Slaughter’s Marauders Red Dog
I’ve always had a weird relationship with Red Dog. He’s honestly my least favorite Renegade. While Mercer and Taurus had characterizations that interested me, an ex-football star with anger issues just never really spoke to me. Mercer and Taurus always had distinctive personalities when my brother and I were playing with them, but Red Dog was just kind of there to round out the team. I’m pretty sure if we needed to kill off a character to ratchet up the tension, Red Dog was high on the list of expendable Joes. The modern Red Dog kind of hits me the same way, though at least this time around, the figure’s face has quite a bit more personality than his original incarnation did.
Befitting his football playing past, Mr. Taputapu shares his upper body with the other Joe known for loving football, Bazooka, and gets his lower legs from Shadow Tracker of all places. That may seem like an odd choice, but they’re relatively strong looking legs and the way they’re painted, they do kind of look like the warm up pants football players wear before the game or if they’re on the bench for a while. I like the overall look for the body, but I do kind of wish Hasbro could have slimmed him down just a little bit so he looked more like a placekicker than a defensive lineman. Yeah, the kicker is sometimes a big guy, but Red Dog looks a lot more like a defensive tackle than he does a kicker. I do have to criticize the Shadow Tracker legs for one thing, though, the hole in the left thigh. Shadow Tracker had a ballistic knife that could be plugged in there, but Red Dog wasn’t given that accessory. Mercifully, 30th Anniversary Stalker came with one that he really couldn’t use so I put that on Red Dog’s hip to fill in that place. I don’t mind when Hasbro reuses parts, but if they use parts that have weapons ports molded into them, I’d really prefer they include the weapon that goes in there so my figures don’t have random holes on them. Red Dog gets a brand new head that originated in the Joe-rassic Park line as Ash Skullstriker. There’s a lot of character in this guy’s face. He’s got a very angry stare and he looks pretty intimidating. He definitely looks like a guy who could lose his cool quickly (though considering his career as a barefoot placekicker was ended by a defensive lineman cleat-stomping his foot, that’s not exactly a trivial reason to go berserk on somebody) and looks like a guy that you really wouldn’t want to fight when he went into berserker mode. I’m really glad Hasbro went with angry stare since the temptation to go full berserker rage face was there. This is much more understated and gets the point across just as well. We don’t need any more figures like “Check-Out-My-Tonsils” Duke, thank you very much.
Red Dog gets pretty shortchanged when it comes to accessories. His headband and necklace are removable. I really like that Hasbro went to the effort of crafting those two new pieces since they really don’t have a lot of reuse potential, and they really do add a nice little Samoan flair to help Red Dog stand out from Bazooka. His only weapon is a small pistol and I do like it. It looks kind of like the pistol that Pursuit of Cobra Jungle Duke came with, but I’m not 100% sure that’s what it is. Regardless, it’s a good piece, though it does look kind of small in his hands. I kind of like my big Joes to be carrying big weapons. His other accessory is something that really makes me smile, an in-scale football that he can actually hold somewhat convincingly. I’m glad that they actually went as far as to include an accessory like this for Red Dog. It’s a nice throwback to his original profession and I like to think that if we’ve got a football, that means we’re not too far away from football grenades and a modern update to Captain Grid-Iron! All joking aside, while I like what they gave Red Dog, he still feels pretty underarmed. A Shadow Tracker ballistic knife would have been appreciated so I didn’t have to steal Stalker’s to fill the hole in Red Dog’s pants, and I would have liked to see some sort of melee weapon like the Collectors’ Club did. That was a nice throwback to his club that he used in G.I. Joe: The Movie. I realize that the original Red Dog only came with a pistol and the accessories in the set weren’t exactly set in stone as to what went with who, but none of the other weapons in the set really fit all that well with Red Dog so he’s just got a football and a pistol.
Much like Zanzibar was the weak link of the Dreadnok set, Red Dog is definitely the weakest link here. He’s nowhere near as bad as Zanzibar, but his paint job especially shows to me that Red Dog wasn’t given a lot of attention and care. First and foremost, I really miss Red Dog wearing a primarily red/orange jersey. With the colors flipped, Red Dog looks to be wearing his away jersey, and I don’t think it looks quite as good this way. I understand that Hasbro wanted to make the jersey look different from Bazooka’s all-red jersey, but I just don’t think it works. That’s accentuated by the fact that the red paint apps are pretty sloppy overall. Basically every spot where the red and white meet on Red Dog’s jersey is pretty sloppy. The tattoo looks great, but there’s some random red slop on the inside of his arm that’s a little distracting. Unfortunately, the sloppiness is not limited to his upper body. The borders between his gray and blue on the front of his pants are also pretty sloppy. He doesn’t look that bad from a distance and being a back row figure on display does help hide the weak paint work, but when I brought him out for a reviewing, I noticed just how sloppy his paintjob is and that’s kind of a shame.
Red Dog’s never been my favorite Renegade, and this figure really didn’t change my opinion about him. Hasbro did a fairly good job building the figure itself, but the sloppy paintjob and lack of accessories really hurt him a lot in my opinion. I’m glad he got an update since you can’t really have Mercer and Taurus without Red Dog, but at the same time, he’s just kind of there.