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Sgt. Slaughter

Classic Superstars
by yo go re

A lot of actors have received plastic immortality more than once, but only a select few from different companies. Fewer still have received figures from different companies for different characters. But for the ultra top level in exclusivity, there's only one guy who's been in multiple lines from multiple companies for playing the same role.

Sgt. Slaughter, one of the most recognized figures in professional wrestling, both in and out of the squared circle, began his professional wrestling career in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Since his debut in 1975, the 6' 6", 320 pound former military drill instructor has held every major title in the competitive world of professional wrestling.

Bob Remus, in his "Sgt. Slaughter" persona, has gotten several action figures both from his career in wrestling and his time as a spokesman for (and character on) GI Joe, but all of those were entrenched firmly in the past. There was no modern Sarge who would be able to pass inspection, until the Classic Superstars line began.

Intended to offer "high-end sculpts of Superstars of yesterday and today," the Classic Superstars line uses the same generic bodies as all Jakks' other wrestling figures, but tosses on new heads or paintjobs to create wrestlers (or personas) that aren't around any more. Series 1 proved fairly popular, and now Series 2 has reached shelves.

Sgt. Slaughter uses body #32a. Okay, no, we don't know if Jakks actually categorizes their templates that way, but they might as well - this is a fairly muscular sculpt, which doesn't really suit the Sarge - yeah, he was strong and athletic, but in that old-school way: meaty and barrel-chested, not totally ripped. Seven inches tall, the figure moves at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, knees and ankles.

The likeness is decent, if a bit cartoony. In a step up from all previous Slaughters, the figure's Smokey Bear hat and aviator glasses are both removable, taking him from pre-match interview to ringside as you prefer. The glasses are molded with a strap to hold them on his head, and the hat fits nicely over his gleaming, hairless dome. He's a bit cross-eyed, but danged if they didn't capture that big lantern jaw of his perfectly.

In addition to the hat and glasses, Sgt. Slaughter is wearing a removable camouflage jacket over his black wrestling tunic and camo shirt. The jacket's actually pretty nice, with a velcro closure and sewn-on pockets. The figure includes a nightstick drawn from Jakks' impressive library of pointless accessories - a drill instructor's baton would have made more sense, since that's what he carried. He's got yellow chevrons on his green boots, and they're printed nice and cleanly. It would have been great if his wristbands were red, white and blue instead of plain black, but that's an easy fix.

Sgt. Slaughter's career probably started its downslide with Vince McMahon's "brilliant" idea of turning Sarge, an all-American drill sergeant and the biggest hero this side of Hulk Hogan, into an Iraqi sympathizer during the first Gulf War. And that was the popular war, with at least a shred of legal basis - can you imagine anyone doing that today? Though he's retired to a behind-the-scenes capacity in the WWE, he still uses his celebrity and popularity to draw support for the Sgt. Slaughter Youth Foundation, which combats childhood diseases. Great guy, huh?

Sgt. Slaughter was the first celebrity ever inducted into the ranks of GI Joe, and one of the greatest champions in the history of professional wrestling. There've been a handful of Sgt. Slaughter figures before, but this one's a real classic.

-- 07/18/04

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