Review & pics by: Fred Meyer
G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary Classic Clash Spirit
Spirit has always been one of the more interesting characters in the ARAH mythos as far as I’m concerned. He’s part Native American shaman, part tracker, and part profiler! (This last detail, while spelled out very clearly in his original file card tends to slip past some folks.) More than just the “Indian hunter”, Spirit is the Joe who can track down his quarry using a combination of psychological profiling and traditional Native American hunting skills. His first 25 th Anniversary version was pretty much a mixed bag – ruined by a bad head sculpt and a useless sculpted hand. It wasn’t until he returned in the Pursuit of Cobra line that the figure was given a decent upgrade, even if he was clearly an homage of Sonny Landham’s character of Billy from the classic action film Predator. (Not that this is a bad thing at all.) Now, Spirit’s back once more in a Sunbow-inspired pairing that gives him a bold new desert deco. Does this new design work for Charlie Iron-Knife? Read on and find out this Joe fan’s opinion!
Like most of the figures in the 50 th Anniversary line, Spirit is built using previously-tooled parts. In this case, as near as I can tell, the recipe for the G.I. Joe Tracker is as follows:
It’s a pretty solid build that gives Spirit a decent amount of height without causing him to tower over his peers as well as wide range of motion. The use of the Resolute Snake Eyes feel was a bit surprising as I never saw Spirit as a steel-toed boot kind of guy but they work fairly well. The sculpted shin armor does restrict the ankle joint a bit resulting in Spirit being a bit “back heavy” when he’s wearing the back pack but that’s minor gripe. I do like the short-sleeve shirt arms and the inclusion of the hinged wrists, something that I think should be standard on all Gen 3 Joes as this point.
One thing to note—the vest on my figure wasn’t a great fit out of the package. The sculpted scarf from the Retaliation Ultimate Flint was a bit too wide for the vest when I opened the Classic Clash and therefore I had to use a hair dryer to soften the plastic enough to get it to fit. It’s a good look for him visually but the vest does limit the range of motion in the arms just a bit.
In terms of head sculpt, Hasbro is sticking with what works and that’s the PoC Spirit head that resembles Sonny Landham. However, unlike previous versions which suffered from varying skin tones and some dodgy paint apps in the eyes, this one nails it for me. The skin color is dark which provides a nice contrast with the painted red head band and the darker hair. It’s this detail alone that has pushed me to accept this figure as my default modern version of Spirit.
If the Classic Clash Spirit has a weak spot, it’s found in his kit. His accessories include:
I’m going to say it now—I’ve never understood Spirit’s rifle. I didn’t like it when it was first released with the 1984 ARAH version, I wasn’t a fan of it when it dropped with the 25th anniversary version, and I especially don’t like it here. For one thing, the figure can’t really assume a realistic firing pose with it—at all. The thickness of the stock combined with the grip of the figure’s hands make anything other than a casual carry pose all but impossible. What’s more frustrating is that this is his primary weapon. Aside from his new blades (neither of which store on the figure w/o some creativity) he’s essentially unarmed. I’d have preferred it had Hasbro ditched the reuse of this craptacular piece of plastic in favor of including Freedom—who is actually pictured on the file card! Seriously—I’ve tossed this lame rifle away and have given him the tan M4 that came with the Hunt for Cobra Commander Shipwreck. It’s a decent color match to his uniform and it gives Spirit a much more tactical look. If this version of Charlie Iron-Knife has a weak aspect, it’s the included accessories.
Is the Classic Clash Spirit worth your hard-earned cash? At the end of the day, I’m going to have to say “yes” but with a caveat. The figure itself is a pretty terrific update on one of my favorite Joes with a nice desert color scheme and some terrific paint apps on the head sculpt. The gear selection is a bit weak with a near-useless rifle and a noticeably lack of Freedom but it’s still not enough to cause me to dislike this figure. While Gung-Ho may have been my most-anticipated figure this year, the Classic Clash two-pack was the two-pack I was looking forward to the most and this Spirit figure played a bit part in that. Sure, he needs to be rearmed but isn’t that why we have companies like Marauder Gun-Runners? At the end of the day, I’m glad that this figure saw release as he really is my definitive gen 3 version of the character and I believe a lot of Joe fans will feel the same way. Of course, that’s just this Joe fan’s opinion.
The Bottom Line: A SOLID update to a classic character whose only real weakness is found in his gear load-out.
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