When the initial 25th Anniversary five-pack sets made their way to toy shelves, I believe we all assumed Hasbro was simply going to revisit the most popular characters in a limited commemorative run intended for collectors. As such, I didn’t hold out a lot of hope that the toys would be as playable or as popular as their forebears. Both thoughts were borne out, and that first assortment didn’t give me a lot of hope that Joe would return to his glory days.
The first figures of the second rebirth had their share of issues, much like the brand’s first return earlier in the decade. The added articulation was helpful for some posing, but many of the figures couldn’t assume a two-handed firing grip on their rifles. In terms of playability, the softer plastic and small joints made for a fiddly experience compared to the o-ring construction.
Despite this, the figures are very photogenic. This version of the Baroness stands the test of time much better than her new sculpt era versions, though the head and hair sculpts aren’t the best rendition of Cobra’s baddest lady. I particularly like the two-tone variation of dark grey on the uniform arms, as it’s a nice change from the more common all-black she usually gets. And kudos for giving her wedge heels rather than stilettos to wear in a firefight.
If you want to track down an improved iteration, I recommend going for the 2009 five-pack Baroness or repainted 50th Anniversary figures. But fair warning, the dressy heels are back.