Comic Book 3-Pack Issue #6

Daina, Colonel Brekhov, and Shrage

Toy name: Daina, Colonel Brekhov, and Shrage w/ Comic Book
Assortment: Comic Book 3-Pack Asst. 3
Price: MSRP $9.99
Availability: January, 2005

Who would have thought?

Even last year when we first saw the listings for "Comic Book 3-Packs" in that issue of Master Collector's newsletter, who would have thought what these comic book packs would mean not even a year later. Sure, ever since those lineups were released, collectors foamed at the mouth and longed for what might be coming down the pipe...and yeah, when Kwinn was listed in issue #2, immediately we dreamed of finally owning some comic book accurate representations of the Oktober Guard.

And here we are. I can hardly even believe it, really...over 20 years after Larry infused life into some nameless Russians and taught kids everywhere what "Russkie" meant we finally have some plastic representations of our favorite characters from the early days of G.I. Joe. So how good a job did Hasbro do considering they're limited by existing molds and only producing new heads?

Not too shabby, I'd say.

Daina is probably one of the most popular Oktober Guard figures out there...the female sniper and Russian warrior was basically Scarlett's equivilent in the old days, but had a fiery temper and great fighting skill. She was no friend of the Joes back then, but often assisted them, and along with Horror Show, really stuck out in the group of Russian special forces troops. She remains today one of the few survivors of the Oktober Guard and in the Devil's Due series has joined the Joes using the codename Vorona. Her future remains to be seen, but her past is finally immortalized and is looking very good.

She's been customized to the hilt, mostly using Lady Jaye's body, like Hasbro themselves use here, but the trick has always been finding a suitable head. Well, Hasbro took care of that problem as well. Whereas relentless customizers often had to spend lots of time sculpting or dremeling existing heads, Hasbro simply went to the source and had a new one molded, and it's a pretty good one, if you ask me.

The facial sculpt is very accurate and female in appearence, and her hair style looks authentic as well. The fur cap does seem to sit somewhat high on her head, but it matches her look in the comics and the overall head sculpt is just amazing, I think. More detail and more elaborate sculpting than in the past, which really makes this a great time for Hasbro to introduce these Oktober Guard figures. Even simple changes go a long way towards making them look realistic and giving them the personallity we wanted them to have as kids 20 years ago.

Lady Jaye's body mold also works well and while not a perfect match to how Daina looks in the comics, it's definitely as good as you can get, and she looks great. The details of Lady Jaye's mold, even though it was released nearly 20 years ago, still shine through today, with the sculpted zipper on the shirt, the strap materials over her shoulders, and the nicely sculpted pockets throughout the uniform. It really brings you back to the days when Hasbro made a strict military action figure that still had personallity and was still very fun to play with...that's one thing that I love about these comic packs as well...using these old molds with a more military feel makes me remember what I loved about G.I. Joe back then. I do have a gripe of course...not something I want to dwell on, but something I want to make very clear:


Daina's slim arm and hand ended up pretty deformed, and I'd say 65% of these figures I've waited two decades for have completely malformed hands due to these stupid little bands. I beg of you, Hasbro, please STOP!! Is it a sales/marketing thing? Is it a smart business move to ruin your own toys so they look better holding their weapons in the package?!? Just STOP.

I think I feel a little better now...

The paint applications on Daina are of decent quality as well. Her flesh tone is nicely hued and a tanner shade than her other Oktober Guard comrades, which makes sense for a woman, I'd think. Blonde hair never looked so good, too, with a nice yellow shade and evenly painted throughout the excellently sculpted hair, which sweeps dramatically over her face. Her face is well painted as well, except my Diana figure has a somewhat sloppily painted left eye, which does detract somewhat. It only takes a little bit away, though, and still the face paint looks great.

Uniform colors are nicely applied, too, with a subtle green on green camouflage for her shirt and gray/green pants. These colors match the ones used in the comic and again look authentically military and make for some nice compliments to each other. It's pretty neat how all of the members of Oktober Guard are painted so differently, yet all still seem to work together flawlessly.

Daina comes very well equipped in this comic set as well, with a nice Russian model AK-47 and a plethora of other weapons, including Beachhead's machine gun, Range-Viper's grenade launcher and a knife. Unfortunately she does not come with the sniper rifle that would have been nice, but I have to give Hasbro credit for all of the AK's that these sets are equipped with. If only we could get them to pay that much attention to the TRU sets...

Next figure out of the block is of the more obscure members of Oktober Guard, I'd say, but still equally cool and deserving of a figure, and I'm quite happy he got one. Even though he doesn't maintain the popularity of Daina, Horror Show, or Colonel Brekhov, he still has a following, being in the Oktober Guard, and like the others has been customized with different levels of success depending on the work involved.

Thankfully, those of us who are no longer bitten with the customizing bug can now own the original five members of the Oktober Guard, looking authentic, and will little effort save travelling to the local Target and scooping up a few three-packs.

