Scarlett (2002)

By Past Nastificaton

As one of the few, very few, collectors who like the New Sculpt era, I gotta give it up for the this version of Scarlett. It’s pretty solid.

I’ll throw this out, too: my appreciation for NS figures is on the rise. They lack the detailing or the dynamic aesthetics of the 25A/Modern Era figures, but they feel like toys instead of “collectables”. The figures can’t be contorted into 1000’s of McFarlane-ish poses, but they can hold their gear without it falling from their hands. That counts for something, at least to me. If you hate the NS figures, I understand. It’s like loving an ugly dog. An ugly, stupid dog. An ugly, stupid dog with bad breath.

When I talk about NS figures, I usually lament the proportions towards the end of the review. Here, I’ll talk about them upfront. They’re pretty good. This figure has a lean and athletic build, an appropriate body type for a member of America’s rapid deployment counter-terrorist strike force. A woman who runs 8 miles a day and hits the gym because she wants to. The shoulders are just a little large, but that’s downplayed because shoulder pads are part of the uniform, making it a bit more acceptable.

Likewise, the head is a little small. The visible ear is too far forward on the head, and a bit elf-like (the other ear is covered by hair).

The head also has a ponytail. It’s a good idea, but poorly executed. This is not Scarlett’s first ponytail on an action figure, as the Ninja Force Scarlett had one, but just that the NS brought it back is impressive. Sadly, the ponytail itself is odd. It’s detailed with braids and two hair keepers. But it’s too rectangular in overall shape and departs the back of the head at a strange angle.

Allow me to go off the rails for just a second. This figure came out two decades after the original 1982 Scarlett. Since it appears to build on that figure’s design, without dismantling it, I would’ve really liked if the figure’s head was supposed to have been that of someone in her early-to-mid forties. For anyone tracking a static GI Joe timeline in their heads, that’s about how old GI Joe’s favorite redhead would have been in 2002. Just a stray thought, now back to the figure as it came…

The uniform clearly channels the color set of the ’82 Scarlett, but improves on it. This is pretty subjective, but I like it. The paint applications are a bit gloppy, though. And the hair color should have been pushed towards red and away from orange.

The design of the uniform is also influenced by the original, but updated. Scarlett now has some plate armor along her legs, elbow pads, and the above-mentioned shoulder pads. The lower legs are wrapped, a subtle nod to her ninja training (she was in Ninja Force, after all). The NS era deserves credit for updating/enhancing/even replacing traditional uniform designs, not just regurgitating them like many of the 25A/Modern Era figures have done.

The original Scarlett may have held the record for the having the most sculpted-on weapons of any ARAH figure. This figure lacks the original’s mystery leg device (perhaps an explosive?), slingshot, and wrist mini-pistol. But instead of those, it has three daggers on one leg and brass knuckles on both hands. Plus two throwing stars and two grenades. So Scarlett is still one of the Joes with the highest count of molded-on weapons.

The accessories aren’t so good. Scarlett’s crossbow could have been great, but it has an oversized sonic tab. They didn’t even place it to the side, where it could have been hidden by photography. It’s right on top. The rifle is just there, and doesn’t really fit the character. Yojoe.com points out that there was an ill-fitting black backpack that some folks assigned to Scarlett’s package partner, Zartan. I apparently did this.

Even with bad accessories and few flaws there’s something about this figure that the original Scarlett figure didn’t have. It reads as a badass. This is my favorite Scarlett figure.

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4 Responses

  1. I didn’t mind these figures…for a time. But, once it got hard to track down all the exclusives and repaints, the effort just wasn’t worth the pay off for me.

    But, Hasbro of that time did a good job of straddling the collectible/kid’s toy line. It’s hard to remember, now. But, 2002 through 2004 was Joe’s greatest retail success since the vintage line. Joe was everywhere and it sold well. Like most modern toys, though, it simply ran its course right as some really great stuff would have started hitting.

    I remember being excited to find each new wave of figures since they shipped pretty quickly and consistently. (BTW, isn’t the photo of the repainted Scarlett from later in 2002? The more vintage colored one was Wave 2?) It was a good time to be a fan/collector. Really, it might have been the best time since vintage was still relatively cheap and there was plenty at retail, too.

  2. I could never get past the small heads and huge shoulders with NS figures….

  3. cyko9 says:

    I’m not a New Sculpt figure fan. However, I like most of their designs, especially when they reference the character’s original look but freshen it up. Or create a completely different look (Destro and Zartan come to mind). If Hasbro had stayed with the original O-ring construction, I’d have added plenty of this era’s figures to my collection.

  4. Don says:

    I still like this figure! She is a little lanky, but I like it. This is a worthy update, still FAR better head sculpt than 1982!

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