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.
Sometimes you gotta earn that code name.
At last, the Joes have an army builder! Well okay, so they've had this before when the Steel Brigade came out originally. I mean, that's what they're supposed to be, but you wouldn't have army built them 'cause it was hard to get ahold of more than one! You see, the Steel Brigade (look at me act like I'm tellin' you something you don't already know) was a mail away figure that was supposed to represent YOU! The player----I mean, the kid! You send away to Hasbro with your name, and they'd make a code name for ya and a pick your specialty and send you your figure and personalized filecard! There's probably more to it and plenty of info I don't have, but you get the idea. The only other shot at a Joe army builder that we've had after the Steel Brigade guys is the Reservist and those ugly Troopers with thier horrifying Duke Arms. And I'll tell ya - I don't like my troopers to be unmasked! I want faceless masses!
*ahem* but that's just a personal thing, mind you. Which will probably be reflected in the review.
So lets get started! Right away, the filecard tells you to BUY MANY OF THEM, because it says they're the backbone of G.I. Joe's fighting force: the "grunts!" I don't believe I've mentioned this in the other 30th reviews, but I gotta say that these filecards are MUCH more fun than they were in RoC. Not only are they well written and actually tell you a bit about the character (other than "he's good at A and he uses B to fight Cobra") but finally - FINALLY - we have caught back up with the friggin' PAST and have brought back the description of all accessories involved! Why did they ever stop that? I LOVED that when I was a kid! Especially sometime in the 90's when they showed the full pic of the figure and made up stuff for what was on thier person, as well.
When you read the description on the card, you can see all the items! Paratrooper combat rifle (with bayonet!), Ballistic helmet, tactical backpack, rocket storage pack (with rockets), rocket launcher, heavy machine gun (with stand), and a....rotary grenade launcher? ....okay, so nobody's perfect! It's obvious that some accessory changes were made along the way, 'cause we don't have a grenade launcher but we DO have a second rifle (looks like a SCAR?). I believe a grenade launcher would have provided even more variability in your troops, but I don't really mind the second rifle. Heck, there's still a cool amount of variability anyway!
I wana backtrack to the figure, however, before we get to the accessories completely. Above, you can see the helmet, "scarf" thing, armor, and bandolier.
Without all that, you have Beachhead's head along with Snake Eyes' torso and the Shock Trooper's arms and legs.
Of course, that's also the Shock Trooper's armor, which means you can still take the Shock Trooper's walkie talkie and do this:
Now, mind you, he does not come with the walkie talkie, I'm just showin' you so that you can use it on both guys, if you so choose.
Finally, you can see the trademark Steel Brigade helmet and Duke's 25th bandolier. Both of those items worried me slightly, 'cause you can see his chin sticking out from under the helmet a bit, but it honestly didn't bother me in the slightest! The color matches the helmet, so most of the time you can't even see it, or it blends in. On top of that, the helmet just fits perfectly and stays on tight! As for the bandolier; I was afraid it would make him too bulky, since he was already wearing the armor, but this also didn't end up bothering me, because it's nice and out of the way! It doesn't restrict the arms at all - and - amazingly, I like the figure better with the bandolier than without. I honestly thought I would be removing it. Dunno why! It looks and functions fantastically.
But man, FUNCTION is gona be a major key in this review. We'll get to that later in the final gushing section.
Back to the accessories! What a FANTASTIC idea! I've already told you that the Steel Brigade figures were originally supposed to represent YOU in G.I. Joe, so of course each of you are gona have different specialties. Maybe you're a bazooka guy like Zap? Perhaps you're a Grunt like...*ahem* Grunt? Maybe you're a paratrooper like Ripcord? How about a machinegunner like Roadblock? YOU'RE ALL COVERED! As I said, the filecard says "BUY MANY" and the accessory count says no different!
When you buy a bunch of these guys, you immediately have a few different specialties! You can also have him perform the same duties as the originals, since they're all faceless and helmeted; just pick a guy to be "you" and outfit him accordingly! It's almost too bad that G.I. Joe isn't as popular with the kids as it used to be, because these Steel Brigade guys are built perfectly for this! You could send away for them just like the old days, but they would come with whichever set of accessories ends up being your favored skillset!
...then again, you wouldn't be able to army build them like this, and I gotta say, it's pretty dang cool to have some easily obtainable Joe grunts. Also, as I had said before: they're faceless! I've always loved helmeted figures more than non-helmeted figures, so it's awesome to have good-guy grunts with helmets. For while, it seemed like the only way to get cool helmeted guys was to join Cobra! Now the Joes can hide thier identities too! Still, the best part about being faceless is that if you DO choose to use this as your inserted character, you can! (You know, if you're not an amazing customizer like more than half the Joe community).
Ah...well, you can get your own code name from anywhere! Everyone has a varied skillset, and sometimes it has to do with things that aren't so much "skills" as they are...vices.
Anyway, as you could see from the bloody mess pics: he holds that gun VERY well! In fact, from earlier pics, you could see that he holds the bazooka well too! And the assault rifle! He ain't bad with the machine gun either (could be better, but that's the fault of the gun, really). As I said: function would be major here, and that's 'cause he FUNCTIONS! He holds his weapons well, the armor doesn't get in the way, the helmet stays on - what more do you need?
This is majorly important, in a time where I feel the "toy" part of these figures is starting to die off. I mean, with Lowlight, there's problems with too-many-accessories and an inaibilty to hold his rifle (that ALSO falls apart). Then there's the awesome Snake Eyes, but his pistol doesn't stay in his holster (something that the Cobra Trooper shares with him), and Snake Eyes doesn't even hold the pistol amazingly well either (a problem I had with Stalker, also). I can easily overlook these things 'cause I'm not playing with them like I used to - but if I did? Accessories falling off, things lost...chaos!
The Steel Brigade figure has NONE of these problems! Granted, he doesn't have any holsters, but he holds each weapon with an iron grip and he poses like a dream! You can get him in a kneeling pose, he can hold each weapon with BOTH hands (without having to fidget with 'em), and the head has a great range of motion for whatever pose you like! Like I said, though, all of this is so amazing because he's still a toy! Granted, i'm not saying he's a diamond in the rough - there are plenty of figures that have continued to be great toys...I guess some recent ones have just made me think otherwise. The Steel Brigade figure, as an opposite of such, is a breath of fresh air! This would be the one to buy for little cousins or nephews or neices to get them into G.I. Joe!
A+! Top score! Well played! Bravo!
Now, I leave you with this for no good reason:
HAHAHAHA RUNNING GAG.
Seriously go buy a few thousand Steel Brigade troopers. Pull them out of the hands of children! Oh wait no, I said GIVE them to children, didn't I? WHATEVER. I'm done now.
As a fan of grunts and masked or helmeted toys, you can probably tell that I still love these guys. I've always loved the Steel Brigade helmet, and I'm glad they brought it back as a removable helmet (that I can pass around). Thankfully these guys have recently been repackaged in the 50th Anniversary line at Toys R Us, so you can get them now! Some of the features I fawned over have been improved with Marauder, as usual, but I don't see a reason for a Joe fan to pass these up. They're still fun, and the Joes need some non-descript might!