Beachhead (Pursuit of Cobra)
I managed to find the first wave of Pursuit of Cobra figures all at one time, so I can’t really give Beachhead the distinction of the first Pursuit figure I purchased, but I do know that I was so taken by his new design that he was definitely the first one I opened up when I got home because I thought he looked so cool. Beachhead is a great character and this version really did a great job of taking what already exists with his look and modernizing it a lot. No offense to Beachhead, but his original look had started looking a bit dated. However, Pursuit Beachhead sticks to his classic design elements (green balaclava, dark vest and brown pants), but successfully takes them into a new era. While he’s an early Pursuit of Cobra figure, his design still holds up and you can see a lot of the later-line greatness here already in Beachhead.
Like a lot of early Pursuit of Cobra figures, Beachhead uses all new molds, though the head would get used around the same time with Resolute Beachhead as well. Beachhead’s design does share a lot with the Rise of Cobra aesthetic, but really, that doesn’t bother me too much. While I would have appreciated a bit more individuality in the Joe uniforms from that era, I really liked the futuristic reactive armor that everyone was decked out in. Beachhead definitely owes a lot of his look on his upper body to that idea. The arms and torso both have armor plates built into his clothing and while his torso is covered by a great vest, the armored arms and chest look good together and the look works without his vest on. That can’t be said for some Joes and Cobras that have detailed vests, so I’m glad that they made Beachhead’s design work both with and without the vest. The armor detailing is impressive, but since he’s Beachhead, underneath the armor it looks like he’s still wearing a basic commando sweater. It’s these details that I appreciate in the Pursuit of Cobra line, especially after coming off Rise of Cobra. They could have easily just giving him a standard reactive armor torso, but they decided that wasn’t quite enough so they went back and referenced Beachhead’s original uniform. The legs also act as a great throwback to the original Beachhead. For some reason, Beachhead’s pants were almost always sculpted to be rather baggy back in the day. Really, it wasn’t until the 25th Anniversary line that he started wearing what I would term more military pants. They looked like a fitted pair of BDU pants. However, this time, Beachhead’s gone back to his roots a bit more with slightly baggier pants that kind of remind me of cargo pants. I’m not quite sure what they would be in real life, but I find myself liking the wraps he’s got that run from about mid-thigh to just below the knee. It preserves the bagginess of Beachhead’s pants without looking like camouflage sweatpants, a common criticism of Beachhead’s original baggy pants in some circles. They also allow Beachhead to carry a bit more gear. On his right leg, he has a pair of spare magazines for his rifle while his left leg has an electronic device attached to it. The device has a hose that runs down his leg and plugs in just above his boot. Again, I’m not quite sure what it is, but I really like it. I envision it as being some sort of high tech electronic lock pick. Beachhead may be a take-no-prisoners type of guy, but he still understands the benefits of a covert insertion. Moving back up, you can’t review Beachhead without talking about his amazing new vest. This beauty has details galore and does fit rather well, though it does keep him from putting his arms flat against the side. There are a total of eighteen pouches between the front and back of the vest, a pair of functional knife sheaths, four spare ammo clips, two flash-bangs and a pair of binoculars, plus attachment points for his flippers. The vest looks appropriately pouch-y, but not ridiculous and in the places that there aren’t pouches, again, there’s a bit of a reactive armor vibe in its detailing. Finally, we look up and see that Beachhead gets a new head sculpt as well. While I liked both head sculpts they used during the 25th Anniversary line for different reasons, I think this one does a great job, though I do miss the personality that the first 25th Anniversary Beachhead sculpt had. He’s wearing a standard military balaclava and it doesn’t look quite as tight to his head as the first 25th Anniversary Beachhead head sculpt was. Much akin to Firefly, they went and added the seam details on the top of the head and down near the mouth. What you can see of Beachhead’s face is pretty typically Beachhead, though I do think the first 25th Anniversary Beachhead did give him a little more personality behind the eyes. He’s not as dead-eyed as Shockwave wound up being, but I kind of miss the angry eyes that 25th Anniversary Beachhead had. When his head is tipped down, you do get a bit of the stern glare effect, but 25th Anniversary Beachhead was always glaring at you, and in my mind, stern glare is Beachhead’s default facial expression.
