Review & pics by: Fred Meyer
G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary Night Marksmen Low Light
The G.I. Joe line has a history of re-releasing figures in all new color schemes. As I’ve said in other reviews there’s nothing wrong with this-- especially if the repaint is significantly different enough from the original to warrant the release. In some cases, repaints allow Hasbro not only to save some precious tooling $$$ but it also facilitates the development of unique sub-teams like Night Force, Desert Patrol, and even Slaughter’s Marauders. However, what happens when a re-release is so close to the original that the differences between them are minimal at best? Is such a figure worth purchasing just to “support the brand”? Or, can fans save their hard-earned cash and skip over such figures all the while hoping that someone will snatch the figure from the pegs and therefore justify Hasbro’s investment in the brand? Such is the case with the 50th Anniversary Night Marksmen release of Low-Light-- the G.I. Joe team’s premiere sniper. Read on and find out one Joe fan’s opinion of this Toys R Us exclusive figure.
Some folks might accuse me of laziness but I find it incredibly hard to review both Low-Light and the (crimson) Night Viper objectively. This figure, while a terrific update of a favorite character of mine, is nearly identical to the 2011 Pursuit of Cobra version released three years ago with one minor exception. Rather than the familiar “movie eagle” logo, there is a single gold star on the figure’s left shoulder to denote this inclusion in the 50th anniversary line. Otherwise, from head-to-toe, this is the same Low-Light that became a fan favorite after the release of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
Overall, it’s a solid figure design-- one that very nicely updates the original 1986 uniform to a degree that few other generation 3 figures have been able to achieve. Utilizing the torso, and legs of the Pursuit of Cobra Beach Head and the arms of the celebrated POC Jungle Viper, this figure gives Low-Light a solid range of motion while retaining the signature elements of his original uniform. The designers three years ago utilized a great deal of foresight in combining the existing tooling mentioned with a brand-new tactical vest and head to produce a new figure at a lower cost. The design is faithful and visually interesting and this has led to the 2011 figure becoming one of the more sought-after figures from that line.
Even Low-Light’s kit is faithfully reproduced here-- an exact copy of the gear included with the 2011 figure, right down to the infamous “single bullet” that seemed destined to wind up in many a vacuum cleaner across the globe. From the mobile phone to the field radio to the scope that attaches to the figure’s leg, all of the pieces that made the previous release so great are still included although the quality of the plastic seems to be a lot softer than it was three years ago. I’ve noticed this on the Low-Light’s rifle scope in particular; when I’ve been assembling the rifle I can give it a steady “ten count” before the rifle pops out of the top of the weapon and falls to the ground. I didn’t have this problem with the original version but this time around Cooper McBride’s rifle seems to have a case of “premature disassembly” that is rumored to plague one in five rifles over the age of 50.
If the figure is so well-designed and the gear compliment is so great, then why does this review read like the author is just going through the motions? Well, eagle-eyed reader that’s because this is exactly what’s happening. While I never reviewed the original figure from three years ago due to taking a bit of a sabbatical from the hobby, I’ve still owned this same figure for three years. Twice, in fact, if you count the nicely repainted and re-equipped version from the Slaughter’s Marauders 7-pack that debuted at BigBadToyStore just before Christmas 2011. Unlike other figures that I’ve owned for years but only just opened, I’ve had Low-Light in my grabby little hands for longer than Fox lets a science fiction series air three times over. (R.I.P. Firefly and Almost Human) While I can understand that fans who missed him the first time around are happy to have this new opportunity to acquire Low-Light at retail, I can’t help but feel an air of “been there, done that” with this figure. Much like the rest of the 50th Anniversary line with it’s shoddy quality control and odd line-up, this figure feels like Hasbro took the path of least resistance and just reissued a figure whose tools were easily accessible.
The Bottom Line: A great figure when it was released three years ago, this figure is so close to his predecessor that only those fans who missed out the last time will find him worth acquiring.
Questions? Comments? Are you just happy to have a Low-Light figure?
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