By Past Nastification
The further away from it we get, the more quality I find in the New Sculpt era. This isn’t a whitewashing of the badness, but a taking in of the good despite the bad. Ripper made his NS debut in 2002.
Unlike many of the NS figures, this one has no real proportion issues. It smoothly bridges the style differences between the ARAH run and the 25A/Modern Era one, and looks fine next to either variety.
The design of the Ripper is good. It carries over the tank top, trench knife, sunglasses, and facial hair of the ARAH figure and improves on its muscular build. The facial hair is now lambchop sideburns and a mustache, instead of the previous full beard, but it works. The trademark semi-mohawk of the ARAH design might be there, but it’s hidden under a ball cap. Wrist wrapping also adds to Ripper’s look. The ball cap and wrap are a good move, as they put Ripper into a newer uniform. Many ME figures are uninspired direct tributes to the ARAH versions, which just feels like somehow making an old thing with new parts. I would have preferred this version of Ripper to get a ME tribute figure over the ARAH one. Blasphemous, I know.
There’s a bit of Dreadnok flavor on the figure. The trousers and backpack are somewhere on the color spectrum between dirty bubble gum and mauve, just obnoxious enough to work for a rebellious type such as Ripper. There is also some metal plating on the gloves and boots (although the plating on the boots is left unpainted). The bottoms of the trouser legs are also tattered, but exceptionally bad paint application hides it. A Zartan head Dreadnok tattoo sits on Ripper’s right arm.
Talking about Ripper without mentioning the other original Dreadnoks, Buzzer and Torch, just wouldn’t be right. Torch also got one of the better NS figures. Buzzer didn’t make a NS appearance, but got a comic pack ARAH-style makeover with a new head a few years later.
Packaged with Duke, Ripper came with a pile of meh weapons. This is another case in which yojoe.com and I don’t agree as to which figure got what. It doesn’t really matter, though. I’m happy to blame Hasbro, which put no thought into the weaponry. In fact, it’s not what Ripper came with that detracts from the figure, but what it didn’t come with. The oversized bladed tool and the jaws-of-life, Ripper’s signature ARAH gear, is nowhere to be found. The lack of expected accessories doesn’t ruin the figure. There’s also an argument that taking them away gives the character some width in terms of his skills. I don’t fully agree with that, just putting it out there.
If there’s one thing that the NS era was good at, it was putting old characters in newer designs. Many failed, but Ripper was a success.