It's been spoken about countlessly since the 2000 relaunch of the Real American Hero collection, and especially during the first run of new sculpts a couple of years later...there are certain molds that just should be retired and no longer used...molds we have seen enough of! Back then high on people's lists was Big Ben, and back then I could not have agreed more. Big Ben clogged shelves a few years ago, and for a sideline character he got so many figures it was staggering. But now, after seeing this figure, and the new Rock N Roll figure, I gotta say I'm glad Big Ben wasn't fully retired. While I have no desire to see him released in plastic form again any time soon, it's obvious to me now that his parts are quite useful for some things, and personally, I think Shrage looks great in his uniform.

You do have to open your mind a little bit to see this body the comics back then Shrage's uniform was pretty normal, with just the machine gun belts over his chest as the defining aspect of it...because of this, Big Ben's torso works great, and the rest of the mold fits well, too. Gladly, Hasbro actually doesn't appear to have used Big Ben's arms with this figure, although I'm not sure whose arms they are. Regardless, this figure doesn't and up with those obnoxious puffy cuffs, which is great, I think...this small change makes the whole uniform blend a lot better. Like Daina, the head sculpt is great, with a nice level of detail (especially in the hair) and a great looking old school hat that makes the figure shine.

The paint applications are simple, yet very effective, with a plain gray/tan uniform color, realistic looking brown straps and copper colored machine gun belts that all fit together right. Another cool thing about these old packs is that since Hasbro is so geared up for authentic looks, they tend to stay away from odd color choices and bright pallets...which is great in this case.

The weapons Shrage comes with are pretty decent as well, with the aforementioned AK-47 and also Chief Torpedos machine gun. It's unfortunate that Hasbro couldn't come up with a weapon to emulate the rounded-drum machine gun that Shrage is so well known for carrying, but what he comes with is good enough, I think.

As a figure, this guy might actually be considered somewhat bland...pretty dull color scheme, nothing really exciting going on with the mold. But as a member of the Oktober Guard he works and fits in well.

Now I can't really explain it, but Brekhov has always been one of my favorite Oktober Guard members. Just something about his no-nonsense attitude and sense of honor just really made him cool to me, and in every area that the '98 version of this character failed, this one succeeds in spades.

Really, the Brekhov figure in the '98 Toys R Us three-pack was probably the most forgivable of the three figures enclosed. Where Volga and Gorky held zero points in common with their respective characters (even including Volga's name!!) at least Red Star bared a passing resemblance to the dead Oktober Guard commander and looked mean enough to pass. The only problem was, he also...well...was Red Star, an established character in my world, and not one I wanted to give up for a figure who represented a dead guy.

Now, however, I have a Brekhov I can enjoy...sure, the only difference between this one and the '98 one is a new head sculpt and some color alterations, but those differences go a real long way to make this a great figure.

First of all, you have an absolutely excellent head sculpt...the detail carved into this little piece of plastic is just amazing...from the furrowed brow, to the unkept hair and realistic looking hat, the entire head just has a certain character. It does look like Hasbro went for a slightly younger look to the Colonel, though, since he did have a gray hue to his hair in the comic included...still, I like this look, even if he does bare a passing resemblance to Sylvester Stallone. It's amazing how much difference a head sculpt can make, and this really makes the figure for me.

The rest of the mold suits Brekhov well, using Red Star's mold from the 90's. The button up uniform, shoulder straps and jackboots all fit together perfectly to look like a Russian soldier, as well they should, since that's what Red Star was originally. Adding some detail to the torso is a grenade and holster on his chest straps, and everything is molded quite well.

The colors, like with these other figures, are simple, unexciting, but realistic and accurate all at the same time. With a plain gray uniform color and the right touches of leather-brown, Brekhov looks militarily realistic, which is great, and still ends up being a cool, interesting figure in spite of the bland color pallet. The one color-related complaint I have is the skin tone between his head and chest do not match (or his arms for that matter) which looks kind of strange. His chest and arms also look quite pale, reminding me of the white skin tone days of the 2000-2002 Real American Hero Collection. Still, these are minor complaints and don't serve to belittle the figure too much.

His accessory compliment is also nice, like his Russian comrades. He comes with an AK-47, backpack and pistol, which all make sense and work well with him.

All in all, Colonel Brekhov is an accurate representation of the Oktober Guard leader and a welcome figure to add to my classic sculpt ranks, even if it is 20 years late. Yes, him and a lot of his OG fellow soldiers died a number of years ago, but they can live on in plastic form finally and yes, finally act out some of my battles I wanted to have with them so long ago as a kid.

This pack really is quite successful, in my mind. With some minor changes like new head sculpts and color alterations, Hasbro has quite successfully recreated the Oktober Guard of old and made many long-time fans very happy. Hopefully the comic packs continue to catch on and we can get into more comic exclusive characters that never had figures...bring it on, Hasbro!

Ratings (out of 10)

Characters: 9
Molds: 8
Paint Apps: 7
Value: 8
Overall score (not an average): 8.5


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