Stephan “Horrorshow” Drukersky, Sgt. Stalker, Stormavik
Of all of the various GIJoe products that Hasbro has released in the past year, none has made Joe fans more excited than the comic three packs. Hitting shelves at the end of June 2004, these three packs give fans the chance to own comic-accurate representations of their favorite characters along with a reprint of an original Marvel comics issue of GIJoe. So, what could be better than accurate versions of the original thirteen Joes? How about accurate figures of some of the more colorful characters from the GIJoe mythos? That’s right folks, I’m talking about more members of the Oktober Guard!
Stephan “Horrorshow” Drukersky:
When it comes to the Oktober Guard there are really three characters that stand out in the minds of most Joe fans. Colonel Brekhov is the CO—a no-nonsense Russian soldier with a strong sense of honor and duty to his country. Daina—the beautiful Czech sniper who would some day join the GIJoe team. Yet, there is one member that is perhaps the most distinctive of them all—Horrorshow. This “dumb Russian Bear” as Gung Ho described in the Sunbow series is the strongman of the team and he’s finally been given plastic treatment. Horrorshow’s head sculpt corresponds perfectly with how I remember him. The giant handle bar mustache is in place, the head is adorned with the leather cap, and his expression is one that could go from jovial to ferocious in a split second. In other words, this is Horrorshow!
To the best of my knowledge, the bulk of Horrorshow appears to be made of brand new parts and, as such, is loaded with detail. His jacket gives the appearance of a thick, quilted coat that could keep out even the Siberian cold. Even the sleeves are molded to reflect this thick padding. A battle harness that features intricate detailing on the straps covers his jacket and the attached pineapple grenade is surprisingly well sculpted given the small size of the figure. The jacket does limit the poseability of the figure, however, as there is a portion that extends below the waist and over the crotch of the figure. Typically this is where you’d read me rant about how this darned “mini-skirts” limit the poseability of the figure and prevent them from sitting. Well, if I were to do so I’d be correct, as Horrorshow can’t sit down. However, this is one instance where I won’t comment on this simply because, in the case of Horrorshow, the mini-skirt makes sense. Horrorshow has always been shown wearing a long quilted jacket and the only real way to simulate the length of his apparel is to add in the skirt. Honestly, if Hasbro had simply opted for a standard torso I think more fans would complain that he didn’t look right rather than the fact that he can’t sit. It’s odd, but in the case of this figure I can completely forgive that design issue. Let’s face it, how many of us are going to have Horrorshow sitting down for tea anyway?
The only real issue with Horrorshow is his size. Hasbro kept the “Russian Bear” in the standard 3.75” inch scale and the result is that he’s too short when compared to his comic counterpart. The only way around this would have been to make an entirely new tooling just for Horrorshow that was significantly larger than the other figures. There are a few problems with this approach; the most obvious being that Hasbro probably wouldn’t get enough use out of the new tool to warrant the expense. As it stands now Hasbro could some day reuse some of the torso pieces from Horrorshow for other figures. So, while he’s a bit too short he still looks great and this is good enough for me. Stephan comes armed with a backpack, AK-47, and Russian-style RPG.
We’ve now got our first complete repaint in the comic pack series. Many fans weren’t thrilled with the color choices used on the Stalker released in Comic Pack #3. The camouflage pattern was too light, and the straps on his harness were too bright resulting in a figure that looked more at home in a kids cartoon than in a comic book pack. Considering the fact that Stalker was always one of the more hard-nosed Joes, this was a great disservice to the character. This repaint clears all of those issues up in spades.
Stalker’s BDU’s are now dark green with a black camo pattern. His harness is still yellow, but his knife blade and grenade have been repainted in more dynamic colors. In other words, this is the “bad-to-the-bone” Stalker that we expected the first time around. Oddly enough, Stalker is packaged in the Oktober Guard pack that doesn’t contain Brekhov. Issue #7 features the two of them so prominently on the cover that this is almost a missed opportunity. Still, we now have a better Stalker so if I have to get a repaint I’m glad that this is the one.
I’ll be honest—Stormavik never made much of an impression on me. Like Shrage, he was one of the more non-distinct members of the Russian team. Sure, he was always there but he just never stood out. That being said, this is one very nice figure. The head sculpt gives him a distinctiveness that I never noticed before. His hair is close-cropped, essentially to the point of having a shaved head. His jaw line is strong and his expression is also rather grim. All of this suggests the type of person you’d rather have at your back in a fight instead of as your opponent. Stormavik was a character that Hasbro could have skimped on but instead they turned out on of the best new sculpts in the comic pack line!
Stormavik’s body is the same as that of both Red Star and Colonel Brekhov. However, his color scheme is much closer to the RAH Red Star figure than it is to his CO. Stormavik has the standard striped shirt that was part of the Russian military uniform of the 80’s. His battle harness is painted in exactly the same colors as Brekhov’s, which gives a nice uniform, feel to the unit. His gear is a bit minimal—packing just an automatic pistol and requisite AK-47 but it works for him. Overall, he’s another great addition to any Joe collection.
So, after twenty-plus years I have my Oktober Guard—not in the form of straight repaints but in the form of dynamically improved classic sculpts. For a lot of Joe fans, this five-man Russian team was the most requested selection of characters that needed to be made into figures and Hasbro has “done right” by the fans. The figures all are good representations of their comic aspects, and are nicely detailed and accessorized. When you consider that you’re getting three figures and a comic book for @ $10.00 you can’t help but smile. Even though one of these figures is a straight repaint I cannot recommend this and Comic Pack #6 enough. If you’re a long-time Joe fan you’re not going to want to miss this opportunity to complete your team of “Peace-Loving People of Mother Russia”!