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GI Joe Trooper

GI Joe: Retaliation
by yo go re

Let's hear it for hired goons!

The GI Joe Trooper is armed for action with enough weapons to win any battle! With his mask and survival cloak, he can withstand the most brutal battle conditions on Earth.

In the original GI Joe toyline (not original-original, but '80s-original), the first generic cannon fodder troops on the Joes' side were the Steel Brigade, but the comics introduced the Greenshirts almost right away. Because even though the GI Joe Team was just a military unit, not a branch in their own right, why wouldn't they have a bunch of nobodies hanging around? I mean, SEAL Team Six has its own support staff rather than relying on average sailors, right? So why shouldn't the Joes be the same? The movieverse clearly is operating on this assumption, since both Rise of Cobra and Retaliation supplemented the named characters with a bunch of NPCs.

This supposedly generic soldier is wearing some pretty advanced gear, including a helmet that makes him look like Master Chief. Not "a" master chief, Master Chief. It's green, it's angular, it's got a little brim, there's a reflective visor hiding the eyes... all he needs is a translucent blue stripper to complete the illusion!

If for some reason you don't want your toy to look like a refugee from one of the most over-hyped videogames of the last two console generations, the Trooper comes with an alternate head. Remember all those Joes seen in the movie? It's not any of them. This is a white dude with a little faux-hawk, which isn't exactly what you expect on a generic trooper.

The body below the neck is one we've seen before, but only because it's taken us so long to review this figure - it was new when he was first released, but since then it's been used for both Mouse and the good Flint. Well, most of it has: both those figures had the same torso and legs, but they each had different arms. The Trooper's arms are completely covered by long sleeves, with angled pockets on the upper arms and some sort of pads strapped on the wrists. They're not watches, so what are they? The torso is plain, with a neckerchief or hood or something glued in place at the neck, and the legs are pretty cool, with their big pockets and silver kneepads and the protective cuffs around the ankles. Sadly, while Mouse and Flint were wearing vests that came striaght out of the film, the Trooper is instead wearing ornate webgear; it still looks cool, but it's not as accurate as it could have been.

There are two variants of this figure available, and the color of the scarf is the differentiator: the earliest waves of figures shipped had a bright blue neck decoration, while later waves changed the color to tan. And thanks to the magic of gang molding, two of the accessories changed color, too. The GI Joe Trooper comes with a poncho that drapes over his right arm, as well as with a gas mask that fits onto the bare head. That means just based on the color of the accessories, you can have eight different looks for the figure; add in the alternate heads and the other gear, and you're almost into Pit Commando territory.

What other accessories, you ask? Well, he's got the same blocky guns as Mouse, plus some little auto pistol thing with a grenade launcher underneath (which seems to be unique to him). He has two pistols, two revolvers, two different knives, and a bright orange shovel. Yes, it's a shovel - entrenching tools fold, this isn't sculpted with any hinges. The knives fit in a double-sheath that plugs into the right side of the webgear, while the pistols, shovel, and gas mask all fit in or on the big flat backpack he wears. There's a hole in his cape so the backpack can still be worn with it, and there are two slots where the rifles can be stowed. This figure can hold all his accessories and still have a hand free! He's basically a walking armory for any other Joe to grab a weapon from when they need it.

Actually, all this "removable weapons" stuff seems a lot like what Boss Fight Studios is doing with their 4" figures - maybe not the Vitruvian HACKS, but definitely the Marauder Task Force stuff. And since Boss Fight is made up of ex-Hasbro employees, you have to wonder if the Retaliation Joe Trooper was something they worked on before being let go. Either way, it's a good figure, and the Joes can always use more grunts to fill seats in all their vehicles.

-- 09/26/14

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