Rise of Cobra Sgt. Stone
The Joe brand can only survive for so long on nostalgia. Sometimes, you need to inject some fresh blood into the line or take characters in a new direction. I think that’s part of why I liked Rise of Cobra so much. Yes, it wasn’t my Joes up there on the screen, but aside from Duke, I did generally enjoy the reinterpretations of my favorite characters up on the big screen and the movie added in some new characters that, because they didn’t have a lot of screen time, were blank slates that I could do with what I pleased. I’ll admit, I thought Brendan Fraser’s cameo as Sgt. Stone was ham-fisted at best, but as an action figure, Sgt. Stone works very well and I’m glad to have a new member of the Joe team I can discover for myself.
Sgt. Stone was released relatively early in the Rise of Cobra line, so he’s built out of a lot of new, albeit rather generic, parts. Generally speaking, Sgt. Stone looks pretty military. He’s pants are a fairly basic pair of BDUs and his shirt is equally simple. As befitting a hand-to-hand combat trainer, he has rolled up his sleeves, but the overall look is pretty basic. The reason Sgt. Stone uses all new molds is because he’s a pretty beefy guy. The parts Hasbro used for 25th Anniversary Dusty are equally basic, but Sgt. Stone is built a lot bigger than him. Since he’s the Joe’s trainer, that makes a lot of sense. Over his basic shirt, Sgt. Stone does get a fancy reactive armor vest. I view it as the reactive armor version of a Kevlar vest. Sgt. Stone may not need to wear a full suit of reactive armor, but the reactive armor vest is a common enough thing that most Joes wear it while on duty. Up top, Sgt. Stone has a great new head. While I was often critical of the Rise of Cobra line when it came to some of the weak actor likenesses (like the initial Scarlett and Baroness figures), I don’t mind that Sgt. Stone really doesn’t look like Brendan Fraser. I didn’t like his character in the movie, but since his figure really looks nothing like him, I don’t have to be beholden to Sgt. Stone’s portrayal in the movie beyond the fact that I like that he’s the Joe’s trainer. Sgt. Stone definitely looks young, so I can see him as a relatively new member of the Joe team, but he’s also managed to stand out quickly enough in the ranks that he’s been promoted to a trainer. He’s not as high-ranking as the other named Joe operatives we met during the movie, but he’s definitely higher ranked that the regular PIT staff. Because of this, I kind of also see him as a security team leader. Since he’s a trainer, Sgt. Stone is likely going to spend a lot of time at the PIT, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how to throw down and while he may not be head of security, I can see him leading a team of four PIT Commandos through the base in an effort to help repel Cobra invaders.
If Sgt. Stone has one weak point, like most of the Rise of Cobra figures, it’s in his colors. His overall look is solid, but it’s so dark it’s not exactly eye-catching, especially considering how many figures used almost the exact same color scheme. Sgt. Stone’s pants are done in a nice three-color urban camouflage, like many of the Rise of Cobra Joes that were wearing BDUs. Sgt. Stone’s shirt is a basic black shirt and the vest he wears over it is dark gray with some black panels. The black is carried up onto his head thanks to his beret and is also on his hands thanks to his gloves. Sgt. Stone’s skin tone is a good color and the colors used for his arms and head match, which is always a plus. His brown hair is neatly painted and his eyes have a little bit of character behind them. He’s not angrily staring anyone one down, but I definitely see a bit of humanity in there than I get from a blank stare. Sgt. Stone also has the Rise of Cobra-era Joe logo tampoed on him twice. There’s a yellow logo tampo on his right arm and the same logo is tampoed on his beret as well. I like the added detail, but at the same time, the yellow’s coverage over the black isn’t that great, so it’s really hard to spot at a quick glance. I’ve had this figure since 2009, and I don’t think I noticed the tampo on his arm until I pulled him out for review, or if I did, it was one of those things I noticed and appreciated at the time but forgot about because I didn’t see it unless I was really looking the figure over. The paint work is technically well done, but like a lot of other Rise of Cobra figures, I’d love to see him done up in more eye catching colors.
Like a lot of Rise of Cobra figures, Sgt. Stone’s equipment is pretty generic, but I don’t mind him not having fancy weapons since I see him as a bit newer member of the team. I didn’t grab a picture of it, but Sgt. Stone’s requisite missile-launching-monstrosity™ is another piece I can get behind. Rather than carrying around an impractically large missile launcher, Sgt. Stone’s launcher is done up like a large turret. I’d imagine it looks pretty nice sitting on the deck of the PIT and it means that Sgt. Stone’s primary weapon isn’t something that is ridiculously larger than he is. Sgt. Stone’s primary weapon is the same FN2000 that a lot of the Rise of Cobra Joes came with. It looks pretty good in Stone’s hand and I really do like the silhouette of the weapon. I know there were a lot of Joe fans that really didn’t like all the figures having similar weapons, but I’m perfectly fine with it. It’s a concession the way the military operates in the real world and it’s another way to stylistically tie the Rise of Cobra figures together. Sgt. Stone also has a small silver pistol and a small black knife. They’re both decent pieces, but Sgt. Stone is definitely going to be armed with the FN2000 most of the time.
While I’m not a terribly big fan of Sgt. Stone as a movie character, Sgt. Stone as an action figure is actually a pretty great piece. I like adding new recruits to my Joe shelf every now and then, and Sgt. Stone definitely fits that bill. He looks a bit younger than the rest of the team, which is fine, but he also falls a little more in line with the Joe idea of personalizing your uniform a bit beyond basic BDUs. Unlike some of the Rise of Cobra figures, Sgt. Stone doesn’t look that out of place alongside the classic Joes. When used in that capacity, I see Sgt. Stone as the newest member of a Joe urban assault team. Either way, he’s definitely a new recruit and that allows me to do what I want with the character’s personality and it’s nice to discover new characters after collecting so many nostalgia-centric Joes with decades of backstory that impact how I use them.