50th Anniversary Baroness
Baroness has always been a big part of the Joe mythos. She was the first named Cobra agent we were introduced to in Issue #1 of the comic and she played a big role in the cartoon. All that exposure has given Baroness a pretty big fan following, so it’s also no surprise that each time the Joe line has relaunched itself, Baroness has shown up pretty early on. Consequently, it’s also a no-brainer to include Baroness in the 50th Anniversary line. She’s a key part of the Joe brand and Hasbro will be sure to move units since she’s such a popular character. While I do like this Baroness better than the other modern Baronesses in my collection, she does suffer from some of the problems endemic to the 50th Anniversary line and that does bring her down a few notches in my esteem, to the point where, much like all the other Baroness figures I have, she’s not even on display now that I’ve finished writing up her Field Report.
Like many of the other 50th Anniversary line figures, this Baroness is basically a re-release of a hard to find earlier figure. I never saw the last Cobra five-pack in my area, so this version of Baroness is all new to me, but at the same time, it would have been nice if Hasbro had at least given her a new head sculpt. This head sculpt is probably the weak part of the figure for me. Yes, it’s better than the other two Baroness heads we’ve gotten, but she just doesn’t look like Baroness to me. For my money, even with the windswept hair, the original 25th Anniversary Baroness head sculpt was the best one around. It looked appropriately feminine and yet still had the stern eyes that I associate with Baroness. This one is still feminine, but she just looks kind of dead behind the eyes, and that bugs me. From the neck down, though, the figure is great. The classic armored bodysuit looks sleek yet protective and doesn’t come off as overtly sexual. The armor plates look nice and I love that the Cobra sigil on her chest is a raised detail. It looks really sharp like that. This version of Baroness is definitely better than the Resolute one they gave us, but I’m honestly not sure is she’s any better than the 25th Anniversary version.
I think where this Baroness really gets the short shrift is on her paint work. I think if the paintwork, especially on her face, was better I’d like this figure a lot more. One again, the biggest problem is her face. Really, everything on Baroness is great…but her face. First of all, the skintone is exceedingly pale. Seriously, I don’t spend a lot of time outside, but even I’m tanner than Baroness. Then we have to talk about the poor paint coverage on her glasses. Again, I’ve seen far worse at the one brick and mortar Toys ‘R’ Us store within driving distance of me, but what I got from the guys over at BigBadToyStore still isn’t great. The poor paint application literally changes the shape of her glasses frames on the left side of her face and leaves them looking asymmetrical. Then there are the lips. Apparently, somewhere along the lines, Baroness decided to take lipstick tips from Queen Amidala because that’s the only time I’ve ever seen lipstick applied in that fashion. On mine, it looks like she just put a line of red down the middle of her bottom lip. That’s just bizarre. I can forgive the lips, but the glasses are what really kills it for me. If the glasses were done properly, it would really save this figure. I could overlook the unnaturally pale skintone, but with the glasses winding up wonky because of the paint, it just kills the whole look. From the neck down, Baroness is great. The paint on her Cobra sigil is very well applied with no slop whatsoever and the silver trim at the top of each armored plate on her abdomen and boots is spot on. It’s maddening how good the paint work is on those details and yet they couldn’t get her glasses to look right. Finally, to distance her from the other releases of this figure, Baroness also has the gold Cobra sigil tampoed on her left arm. The Cobra sigil does look good in gold and it’s a nice, yet subtle way of making her stand apart from the other versions.
Like a few of the other 50th Anniversary sets, there was a lot of gear in the Social Clash set. I’ll be talking about how I’ve distributed the gear. Your mileage may vary, but this is what I think works. For her primary weapon, Baroness has the same rifle that the 25th Anniversary figure came with. It’s a good modern assault rifle and it looks at home in Baroness’s hands. Baroness also carries a Rise of Cobra pulse pistol, though I do wish they’d given her the ones without the little knob on the side since she doesn’t have a hole in her leg for it to plug into. The second one is in her Cobra briefcase alongside the Pursuit of Cobra Shock Trooper submachine gun. The briefcase was initially used in the Rise of Cobra line to carry nanomite warheads, but mercifully, it is big enough that I can store those two guns inside it without any problems. Finally, I also gave Baroness the 25th Anniversary Zap bazooka and backpack. I know most people gave it to Lady Jaye, but Lady Jaye can’t use the backpack unless you take her webgear off. Yes, you have to turn Baroness’s head to the side for her backpack hole to be accessible, but at least you don’t have to remove any of the figure’s gear to do it. Plus, ever since seeing Resolute, I’ve kind of liked Baroness packing a bit more firepower. I think it’s just kind of cool. The Zap bazooka is normally a great piece, however, this one will not stay together at all. The back end of the tube is incredibly loose and falls away at the drop of a hat. I don’t know why this one is so flimsy, but it is and it really kind of makes the figure feel cheap. I’ve never had a Joe figure’s accessories literally fall apart on me and that’s a shame.
All in all, 50th Anniversary Baroness is unfortunately the perfect way to sum of Hasbro’s 50th Anniversary line…at least when it comes to the figures themselves. The vehicles are great, but a lot of the figures are so close to being great and yet so far away from the mark. This is so close to being the best Baroness figure I own, but a few mistakes and miscues really cause this figure to suffer. Add in the gear that doesn’t actually stay together and Baroness feels more like a Funskool figure than a Hasbro release, and unfortunately not in the good, wacky way. I’m glad I have the 25th Anniversary Baroness because the 50th Anniversary Baroness isn’t a good enough figure to make me think about downsizing her.