Nature abhors a vacuum. In other words, nothing can stay exactly the same forever. Things changes, seasons pass, and new members rotate into the GIJoe team. I’ve always been a HUGE advocate of introducing new characters each wave as it keeps the Joe team fresh and exciting. New characters bring new story possibilities, new conflicts, etc, etc. So, when I first saw pics of Med Alert, I was intrigued. After all, he’s the first medic that has been released for the Joe team since the GIJoe vs. Cobra relaunch—a specialty that is long overdue. He’s also got a clean slate as far as his back-story is concerned. So, is this new medic worth dipping into the piggy bank for? Read on…
DTC Wave 3 could be called “Attack of the Repaints” as every single character in the wave is a repaint of a previously released character. Med Alert is no exception. Remember Hard Drive—the much maligned computer specialist introduced back in the second wave of Valor vs. Venom? If you’ve got Hard Drive then you’ve got most of Med Alert as well as the entire body has been repainted to create the new medic. Is this a bad thing? Not at all as Hard Drive’s mold is fantastic! It’s a simple yet practical design—shirt, pants, belt, battle harness, holster, kneepads, boots, and gloves. In other words, this is another example of a Joe uniform is realistic, functional, and yet visually exciting. While the arms appear to be a tad short, the overall proportions are good—something that hasn’t always been true of Hasbro’s Joes. Med Alert also sports Hard Drive’s forearm computer that seems a touch odd for a medic. It’s not entirely out of the real of possibility that a field medic might wish to carry truncated versions of his team’s medical records but I find it doubtful that he’d have time to review them in a crisis situation. The small computer is still a nice touch but I could actually see it working a bit better with a communications officer or another computer expert. One thing that does hamper this mold is the factory’s inability to paint detailing with anything less than a trowel. Honestly, I’d like the original Hard Drive figure a lot better if all of the yellow paint didn’t have 30,000 coats blurring any detail in the molding. Med Alert fairs a little better but still has the same problem, proving that it’s not the yellow paint but rather the painter that is the problem. At least with Med Alert, there are more paint applications used to provide detail and so this distracts you somewhat from the “rhino hide thick” paint apps.
Finally, we get a new head sculpt in this wave! As I’ve stated in pretty much every DTC review I’ve written, I don’t mind if Hasbro reuses body parts just as long as a new head sculpt used. Med Alert truly has a fresh face—sporting a youthful visage and closely cropped hair. Perhaps it’s a trick of the light but mine seems to have dark circles painted under his eyes—evoking images of a battle weary medic returning after a particularly harrowing mission. My only criticism with the head is once again in the area of the paint applications. Apparently Med Alert was the last figure to be painted on the Friday before a three-day weekend. It’s the only way that I can explain the sloppy paint applications on both the body and the head. My figure has a really large spot over one eyebrow and his face is littered with small dark specks of paint. Perhaps those crazy factory workers had an airbrush fight before they left for the weekend and just forgot to cover the figures. Either way, this is one of the sloppiest figure’s I own from Hasbro and it’s a darned shame too.
Med Alert’s gear generated some interesting comments at the recent Chicago Coils meeting. Previous medics have either come with stretchers, oxygen masks, or some sort of medical gear. However, Med Alert much practice “frontier medicine” as he is equipped with both an automatic pistol and a heavy combat shotgun that is already the envy of Major Barrage. Honestly, unless Inferno v3’s idea of “vitamin-coated shells” is a reality, I’m not certain why he’s got so much firepower and so little actual medical equipment. Something as simple as a backpack might have distracted me from the fact that he’s got the equipment to send you to the infirmary but not to patch you up. His only other piece of equipment is actually just as puzzling. Med Alert comes with a slick new removable helmet that sports what I presume to be an emergency light, a battery pack, and nose pick. That’s right—a nose pick. You see the helmet has what I presume to be a boom microphone molded on the right side. It actually makes sense for a medic to have a hands-free communication device built into his gear—except for the fact that the boom mike comes nowhere near his mouth. Instead, it floats somewhere near his nostril and gives the impression that it just wants to go inside his nasal cavity. Is he a Jem Hadar soldier from “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”? Does he have bad allergies and this is his built-in inhaler? Much like the DTC Barrel Roll, Med Alert has one of those helmets that probably looked great on the drawing board but is less-than-stellar in execution.
Let me just say this now—this isn’t Lifeline. Sure, he looks like Lifeline and was probably once intended to be Lifeline, but he’s not. He’s a new character and should be considered such. Unfortunately he’s a new character who was painted by a near-sighted dyslexic with a bad case of the shakes. I really want to give this figure high marks but it’s hard to do so without rationalizing away some really poor production issues. Once again this terrific mold is saddled with paint as thick as Hershey’s syrup and is loaded with lots of paint specs from other coats. Maybe it’s just my figure—and I’m hoping that’s the case, as I really like the character—but this is probably the “skippable” figure in the wave due to the manufacturing issues. If you’re a customizer or a fan that’s handy with a paintbrush, go ahead and pick him up. If you really want a medic for your team, grab him when he becomes available. However, if you’re someone who cannot stand sloppy paint jobs and odd manufacturing results, skip him and grab another SAW Viper.