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Chuckles

GI Joe Classified Series
by yo go re

Heh heh heh.

Stop me if you've heard this one: guy walks into a bar on Cobra Island, the Coconut Palm to be exact. After tossing back a few with the locals this Chuckles fellow, kind of a joker, discovers there's a hidden safe upstairs with a briefcase full of secret documents and millions in gold. So the trick is, can he nab the case and 23 skidoo without blowing his cover or will the Crimson Strike Team bring down a world of hurt on him? Either way at least he got lei'd.

Philip Provost was planned for the Classified line from the beginning: back when Hasbro had a website, he was one of the characters who had a profile on there: "Chuckles works deep undercover for GI Joe, infiltraing Cobra operation around the world to gain valuable intel and put a stop to their schemes. He's an incredible actor who can talk his way out of most situations... and fight his way out of the rest. For Chuckles, the end justifies the means, and he's not afraid to break the rules to accomplish his deep cover missions."

Chuckles was the Joe team's only connection to CID - the Army's Criminal Investivagtion Division. So he's basically a detective for Army crimes. The kind of stuff Jack Reacher does. Which may be why, no matter which continuity you're talking about, one of his defining features has always been "tougher than the tough guys." Which is certainly handy in this set.

One of the (many) advantages of plastic-free packaging was that it got the Joe design team away from the mindset that the figure needed to be able to use every accessory at once; that's fine when it comes to weapons and backpacks, but they also extended it to mean "no alternate hands" and the like. That's why Chuckles gets to be one of the very few Classified figures to include an alternate head: this one's been through quite a fight, with cuts on his his forehead and nose, a black eye swelling his left eye shut, and even a front tooth missing from his big grin.

Even by Joe team standards, Chuckles dresses casual - part of needing to go undercover, you'd think, but how secretive are olive drab pants and giant black combat boots? He wears a Hawaiian shirt, which makes him feel a bit like Sam Axe/"Chuck Finley" in Burn Notice - an approproate connection, considering how much like Bruce Campbell the character's original 1987 card art looked. The shirt is blue with pink flowers, like the original toy, rather than white with yellow, like the cartoon. He has a big gold watch on his wrist, that he probably won in a card game, and accessorizes his outfit with a shoulder holster and a sheath strapped to his right leg. You can tell this figure was designed a while ago, because he still has one of the Classified communicators (or whatever those things were) hanging from his belt.

The articulation is usual: swivel/hinge ankles, swivel boots, 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. If he gets into a brawl, he's gonna be ready! Even moreso thanks to his alternate hands, which are molded into fists... with big brass knuckles sculpted right on. Hey, when 90% of the people you get into fights with wear metal helmets of one sort or another, you learn to adapt.

The rest of his accessories are a mix of "soldier guy" and "cool guy." Like, obviously there's a gun and a knife to fit in his various holsters, but there's also a pair of handcuffs (both intact and snapped in half, because he's a beast), a briefcase that he used to block a couple attacks, judging by the slashes in its leather cover, and the file folder he stole with info about the Crimson BATs. There's also a pair of binoculars, but those could belong to either category of accessories.

When he's ready to relax, Chuckles has a pink lei, some sunglasses, a pair of headphones, and a tape player. If you look closely at that last one, it should seem familiar: the shape of the buttons, the placement of the tape door... it's Soundwave! Granted, it's black, not blue and silver, but it's obvious what they were going for. The back of his belt is designed so the Walkman and binoculars can be stored there, so he's ready to put on some tuneskis as soon as the danger's over.

It's not really clear why this figure needed to be an SDCC exclusive, but it was, so that means fancy packaging. One thing the packaging doesn't have is any stats. But hey, since he used to be on the website, we can tell you his Role is Intelligence 4, his Gear is Light Weapons 2... and then his Skill and Mastery are both 4's, but are also both classified. This guy is the king of undercovers! He may be a direct update of the 1987 figure, but his accessories add a lot of personality, and the work that went into his packaging cannot be overlooked.

-- 12/08/23


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