During the new sculpt and 25th anniversary eras of GI Joe, it took Hasbro two tries to get a nice Baroness on the pegs. The 2002 relaunch version netted us this weird robotic looking version of Cobra’s leading lady. There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth until she surfaced again in the Valor vs. Venom series. By that time, at least some of the oddness of the first couple assortments had been worked out of the system. Notice I said some, not all. At least there weren’t sideways arm issues of the sort we saw just a few posts ago. Faint praise, I know. It’s easy to bash these figures, and I could go on and on about huge shoulder joints and tiny hands, but let’s give all that a break for a minute and just take a look at what’s right about the figure.
Okay, I can’t. (Wow, that didn’t last long). I’m sorry to harp on this, but the shoulders here stand out even more, since the Baroness’ frame is much more slight than male figures. I will say this in her defense; the overall proportions of her legs, arms and torso are improved from other female figures of the time, like Lady Jaye and Scarlett.
If you’d rather have this figure in a more traditional black, a later single carded version was released that resembled the classic figure more closely. Here we have armor in the right places, and although the Cobra chest symbol is a gummy mess in terms of paint, I like the idea of a sculpted element in place of a tampo.
The story I’ve often heard in relation to the proportion issues of the 2000s Joes relates to miscommunications with the factory in terms of the sizing of some parts. In the interest of glimpsing what could have been, I’ve worked a little Photoshop magic to shrink her prodigious shoulder joints to a more reasonable size. Here’s the result–in cool animated GIF format–it’s like 1995 all over again!
She doesn’t look too bad after shoulder reduction surgery, huh? Just changing the diameter of the joints a bit makes a difference. I imagine if the figures in this line were proportionate, it would be more fondly remembered by collectors. We’re left with an era of Joe that’s stuck in a no man’s land, where Hasbro made efforts in marketing a GI Joe line supported by media and ancillary tie-ins, but just couldn’t quite get the production side to gel as it did in the 80s. I’m more than a little sentimental about the time, as it represents for me a period in which a collector could have fun with a new Joe line confidently supported by Hasbro. Maybe those days will return. I hope so, even if the direction veers from the Real American Hero theme again.