Crimson Guard (2005 Operation Crimson Sabotage)

Operation Crimson Sabotage was a boon for o-ring army builders, and it even hooked me, a guy who hadn’t dipped his toe into the craze. Between the OCS and the Cobra Infantry pack, I amassed a decent army in a short time.

The same mold (minus the Cobra head under the helmet) was also available as the Agent Faces mail-in. Yeah, I ordered a coupe fistfuls of him too. What else could a collector do with a billion Battle Points hanging around his parts box?

The new CG wasn’t a perfect figure, of course. 1985’s arms were replaced, and the removable helmet naturally throws off the look of the original headgear. It’s a bit bloated comparatively, but I don’t mind it. The unmasked trooper head is well worth the trade-off. Getting three varieties of countenance in one box was a nice little bonus feature, particularly when one was African-American. However thanks to parts reuse, it’s just the regular sculpt molded in brown, just like the 1964 AA Joes.

If one thing sticks out as a real sore spot, it’s the Cobra sigil. Located more than a bit low on the jacket, the logo appears on hai belly rather than chest. The issue isn’t the size, as the logo looks small enough to fit in its usual place, but the tampo is off. Oh and it’s not silver. Bummer.

Despite its shortcomings, these guys posed in groups look super cool. I’m not sorry that I picked up a gaggle back in the day. Thanks K-B Toys online clearance sales!


  • ”If you’re looking for the ultimate Cobra Crimson Guard-Look no further, than the 1985 Vintage Cobra CrImson Guard.”

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    Great looking figure and it’s nice to see a black Cobra character for a change. The only other one I could think of was Claymore.

  • YoJoe is showing the Operation Crimson Sabotage set as coming out in 2004. The 6-figure Crimson Guard Force is listed for 2005, and while they made the Cobra sigil metallic gold & placed it higher, it didn’t include the African American CG. That makes this guy a little harder to get; I’ve never seen 5 together! The slight uniform coloration differences are tolerable, but the ’91 Duke arms irk me to no end. They just cannot put their arms down! Maybe these CGs lift more weights rather than pencils.

    • It would’ve been nice if the head could turn, too. But this Hasbro, who couldn’t fix the 1997 changes to their Viper heads…always stuck looking down.

  • This entire concept was pretty great. Two popular vehicles and three army building figures for $20. At KB no less! Yet, they still flopped and ended up as clearance fodder. (One of the toy rags of the time listed it as a can’t miss “investment”.) Hasbro tried to keep the 2005 CG TRU set under wraps so that army builders would buy these up. But, once that info got out, a lot of guys who had a couple of these sets stopped buying them and waited for the TRU offering at the same price. (Though, it ended up only getting you one more army builder, but with better gear.)

    I wish Hasbro had done a couple more of these. A Stinger set with three recolored TRU troopers would have been a no-brainer. Guess they couldn’t get anyone else to bite after this one didn’t set the world ablaze.

    • Yeah, well, some places they went on clearance, but i never saw them at brick and mortar.

      Passing the set up for the TRU set was a weird thing, but army builders were nit-picky as heck back then. Some people who believed Cobra were white supremacists and thus would sell off the guard here and the dark skinned Cobra trooper. Some folks who sold off their extra scarred Cobra officers or even the one with the brown boots…because brown boots (they would’ve hated most of the early 90’s Cobra)..

  • Og crimson guard is my fave fig. I like this guy better without the helmet. I’d like to see a new one with switch out heads. Cobra placement is weird.

  • Pingback: Joe-a-Day: Crimson Sabotage & Fred VII (reviews) | Mobile Strike Force

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