Iron Grenadiers Destro

By KansasBrawler

Iron Grenadiers Destro (25th Anniversary)I’ve professed my love of Destro a couple of times already on this site. His character is complex and he’s one of the few characters who has gotten consistently good figures. When the 25th Anniversary line gave us Iron Grenadiers Destro, I was elated. I was glad to get the classic Destro from the first Cobra set, but the Iron Grenadiers Destro was my Destro. I have so many great memories of Destro and The Despoiler (seriously Hasbro, get on that…I want a modern Despoiler—it’s a classic mini-vehicle and you don’t have to invest tooling dollars for its driver, though I will say I’m tempted to track down the 2015 Joe Con Mantis Sub because it’s got a bit of a Despoiler vibe from it but I’m sure its premium prices will keep me away from it). I remember finding Destro and The Despoiler in a Lewis Drug of all places (think of Walgreens combined with Shopko or K-Mart since this was in the days before every Wal-Mart and Target had a full-fledged pharmacy) probably in at least 1990 right before Christmas. I’d been looking for that (and the Evader) for at least a year after seeing it in a catalog and I was so happy to find it…though being right before Christmas, I wasn’t sure if it would get past my parents’ pre-Christmas toy embargo. Mercifully, they remembered how long I (and probably they) had been looking for it, that they lifted the embargo just that once so I could get Destro and his signature vehicle. Ever since then, the Iron Grenadiers Destro has been my personal go-to version of everyone’s favorite Scottish arms dealer.

Iron Grenadiers Destro (25th Anniversary)Destro’s Iron Grenadier look is distinctive to say the least. Gone are the disco collar and medallion and in its place, Destro has a far more regal look. Hasbro’s designers did a great job recreating his 1988 design in the new modern style. Iron Grenadiers Destro needed almost all new parts, and he gets what he needs. Generally speaking, Destro is wearing a black leather body suit, but the details on it are still quite impressive. First off, Destro is wearing a pair of high asymmetrical boots. What’s more amazing is how well these details translated on the larger figure. I had this Destro growing up and never realized his boots were asymmetrical, but they were. Being able to work on a larger canvass really helps bring out little details like this. He’s also got a functional holster on his left hip, just like the one molded on his leg back in the day. Secondly, he’s got some extra padding on his chest and is also rocking a codpiece. (Seriously…what is it with Cobra’s and codpieces? In 1988 alone, there were three Cobras with some added junk padding.) The detailing is quite sharp and it works well with the overall look. Thirdly, Destro is wearing an ascot and it comes out from below his riveted collar. I love that the collar rivets are a bit more obvious in these modern iterations of Destro and the fact that the ascot comes out from underneath it is a nice nod. Yes, Destro’s wearing the ascot because he’s all fancy, but I’d also imagine you’d like a little something between your bare skin and your metal neck collar to make it at least marginally more comfortable. Destro’s shoulders have asymmetrical pads on them as well. Over the left shoulder, he’s got a black pad with a silver crest of some sort on it and three gold spikes sticking out from it. I’ve never understood the purpose of the gold spikes. Again, they look fancy, but I’ve never quite understood why they were there even on the original figure. Over his right shoulder, Destro is still rocking his red cape. However, they’ve attached it in a much better and more realistic fashion. Rather than just sticking out of the top of his shoulder, the cape sits over the shoulder and is held down with a black band. The black band is based around the original mold details from the cape area, but they’ve reworked it in a way that looks more natural. The cape over one shoulder hearkens back to Venomous Maximus’s cape and I’m okay with that. It was a good look, but the fact that the cape is made of cloth makes it even better and more versatile. Destro’s arms continue the leather look and he’s got thick gauntlets on. Around his waist, he’s wearing a removable gold sword belt. It looks appropriately fancy and I like the visual of Destro being able to discretely put his hand on the hilt of his sword underneath his cloak and drawing it in a flourish, surprising
his enemy with a quick draw. Finally, Destro’s head may be reused but the 25th Anniversary Destro head is great and it looks even better in gold chrome. This is a great figure because it so faithfully replicates the mold’s original details and expands on them since they’re able to work in a larger scale.

