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Sgt. Slaughter

GI Joe Generation 3
by yo go re

At some point, a rumor entered the fandom that Hasbro had said they'd never do a G3 Sgt. Slaughter. This year at Comic-Con International, that was proven wrong as wrong can be.

Just about every member of the GI Joe team is qualified to be a drill instructor, so it takes a special brand of heavy-duty honcho to keep 'em squared away. Sgt. Slaughter fits the bill the way his bullet head fits his hat. Let's face it, the man be rough and he take no guff.

"They say he cut his teeth on a bogey wheel from a Patton tank and that his first words were 'Semper Fi.' They say that when the Sarge dresses down a boot in Camp LeJeune, the trainees cringe all the way to Pendleton. Most boots would rather dive for apples in the grease trap than cross the Sarge. They say he can blow a month's pay in one night in Thule, Greenland. Of course, jarheads are prone to exaggeration. We all know it's impossible to blow a month's pay in Thule, Greenland."

If you read a lot of GI Joe filecards, you'll notice that Thule, Greenland is one of those things Larry Hama references over and over. Why? Because it's one of the worst places in the world to be stationed. It's halfway between New York and Moscow, 700 miles north of the Arctic Circle, and the entire base has less than 300 people on it - mostly Air Force. It's a place with nothing to do and nowhere to go, so anyone who can have a good time there is either crazy or a liar.

The Sarge is entirely a new sculpt - at least, this one is. There's a variant, as well, but more on that later. This figure - the more common of the two exclusives - is based on the original 1985 mailaway. That means his outfit is based on his wrestling gear, rather than a military uniform: he's wearing a green tank top with "USA" across the belly, red wristbands, a white belt with a golden Marine Corps buckle, black tights with the GI Joe logo down the left leg, and green and black wrestling boots laced up the front with yellow and red chevrons on the side. He's ready to throw down with the Build N' Brawl Sgt. Slaughter. The card art is really good, but it makes him look pretty buff, while the figure is more realistically tubby.

Slaughter's face is pretty good, but there's still room for improvement. Again, the painting on the card is wonderful: it really looks like prime-of-his life Bob Remus, and while the toy's face is similar, it's also a lot softer and fuller. The movie line proved Hasbro's likeness-capturing ability isn't restricted to the Star Wars figures, so it seems like this figure was sculpted based on the old toy, rather than the real guy. Of course, with that huge jaw, little mustache, mirrored glasses and campaign hat, there's no mistaking who this is supposed to be.

What accessories you get depends, logically, on which version you get. The more military looking variant has guns, but since this version is dressed like a wrestler, he's outfitted like one, as well. Both versions have a brown baton with a gold tip, but in lieu of traditional weaponry, this one comes with a microphone and a championship belt. There have been a few mics before, but this one is simple and plain. The belt is a new accessory, obviously, and actually fits around his waist. It's the traditional look, a big black strap with golden panels on the front and sides. It's not a belt from any real promotion, because it's got a GI Joe logo across the front. Still more legitimate than any of the belts traded on WWE Smackdown, that's for sure. A whistle on a cord hangs around his neck, and while he has the high level of articulation you expect from modern Joes, there're also surprise swivel/hinge joints in the wrists. Unexpected!

Sgt. Slaughter is sold on a normal G3 blister card, rather than the new design that's just debuted for the Pursuit of Cobra toys - and that makes sense, since he's part of the Real American Hero continuity, not the movie. Since the original release was a mailaway figure, this marks the first time this style of Sarge was ever available on a card. It's sold in one of those plastic protector shells Hasbro uses to pander to the AFA-grading idiots, with a silver foil SDCC logo-sticker on the upper right corner. The back doesn't have any cross-sell images, just a letter from the Sarge himself.

It's no surprise that Sgt. Slaughter was a popular exclusive at this year's con. The guy was the live-action face of GI Joe for several years, and like we said, the rumor was that he'd never get a figure. Some suckers even went so far as to make custom figures of him, believing there'd never be a real release. If you want a Sgt. Slaughter, hold out for a good price, but don't wait too long.

-- 08/20/10

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