Slaughter’s Marauders Falcon
Falcon is one of the characters that I have a lot of fond memories of thanks to the G.I. Joe movie. He’s also a guy that gets a lot of guff for his portrayal there. If you know him more from his filecard (like I did since my brother had the original Falcon long before I saw the movie), you’ll see him as a capable, elite military operator. However, in the movie, he was Duke’s screw-up step-brother. (Honestly, I’ve never been quite sure how they were related but the movie made it clear they were family somehow but I don’t remember if they expressly said how they were related or not.) Falcon unfortunately had a figure in the 25th Anniversary line. The head was awful and he used the terrible Duke arms. Those two strikes right there were enough to even make me not like the figure despite being an update of a character I like. Mercifully, Falcon saw some redemption in the Marauders set and even though it’s not based on any version of Falcon from the past, it’s still a great addition and I’m glad Falcon finally got a figure worthy of his following and of his character.
Marauders Falcon’s construction is interesting because he’s a mix of parts from two figures of the same character. The torso and waist come from 25th Anniversary Dusty while his arms and legs come from the great Pursuit of Cobra Dusty. These pieces mix together very well. The 25th Anniversary Dusty parts are great for a generic soldier while the Pursuit of Cobra Dusty has just enough futuristic flair to make him look a little more interesting and separate his look a bit more from 25th Anniversary Dusty’s. Over the top of this rather basic look, he does get a pair of add-ons. Falcon has always worn a neckerchief and he’s wearing that here. It looks natural, which is something that’s always hard to do with accessories that small. As much as I love the collar that Resolute Beachhead had, I don’t think it sits right on the figure and looks just a little awkward. Falcon’s neckerchief avoids that pitfall very well. Falcon also gets a new shoulder harness that looks sharp and again adds a little more uniqueness to what is otherwise a very generic torso. My only complaint is that I kind of wish they’d used either the webgear from the 25th Anniversary Falcon as a nod to his original look or the shoulder holster from the carded Rise of Cobra Hawk. As it stands now, without a holster or a backpack to attach it to, the shoulder harness seems more like a Liefeld belt, just there to look cool. I’m all for pouches and belts and straps as long as they have a clear purpose. I’m not exceptionally well-versed in military gear, but these shoulder straps just look like they’re there for aesthetics rather than functionality. If anyone knows of why a soldier would be wearing a shoulder harness without any sort of backpack or holster, please let me know, I’d like to hear the reasoning behind it so I can accept it here on Falcon. Finally, Falcon gets a brand new head sculpt…and thank heavens for that. While I don’t get too critical of head sculpts beyond them being out of proportion, 25th Anniversary Falcon was just butt-ugly. Here, you’ve got a Falcon that fits better with his characterization. Yeah, he’s kind of a pretty-boy, but there’s also a look of determination in this guy’s face makes it pretty clear that he can hang with the Green Berets. Plus, I’m really glad Hasbro took a page out of Marauder John’s accessory playbook and gave Falcon a removable beret. I don’t know if any other line made removable Joe-scale berets before Marauder’s Gun Runners started making them, but they’re the first place I saw them so that’s who I associate with that idea with. I’ve always liked Joes with removable helmets and while permanent hats never really bothered me all that much, I still have to smirk when I think of Flint’s or Falcon’s beret staying on no matter what happened to them. The moment that sold me on Tim’s “Iconoclasts” dio-story was when Flint was escaping from Cobra and was badly beaten up and rescued by undercover Chuckles and he quipped “Someday, you’re going to have to tell me how your beret stayed on through all of this.” Now, I can actually have Falcon take off his beret should the situation call for it, and that’s something I didn’t know I would’ve liked as an option back in the day.
Falcon had a distinct advantage over the rest of the Marauders in that his overall design was a pretty big departure from the last time we saw him in the line. That means he feels more like a new figure and less like a rehash. However, he does still get the Marauders camouflage treatment. Unfortunately, I’m not sure how well it works here. I would have liked to have seen the camo on his shirt and not just his pants. I think it would have been a nice throwback to his original all camouflaged look. Plus, it would have tied him a little closer to the rest of the Marauders. The others look relatively cohesive as a unit, while Falcon stands out a little bit more from the rest of the group. Admittedly, that makes sense because he wasn’t a Marauder back in the day, but when you’re trying to tie him to a group that he wasn’t a part of to begin with, it’s best to make the ties a bit more overt. He looks good, but it looks like Hasbro was trying to split the difference between a more classic Falcon look and a Marauders look and I kind of wish they would have just picked one look or the other and gone all the way with it. The Marauders blue shows up on his shoulder armor and beret, but I’m a little disappointed the only place he’s got some brown is on his gloves. I wish they would have put the brown on his shoulder harness. The black looks a little out of place to begin with and adding in some brown there would have really helped tied the Marauder look together. Despite my issues with the color choices, the paint is well done with no real errors. That’s always good to see, especially when you can’t examine the figure in person before buying him.
Falcon’s another Marauders figure that suffers a little bit in the gear department. He has one really good weapon, but his other is a dog and honestly, the choice for his good weapon isn’t ideal. Starting off with the really bad, Falcon is carrying 25th Gung-Ho’s grenade launcher. I’ve hated this thing from day one. While I applaud Hasbro for making a grenade launcher that you can unhinge like it’s being loaded and can fold up the sight, it’s flimsy and undersized and always has been. I’m not sure if the 30th Anniversary Firefly grenade launcher had been tooled up by the point at which this figure was produced, but they came out relatively close to each other so I think it would have been. If you’re going to list a figure’s primary weapon on a filecard as a grenade launcher, at least give him a good one. His other weapon is an automatic shotgun. It’s designed very well, but I would have rather seen them give Falcon the shotgun they gave him back during the 25th Anniversary line. I love that piece and it looked great in Falcon’s hands eve back when he was a terrible figure. I can’t imagine how good it would have looked in the hands of a good figure. Despite my nitpicks, Falcon’s main weapon is still great, I just wish they wouldn’t have trotted out Gung-Ho’s grenade launcher. Much like the Crimson Twins pistols back during the SpyTroops days, I’d pay someone at Hasbro good money to just “accidentally” drop that particular tool off a cargo ship while it’ s being sent back to the factory. It’s a bad piece and it needs to go away and stay gone.
Falcon is unfortunately a bit of a man without a country. His look isn’t strong enough in my opinion to tie him into the Marauders, but he’s also not distinct enough from the Marauders to stand alone as his own version of Falcon. He’s still a very good figure (and far better than what Hasbro limped to the gate with during the 25th Anniversary line), but I just wish he could pick a side of the line to stand on. He’s not really a nostalgic update of Falcon, but he’s also not taking Falcon in any sort of new direction. The Marauders out of the set were good nostalgic updates, but the Renegades took those three characters in new direction. Falcon tries to do both, and unfortunately, really accomplishes neither. I’m still very glad to have a version worthy of being called Falcon since I have fond memories of both my brother’s original version and my Super Sonic Fighters version, but I still kind of wish he’d wound up looking closer to either of those versions than this attempt at making a Slaughter’s Marauders version.