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.
Appearing in the movie: None. No movie. These were made up for the toyline.
How sinister! This Cobra Trooper has two sentences to his name, explaining a bit about what he's doing. It looks like these sentences are the "filecards" for the Retaliation toyline, as this was the same with Cobra Commander, and everyone else seems to follow suit! I can't say that I have any complaints about it, since the recent filecards (up until PoC) seemed to do the same thing as these two sentences, but stretched over a short paragraph.
At any rate, here is your Cobra Trooper for Retaliation:
The Cobra Trooper has been an on-and-off thing for Cobra over the years and, as I've explained in the 30th Cobra Trooper review, I think that's a good thing. On one hand, it doesn't hurt when they're not around, but on the other hand, it's cool to have some down 'n dirty fighters (in a group that usually has a different trooper for each specialty). In the 30th review I explained how I like having the Trooper as a sorta "hired on the spot" kinda guy, where you go someplace, bring your Vipers, but then fill in the rest with whoever shows up and knows how to use a gun (or mercenaries, or any jack-of-all-trades). You pass a simple uniform around and some rifles and you're set to go!
For the Retaliation movie, it looks like there won't be ton of specialized Cobras, so your trooper is your new basic infantry. Considering that you probably filled-up on various troopers; I doubt you're in the market for another one that fills the same slot but comes minus some articulation (no double jointed knees or ankles). So with that in mind, I wana show you what's cool about this guy, just by his lonesome.
First off, I wana say that I LOVE the design of the head. Similar to the 90's Snake Eyes, but different enough to be a general mook. The helmet helps with that look, though I'm honestly not big on the helmet. I'll talk about that a bit later when I start mixing parts. Otherwise, he comes with a very blue harness with all sorts of neat straps 'n such, molded-on grenades, and a holster that snuggly holds a pistol.
First thing you're gona notice is: THAT IS VERY BLUE. And the pics even darken it a bit; the blue is kinda brighter in person. I don't hate it, but it goes without saying that some paint apps or a darker blue could have saved this considerably. However, he does come with a parachute, and I gotta say that the blue would be easy to pick out of the grass if you're tossing this guy around in the yard. Won't be losing that helmet easily.
Thankfully his weapons don't follow the same bright patern. The Trooper comes with some sorta multi-function rifle and a plain pistol from the RoC line.
He holds the rifle well enough (pops out of his hands sometimes, but it's not bad) though the rifle could have been a little thinner. The bottom grip is so wide that you have to open up the left hand to get it around the...pump? Looks like there might be a pump action on there. One way or another I love it. The future guns in RoC were cool, but I'm loving this look even more - whatever it is. Best I can say is that it looks like it has two barrels on it, so I assume it's a rifle, and that tank on the bottom is fuel for a flame thrower. Just a guess.
Then, of course, this dude sports a whole parachute!
The parachute is nice and sturdy. You could easily feel safe enough to grip it and toss it right in the air without worrying about ripping it. I feel like the extra cash went to something NEAT this time around! I tossed him around a bit and it works perfectly. Also, to attach him to the parachute, there's an extra harness that was made big enough to fit over his regular harness - I think it's too big to work, otherwise. The tops of the harness plug firmly into the parachute's clips. I threw him around a few times and he never fell off.
Now, I want you to know that I really tried to do something cool for you guys.
I set up two chairs and put the box fan over top of them, trying to get the parachute to sorta float up there. Sadly the wind is too wild, and as soon as he floats he gets tossed to the side like he's in a windstorm or something. Sooo...there he is with his chute sucked on to the bottom, so that my setup was at least used for something.
The end result is that I am impressed with the parachute and I think it is a WAY COOLER option than missile launchers. You still got a good set of accessories while getting an extra that is actually fun.
Okay: on to the mix-and-match! I knew I was going to be swapping this guy out when I got him. Partly because of his gear, and partly because I don't need any more troopers and I thought he looked way cooler as a singlular guy. So here's some things I came up with:
First off, that helmet is from the Resolute Alley Viper, and it is hands-down the BEST looking helmet on this guy. The harness is from the Retaliation Joe Trooper, and it is just all around badass. So this is a no-nonsense combination, but one I won't use 'cause that Joe Trooper deserves his awesome harness.
This is just to show you how to improve the Reso Alley Viper.
Then some random classic Trooper stuff. I don't necessarily think that these are all better options than his normal harness. His harness is actually pretty cool...it's just very blue. Like I said, the harness would be fine in a darker blue or maybe with the grenades painted. Kinda sucks, 'cause he doesn't really need a new harness; just a recolored one.
Anyway, there's a little movie mixing. Turned out cooler than I thought, actually.
The final one I'll show is my own random mix, though. I'll say again that I think this is a REALLY cool look; I always somehow love the random grunts more than the specialized guys anyway. So my first idea was that I wanted to turn him into Ghost Bear, but I just started putting my favorite junk on him and it all worked together:
Matt Tracker's armor with Renegades SE's gear. I may still use it for Ghost Bear, but one way or another I think this is going to be how he stays. I loves it!
So, to break this guy down: He's missing the ankles and the double jointed knees. I think I noticed it a bit more here than with CC, but it's still not a deal breaker for me. I could see how it might be for others; he did fall over a lot due to not being able to adjust his ankles. I still had fun with him, though.
Next, there's the problem of his gear, which is obnoxiously bright. Kinda nostalgic, because it reminds me of the 90's, but there's no good reason to go back in that direction (except in moderation). Thankfully it doesn't effect the whole figure and just about anything you can slap on him looks fantastic. On top of that, I still think the blue makes it easier to find him if you're tossing him around outside (though the weapons will be lost instantly).
So I can't really say this is a solid buy, but I had fun with it and maybe you will too. It still has good parts, and the weapons are cool. He's not going to replace the many Troopers we have collected recently, but I'd say he's a neat single buy if you're looking for a cool generic look.
It's been about five years since this review, and I feel like that shouldn't be enough time to have a different opinion, but I do! Recently I've been going through my 2000's Joes - like Spytroops and Valor vs Venom - and I really miss the innovation, in those days. Some figures were crazy in terms of proportions (long arms, long legs, tiny torso) but they were still fun. Plus, hell, I miss the bright colors! Looking at this Retaliation Trooper now, I can say he calls back to the 2000's figures more than 90's figures, and that's nostalgic in a different way.
I feel like this figure might have been regarded way differently, back in the 2000's. We were used to new looks across the board, with each series getting a new version of certain characters, or redesigns of classic ones. When else are you going to see a baby blue and silver Night Creeper? Never again! They'll probably just use the 80's design again. This figure, as a new Cobra Trooper, would have blown us away. Instead, at the time, it was just Trooper #506 among the classic remakes we had already army built, and it doesn't match any of them, so I doubt many people bought this one.
I guess, what I'm getting at, is that I want G.I. Joe to do a bit of this again. Change the waters, so people expect new things, rather than expect a remake of something they'd already seen before. What do designers think a Night Creeper looks like NOW? Or a HEAT Viper? Or Zartan? What have you. G.I. Joe needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. Again.
Oh yeah! The figure. He's pretty great, in the right mindframe. The bright blue isn't actually that bad, and like I said, it's kind of nostalgic now. Back then, among the Joe aesthetic at the time; they stuck out like a sore thumb. With some years behind it's back, I think it stands out a bit more than the rest. Give it a shot, if you're tired of the same-old.