Thursday, August 4, 2022

Action Figure Review: Gung-Ho from G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro

 

   Like they've done with most of their collector focused lines, Hasbro has now started offering retro carded figures in the G.I. Joe Classified Series. Hasbro really doesn't seem to be referring to these figures any differently (maybe to prevent confusion between these and the 1/18th scale G.I. Joe Retro Collection) but they're definitely packaged on the larger blister card like the similar Star Wars: The Black Series and Marvel Legends Series lines. While some of the figures are largely repaints with more vintage accurate color (Destro, Baroness), Gung-Ho is a very different figure from his previous Classified Series release. There was a lot I liked about the first Gung-Ho figure from series 2 but also quite a few things that disappointed me. While I wasn't one of the fans clamoring for the Classified Series to be 100% vintage accurate, I do like this more vintage accurate Gung-Ho. He's honestly one of my favorites at the moment. These are technically Walmart exclusives although Hasbr Pulse does have a quantity available for preorder as well. Let's take a look at the retro version of Gung-Ho after the break...



The Facts:
 
Height: 6 5/8ths inches

Articulation: Swivel/ hinge ankles, boot swivels, double hinged knees, swivel thighs, ball jointed drop down hips, ball jointed waist, mid-torso hinge, butterfly pecs, swivel/hinge shoulders, bicep swivels, double hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, ball jointed neck base, hinged neck, and a ball jointed head.

Accessories: Grenade launcher, pistol, knife, backpack, vest, hat, holster, sheathe, grenade pouch, and stand.

Non-Scalper Price: $25 dollars.





Comparison:

* The retro version is on the left while the first release of Gung-Ho from the Classified Series is on the right. While the figures share the same bodies, everything else is different: Different headsculpts, hats, vests, holsters, backpacks, and weapons. They're definitely different enough to consider the retro version a unique figure and not just a simple repaint on a different card. 

The Packaging:



* A big selling point of this subset is that they're packaged on an oversized, vintage styled card. It's a different picture of Gung-Ho that matches the figure here and it definitely makes for a cool carded figure if you so desire. Hasbro recently clarified their stance on the removal of plastic from packages, noting that retro styled figures like this will not be affected since the unique and nostalgic packaging is truly part of the appeal. 
The Positives:



* Rather than wearing darker green camouflage and an armored vest, this retro update of Gung-Ho is sporting the same bluish-green camo pants and open chested vest of the vintage toy. Gung-Ho is a big guy in the Classified Series and the body of this Marine is pretty buff. He's really tall, too. The new vest is simpler than the previous vest and while it's not armored, it does have some pockets and some additional grenades attached to the straps on the top front. 






* I was very mixed on the headsculpt of the previous Gung-Ho figure. From some positions he looked awesome but from other positions he looked kind of weepy. You know, like he was on the verge of tears. This version of Ettienne R. LaFitte definitely looks much tougher, with more of a stern appearance. Don't get me wrong; it still looks like the same guy for the most part, but the stache is different and his eyes look pretty intense here. 




* The cap is different on this figure as well. It fits perfectly, nice and snug, and it's a more traditional Marine cap. He looks fantastic with it and it completes his vintage inspired appearance. 


* The Marine Corps logo is trademarked so Hasbro has had to create logos that are similar but different for Gung-Ho's chest tattoo. The chest tattoo on his figure is way larger than the tattoo on the first release. That does kind of drive me nuts in terms o continuity but I do still love the look of this tattoo better. 






* The work on the camo on Gung-Ho's pants is excellent and he's toting around a holster, a sheathe, and a pack of grenades for his grenade launcher. That's a removable piece and the grenades (while not removable) are nicely painted. 



*  Retro Gung Ho has the same articulation scheme as the previous release and it's still mighty fine. He's very durable and moves smoothly. The articulation system on the Classified Series figures is still impressive, allowing Gung Ho to hold his weapon with both hands. His articulation is largely unrestricted, so he's a very mobile figure that you can have a ton of fun with, especially because of his great accessories. 


* All of the accessories are new to Gung-Ho so far as I can tell. The backpack is quite accurate to the vintage toy and is also kind of a turquoise blue-green. The detail is nice and while I wouldn't have minded a few paint applications on the straps, it's still really well done.  

* The vintage Gung-Ho came with what was referred to as an XM-76 grenade launcher. The previous version had a modern/ slightly futuristic grenade launcher with a drum magazine but this one is accurate to the vintage toy. I wonder if the accessory for the vintage toy was based on the China Lake grenade launcher? It's an old school weapon but still modern enough that I could see someone in an irregular Special Forces group like the Joe team using it. The sculpt is really detailed there's a pint app on the pump and on the sling.  



* Gung-Ho's sidearm is a simple small caliber pistol with a detailed slide, an extended magazine, and a hollow barrel for using a weapon effect or attaching a suppressor. I really hope we get an accessory pack besides just the Viper 3-pack with some extra muzzle effects and suppressors. 



* Gung-Ho's knife is very modern as well. There's nice detail on both the grip and the blade and even a silver paint app for the blade. 




* The holster on Gung-Ho's right hip is removable and securely holds his pistol. 



* The sheathe on his boot is also a removable piece which snugly holds his knife at the ready. 



* These retro carded G.I. Joe figures all come with a display stand with the G. I. Joe star and stripes logo. they work well and I'd love it if Hasbro would sell these in packs of 10 or 20 on Hasbro pulse. They're simple and effective and every figure should have one moving forward.
The Negatives:


* My only real negative isn't quite a negative for me but I feel obligated  to report that Gung-Ho's card arrived rather bent up. Considering that part of the sales gimmick for these figures is that they come on the retro styled cards, it seems ridiculous that Hasbro didn't find a way to better protect the card. I received mine from Wal-Mart and he arrived in a white plastic mailing bag. Some collectors have reported receiving their figures in well packed shipping boxes while others are worse than mine. If you're ordering these to keep mint on card, just be warned. 

   I never owned the vintage v1 Gung-Ho as a kid (I had the v2 "Dress Blues" version and the Mega Marines version) so I'm not particularly nostalgic for this specific look. In the comics his outfit was definitely darker green, more akin in color to the earlier Classified releases, so that's what I'm most familiar with. That being said, this is a heck of a figure and a heck of an improvement. Hasbro put some real effort into this one and he's absolutely one of my favorite figures of the year so far. I prefer my G.I. Joe Classified figures to be upgrades of the vintage characters with more modern equipment  and a few new ideas rather than strictly adhering to the details of the vintage line but I still love this version of Gung-Ho. His equipment feels current enough for me and it wouldn't be too hard to mix and match some of the gear from the previous figure. He's an Epic figure and seems to be the real star of this first series of retro inspired figures. 



   
   If you're looking for more of Gung-Ho check out my review of the first Classified Series Gung-Ho


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