Steel Brigade Commander (2005)

The Steel Brigade has had a long history in Joe collecting. It’s been around since the vintage line, and continues as part of the modern line. Hasbro’s original concept of letting kids make up their own character was a hit with imaginative young collectors like me. Although the original version was a hodge podge of ’83 and ’84 parts, it was still a fun figure. As the years went by however, the figure’s early sculpt style stood out amongst the later releases. I always wished they had released an updated version later in the line.When the Collectors Club showed off the 2005 Joecon attendee-only exclusives, I got my wish and then some. Not only did the set include new Steel Brigade paratroopers, but also a new character in the form of the Steel Brigade Commander.

The mold use is a perfect example of what the Collectors Club could do with previously seldom used parts. The body is from Windchill, the Arctic Blast and Blockbuster driver. The head comes from the late series Star Brigade Blackstar, and is obscure enough that it almost seems like a newly sculpted part.

Wow, what a difference a paint job can make. The color choices and paint details make a couple of previously forgettable molds into one of the best ever convention exclusive figures. The camo pattern on his uniform actually has a name, on the file card it’s called Urban Rain, and it was designed by the commander himself to blend in to the “concrete jungle”. Bravo sir–nice pants.

Not only is the figure itself a great example of creativity and inventive parts reuse, but the story of the character is interesting to boot. The Steel Brigade Commander functions as a trainer for the international Joe security forces. Whereas the Steel Brigade was previously (and currently) described as Joes-in-training, the international security aspect still works within the original concept that the Steel Brigade forces can encompass a wide variety of specialties.

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