter!
Welcome friends, to a mysterious place where anything is possible, and the least expected outcome is always the result! Here you can find a man who can break 2x4s on his face, or a man that is composed of two of another man! Where else could you find one with a stare so intense that it tears the very fabric of reality? Or perhaps you'd rather see Techno-Vipers; I hear they're pretty mysterious.
Then again, maybe I can just review some toys! That usually hits the spot. So here we have the Slaughter's Marauders 7-pack, one of two exclusive sets to Big Bad Toy Store. This pack focuses on four figures with the classic Slaughter's Marauders color scheme, of which Barbecue, Low-Light, and Spirit are veterans (Falcon might have been thrown in to fix his...unfortunate 25th figure). The colors this time around are a bit better than the originals, I think. The other three figures in the pack are some of Slaughter's other men: The Renegades! So technically this isn't totally a Slaughter's Marauders pack, but they're all Slaughter related, and we can all agree that everyone loves a little Slaughter (it has laughter in it, after all).
This one is gona be a BIG one, so lets just hop right in, shall we? I'll start with the Marauders:
Meet Barbecue and his accessories! I'm not gona lie to ya - I started with him 'cause he's kinda boring. Only kinda, though. You'll notice that the arms and legs on this one are different from the orange original, and that's 'cause he's now using the AWESOME arms and legs of the new Airtight! Airtight's new arms and hands are PERFECT, and can hold anything...which means that Barbecue is ready for whatever it is you want 'em to do.
Honestly, I never found much use for the guy, though I like the individual parts. The problem with him is that his new parts are ripe for action, but the character just...isn't. Maybe it's just me.
That was the first thing I wanted him to do: kick some ass! He's just not gona do that; he stops fires.
So, in the long run, I was messing with his parts:
First, in case you're curious; there's the grey parts on him. Next, I was trying to find someplace where his head matched:
Nothing amazing until I mixed within the pack:
That was just...messin'. However I did get this with a Steel Brigade head:
Jungle Beachhead, maybe? What I settled on was this, though:
Low-Light's body, Barbecue's hands and head, Spirit's harness. Personally, I love 'em and I'm keeping him that way! 'Course that may be an indication about what I'm doing with the other figures...but you'll see. Basically, I felt that barbecue was great for who he was, but I'm not excited about the character as much as I am about his parts, so: Fodder! Good fodder too, so I wouldn't consider him a low point in the set.
Falcon! The young pup who screws up in the old animated G.I. Joe movie. I don't have much nostalgia for the movie, personally, so I can only comment in the fact that I liked the original figure! He didn't strike me as the kinda guy he was in the movie, so I considered him a lot cooler when I was a kid. 'Course I didn't actually have the figure - my friend did - so I may have added more to the guy just 'cause I didn't have him. Who knows! Anyway, this one seems to look well enough like Falcon without looking like Flint...but it's a tough sell for most, I think. Unless you're big into Joe, this seriously looks like another interpretation of Flint. The original figure is very plain, but in a good way...it's just that no one can seem to pin down what his face should look like.
Er...for instance. What the heck is going on here? I guess I can sort of see how they're both trying for the same thing, but the 25th version should have tried a little harder to look like...a face, I guess. Less like butter and more like a face. In any case, I wouldn't necessarily say that either is much like the original...but like I said, the original is such a plain guy that there is very little in the way of features to replicate.
So what I wanted to try next was to get 25th Falcon's stuff off to mix into the new one...but his harness doesn't unsnap.
Voila! I think he looks pretty good, and I've kept him that way. 'Course I do still like the accessories he comes with; that auto shotgun and the grenade launcher. Well, actually the grenade launcher falls apart easily, so that ain't great. Still, he's basic and I like him. Funny part about him is that he's using a mix of TWO of the same guy: Dusty! His main body is 25th Dusty, and his arms and legs are PoC Dusty! Anyway, the 25th Dusty was okay, but I LOVED PoC Dusty, so in the long run I'd say he's a good mix of parts! Maybe not great for mixing, but I think he works well enough.
I think this is a good time to make up for my Low-Light problems in his last review. As you can see, we are getting the same figure with a different paint scheme, and I like it! Just not as much as the regular figure. That's GOOD, though! 'Cause that means I get those awesome parts in different colors. Still, lets look at him as Low-Light first:
Give him a different rifle and he poses like a dream! I should have tried harder with his original review. Basically it's an awesome figure with a great paint job; I like him and if you like the scheme then there's no reason not to keep him as Low-Light.
