Counter Intelligence (Code Name: Scarlett)
You have to hand it to Hasbro for including a variety of characters in its first assortment of the relaunched GI Joe. They could have gone the easy route and populated the series with a cookie cutter set of guys in one shade of green with nondescript weapons and little to no character. As we’ve already seen, the Joes were a comparatively diverse group for the early 80s right out of the gate. To me, Scarlett as both a figure and character stands out the most among them. She’s a capable female character who’s no damsel in distress, and as a kid I had no problem playing with a “girl” toy.
In a line that reused at least some parts among most of the crew, Scarlett was all-new from head to toe. The head sculpt is not classically beautiful and doesn’t evoke the card art, but then again the male Joes didn’t fare much better. Grunt and Zap in particular are dogfaces in the truest sense. I don’t want to say this was a feature of all 1980s toys, as plenty of figures from the time weren’t butt ugly. If you’re looking for attractive head sculpts from the era, check out Mego’s small scale figures, particularly in the Buck Rogers, Black Hole, and Star Trek lines.
Scarlett has a great variety of sculpted detail accessories and weapons on her uniform. Check out the concealed pistol in her right gauntlet and throwing stars in the left. That’s not a gratuitous derrière shot by the way, just an opportunity to show off the slingshot stowed on her back pocket. Scarlett is ready for anything.
Like the other Joes, the figure was remade for the 1983 series with swivel-arm construction. While the more articulated figure can hold more dynamic poses, the straight-arm version cuts a better silhouette due to thinner upper arms. Scarlett is also the 1983 refit that didn’t need a modified waist.
An all-time classic, and one of the great 80s action figure ladies, right up there with Hoth Leia, Super Powers Wonder Woman, and X-Ray Woman.