Steel Brigade (2011)
Imagine making the Steel Brigade cool. I wouldn’t have thought the old create your own Joe figure to be high on Hasbro’s make list, but obviously someone had a soft spot for the old mail-in. The figure has been done in a way that pays homage to the original while putting a bit of a new spin on it. That’s something the Pursuit of Cobra did very well.
This is one of the figures in the recent lines that I was really looking forward to. Others looked interesting, but the Steel Brigade concept and look is right up my odd sort of alley. I’m glad this figure saw release outside of the 25th anniversary series, otherwise we may have seen a slavish attempt to replicate the original. I can imagine the troublesome aspects of combining the 25th Airborne and Duke parts, and slapping on the helmet from the Anti-Venom six pack. We dodged a bullet there.
Instead, this figure uses the Cobra Shock Trooper body to great effect. The mold works very well with more color added. Again, it’s the brilliant reuse of parts that makes the recent releases stand out as some of the best looking Joes. Picking out little details like the sleeve patches in contrasting darker blue brings some interest to the mold. Even throwing in extra paint detail to the knee pads helps to disguise the fact that we’ve seen this figure’s parts before.
The removable helmet is a crowning touch. I always wanted the vintage helmeted Joes to have removable headgear. The anonymous trooper aspect of the Steel Brigade is kept, thanks to the masked head underneath.
A running change used the commando Snake Eyes body, and while the variant is nice to mix up the ranks, I prefer this figure. However, it would have been nice to get a variant in the 90’s gold head color scheme.