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Sgt. Stone

GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra
by yo go re

In 2006, Sigma 6 released their first (and only) figure not based on an existing Real American Hero character - Lt. Stone got his name from the leader of 1996's ill-fated GI Joe Extreme. Of course, neither of those guys is this guy, unless he got demoted.

Sgt. Stone is a special operations instructor who trains the GI Joe team in combat tactics, marksmanship, survival techniques and other commando skills. He battles Neo-Viper forces who drill their way into the GI Joe Pit headquarters.

You'd never know it to look at this figure, but Sgt. Stone is Brendan Fraser's character in the film. No, really. If you followed our blog-exclusive GI Joe Movie Watch multi-part feature, you may recall when MTV interviewed Fraser about his cameo. The nameless [what are you talking about? The clip identifies her as Vanessa White Wolf right there! --ed.] news vixen's questions certainly seemed to point toward a specific old-school Joe, but maybe she was just citing a random example, not trying to hint at who he was. Still, the fans saw that and latched onto the idea, so when he rolled in as Sgt. Stone, everybody was surprised.

Of course, part of the reason for the surprise is that this figure looks nothing like Brendan Fraser. When the second series of figures hit stores, Stone was just another one of those "invented for the toyline" filler figures that all movie toylines have (c.f. Flash, Shipwreck, Ice-Viper, et al). The face is decent, but it's not Fraser. Neither is the painting on the card, which shows Stone with a scar running over his nose and onto one cheek. Modern movies include likeness rights in the actors' contracts: maybe since Fraser was just in for a cameo, his didn't have that clause.

Sgt. Stone is a big, beefy guy. The figure is 4⅛" tall, and has arms like a gorilla. He's wearing the standard-issue GI Joe pants, the blue camo sort, and a short-sleeved black button-down shirt. The legs and chest are the same used for Zartan, but the arms and abdomen are new. He's also wearing a grey vest with a bit of black armor or padding on the chest, but that's removable, so it's up to you if you want to consider it an accessory or not.

We also want to make special note to mention the sculpt of his hands. It's not that they're posed particularly well - from some angles, it looks like his thumbs are broken - but the gloves have a lot of impressive details, despite being such a small, minor part of the design. Impressive!

Articulation is as good as any other Generation 3 GI Joe figure. Sgt. Stone has a balljointed neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel wrists, balljointed torso, balljointed hips, double hinged knees and swivel/hinge ankles. The elbows look odd, for some reason - kind of outdated, like they were designed for a G2 figure. It's not like we haven't seen bare-armed Joes before, so why is Stone so weird?

Sgt. Stone's accessories are nice - surprisingly, that even includes his Stupid Giant Gun. His isn't some poorly proportioned bazooka or something, it's a large gun emplacement. Yeah, it still fires a big clear missile, but it wouldn't look out of place, say, mounted at a roadside security checkpoint and pointed at the oncoming traffic. It could either be operated from a seated position, or with the plug-in control pad.

Beyond that, Stone has a pistol, a knife, and a black machine gun. The rifle is a modified FN 2000, so it's suitably futuristic without being implausible. The pistol is nice, but would benefit greatly from the figure having a holster to put it in. The knife has a small blade and a comparably large handle, but it looks good in the figure's hand (again, no way to store it; that's a shame, too, because he's decently cool).

Look around online, and you'll see a lot of complaints about Sgt. Stone. It's not that they didn't like Brendan Fraser, it's just that they couldn't understand why he wasn't playing a "real" Joe - in other words, an existing character. Well, take a second and think, guys: this is just a cameo; if Fraser can't make it back for the next film, would you really want Flint (or anyone else) immediately locked out of the story because he'd had two quick scenes in this one and they didn't want to recast? Of course not. So instead we get a new character, with the potential to become just as real as any of the others.

-- 11/20/09

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