...unless you're like me! I'm perfectly happy with the normal Low-Light, and I just friggin' LOVE the body when the gear is gone:
I dunno what it is about the big arms; it looks fantastic. You can see also that it just about works like that alone - his face is friggin' TERMINATOR or something. Still, as you already saw above, I made good use of him! Only thing I'm not big on with this mold are his hands; they're serviceable, but the Airtight hands (ones on Barbecue) are GREAT, so I switched 'em.
This is a fine figure to add, and though I swapped him right away, I think he is great as-is, as well. Nice colors, great accessories (though he could have used a knife for his sheath, but oh well).
Alright, lets keep it rolling!
Spirit again! Oh man. He's looking slightly upward this time around, but he's still great. I like the colors here, and they work for just Spirit by himself, so he doesn't even have to be a Marauders version, really. He's so good that I can't say if one is better than the other.
The tattoo along with the overall look is perfect; just as perfect as the TRU version. Only thing I would change is the weapon...it's hilarious, but I could have easily taken a bow or a crossbow over an arrow-rifle. STILL...I mean, it's an arrow-rifle, so I can't hate it. I'm always up for something funny! Only problem here is the rifle grip, which is almost always impossible for anyone to hold realistically.
Anyway; just for kicks:
Gear swap. I don't think it's better one way or the other; just great gear on great figures. I did find one thing better, though!
Maybe you don't agree, but I really like this look! The harness went to the new guy I built, so I tried Low-Light's coat on Spirit and it looks awesome! I'ma keep him this way, I think.
Now, because this is how I do:
The Marauders are left in the dust - that's 'cause it's Renegades time!
I've never had any of the Renegades, though when I found out about them I thought they were cool. All hardcore suckas with a bone to pick with...oh heck, I dunno. One is a former Cobra, one is a circus guy (and a friggin' international agent), and one is TOO MEAN FOR FOOTBALL! Grrr! What we've got here is a sort of...homage to them in a way. Mercer may be right there, but the other two are sorta based on the originals more than simply recreating them. Personally, I'm a fan of redos! So many of the 25th line just worked to recreate what we already had, while I wanted to see what they could come up with to update them. These figures update a little...and do a little of just plain changing. Anyway, lets start with RED DOG!
Soooo....this is Red Dog! This was also Red Dog. Now, some older figures were molded in such a way that, while they were the same height as the rest, they still LOOKED like they were supposed to be bigger. Road Pig is a good example. 'Course the head almost always ended up looking kinda fat on a thinner body, but you could tell what they were going for. This, however...well his original figure didn't look like it was supposed to be huge. I get what they were going for here: he used to play football, so they made him huge! Sadly, I've just about had it with this mold. That, and when you look at the old figure it just looks like this guy has gained some SERIOUS weight.
Yeah, it's supposed to be a muscle body, but...it's so huge and barely useable. The body can't hold weapons very well at all, and the pistol they gave him was THE worst choice - he can't hold it in any realistic position. The football is a cool touch, but it's not saving the guy. Overall, when I look at the original Renegades, I'd say I would have looked forward to how this guy came out...and this one disappoints me. The original looks like it has a lot of potential! This one just doesn't inspire me at all. I guess he's here to complete the trio, but I wish it carried over the spirit of the original figure - and I never even had the original!
For me, this was the worst in the set. I just can't get much out of that body; especially those arms. I wish they would have used the arms from RoC Heavy Duty - those were for a big frame, but they WORKED. He could hold anything that anyone else could hold. This body is a 25th body and it SHOWS. On top of that, I just don't think the big body was a good choice.
Okay, who's next?
Ah, Mercer! They pretty much tried to recreate the original here, and I think it works! He's cleverly using parts from the current Viper as well as the cool vest from the PoC Alley Viper.
It is a really cool look for a guy that was previously a Cobra. I love the matching parts, and I like that he still looks a little slap-together in his clothes (though I would have liked the one glove look of the original for a real miss-matched look). This guy got the best accessories, too (at least, as far as I could tell with what the filecards say). They gave him his Viper rifle - cool - and a shotgun and a silenced pistol to mimic the monster he carried with his original figure. Also, he's got the same knife that the Alley Viper has, though his hands are a little too big to really make use of it.
