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GI Joe Generation 3
by yo go re

We're reviewing a sailor today - you'll have to excuse the salty language.

Shipwreck grew up in the shadow of the Navy, specifically the shadow of the sprawling San Diego Navy Yards. He enlisted at the youngest possible age with his parents' permission and proceeded to serve with distinction in the Mekong Delta where hand-to-hand fighting with river pirates, smugglers, and insurgents was the order of the day. Put in time at several naval bases and was on hand at certain carrier-initiated operations in the Middle East.

The G1 filecard said that Shipwreck "put in time at 'Gitmo' and Yokosuka," not just unspecific naval bases. Why'd they change it up? Because now people have heard of Guantanamo Bay, and it's got a pretty negative connotation. It's not like any of the cards in the '80s said "so-and-so served at My Lai before joining the Joe team," so now Shipwreck's service record is being whitewashed. It's not like he would have been there at the same time, anyway.

Shipwreck was one of the earliest Anniversary figures released: so early, in fact, that he actually deserves the "anniversary" moniker, unlike most of the G3 toys. He's one of the few figures to get a truly unique sculpt: this isn't just Duke with a new holster or something; Ship's his own man. And with his open shirt and bell-bottoms, the only thing the mold's been suitable for so far is Shipwreck repaints.

The detail is very good, capturing Hector's generally rumpled, unkempt appearance. Yes, "Hector" - it's amazing how many fanboys didn't know that Shipwreck is Hispanic when they started complaining about the casting of the live-action movie. Hector Delgado isn't a white guy, nitwits. Anyway, though his shirt is tucked into his pants, it's still wrinkled and seems to be the wrong size. He's got the look of a man who just woke up from a three-day bender, which actually kind of suits the character.

Ship's head is slightly small, but not to the same extent as the current microcephalic champ, Wild Bill. He has a stern look on his bearded face, and he wears his cap at an angle. The overall look is more reminscent of the comics than the cartoons: Shipwreck was one of those characters with two drastically different portrayals, you understand. In the show, he was kind of a brash, swaggering loudmouth, a real blowhard, but a mainstay of the team; in the books, though, his appearances were much less frequent (at least until DDP's America's Elite) and he was depicted as a serious hardworker.

The figure includes three guns, none of which are direct updates of the G1 figure's accessories. There's a small pistol that fits in the holster strapped to his right thigh, a small machine gun, and a mini sawed-off shotgun. The shotgun has brown paint apps on the handle and forestock, but the other guns are plain black. Thankfully we don't have to suffer the indignity of whatever the hell that "flippers on a string" thing was in G1 - though the card art still shows the 1985 weapons.

There's one more extra in the package, but it doesn't really count as an accessory: it's Polly, Shipwreck's faithful parrot! Ship was the second Joe to come with a pet, and she's been updated just as well as any of the other figures. No added articulation, but her sculpt is a lot better. We get individual feathers and she's actually holding her wings a little bit away from her body, rather than being a single smooth tube. Just like before, she can clamp onto Shipwreck's wrist to be carried around. As soft as her talons are, you could probably even get her onto his shoulder.

There are three variant solo-carded Shipwrecks available: the earliest release has a tattoo of a shark on his right arm, while later shipments had an anchor (which some idiots mistook for a palm tree, of all things). Additionally, midway through the "anchor" run, his belt buckle was slightly retooled to remove the anchor design, leaving it smooth and featureless. The first change makes sense as a legitimate variant, but why did they redo the belt? That's just weird.

Shipwreck is definitely one of the more popular Joes, thanks to the cartoon. Though his comics appearances were rare under Marvel, he really came into his own with Devil's Due, especially during World War III. If nothing else, at least he got to date Cover Girl every month. The figure is good, but don't feel like you need to bust your ass trying to find this single-carded release: he's just been redone with a new head and released in a box set alongside other minorly tweaked figures. If you want Shipwreck, you won't have any trouble finding him.

-- 03/06/09

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