Crimson Guard (25th Anniversary)
There are very few figures I’d consider missing from my childhood collection. However, the one glaring omission was the Crimson Guard. I thought that they looked so cool when I first saw them on a cardback but I never saw one at a store. Not having the Crimson Guard as a kid means I’m kind of that the point that now, as an adult, when I see a version of the Crimson Guard, I make sure to grab him. The 25th Anniversary Crimson Guard is a good figure and whilehe was initially a bit hard to run down (like the rest of his wave mates), I did find him and I’m glad to finally have a Crimson Guard in my collection.
In 2008, Hasbro really stepped up their game with the 25th Anniversary line. Initially, the line was just going to consist of a couple box sets, but they were so popular that Hasbro decided to expand the line. The first few waves that rounded out 2007 relied very heavily on parts reuse, but when 2008 rolled around and the line had a bit more retail and corporate support, it allowed Hasbro to invest money in new tooling to make a lot of figures like the Crimson Guard that needed it. Unsurprisingly, the Crimson Guard uses all new molds. The overall design is excellent and all the classic Crimson Guard details are there. He’s wearing very tall boots but the legs seem just a little too long to me. I’m a pretty tall guy but my height is pretty equally distributed above and below the waist. Compared to his legs, the Crimson Guard’s torso is a bit stubby. It’s not as bad as the proportion problems that plagued the Joe Vs. Cobra era, but with as good as Hasbro was at making proportional figures during the 25th Anniversary line, the Crimson Guard looks a little like an odd throwback. The Crimson Guard’s upper body is very well detailed and all the fancy uniform details, from the buttons to the rank crest, are all faithfully reproduced on this larger canvass. The epaulettes on his shoulders look great on this modern figure because they stand out a little more. The arms look appropriately regal and the silver piping effectively sells the image of the Crimson Guard as a fancy bodyguard. Up top, the Crimson Guard has a great head sculpt, though it is a bit of a departure from the vintage Crimson Guard look. It’s far more angular than the original and the muzzle on the front seems a little less pronounced. Truthfully, it reminds me of the slight redesign the Crimson Guard got in the DDP comics. The look may not be everyone’s cup of tea (and there were quite a few Joe reviewers that were hard on it) but I kind of dig it. It looks just a little more realistic to my eyes. I can see more real world influences on this helmet design than I did on the classic helmet and the detailing on it is far crisper. Your mileage may vary, but I do think it’s a decent design.
The Crimson Guard’s paint scheme is pretty obvious considering he’s called a Crimson Guard. The majority of the figure is red. It’s not quite what I’d call crimson, but it’s still a bit darker than your standard red. The figure’s black boots and trim pop very well against this color. Unfortunately, the silver detailing leaves a bit to be desired in some spots. The silver on the buttons isn’t uniformly applied. Mercifully, it doesn’t slop over onto the main body of the figure but there are a few buttons that look like they just barely got hit with silver paint. The 25th Anniversary Iron Grenadiers Destro has a similar problem, but Crimson Guard doesn’t have a way to obscure it like Destro does. My only real complaint about his paint job is the one paint application he lacks, something on the visor to make it look like he can see through it. The vintage Crimson Guard figure had a silver paint application on his visor to make it clear where the character’s eyes were and I really think this version of the Crimson Guard would have benefited from that as well. As it stands, the visor is barely visible, making the Crimson Guard’s face looks a bit off. Overall, the paint work on the figure is decent and he’s a good representation of the Crimson Guard, but there are a few things missing that would make it an even better figure.
To equip the figure, Hasbro made some great choices. They reference the original figure’s gear very well while updating it a bit. The Crimson Guard’s primary weapon has always been a rifle with a bayonet. Hasbro took the vintage design and upscaled it a bit since this is a slightly larger figure, but the silhouette of the weapon is exactly the same. It’s a great piece and while it looks somewhat ceremonial, it’s also clearly got enough stopping power to take down anyone who may get to close to Cobra Commander. The modern Crimson Guard’s other weapon isn’t something he came with back in the day, but it does reference a molded detail on the original figure. The vintage figure had a revolver molded onto his left leg. The modern figure just has a loop because the revolver is a removable detail this time. It’s the same revolver that 25th Anniversary Wild Bill came with. It’s not a bad piece, but it really doesn’t fit that securely in the loop. It’s a good thing it looks decent in the Crimson Guard’s hand because it definitely doesn’t look that good on his hip. The Crimson Guard’s final accessory is his great armored backpack. I don’t know why the Crimson Guard would have something so fancy but it looks great. It really helps complete the vintage look and I’m glad Hasbro went the extra mile to recreate this accessory as well. There were a lot of vintage Joes that had unique backpacks that Hasbro didn’t recreate for their modern version. I’m glad that Crimson Guard avoided that particular pitfall.
The modern Crimson Guard is a great update of a classic figure. They took the original details and expanded on them since the canvass is a bit larger and toy making technology has improved since the original figure was made in 1985. It’s not a perfect update of the vintage figure, but it’s definitely a great piece. While I personally prefer the more battlefield-ready version that came out in the Retaliation line, it’s hard to beat a classic, especially when it’s recreated as well as this figure is.