Crimson Guard (2003)
It’s easy for us children of the 80’s and 90’s to focus on our favorite era, and forget that Joe at one time wore real pants. Well, real cloth pants. I would be remiss as a Joe fan if I didn’t recognize a figure with fabulous cloth pants.
Coming at the time of the new sculpt Spy Troops line, the first ever 12 inch scale Crimson Guard bears little resemblance to its classic counterpart. Looking back at the era, I’m surprised by the sheer number of characters that were released in the larger scale. A Kay Bee Toys exclusive, this figure was made up of a mix of recent and older parts. There’s not much here to call to mind the original CG design, aside from the color, which isn’t quite right either, being an overly bright shade of red.
The Spy Troops series didn’t have a version of the classic Crimson Guard, though I suppose the CLAWS Commander came close in look. This figure looks nothing like either of them, and is a very weird hodge-podge of pieces and parts that make me wonder what exactly the designers were going for.
The unclothed torso is a common feature of the time; I’m assuming it was a cost-cutting measure. At least the arms used were of the more muscular variety, and the look isn’t too scrawny. The bright red arms and black hands are quite off-putting, setting a high weirdness factor. Speaking of weird, how about those pants? I can’t recall having seen this kind of faux leather look in red before. Maybe it’s meant to match the glossy color of the arms, but I think it ends up looking more like Cobra rain gear. The printed thigh pads (complete with Photoshop gradient effect) are another head-scratching element of the figure. This guy is like an M.C. Escher drawing–the more you look into it, the more strange things you notice.
Funny enough, the upcoming Sideshow version of the Crimson Guard appears to be sporting a pleather jacket. Was someone at Sideshow influenced by this guy’s nice pants?