Comic Pack Beachhead
I generally like it when Hasbro and the GIJCC do more spiritual updates of characters. I like a lot of figures’ vintage looks, but at the same time, military gear has changed since the 80s, so I don’t mind seeing a little more modern take on a figure’s look. However, I was a little bummed when the first 25th Anniversary Beachhead looked a bit different than his vintage counterpart. Beachhead is another figure I remember distinctly from KansasBrother’s Joe collection, so that vintage look is pretty strongly ingrained in my brain. I liked the 25th Anniversary Beachhead a lot, but he felt just a little off since the vest was so different from the vintage look. Thankfully, Hasbro had me covered and released Beachhead in a comic pack a few years later with some new pieces that brought the modern figure more in line with the vintage one and I couldn’t be happier. This is what I remember Beachhead looking like back in the day and this was definitely my go-to modern Beachhead figure until the amazing Pursuit of Cobra one came out. Just because I like modern reinterpretations of vintage looks doesn’t mean I don’t like seeing the vintage style come through every now and then, and this version of Beachhead really hits the nostalgia buttons perfectly.
From the neck down, Comic Pack Beachhead uses the same molds as the first 25th Anniversary Beachhead figure did. That means it’s based on a really solid mold and that’s a big plus. This version was also released late enough that, unlike my single pack 25th Anniversary Beachhead, he doesn’t have the dreaded diaper crotch, so his legs move better. The legs are well designed and look like slightly loose BDU pants tucked into boots rather than sweatpants like the vintage figure’s legs always kind of looked to me. He’s got a functional holster on his right hip and a pair of explosive charges on his left side. The torso is a little scrawny because it’s such an early piece, but it still looks decent. Beachhead is still rocking the commando sweater look he’s known for and the modern detailing makes it look even better. His arms are also a tad too thin for my tastes and that leaves him with rather pronounced shoulder balls, making him look just a tad unnatural. It’s clear that Beachhead was created when Hasbro was still trying to figure out this modern style of construction a little bit. I’ll take shoulder balls over a bad torso gap any day, though. You don’t see much of his torso because Beachhead has a brand new vest. The first 25th Anniversary Beachhead figure was wearing a bit more modern take on his vintage vest with a bunch of magazine pouches on his chest. This one, though, is straight out of 1986 and I couldn’t be happier. The magazines on his chest are very nicely detailed and he’s still got the red beret held under a strap on his shoulder. Up top, Beachhead also benefits from a pair of brand new heads. My one criticism of the 25th Anniversary Beachhead figure was that his balaclava looked so tight on his face that it was almost like a second skin. This time, the masked Beachhead head looks like he’s wearing a thick balaclava over his head and that’s what I recall from the vintage figure. In fact, the vintage figure’s head wound up looking a tad too large for the figure because they made sure that the balaclava looked like it was something worn over his head. This masked head looks just like what I remember from KansasBrother’s Beachhead and they even included a detail I missed as a kid. Not only was Beachhead wearing a balaclava back in the day, but he was also wearing a face mask around the front of it. If you look very closely at the vintage figure, you can see this detail. This detail was also carried over to this version of Beachhead. Not only do I like this detail here, but it gives me a better appreciation for the vintage figure. However, this isn’t the only head that Beachhead came with. I’ve always preferred my Joes to have visible faces and that’s something that Beachhead has lacked for a long time. The look he had is great and doesn’t come off as Cobra, but I could I identify more with Joes that had faces than I could with masks or permanent helmets as a kid. For this comic pack release of Beachhead, Hasbro also included a new, unmasked head for Beachhead. The look is fairly basic, but I’ve always seen Beachhead as a fairly simple guy, so it works. He’s got a very closely cropped hair cut and a long mustache and soul patch. Truthfully, I don’t know if the soul patch fits with Beachhead, but it’s still a good look for him. The closely cropped hair cut does give him a fairly obvious ridge on the top of his head, which is a little distracting, but it still works. To go with this head, Beachhead also gets a new accessory—a bandana he can wear around the lower half of his face. I like the combination of this head with the bandana even more since the original Beachhead head sculpt had a bandana molded in there as well and it was carried forward onto this new Beachhead head. I have this head with the bandana on this figure most of the time just because I like the unmasked look a little better since it’s something I’ve always wanted to see on a Beachhead figure.
Beachhead generally has a fairly basic look and this version is no different. His colors are strongly tied to the vintage version just like the first 25th Anniversary figure’s were, but they pop just a little more and I like that. He’s still got black boots and a black holster and straps and the pants are still brown with green camouflage splotches. However, everything seems just a bit more vibrant than it did on the first 25th Anniversary Beachhead figure and I like that. Up top, the commando sweater, balaclava and face mask are all a very dark green as opposed to the more olive drab color Hasbro used the first time around. Again, it still fits with the vintage Beachhead look but it’s just a little more interesting. He’s got the 75th Ranger Regiment insignia tampoed on his left shoulder and it stands out very nicely against the dark green. His new vest is black with gray for the magazines and a little red for the beret tucked up on his shoulder. Since we can actually see Beachhead’s face this time, we get a look at his hair color and he’s got dark blonde hair. It’s a color Hasbro hasn’t used a lot, so it leaves Beachhead looking a bit more unique and I like that even though I believe the vintage figure did have black eyebrows so I just assumed he had black hair.
Like the new vest and colors, the accessories also help elevate this figure into something more than just another version of Beachhead. When Hasbro released the first 25th Anniversary Beachhead figure, they also modernized his gear a bit. The shapes of his weapons were the same, but they just weren’t quite what I was looking for. This time around, Hasbro went back to more strongly vintage-based weapons and I think that’s a nice touch for this version of Beachhead. Starting off small, he’s got the standard 25th Anniversary pistol to fill his holster. It’s a decent piece, but it’s nothing that amazing. The star of his accessory kit is the new rifle based off his vintage weapon. The look and color are exactly the same as they were in 1986, and I appreciate Hasbro investing the tooling dollars to recreate this weapon. What makes this weapon really impressive is that the gun also has a removable magazine. This is an excellent touch considering Beachhead carries all those magazines on his chest. The magazine fits snugly into the gun, but it’s not impossible to remove. Beachhead also comes with a new satchel that has a place to store another removable magazine in it. The satchel is another vintage Beachhead accessory that didn’t show up the first time around, so it’s a nice addition here. However, I do wish Hasbro would have gone as far as to include the great backpack with removable crossbow they tooled up for the first 25th Anniversary Beachhead figure. That was something Beachhead had back in the day and since this figure was about recreating the vintage figure a bit more accurately, it would have been nice for Beachhead to get his backpack as well.
All in all, this is an impressive modern take on the vintage Beachhead figure. Hasbro didn’t need to make a more vintage accurate version of Beachhead. The other figure referenced the original look well even with some stylistic updates. However, as someone who grew up knowing Beachhead, I was very excited to get this figure. It’s a great update of the vintage look and the new vest and heads really add a lot to this figure. I’ve wanted to see what Beachhead looked like under the face mask for a long time, and now Hasbro has made an official unmasked look for Beachhead and I couldn’t be happier. Add in that the colors and gear that bring him closer to his vintage counterpart and you have what I think is the perfect modern take on the vintage Beachhead figure.