Review & pics by: Fred Meyer
The Hunt for Cobra Commander Shipwreck
There’s no doubt about it—Shipwreck is one of the most popular G.I. Joe characters in the entire mythos. Known primarily for his portrayal as a Jack Nicholson pastiche in the Sunbow cartoon series, Shipwreck has gone on to appear in every subsequent ARAH incarnation. While his 25th Anniversary version stayed pretty close to the original 1985 source material, subsequent versions have taken this U.S. Navy sailor in some decidedly differentthematicdirections. Back in 2012 at the G.I. Joe Collector’s Convention in New Orleans, a decidedly more modern military look for Hector X. Delgado was debuted. It was one of those “what could have been” moments that led fans to speculate “Would he ever seen a retail release?” Now, three years later this tactical take on Shipwreck sees release in the second year of the 50 th Anniversary line. Was he worth the wait? Read on and find out one Joe fan’s opinion!
Let me just start off by saying that this figure appears to be constructed entirely from previously existing parts. I’m no customizer so I might be a bit off on some of this but it would appear that the recipe for this very modern Shipwreck is as follows:
This is actually a pretty solid build for Shipwreck. The combination of torso, arms, and legs combine together to produce a body that is both practical and poseable at the same time. The basic t-shirt and cargo pants uniform seems like something that Shipwreck, how never struck me as being concerned with haute couture would plausibly don prior to heading out on a mission. (It also doesn’t help that this parts combination ends up bearing a strong, and presumably coincidental, resemblance to the character of Tex Nolan as played by John Pyper-Ferguson from TNT’s excellent series The Last Ship.) The figure even retains the signature anchor tattoo that Shipwreck has had since his 1985 debut! Eagle-eyed fans will notice that this parts build means that Shipwreck is slightly shorter than any of the more recent versions including the pretty spectacular “Dollar Store” build. It’s no such a difference as to be noticeable, however.
The only thing that I find a bit puzzling about this particular figure are some of the paint apps. I love the “NAVY” that’s printed on the figure’s torso but found that the white paint used on the shoulders isn’t such a great match. It looks to be a bit thick on the plastic and the shade is a bit different. Since I’m not really going to display him without the included tactical vest too often this isn’t a big deal but some fans might find this distracting. What I do find really odd is the placement of the 50th Anniversary gold star on the figure’s right shoulder. It’s located more to the front than to the side and honestly appears to be a complete after thought; it’s almost as if the paint app was added just to maintain the association to the exclusive series. Personally, it could have been left off and old Hector would have looked just fine. Aside from these minor points, I’ve no issues with this body build whatsoever.
For years I’ve been wishing that both Hasbro and the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club would tool one distinct head for each character rather than reuse some molds for multiple individuals. In this case, someone at Hasbro agrees as Hector was released using the Rise of Cobra Naval Commando Shipwreck head that has been the character’s signature look for the past few year. Personally I like it quite a lot. I resembles his portrayal from the Devil’s Due Comics G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero series of the early 2000’s which I found to be the best modern update of Shipwreck in the comics yet! No complaints here whatsoever! (Plus, it really does resemble the character of Tex!)
Shipwreck is definitely going for a more modern tactical look with his kit this time around. Gone is the tiny shotgun and hook & line from the 25th Anniversary version. Instead, Hector is packing quite the weapons assortment:
There’s not too much to say about this gear other than “I like it!” The M4 has almost become the standard rifle of the G.I. Joe team over the past few years and the tan color scheme works pretty well here, although I’ve actually already handed it over the Classic Clash Spirit. The HK MP5 fits perfectly in both of the figure’s hands thanks to the hinged wrists and the pistol and silencer once again fit into the molded thigh holster which has become very familiar to Joe fans over the past few years. (Seriously—it’s almost to the point that you have to feel bad for the figures that don’t have it!) I like the two knives although I prefer the more recently designed silver blade over the more familiar 25th Anniversary knife. My only regret is that Shipwreck has nowhere to stash this weapon on his person. Otherwise, it’s a perfect set of gear—not too much, not too little.
Also included is Shipwreck’s avian life mate Polly. Due to the softer plastic of the tactical vest, it can be a bit tricky to try and perch Polly on the grab handle located just behind the figure’s neck but it is possible. Otherwise, the poor girl has nowhere to go!
At the end of the day is Shipwreck worth grabbing? Absolutely! When the 2015 line-up was announced there was a short list of figures that I absolutely had to have and Shipwreck was one of them! He’s got a great new real-world look, a solid kit, and he still comes with Polly! My personal bias aside, this is a figure that fits in perfectly scale-wise with the rest of the line and has a terrific range of motion. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that this body would not only be ideal for future land versions of both Torpedo and Wet-Suit but it would also FANTASTIC for an update to Outback! (C’mon G.I. Joe Collector’s Club—there’s still time to salvage that Tiger Force Outback. Hasbro’s already put the parts together for you!) While he may not have been on the top of most fans’ want lists, this particular Shipwreck is a welcome addition to any modern G.I. Joe collection. Plus, he’s packed two-per-case with Cobra Commander which means that he’ll hopefully end up being one of the easier sets to find once this line hits retail in significant quantities.
The Bottom Line: Shipwreck ends up being one of the best figures of the 2015 line. Solid parts build, great deco, and a perfect kit make him a terrific modern SEAL!
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