Review & pics by: Fred Meyer
G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary Marine Devastation
Cobra Shadow Guard
The Cobra Crimson Guard have long been established at the elite soldiers of the Cobra armies. Serving as everything from societal infiltrator to personal security to the head snake himself, the “Siegies” as they are known, are immediately recognizable by their signature red dress uniforms. Yet, back in 2005, Hasbro decided to shake up things up in Siegie command by introducing the Crimson Shadow Guard, a separate unit clad in a sinister black and silver palate. Originally billed as pseudo ninjas, many in the fandom reimagined them as a sort of Cobra secret police. Now, eight years after their initial debut at Toys R Us, the Crimson Shadow Guard is back! (This time they're just called the Cobra Shadow Guard.) Are they worth purchasing in this construction format? Read on and find out this Joe fan’s take on these sinister soldiers.
Hasbro made a wise decision in constructing the Crimson Shadow Guard troopers by merely repurposing the parts build from the previous G.I. Joe Retaliation Crimson Guard figure. The design, which updated the look of the Siegies from their previous 25th Anniversary release, offered a great combination of mobility and style—all while retaining the classic elements of the original design. Where the Retaliation release looked regal and commanding in his crimson and silver hues, the new Crimson Shadow Guard looks downright sinister. The CSG is rendered almost entirely in black with just a few silver paint applications on the buttons, helmet, and shin guards and the effect is striking. The change in color saps the character of any sort of warmth and instead leaves the appearance of something dark and sinister. While the file card once again states that these troopers are intended for nocturnal operations I’m once again drawn to a parallel of them as some sort of Cobra SS or Gestapo. I can’t help but think that they’ll look great flanking the forthcoming FSS 4 Interrogator figure.
The head for this figure is exactly the same as the one used for the G.I. Joe Retaliation Crimson Guardsman. The silver paint apps on the crest and mask really help breathe some new life into a previously used design, especially since the head is molded entirely in black!
The Crimson Shadow Guard’s kit includes:
In terms of gear, the Crimson Shadow Guard is positively loaded—with the exact same kit as the aforementioned Retaliation Siegie. While the lack of suppressed weapons make little sense for the Night Ops role indicated on the file card they work perfectly well for my own preference of internal security. After all, why would the trooper need to change things up if he’s working INTSEC? The gear ranges from practical to ceremonial which fits in perfectly with the entire concept of the Cobra Crimson Guard.
Is the Crimson Shadow Guard worth purchasing? Is he a worthy addition to any Joe collection? Overall, I’m going to say “Yes!” The new color scheme (or some might say “lack thereof”) breathes new life into a previously released figure that itself was built out of previously used parts. The included kit offers a great deal of possibilities for display while allowing most of the gear to be stored directly on the figure. The body is highly poseable and quite honestly just looks pretty sharp when placed on a figure stand. My only complaint about the Crimson Shadow Guard has nothing to do with the figure itself but rather with the current case packs. The Marine Devastation set in packed one-per-case which means that fans are going to have to scramble if they want to acquire more than one of this set. As it stands, the first collector to find the case and to purchase one of each set ensures that this guy will disappear from the pegs right away. It’s a shame as this figure could have been put into a two pack with a reissue of the Retaliation Crimson Guard and I’ve no doubt that fans would have purchased them in droves. So, while he’s a great figure he’s going to prove a bit hard to find unless the new 50th cases start showing up in real quantities!
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