Hey all, welcome to Dan's ToyBox! I'm really pumped to bring you this review as it heralds the start of a new toyline that is being added to the collection. Dan's ToyBox is expanding to include the Hasbro G.I. Joe Classified Series. Now, I know that there have been several released already and while I'll be adding select previous releases, I'll be focusing on more of what is to come. Either way though, it offers you collectors something new to enjoy and hopefully gain some valuable information from!
Charlie Iron-Knife was born to a Native American family in Taos New Mexico, living on the Taos Pueblo Reservation. Charlie worked as a hunting guide through high school and then after entering the military, served in Southeast Asia, whereupon he took up the code name "Spirit." His primary military specialty at the time was infantry with a secondary MOS in social services. After leaving the military, Spirit returned to civilian life to complete his education and then, for reasons known only to himself, returned to the service. He joined the G.I. Joe team as their tracker, and he is a qualified expert with the M-16, M1911A1 Auto Pistol, and the Remington sniper rifle. Spirit's animal companion is a bald eagle named Freedom and, in the G.I. Joe: Classified series, his military files include specialization in: Recon, Light Weapons, Stealth, and Animal Handling. The original Spirit Iron-Knife action figure debuted in 1984 with Spirit making his first comic book appearance in January 1985's G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #31 "All Fall Down." In this story, he and Airborne are tasked with keeping surveillance on Snake Eyes while he enjoys some R&R at his mountain cabin, written by Larry Hama. Interestingly enough, his first appearance is drawn by Penciller Rod Whigham, who is also making his first appearance as artist on the book. In the cartoon series, Spirit's first appearance is in the mini-series: The Revenge of Cobra and would face off against Storm Shadow for one of the pieces of the Weather Dominator device. Throughout the cartoon series, Spirit and Storm Shadow would face one another multiple times, unlike the comics where Storm Shadow's longtime adversary/ally was Snake Eyes.
If you are new to Dan's ToyBox, we review four categories: Accessories, Appearance, Articulation and Affordability. After discussing and scoring each category, a final, overall grade of zero to 10 ToyBoxes is assigned to the figure. Though our goal is to be as objective as possible, there are times when excitement over a figure might overwhelm objectivity. Please note that all information provided herein is purely opinion, designed to give you the best possible guide to making your own choice on adding a specific figure to your own collection. With all that in mind, let's take a look at the G.I. Joe Classified: Spirit Iron-Knife action figure.
While not packed with as much as some of the other G.I. Joe figures I own, Spirit still comes with some great stuff! He has two knives, one hunting, the other military combat design. He carries his M1911A1 pistol, his Remington sniper rifle with removable magazine, and a removable backpack. He is also accompanied by his trusted friend, the bald eagle, Freedom. Freedom has two sets of attachable wings: folded wings for perching and spread wings for flight. They are on ball pegs which fit neatly into the sockets on either side of Freedom's body. One of the great features of these figures is that with almost all of them, you can stow their weapons and equipment entirely on their bodies. Spirit's backpack has a peg that fits into the trigger guard of his sniper rifle. He has two sheathes to hold both knives and his thigh holster easily holds his pistol. On top of that, the backpack and his wrist guard have ports that you can plug the pegs on Freedom's talons into, in order for the eagle to ride comfortably along on Spirit's adventures. I wouldn't have minded seeing an M-16 packed with the figure as well, given that Spirit is proficient in using that rifle. Overall, though, I really like the equipment and feel that it rounds out the character very well. I feel very comfortable giving this offering a solid 8 out of 10 for equipment. (Part of which stems from the deco, which we're about to discuss.)
