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GI Joe Pit Commando

GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra
by yo go re

In the old "Real American Hero" continuity, the Joe team had an entire support staff running around behind them. New Joe recruits didn't get assigned a funny nickname and sent out to the front lines on their first day: they may have been at the top of their home squads, but they still had to serve their time as trainees when they got reassigned to the Pit. Seems the movie does the same thing, but instead of Greenshirts, we get Pit Commandos.

GI Joe Pit Commandos are rigorously trained for any situation that requires immediate response, decisive action and outstanding expertise. There elite soldiers are specialists at combat reconnaissance and covert missions.

The Pit Commando straddles the line between being a character who was depicted in the film and one who was not. In the roughest terms, yes, there was an entire army of nameless soldiers (and sailors and airmen) running around doing the Joes' dirty work. Construction, cleaning, computer work... anything that didn't involve putting bullets into bad guys. Wherever there's trouble, GI Joe is there; wherever there's a menial task to be done, GI Joe is nowhere to be found. But those pseudo-Greenshirts seen in the movie may not be Pit Commandos, because none of them seemed as badass as this.

The figure is a repaint of Dusty, as seen in one of the rare 2008 DVD packs, so he might as well be new. The style of the uniform doesn't quite match with the movie aesthetic, but the differences are so minor that you'd have to be a major nerd to give a whit. The clothes are nicely detailed, with integrated pads on the elbows, large pockets on the legs, and a separate, removable "skirt" suggesting the lower edge of his shirt. The figure is painted in the blue and grey camouflage of the film, and the boots and belt are gloss black.

The head is unchanged, but since the hair color is lighter and he's not wearing camo facepaint, it's not immediately obvious the two are the same. While most of the Generation 3 figures share the same articulation, the Pit Commando actually does abit better. In addition to the balljointed neck, torso and hips, swivel/hinge shoulders, elbows and ankles, swivel wrists and double-hinged knees, the Commando gets an actual waist, with a wiggle in it that suggests another balljoint (or a very roomy peg).

So that's all nice. It's a decent figure, but unspectacular. Nobody would be running out at odd hours or scouring the shelves in order to get him. So why is he one of the most popular toys in the line? Simple: the giant pile of accessories he comes with. Let's break it down by category.

We'll start simple, with hats. First there's a floppy boonie hat with impressive detailing, all the way down to sculpted stitches on the brim. There's a removable piece of headgear with an attached night-vision scope, so that counts as #2. Next we have a gasmask, which slips over the head and has clear lenses. There's a silver helmet with a swiveling face shield, larger than the usual eye shields GI Joe figures wear. Lastly, there's a solid black helmet of familiar design - it's a Steel Brigade dome, the first time we've seen that in G3. Cue the customizers!

If you don't want your Pit Commado to have a plain torso, you have three options, starting with the huge (1¾" tall) backpack, a MOLLE-style deal with seven pockets and a canteen. The backpack can be worn by itself, or over either of the vests: the black tactical vest that's covered with pouches and straps, and even a pistol holstered on the lower left; or the grey IOTV (Improved Outer Tactical Vest), realistically detailed from the groin protector to the casualty drag strap. Tremendous work! And for just that last little bit of safety, there's a small handheld riot shield with the movie Joes' logo on the front.

Pretty impressive gear so far, right? Let's look at the guns! We start small, with a Heckler & Koch Mk 23 Mod 0 .45 ACP kitted out with a silencer and AN/PEQ-6 Laser Aiming Module. Moving up, there's an HK MP7A1 with the grips folded away. Videogame fans may recognize the Pancor Jackhammer, an automatic shotgun that never entered production in the real world. The big gun, though, is the HK G36C, which has been heavily modified with a sight, double magazine, a flashlight, foregrip and extended barrel. All excellent stuff.

Now, do the math on that. There are 13 accessories included
with the Pit Commando - 14, if you want to count the PASGT helmet and the clear face shield separately. And perhaps best of all, not a single one of them is an oversized missile launcher. With four guns, two vests, four hats, a backpack and a shield, there are (quick math break) 420 different combinations of gear you can dress the figure in! And that's assuming you only give him one gun at a time: a dual-wielding Pit Commando would have six more weapon-combo options, for an additional 252 gear assignments, meaning you could buy 672 Pit Commando toys, and have every one of them dressed differently! Say you buy the toy for the SRP of $7.99 - that's 21 different looks for every quarter you spent, and that's the best damn toy value you'll probably ever see in your life.

The Pit Commando is, hands down, a great toy. He looks great, is fun to play with, and his accessories all kick ass by themselves, let alone in a big bundle with everything else. If you're into GI Joe at all - any GI Joe - you owe it to yourself to own a Pit Commando.

-- 09/04/09

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