So this is it…as much as Destro and Leatherneck were the stars of the show for the first go round of the 50th Anniversary, this second wave was all about Storm Shadow and Gung Ho, with most of the focus squarely on G.I. Joe’s first Marine. So, what’s the verdict?
Pretty excellent, in truth. Nearly perfect, I dare say.
Leveraging the sculpting skills of Fred Aczon, now of Boss Fight Studio, Gung Ho is a work of art from a sculpting standpoint. I believe the figure is brand new from head to toe, standing tall and wide in stature, as the classic character should. Interestingly, he’s not quite as tall as Leatherneck or Destro, but stands somewhere in between those two and more “normal” sized figures. I still find it amazing that Gung Ho was deemed important enough to be included in the first 25th Anniversary 5-Pack, but somehow not important enough to be re-released in his classic visage ever since. There were a few other versions of the character interjected into various lines, but none that really did the character justice. This one does, in spades.
The new head sculpt is chock full of great character, with the handlebar moustache and the familiar Marine cap. The torso and arms look great, and the legs are great, too, allowing Gung Ho to stand tall and sturdy. Leg joints and plastic quality feel better than we got with Destro last year with a functional holster and knife sheath on the boot. At this point we have several different great legs for these tall characters, and kudos to Hasbro for not just re-using Roadblock or Destro this time around.
Paint applications are good, looking very much like the classic ‘83 version of this character in a similar powder blue camouflage. The Marine Corps tattoo on his chest is incredibly well done, too. It’s huge on his chest and covers some serious real estate, not just kind of tossed on there as the ‘07 version was. This Gung Ho is prouder than ever of his Marine Corps heritage!
The Joe Marine comes with a ton of gear including a great looking newly tooled vest, a re-released grenade launcher, mini gun w/ backpack, pistol and knife. He also has Duke’s smaller, paratrooper format M-249 SAW heavy machine gun for good measure. Yeah, Gung Ho is pretty strapped, and the gear is really nice. I would have loved to have seen a slightly more normal assault rifle for standard military operations, but who can complain? I’ve got plenty of extra gear to go around.
Just as the tall and imposing Destro and Leatherneck figures were last year, this rendition of Gung Ho is the star of the second series of 50th Anniversary figures, and he deserves his place in the limelight. There is almost no possible place for complaint with the figure, as its design and execution are both top notch, giving us one heck of a great new version of the G.I. Joe Marine. Sure, it took us eight years to get a new version of the classic Gung Ho character, but some might say it was worth the wait. He is truly stellar. My hope at this point is that they take this figure and redeco him in some more realistic camouflage for the Marvel issue #39 era of jungle operations. This version of Gung Ho would look pretty spectacular in more realistically colored camouflage.
50th Anniversary Gung Ho
With all the great sculpting and none of the plastic quality issues as last year’s 50th Anniversary series, Gung Ho stands at the top of the mountain this year. It almost makes the eight year wait worthwhile. Very little to complain about with this fantastic figure. There are some nitpicks, but they’re very small, and as a whole, this is one heck of a great 1:18 action figure.
1 – Spectacular sculpting
2 – All new figure from head to toe
3 – Represents a key character that was badly in need of an update
4 – Large stature to reflect Gung Ho’s imposing presence
1 – Minor paint quibbles. Tattoo is a bit large, some camouflage pattern paint mess
2 – The fact that the Gung Ho/Shadow Guard pack wasn’t packed more than just one per case