Born into a large back-swamp Cajun clan, Gung Ho moved
to New Orleans and won a reputation as a bare-knuckle brawler and knife-fighter to be reckoned with. Joined the Marines at 18 and graduated top of class from boot camp at Parris Island. Attended: Airborne School, Recondo School and Marine Ordinance School. Qualified Expert: all NATO infantry small arms and most Warsaw Pact infantry weapons, XM-76 Grenade Launcher.
While the GI Joe team drew from all branches of the military, there weren't a whole lot of Marines on the duty roster - it was mostly Army. Only about six Jarheads, which meant that only the Coast Guard (one member) and the British SAS (two) had fewer representatives. Is it that the Marines couldn't make the cut, or that one Marine can do the work of 35 soldiers? Depends on which office your recruiter was sitting in.
Gung-Ho was another of those highly recognizable Joes: the bare-chested, tattooed guy in the vest. And that Cajun accent was unmistakable,
too. The last Gung-Ho figure wasn't very good, but this one is great. His boots are a different style than the others', and the camo paint on his pants is crisp. He has a pistol holstered on one leg, and a bundle of grenades on the other. The vest is a separate, floating piece, and although he does still have the Marine insignia tattoo on his chest, it's about half the size it used to be, and very pale. Like, barely visible. Come on, he's a Marine: those guys are nearly psychotic when it comes to self-pride - he totally would have had that thing touched up the instant it started to fade.
Even Gung-Ho's accessories have gotten the anniversary
upgrade. His grenade launcher actually pops open, and has a fold-up scope. Holy crap, that's a lot of detail for such a small figure! His backpack is nicely detailed, and the sculpted texture even continues onto the surface that will be against the figure's back - unheard of! The backpack does make him prone to falling over, but that was true of the old figures, too, so you can claim it's a feature, not a defect. Interestingly, not all the figures have the "back hole" that would allow them to swap backpacks, like they used to, and the peg is a different shape now. Quite unexpected!
The 25th Anniversary Collection sets come in angled boxes shaped like the classic logo. Press the exposed button and you'll hear a few seconds of the original cartoon theme song.
The front of the box flips open to show off the figures inside, and the back is a huge collage of images from the line's history. The figures themselves are in a lidded plastic tray, so you don't have to worry about twist ties - just Hasbro's weird predilection for those hateful trays that have body parts sticking through to the back. In addition to all the accessories listed above, the set includes five black stands with the characters' names on the front, and individual filecards which feature new artwork purposely aping the originals (probably so Hasbro didn't have to find whoever did those old paintings and pay them again).
Surprisingly, the figures are a full 4" tall, not the expected 3¾". Less surprisingly, the articulation is excellent. All five figures feature balljointed heads, shoulders, elbows, chests, hips and ankles. No waists on any of them, but the torsos make up for it. Duke, Snake-Eyes and Gung-Ho have double knees, while Roadblock's are single and Scarlett's are balljoints. All the figures feature swivel wrists, though the precise placement of the joint varies from person to person. Roadblock's left knee ripped out, sadly, so I'll have to replace him if I get the chance.
The GI Joe TFAC figures are off to an absolutely awesome start. The plan was originally to release just 25 figures, but that was quickly scrapped in favor of an expanded line-up. Right now, the TFAC line is intended to last at least until 2008, and honestly, if the quality we see here is indicative of where the line is going, it will be a welcome addition to toy aisles and to your collection. Don't be fooled by online stores selling this set (and its Cobra counterpart) for $35 or more - the sets retail for $25, which is only $5 a figure... and these are completely worth it. Yo Joe!