Iron Grenadiers Destro (25th Anniversary)If Iron Grenadiers Destro has one problem, it’s his color scheme. A lot of the details on the 1988 figure got lost because he was a sea of black. The details aren’t as lost here since the figure is a bit larger so the details can also be a bit bigger so they can print, but it’s still an issue. What little paint Iron Grenadiers Destro has is decent, though the small detailing is a bit weak. At the top of his boots, Destro has silver studs running around the top of them. Unfortunately, the paint is a bit hit or miss on them. The ones on the front are pretty well done, but as you move around the legs, the work gets a little sloppier. I’d rather have slop on the back, than the front, though, so at least the work that fell a bit flat is on the side that you don’t see. Silver is also used on the crest on his chest and it’s very well-applied there. The ascot gives him a splash of reddish-orange, however, like the 1988 version, I kind of wish the ascot’s color was coordinated with his cape—especially since the cape is physically much closer to the ascot on this modern version. The two different shades of red don’t work as well together as I think two matching red pieces would. The gold on his neck collar is well applied, but I do wish they’d given his eyes some color. I realize this may have been a little more difficult to do on the vacmetal gold, but without some eye paint, the eyes get lost in the shiny plastic and I think that’s a bit of a problem. I would have loved to have seen this Destro with some glowing green eyes,
like the first 25th Anniversary Destro, but they didn’t do it here. I don’t think it makes or breaks the figure, but the loss of eye color harkens it back to the 1988 figure in a bad way. My only complaint about my 1988 Destro was that his eyes didn’t really stand out against the shiny gold head, and that’s still a complaint I have here. If Hasbro did that as an intentional homage, it was a dumb idea and if it was just an oversight, then it’s a bit lazy.

Iron Grenadiers Destro (25th Anniversary)My biggest beef with my vintage Iron Grenadiers Destro was his lack of weapons. I wanted my Destro to have a signature gun when I was a kid, but he didn’t. While he doesn’t have a firearm unique to him, the 25th Anniversary Iron Grenadiers Destro at least gets some usable weapons, so he’s moving in the right direction. Starting off small, Destro has a great little revolver to fill his leg holster. While it’s not going to be useful at long range, I can see Destro using it quite effectively to eliminate an assassin that got a little too close for comfort. Destro’s belt has a great, functional scabbard and I love that Destro’s finally got a great sword he can pull out of its sheath. I loved the design Destro’s sword sheath had back in 1988 and I pretended it was unsheathed when it was in his hand and not hanging on his belt but I always wished he had a better sword than the permanently sheathed piece. This time, Destro can draw his sword and it looks great. They kept the same general design of the sword and sheath from 1988 but made it functional and that’s great. I can see Destro rallying his Iron Grendiers in battle and calling for a charge using this sword. My only real beef with Destro’s accessories is that they’re made out of gold plastic. While Joes don’t seem to suffer from Gold Plastic Syndrome like Transformers do, the accessories still look rather plastic-y. It’s especially bad on the unpainted handguard on Destro’s sword. The sword is clearly molded out of gold plastic and when the blade is painted silver, it really makes the plastic-y look stand out. All in all, though, at least this time Destro does have some usable accessories, so I’ll count it as a win. Destro’s first update in 1988 was a great figure back then and it’s a great figure now.

I’ve always felt his second look was a bit more impressive and intimidating. This is a Destro that not only sells arms but knows how best to employ them on the battlefield. While it’s a bit ceremonial, it also seems bulky and protective enough that he could be wearing it while leading his troops into battle. I understand that a Despoiler wouldn’t have been feasible at the point in the line when he was released, but I’m glad Hasbro realized that the 1988 Destro was a good enough figure to be released carded rather than with a vehicle they couldn’t pull together. I’m a little surprised that this version of Destro isn’t currently on display, but Destro has had so many good figures during the modern line, it became a bit of a tough choice and the 1988 look, while good, looked a bit more dated than the nicely-detailed Pursuit of Cobra version, the stylish Resolute version, and the great SDCC Eccleston-Destro.

Iron Grenadiers Destro (25th Anniversary)


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