Spirit Iron-Knife (2004)
The 12 inch Joes released during the 2000’s relaunch were a mixed bag of reuse and cost cutting that struck me as generally cheap-looking, but there were a few that stood out as all-around great large-scale renditions of Real American Hero era favorites.
Unlike some of his knockoff-ish line mates, Spirit gets the royal treatment with a full cloth uniform, unique web gear, accessories and a new head sculpt. The design takes its cue from the Devil’s Due comic, and far surpasses both of the 3 & 3/4 inch versions based on the same source material.
The web gear is specific to the character, and is an interesting design with an attached belt that connects to a single strap in the back. Very different, and very unique. The detailed accessories continue with gauntlets that feature small indentations to attach Freedom’s claws, a great solution to the issue of simulating a eagle realistically perched on an arm. The weapons are high quality as well. His knife slides into a scabbard on his arm, and his revolver is a nice change of pace from the standard modern Joe sidearm. I think the intricacy of the gear, with the inclusion of gauntlets, knee pads, and great weapons, prefaces the kind of high quality accessories that would come along just one year later with Sigma 6.
One could also say the same for the 2000’s large scale figures’ on-and-off practice of combining molded and cloth uniforms, though the Sigma 6 aesthetic leant itself well to the practice. Seeing Spirit and some of the other 2004 large figures returning to full cloth uniforms made a world of difference. It should be a requirement for all 12 inch scale Joes.