By Past Nastification
The further away from it we get, the more quality I find in the New Sculpt era. This isn’t a whitewashing of the badness, but a taking in of the good despite the bad. Ripper made his NS debut in 2002.
Unlike many of the NS figures, this one has no real proportion issues. It smoothly bridges the style differences between the ARAH run and the 25A/Modern Era one, and looks fine next to either variety.
The design of the Ripper is good. It carries over the tank top, trench knife, sunglasses, and facial hair of the ARAH figure and improves on its muscular build. The facial hair is now lambchop sideburns and a mustache, instead of the previous full beard, but it works. The trademark semi-mohawk of the ARAH design might be there, but it’s hidden under a ball cap. Wrist wrapping also adds to Ripper’s look. The ball cap and wrap are a good move, as they put Ripper into a newer uniform. Many ME figures are uninspired direct tributes to the ARAH versions, which just feels like somehow making an old thing with new parts. I would have preferred this version of Ripper to get a ME tribute figure over the ARAH one. Blasphemous, I know.
There’s a bit of Dreadnok flavor on the figure. The trousers and backpack are somewhere on the color spectrum between dirty bubble gum and mauve, just obnoxious enough to work for a rebellious type such as Ripper. There is also some metal plating on the gloves and boots (although the plating on the boots is left unpainted). The bottoms of the trouser legs are also tattered, but exceptionally bad paint application hides it. A Zartan head Dreadnok tattoo sits on Ripper’s right arm.
Talking about Ripper without mentioning the other original Dreadnoks, Buzzer and Torch, just wouldn’t be right. Torch also got one of the better NS figures. Buzzer didn’t make a NS appearance, but got a comic pack ARAH-style makeover with a new head a few years later.
Packaged with Duke, Ripper came with a pile of meh weapons. This is another case in which yojoe.com and I don’t agree as to which figure got what. It doesn’t really matter, though. I’m happy to blame Hasbro, which put no thought into the weaponry. In fact, it’s not what Ripper came with that detracts from the figure, but what it didn’t come with. The oversized bladed tool and the jaws-of-life, Ripper’s signature ARAH gear, is nowhere to be found. The lack of expected accessories doesn’t ruin the figure. There’s also an argument that taking them away gives the character some width in terms of his skills. I don’t fully agree with that, just putting it out there.
If there’s one thing that the NS era was good at, it was putting old characters in newer designs. Many failed, but Ripper was a success.
I did like how the JvC era tried something new. You can see this as Ripper, but it’s different. Destro was the best example of this. But, there were quite a few designs that worked for the character, even though it was something new.
I have the repaint of this figure, the one with the blue pants, and that one to me looks more Dreadnok-ish. And, the blue backpack that came with it, looks a lot nicer on that figure. My only beef with this design was that it was not made with a separate gun, and gun holster, like some of the other figures from that early modern era of G.I. Joe figures. By the way, this was the first ever Dreadnok figure to be made with a ball cap. But, Gnawgahyde was the first ever Dreadnok figure to be made with a hat, and one that was removable. And, it was also the first Dreadnok figure that was released with a pet animal. You know, it’s too bad that Buzzard, one of the original first three members of Zartan’s gang, was not given a newly designed figure around that time, though. That’s a real shame.
Go Joe! this cat ‘Ripper’ looks fly! Kinda of reminds me of ‘Crash’ from the Corps!
Maybe the New Sculpt era gains charm because it was new sculpts? They didn’t just reused Cobra Shock Trooper parts over and over and over and over. Maybe it’s because they had fewer figures whose necks weren’t designed to make characters stuck staring at the ground?
I don’t love this figure but it’s not bad. He reminds me of a trucker than a biker.
There’s the New Sculpt design cliches. The bands on both biceps. The armored bits on the gloves. And knee pads, new sculpt loved knee pads.
It odd they were in no hurry to update all 3 original dreadnoks.
I give New Sculpt a solid pass because for the most part they were well made toys with lots of detail and useful articulation. Because of their proportions they don’t look “right” alongside my vintage ARAH Joe’s, but that doesn’t stop me from getting them for my kids. They hold up well and inspire countless adventures. That sounds like good GI Joes to me.
It’s not a bad figure, it’s just that when I look at this guy, I don’t see Ripper. I see a deranged trucker who showed up at the Dreadnok audition.