One thing about this guy is that he's been kinda odd, over the years. There's this look, then there's the 90's look. As I've said, I do prefer that they make figures kinda updated, though I do love a good homage. This is straight up classic Mercer, though I do wish the 90's would get a nod from time to time. I'm kinda afraid that 90's guy is done for - I mean, his filecard has a different real name, so some even say it's a different guy who defected from Cobra! Personally I like seeing it as the same guy, and this new figure is perfect for how he looked in the past....but I doubt we'll ever see a homage to the 90's guy.
I didn't want this guy to pay homage to the 90's one, but I can't help but bring your attention to it. Since Mercer hasn't been made in the new line yet, it's only fair to make his classic look, but I do hope they revisit him again sometime!
So in the long run I think Mercer is cool, and certainly a stand-out figure in the set. He's unique and...well he wears earrings, and if you watched the animated movie you know he TOTALLY spits on scorpions just to hear 'em squeal, so he's got to be up there with the Greats of 80's Badasses. I guess I'm happy to have him as himself because I've heard so much about him, and I think it's a great idea for a character!
Okay, final stretch!
I love this guy! It's hard to say why, really. First off, his original is different only in that he had a moustache. So really, when you've got facial hair like that, he could look like anything under it. I don't have the original figure, but the head on this new one seems like he's different anyway. I mean, some folks look way different when you remove the facial hair, but this guy somehow looks...I don't know. Like a different dude.
...but I LOVE it! The headsculpt is friggin' fantastic, and he looks like a badass. I think they should have used the legs from Red Dog on here to better mimic his kneepads from the original, but these legs work okay. Only problem with them is that they don't straighten out - they're pretty much bent all the time. Still, since this guy is supposed to be an acrobat, it kinda feels right to have him looking like he's ready to jump at all times. Speaking of acrobat; the arms work so well with him, too! I dunno what it is, but the parts use all around just works for this guy.
The harness is another story:
It doesn't work. For one: his pistol is directly in his face. Second: it's facing to the right, so his right hand has to go for it, but he's already got a holster on his right leg! It's just awkward for him to get it. From the top (near his filecard pic) you can see that I pulled the holster off (didn't even have to pull hard) so I'm planning on seeing if I can glue it in lower. We'll see.
Without the pistol in the holster, though, it's easy to ignore! Like I said: I love this guy!
I just set him up and he takes a good pic! I was gona mention that he uses the Recondo body and that it might get in the way, but his head is molded in such a way that it doesn't bother me at all; he's not looking down anywhere near as much as Recondo. Recondo's chin is touching his chest at all times, just about, but Taurus is lookin' great. Also, if you're tied to his sword from the animated movie, you can use the sword from the Dreadnok's pack:
Last thing I love about him is why he was added to the Joes: the filecard says he worked undercover for an international police organization...but that crap don't matter to G.I. Joe. No, what impressed them?
Breaking 2x4s on his FACE. That's directly how the filecard reads! The feat of breakin' boards on his face "deeply impressed" the top brass. It's like they were out scouting for soldiers all day, and the last guy is breaking boards on his face and one of the top brass is like: "OH MAN! We got to have him - please?? Come on! We have so many good soldiers already, just give me ONE guy that can break boards on his face! We NEED this one!"
OKAY! All done! Overall I'd say they made more good choices than bad. Barbecue can't help being boring, but they really tried to spice him up with good limbs, and I'm glad for that. Red Dog was my only real disappointment: the rest are either serviceable or useable for parts in multiple ways. I do not regret this pack! Fine color choices, great figures, and good accessory choices. I wouldn't call it a must-buy, but it's certainly not a pack that you should stay away from.
Alright, one final "joke."
Good night everybody!
I had to really dig these guys out to find out what I think about them now, but most of them are parts! Save for the Renegades, who I still like (save for Red Dog, on which I still agree with Past Alexx).
It's funny; you'd think "most of them are parts" means I wasn't happy with the set, but all the figures were pretty solid. If you had none of them before, then you'd be getting a lot of awesome, well done figures (except for Red Dog, that poor bastard). I have no idea if you'd still be able to find this set all together, though, I don't think that's important anymore. There's a good chance you could find any of these by themselves nowadays, and hopefully nobody has marked them with a high price tag. They're nice, but not THAT nice. I certainly didn't regret getting the set, especially at the height of my Joe customizing days. I was happy to get good parts from good figures.
If I were to unload Joes, I'd probably still keep the Renegades and get rid of the others...but they're wrapped up as other characters now, so that's that!