Beachhead’s paint scheme also effectively references his original style while updating it, though I do wish his color palate had been a little closer to the original Beachhead because this is another figure that borders on being overwhelmingly dark. If you know the colors are there, you can see them, and they do show up well in photographs, but at a quick glance, it’s really hard to differentiate the dark green of his mask and shirt from the very dark gray of his armor plates and vest. There’s a slight paint flaw on his mask with a little bit of misplaced flesh color onto the edge of his eye slit. It’s not bad, but since the green is so dark, the much lighter flesh tone stands out a bit more against it. The darkness continues on his legs with his dark brown pants with the dark gray for his thigh pouches, kneepads, and panels on the outside of each lower leg. The brown pants are accented with some black to make a camouflage pattern. My only other real complaint is that I assume the paint team wanted to have the brown camouflage up on his arms as well under his gauntlets, but the colors there don’t match at all. The brown used under the gauntlets is far too dark to be Beachhead’s skin, but far too light for it to be something like his pants. I think a choice either way would have helped things out a little, but as it stands, he has some strange tan camouflaged cloth under his gauntlets that really doesn’t fit well with anything else. The vest gets some detailing in the form of silver used on almost all the snaps and clasps but there were some other places that could have been given some color, like a matching green on a couple of the armored panels on the back of the vest, that were ignored. The flash-bang grenades get a nicely tampoed caution logo and red for the bottoms of the canisters. That’s a detail that didn’t need to be there, but I appreciate that the paint team did something with those grenades. Also, surprisingly, the display screen and buttons for his door cracker also get paint treatment. Oddly, though, the sculpted zippers on the front of his pants legs didn’t get painted, even though they did when these legs were reused with Low Light the following year.
Pursuit of Cobra was a line that paired great sculpts with lots of great accessories and Beachhead was one of the first characters to start creating that trend with a veritable arsenal of reused weapons plus some new, mission-specific gear. Starting off small, Beachhead has a knife for to fill his sheath. Giving Beachhead a single knife turned out to be somewhat maddening as I remember spending probably 15 minutes scouring my apartment floor to find a missing knife before I thought to check the online Joe resources to discover that I hadn’t actually lost a knife. It fits securely in either sheath, though I do wish they’d given him a pair of knives just because I hate empty sheaths. Beachhead also has a small pistol for a closer combat sidearm. It’s been used multiple times, but I do like it in Beachhead’s hands. Between the heavy vest and the pistol, I get a very tactical ops vibe from the look even though he’s not in typical S.W.A.T. colors. As a bit of a throwback to Rise of Cobra, Beachhead brings along the slimmer model pulse rifle. I like the design and it’s futuristic without looking unrealistic. It could be a pulse rifle or it could just be a fancy, lightweight assault rifle. Additionally, he also has a pair of submachine guns. One has a forward grip while the other has a silencer. I like both molds, but also wish they’d just given him a pair of one type. As an action movie aficionado, I love seeing figures double wielding submachine guns like this, but I think it looks better when the submachine guns match. For his heavier firepower, Beachhead has two different assault rifles, each for a specific task. The first one is your standard model with a forward grip. I see this as Beachhead’s primary weapon for clearing out an urban nest of Cobras. It’s got plenty of firepower to get the job done, but it’s still maneuverable in close quarters combat situation. His other assault rifle has a different configuration and with the scope on top, I see it lending itself more to urban sharpshooting scenarios. Beachhead is by no means a trained sniper, but I can see this weapon being useful at neutralizing a sentry from a distance just to be safe. Beachhead doesn’t just have an arsenal though. He also has some mission specific gear. First off, he gets a very cool helmet and gas mask combination. At a glance you can tell it’s for urban pacification operations, but I do wish it would have gotten a little paint on the visor just to bring out those details. The other mission gear leaves me a little confused. Beachhead has a pair of funky looking flippers. They fit Beachhead’s feet nicely, but at the same time, I wish they would have included a bit more information on why Beachhead had this gear. If I hadn’t been at the Hasbro Design Team panel where they unveiled Beachhead and talked about his gear, I never would have known their idea behind equipping him with flippers—the gas mask also doubles as a rebreather so Beachhead could be inserted covertly into a coastal city by swimming in and could insert himself into a major industrial complex by swimming up the large drainage pipes.
The first wave of Pursuit of Cobra really hit the ground running. Even though it took me a while to purchase the entire wave, I eventually did, and that’s rather unusual for me. That’s a testament to how strong their first choices were. Beachhead was one I knew I was interested in right away, but opening the figure up, it was amazing at how much he actually exceeded my expectations. This version of Beachhead is ready for some heavy combat and that’s what I want my Beachhead to look like. I’ve always seen him as one of the Joes that would be the first to get into the thick of things in a firefight and this Beachhead is more than ready to do that. It’s a great modern update of a classic Joe character with a strong fan following. Even as a casual fan of Beachhead I’m impressed, and I’m sure Beachhead’s die hards fell even harder for this figure than I did. Not only is it a great representation of everyone’s favorite Ranger, but it’s just a great action figure to boot.