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GI Joe Classified Series
by yo go re

Welp, one step forward, two steps back.

After the release of the great, modernized Rock 'n Roll, it seemed perhaps GI Joe Classified was done being a boring retread of the past. Ehn, don't get your hopes up. As part of the class of 1985, Shipwreck is too popular to leave out of the line entirely, but he wasn't even on the plan when the line started: before the website shut down, he wasn't even one of the characters pictured on it - and there were characters on there who still haven't even made it as 6" toys yet! Anyway, here's a bio for him from the 1991 Impel trading card:

Shipwreck is everything it means to be a sailor, and he runs a clean, tight ship on deck or on shore. He grew up near the San Diego Naval Yards and enlisted when very young. Shipwreck enjoys using cliched sea lingo and telling tall tales. He fancies himself a great cook, though most of his teammates complain about his excessive use of salt.

Do you think that's a subtle joke about his potty mouth? Shipwreck's design was already outdated by the time he was released in 1985. He dressed like a Vietnam-era sailor, which made sense for the experience and reference pools of the people designing the toy back then, but these days you might as well be putting him in a Donald Duck sailor suit for all the modern flair it's bringing. It's not that the Navy suddenly switched away from light blue shirts and dark blue trousers in the Reagan era, but in the year of our lubber 2023, this looks like he put together a last-minute "sailor" Halloween costume at Goodwill without any research.

Fred Aczon has said that Shipwreck was the character he was most looking forward to in this line, and he's done a great job capturing Shipwreck's personality in this sculpt. The character looks grumpy and frustrated all at once, and you can almost hear that Jack Nicholson voice rolling out of his mouth. Copying what Lady Jaye did, this figure includes swappable pieces so you can display him either with or without his Dixie Cup hat.

You wouldn't expect the guy who basically looks like he's wearing street clothes to have intricate paint apps, but the insignias on his sleeves are printed cleanly, and they even painted him some chest hair in that open collar. He's got his two forearm tattoos: on anchor on the right arm, and a harpooned shark on the left. We do unfortunately get yet another installment of the "Hasbro can't match plastic colors on their joints," with the elbows being noticably pinker than the rest of the arm.

Shipwreck's height will depend on whether or not you give him his hat, but consider this toy to represent a guy who's about 6' tall, which seems fine (everybody's always a little too tall). As per usual, he's got swivel/hinge ankles, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, hips that are a balljoint mounted on a hinge, balljointed waist, hinged chest, swivel/hinge wrists, double-hinged elbows, swivel biceps (which could have been hidden by his sleeves, but aren't), swivel/hinge shoulders, pectoral hinges, hinged and balljointed neck, and a balljointead head. He doesn't get shins, because he wears bellbottoms instead of boots, but there is a swivel where the leg disappears into the pantleg.

The accessories hew as tightly to the past as the rest of the figure. Like, short of cosplay purposes, why does he carry what appears to be pirate's boarding pistol? Thank goodness he's got an actual pistol as well, for once, but why is he allowed to run around with a loaded blunderbuss? He gets a normal grappling hook now instead of whatever those weird flap-things were in the '80s, and there's a coil of rope that drapes over his shoulder.

That last one is neat, because it also serves as a perch for his parrot, Polly. Well, presumably "Polly," there's nothing on the box identifying them. A hole in the knot at the top of the rope allows the bird to sit on Ship's shoulder. It's too bad we don't get any alternate wings or articulation like we did on Freedom the Eagle, but we can tell Polly's been through some rough action, thanks to the fact that she appears to have a tiny pegleg. Please tell me you got a veterinarian's help with that, Shipwreck, and didn't just make it yourself to further your pirate fantasies.

The art on the box is uncredited, but it makes Shipwreck look absolutely psychotic, screaming like a madman. The digital render features him standing on top of a submarine as three missiles are being launched from underwater, and a red bicycle sitting beind him. Yes, on top of the sub. Must be one of those sea-bikes. His stats are threes across the board: Environmental Specialist (Water), Light Weapons, Hand-to-Hand Combat, and Naval Combat. No surprises there.

Hasbro could easily have done an update of the DDP Shipwreck for this figure, which wouldn't have looked as painfully dated, and then saved this G1 version to add a huge draw to their Retro collection. But no, we've got to dress this toy like it comes from the 1970s or somebody will start crying real tears. But hey, if nothing else, you can put him with Spirit and Gung-Ho, and be well on your way to a Classified Village People.

-- 11/10/23

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