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Lady Jaye & Major Bludd

Combat Heroes
by yo go re

As a fan of both GI Joe and Hasbro's Heroes-scale toys, the announcement that Series 3 of the Real American Hero line had been cancelled was a huge disappointment for me - particularly because one of the sets was a pair I was really looking forward to.

Who you think of as "the" woman of GI Joe depends on what media you've been exposed to more often. Sure, in the comics, Scarlett was the star - since the story seemed to hinge on Snake-Eyes and she was his girlfriend, it was only logical. But if you only watched the cartoon, she was eclipsed by Lady Jaye. LJ had almost twice as many lines, and (other than the first miniseries) appeared in more episodes every season. She was the man! (So to speak.) (Though her voice might confuse you.) In fact, like we've said before, the only character who showed up and spoke more was Cobra fricking Commander!

Lady Jaye had a slightly different design on the cartoon than her toy did, and this design is a combination of the two: like the figure, she's wearing suspenders and has a knife on her right shin; like the cartoon, her shirt and pants are different colors and she's not wearing a hat. It's a nice middle ground, actually. And just like in the cartoon, her weapon is a javelin, not some kind of weird spear gun (although, amusingly, the card art shows her with the old toy's launcher rather than this toy's spear.

Alison has a rather dynamic pose, with all her weight carried on her left leg as she rears back to chuck that spear as far as she can. Her left arm is bent, and she's holding her right arm out in front of her for balance. Most of the Hasbro Heroes women are lacking in the articulation department, but Lady Jaye gets the full deal: neck, shoulders and waist. That means she can do things besides throw her spear, and that's nice.

The figure's face is very cute and pixie-ish, but overall, the paint is really an issue. Her bare arms, in particular, are prone to problems: the pink paint spills onto her hairline, shirt and gloves in some spots, while in others, it's applied so thinly you can see the green plastic peeking through. At least the face is on straight - sometimes you'll find a figure where the apps are way off!

Lady Jaye's foe in this set is one of my all-time favorite Cobras, Major Bludd. He was one of the rarer figures, back in the day, first available by mail-order, then briefly carded in stores, and finally back to being mail-order again. I had to've gotten him from one of those later mailaway offers, becaue I certainly wasn't collecting in 1982 when the original "Free Mercenary" program was going on. He was Australian, from Sydney (or "Sidney," as most of his filecards have insisted), so he had that going for him, and he looked different from all the other Cobras.

It was the color scheme that did it. With his brown uniform and black armor, Major Bludd was more similar to Zartan than Cobra Commander or the Vipers. This figure has more sculpted detail than the old 3¾" version, but everything the old one had is here, as well. Gun in a holster strapped to his right thigh? Three dogtags hanging around his neck? Robot arm? Yes, he's got it all. He's even sculpted with the rocket-launching gun and the unmistakable backpack. He has a Cobra symbol painted on his right shoulder, a green patch on his left, and a green stripe on his left leg - again, all things the original had, and could easily have been overlooked.

Major Bludd has a crouching pose, as most of the Hasbro Heroes do, but he seems to be creeping forward: he's lifting his left foot to take another step. There's a big sneer sculpted on his face, and his eyepatch is actually sculpted, rather than just being painted on - honestly, they could have gotten away with that and no one would have been the wiser. After all, it's not like the eyes are ever sculpted, beyond the general dip of the head. Anyway, he's got his gun in his left hand, and his right hand is in this truly strange clutching pose. He looks like he's ready to link fingers with someone.

Bludd also has the Springfield Four in articulation, but the right arm is impeded by his leg. You either have to twist the waist to get his legs out of the way, or roll the arm all the way over the top to get it down. Plus, if there's one thing we can't stand, it's things that are sculpted to look like joints, but aren't joints; the elbow on his cybernetic arm is clearly designed to suggest a hinge, but it's just as solid as the rest of them. Disappointing!

The third series of RAH Combat Heroes was meant to come out before the movie, but slow sales of Series 1 (ie, being WAY over-ordered) meant that Series 2 barely ever made it out, let alone 3. Hasbro "postponed" the release without ever offically cancelling it, and promised they'd bring the figs out after the movie. Well, it's been "after the movie" for a longass time now, and still no sign of them. The only place they've shown up (other than sketchy Asian auctions) is Canada (and thanks to reader jestergoblin for the heads-up, or else you wouldn't be reading this review right now). Will they eventually be released in the States? No idea. For once, we're getting shorted instead of the rest of the world. If you want Series 3, best to order them while you can. The only real drawback is that all Hasbro's Heroes-scale figures require a close examination to check for paint problems, and ordering online, you can't do that.

-- 05/28/10

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