25th Anniversary Cutter
Figures like Cutter are what really killed me about the 25th Anniversary line. I loved Cutter growing up (though my only version was the really awesome D.E.F. version). The figure I had was great and reading his filecard, I found out he and I shared a birthplace. That was really awesome to my kid brain and it’s still a nostalgic highpoint for me on this figure. However, the figure Hasbro limped to the gate with (in an overpriced store-exclusive three-pack with two other weak figures, to boot) was pretty disappointing. I passed on him many times at Toys R Us, but when I saw him for only four dollars on the dealer floor at Planet Comicon in Kansas City, I bit on him. While I’m glad I have him, he’s still honestly kind of a disappointment for quite a few reasons, primarily the choice they made for his head, but I’ll get to that in a moment.
I’m pretty sure I wasn’t alone when I saw the Comic Pack Shipwreck and started thinking of Cutter. Just by adding a life vest to Shipwreck’s mold, you made it look different enough to be someone else and who else but Cutter wore a life vest back in the day? Hasbro went with the expected route on the parts choices from the neck down. He’s got Shipwreck’s torso, waist and legs but to offset the original 25th Anniversary Shipwreck having one closed fist, he picked up 25th Anniversary Tiger Force Flint’s arms. While I don’t hate those arms as much as some people, I do have to admit that their anatomy is a bit wonky. For the time he was made, they were the best option for short sleeves, but they’re still pretty dated. I also appreciate that the Flint arms turned Cutter into a lefty because of the wrist he wears his watch on. As a fellow lefty, I like that the Joe from my birthplace now is also a lefty like me. Unfortunately, all is not well for Mr. Stone as Hasbro just decided to reuse Gung-Ho’s head and call it a day. I realize the Toys R Us exclusive three packs were supposed to be cost-savers for Hasbro, but come on. Gung-Ho’s noggin is pretty recognizable. Just turning his mustache red and painting his bald head red is pretty lazy and the Marine hat isn’t a baseball cap. I’m not against figures only passing the squint test for the character that they’re supposed to represent, but I’m not even sure Cutter passes the squint test. Having come with the W.H.A.L.E. back in the day, I’ve always seen Cutter as a vehicle driver who wound up with a much bigger following than he had any right to because his vehicle was so awesome. There are definitely Cutter fans out there, and a Gung-Ho head doesn’t work here. This version of Cutter came out in 2008, so there was already another head option, Mutt. I think it would have worked better since Mutt usually had his helmet on because it was a unique piece and if the Shockwave ballcap mold was already in the works for that 2009 release, you’ve got just what you need for Cutter—a mustache and an actual baseball cap.
Though Cutter’s design may have left me cold, Hasbro did do a very good job with his relatively simple paint job. Cutter’s original look was pretty simple with a light blue shirt, an orange life vest and darker blue pants. On this front, the 25th Anniversary Cutter does not disappoint. The paint job is relatively clean, though the green for his watch is pretty sloppy. Mercifully, that slop does get obscured by his gray gloves. Overall, the look is good and I like that the two members of the Joe team that I most associate with working on boats look similar. I’ll admit, I don’t know if Coast Guard and Navy men wear similar uniforms, but really, when you both have to wear a life vest for a lot of the time, it’s kind of hard not to look alike anyway. One thing I did notice on the paint job is something that I’d like an answer on from any other person that owns this version of Cutter. The page for him on YoJoe shows the strap that buckles on the front of the life vest painted black. However, mine doesn’t have that paint application. Is this a holdover from a pre-production shot that didn’t make it to the final released figure or did my version get released without it? Beyond my hopes of a crowd-sourced answer on that issue, Cutter’s paint job does look sharp, and I do appreciate they went as far as adding a red letter “B” on Cutter’s hat as a nod to his original figure being able to use the Boston Red Sox logo on his cap.
Cutter’s accessories are also shared with the Comic Pack Shipwreck that was clearly inspired by Cutter’s look. Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of either of those accessories. He has a pistol, which is nice but it’s also pretty underwhelming. I realize that Cutter doesn’t have a weapon associated with him like guys like Flint or Snow Job do, but I really would have liked to have seen something more than just a pistol with him. Give me a rifle or something. Instead, his second accessory is the hook and line that Shipwreck used. I understand the idea behind this piece is that it would be how someone like Cutter could lash himself to the deck during high seas (and the handle piece even has a way to hook it onto his life vest) but considering there are no boats in the Joe line, and probably won’t be for the foreseeable future, I really don’t understand why Cutter would be carrying such a thing. Yes, he can also carry it in his hand and use it as an improvised weapon like Shipwreck did when the Tactical Battle Platform was attacked by Cobra during the “Creation of Cobra Island” story arc, but it’s still kind of pointless in my opinion. Its pointlessness is only reinforced by the fact that I think it took the place of some sort of weapon that would look better in Cutter’s hands. That said, the Flint hands are notoriously finicky when it comes to being able to hold weapons, so it might be a blessing in disguise that he didn’t come with a gun that he might not have been able to hold well anyway.
When I bought Cutter off the Planet Comicon dealer room floor, I realized there was a reason I passed on him so many times since the Toys R Us Senior Ranking Officers sets kind of pegwarmed (especially the Joe Sea Command set), but as a cheap con floor impulse buy, he was pretty hard to resist. I’ll admit, he’s one of the few 25th Anniversary purchases I made solely on the basis of nostalgia. This was not a really great figure, but I have strong childhood memories attached to Cutter. I’m glad I have him from a nostalgia standpoint, but as a figure, he’s very weak. I’ll admit, I’ve been toying with buying a custom-cast “Coast Guard Commander” head from one of the online parts casters and try to get my friend with mad paint skills to paint it up for me, but honestly I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Maybe this entry going up will get me off my duff like the Dollar General Duke/You-Can-Make-Him-Into-Short-Fuze-Easily-And-Works-Better-That-Way-Post did, who knows? Cutter is a classic character and he deserves better. Maybe if Hasbro goes really crazy and remakes the W.H.A.L.E. at some point (I know they said they won’t, but I remember at Joe Con 2009 the team also told us “Don’t ever count on getting a new Tomahawk” either), Cutter will get some love too.