Hasbro just keeps knocking it out of the park with their renditions of these characters. When Spirit was first released with Storm Shadow and the Cobra Officer figures... I kept looking at him over and over. I was intent on keeping my word though and not going overboard, but man... it was tough. This is a really nice-looking figure. The paint deco is incredible and brings this character to life. Starting at the top, the skin tone is arguably one of the most accurate I've seen for depicting Native American figures. The subtle hint of pinkish red for the lips and the application of the eyebrows is super clean and really gives a life-like appearance to his facial features. The red bandanna and even the small red ties at the end of his braids has no spill or overspray that I could see on mine, which shows a great eye for detail. Equally impressive are the smaller paint details, such as: the red chevrons and tomahawk logos on his sleeves, the light blue emblem on his bandolier, the black grenades, black web-belt buckle and silver belt buckle are applied with precision and care. Even the gold wrist bands and black tread on the bottom of his boots show a careful eye for application. Of course, the blue shirt and tan trousers are Spirit's trademark look and the sculpting throughout just is a delight to behold. The only real issue I had is that the blue on the upper torso, versus the blue below the diaphragm cut seem to be a shade different. Even the accessories weren't neglected. His backpack has both black and tan sections. The Remington sniper rifle has brown paint applications to give it the look of having a wooden frame. His hunting knife, though, is probably the best-looking weapon. Molded in black with sculpted detail, the blade has silver paint applications along the edge which then turn into a stylized pattern as you move to the spine of the knife. Freedom is also a great looking addition but could benefit from maybe having a wash. The white head and tail feathers are brilliant but almost too white for the figure and the bright yellow talons really pop against the dark brown of his body. Dulling them down with a gray or black wash might have given him a more realistic look. For as much as I like Freedom, I kinda feel that they got a bit lazy with him. Still though, this is a terrific looking figure, and the accessories weren't ignored either. I'll give him a solid 9 out of 10.
For the most part, Hasbro seems to have figured out good articulation on the Joe Series. There are still some hiccups here and there, but I do feel these are better engineered than Marvel Legends, or at least, more consistently engineered. Starting up top, his head will turn side to side easily, can look up a bit, but not as much as I'd like and, coupled with the neck, can look forward and down fairly well. The braids are soft and pliable in his hair, so that really doesn't hinder head movement. The shoulders are set on an internal butterfly and what I mean by that is the butterfly swivel is hidden in the torso and still allows for decent forward and backward movement. The shoulders rotate a full 360 and raise out to better than a T pose. The upper bicep is fine and the double-jointed elbows do bend in quite far but are limited by the rolled-up sleeves of his shirt. The wrists both hinge and pivot easily enough as well. There is a single diaphragm hinge located mid-torso which bends forward and back very well. The waist pivot also offers a hinge action, which leads to a deeper forward crunch and some limited side to side tilt. His legs feature drop down functions which allow for wider splits. However, his knife sheath and holster can limit the split range. He can kick up quite far and has functioning upper thigh cuts. The double-jointed knees bend in very well, bringing his heel to the back of his waist. There is a boot cut at the shin on both legs, which is nicely hidden and the ankles hinge up and down very well and have decent pivot. Freedom even has his own articulation. His head can look up and down and tilt side to side. His little legs move forward and back and both sets of wings can rotate on their ball joints. Posed, in flight, Freedom really looks solid! I honestly don't have too many issues with the articulation on this figure, except for the range limitations based on costume design. I would like to be able to tilt his head up further though and think increased range at the waist would have been good to have, still Spirit and Freedom earn a solid 8 out of 10 for articulation.
Hasbro is retailing these figures at about $24.99 each. That's the typical price for Marvel Legends, but these figures clearly come with more stuff. That being said, I found my Spirit at a local Walmart, marked at $21.99... on sale for $15.99!!! I couldn't pass that up and if they still have any Cobra Officers when I'm there next week... guess what I'll be grabbing then! I have to admit that I'd rather pay $24.99 for Joes than I would for Marvel Legends as I think we do get more bang for the buck. I actually feel that this is fair pricing and am good with giving them an above average 7 out of 10 for affordability.
Overall, I'm very pleased with Spirit. He's always been one of my favorite Joes and this figure is as good as advertised, in my opinion. He easily earns:
8 out of 10 ToyBoxes!
I'm really excited to be adding the Hasbro G.I. Joe Classified line to my collection and bringing a greater variety of content to all of you! Thank you, as always, my friends and until next time... GEEK OUT!!!!