Direct to Consumer Wave 1 - Crimson Guard
name: Crimson Guard
Assortment: Direct-to-Consumer Wave 1
Price: MSRP $4.99
Availability: July, 2005
So far my most conflicted opinion has easily been about the new sculpt Spirit...in spite of some proportion issues and color differences from the comic book version, for the most part Spirit is relatively successfull appearence-wise (although not play-wise). This look now matches his personallity in the comic, and I think I can finally outgrow my resentment over his butt kicking of Storm Shadow throughout the cartoon's run.
But just as I start to come to my final judgement about the Joe tracker, I come across the new sculpt Crimson Guard, and I find myself even more conflicted. Finally after several years I'm getting a new sculpt Crimson Guard...finally, a new Crimson Guard with a static head (no removable helmet) that sometimes seems too big and bulky. Finally a new Crimson Guard that...well...didn't really do much for me at first.
I mean let's face it. It's basically CLAWS Commander with a new pair of arms and a CG head. What is there to be excited about? The figure isn't real new, and actually isn't really that exciting...but there must be some hidden Crimson Guard charm somewhere, because all of sudden the figure is really growing on me, and I'm starting to like it more and more. Not nearly enough to even consider stocking up on this figure the way I do my classic CG's, but he still has a special place, and I find myself becoming more enamored with him by the day.
The mold, at
it's essence, doesn't seem really interesting or exciting, quite frankly. I
was a big fan of the CLAWS Commander when he was first released, but there have
been a number of figures released with his overall body type since then, and
especially for the CG's, I'm just not sure how effective it is.
But then again...this is where I'm conflicted.
The overcoat's general mold is quite European and quite sophisticated, which in my mind, paints a perfect picture of the Crimson Guard. They're COBRA's "old guard"...the elite members that have devoted their time, energy, and very lives to the COBRA cause. Some of them should definitely be recognized and labelled as such, and I feel like this overcoat mold DOES do a good job at that. The layered collar, excellent button ornamentation and overall jacket detail really shines through on this figure and looks great. And of course the greatest downfall to previous uses of this mold were due to the arms. CLAWS Commander was given rediculously huge "monkey arms" with hands at odd positions, and just frankly looked silly. Thankfully, Hasbro evidently recognized this and slapped a fresh coat of red paint on COBRA Commander's arms, then put them on. This makes a WORLD of difference, I think and really makes the figure all that much cooler.
There is a little spot where the jacket tail and the legs meet that ends up restricting movement some...but the joints are still nice and loose and free, giving him a great range of motion. These legs also continue to regal European look with the flaired thighs and the jackboots, all coming together to represent a very "European military" style. Again something that really suits the Crimson Guard well.
But I'd be remiss if I didn't at least mention the one new piece of this figure...his head sculpt. It's a sculpt like this that makes me miss the permenant heads of the RAH style Crimson Guards all the more. While I was quickly growing used to the removable helmets, seeing this permenantly attached one maintain a sense of sleek style atop of body of the CG really brings a smile to my face. The head retains all of the classic elements of the Crimson Guard of old, but with a new stylistic touch, especially to the sloped back of the head. It all comes together to make a terrific updated helmet for the trooper...great enough that I'm definitely going to try using it on some of the RAH style figures, just to see if it works.
Paint Applications/Color Choices
This seems like a no brainer, right? CRIMSON Guard, right? All we need is red? Well, yeah, but Hasbro takes it a step further. Considering the overcoat and pants combination, a solid red color would probably have looked a little bit weird. So Hasbro "two tones" it, giving the Siegie a nice bright, vibrant red jacket and some deep, solid, almost blood-red pants. This separates the two componants of the uniform and really brings some nice life into the figure.
Add in the perfect touches of black on the boots, gloves, and mask, with just a hint of silver in all the right spots, and the figure is pretty much as perfectly hued as you can get. No elaborate trim needed, but where there is detail, there is paint as it applies, and it looks great.
Like most of the figure, the weapons here are re-used, but re-used to near perfection. Choosing Bombstrike's rifle was an excellent idea, giving the Siegie a great "assault rifle" type arsenal, but it still looks sophisticated and advanced enough to only belong to COBRA's elite troops.
The backpack is a real pleasent surprise in this set. Upon first glance it looks like the classic Crimson Guard pack, but when you look at it more closely, it becomes evident that Hasbro has completely resculpted a brand new backpack for the Siegie. It borrows quite heavily from the original, but has enough cool added detail to really look like a new backpack and works perfectly!
My first reaction to this figure was utter disappointment...a rehashed CLAWS Commander representing one of my favorite classic troops? Please! But upon further review of the pictures, prototypes, and now, finally, holding the figure in my hand, I can unequivocally say that my disappointment is practically gone. I mean, seriously...you simply CANNOT top the original Crimson Guard. I think it's just plain impossible. But Hasbro kind of went in a different direction, and I think the direction works. He's much less ornamental and a lot more "secret agent man" style, but with the different shades of red, and the nice black trims under the jacket, on the belt, with the boots and the gloves, and you have a figure that just looks nice regardless of how cool the original version was.
But still, different from the original doesn't necessarily translate as "bad". This Crimson Guard now fits in with the already established CLAWS Commander and Crimson Command Chopper Tomax/Xamot pretty perfectly. While I really don't like their figures, the CG here is cool enough to make up for it.
My first reaction was definitely negative...but upon further inspection, I think this is a cool update. Definitely not cool enough to replace my classics, or even cool enough to get enough of them to rival the numbers of my classics...but a great update and a nice supplement to my already extensive Crimson Guard army. It's figures like this that make you realize that even using mostly existing parts, Hasbro can turn out some good stuff. This Crimson Guard is solid proof, and the Medi Viper which I review next, is only further evidence of this fact.
Ratings (out of 10)
Mold : 7.5
Paint Apps: 8.5
Overall score (not an average): 8.5
Wave 1 Recap
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