I’ve heard it said that Joe fans are notoriously cheap; I know I fall into that category. As much as I may want something I just have a hard time justifying paying more than retail price for something. However, there are exceptions and when I saw a chance to snag a G.I. Joe Retaliation Joe Colton figure early I pounced. Why? Simply put—this figure was THE figure in the entire movie line that I was looking forward to the most. It represented the fusion of a favorite G.I. Joe character with a favorite film actor—and the chance to add a favorite action hero to my Joe collection. So, I forked over the extra $$$ and impatiently waited for the package to arrive, tracking its progress with all the patience of a TLC viewer awaiting a new episode of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” Finally, after a seeming eternity, General Joe Colton arrived. Did he live up to my self-induced anticipation? Read on, and find out one Joe fan’s opinion.
Disclaimer: As much as I love the character of Joseph Colton it’s hard for me to see this figure as anything other than one of my favorite film characters—Detective John McClane of the Die Hard franchise. As such, my review/impressions/photo choices are all tainted by the fact that I’ve wanted a John McClane figure for YEARS now. You’ve been warned…
In terms of the body design, the crew in Pawtucket Rhode Island has made exceptional use of existing tooling. Colton’s torso comes from the Pursuit of Cobra Recondo figure, the arms were originally produced for the unreleased Kwinn (and were later seen in the Collector’s Club Footloose), and the legs are from the Pursuit of Cobra “Jungle Duke”. The result is a pretty generic-looking body of a soldier of average build in a white long-sleeved shirt and camouflage pants. The sculpted web gear works well enough even if one of the sculpted cross pieces remains unpainted. For many fans, this will be their first exposure to the Kwinn arms with the hinged wrists and it will be seen as a welcome addition to the parts library that the design team has to work with. There is very little “bulge” in the wrists as a result of the extra articulation which keeps Colton from looking like he has a severe wrist injury while offering a much-needed extra range of motion. The only issue I have with the body of the figure is found with the reuse of the shoulder holster that came with the Rise of Cobra General Hawk figure. While it looks good on the figure it was designed for a torso with narrower shoulders. The result is that the accessory cuts into the range of motion for the arms just a bit. Thankfully this can easily be removed without ruining the overall look of the figure.
As I mentioned earlier, Colton shares a torso sculpt with both the PoC Recondo and the Renegades “Bull” figure. (Hereby properly referred to as “Taurus”—copyrights be damned!) However, what Colton doesn’t share with those two plastic ancestors is a condition that practically ruined the PoC Recondo for most individuals. In designing that particular torso piece, the initial sculpt chose to slant the figure’s neck forward significantly. When the sculpted head was attached on the ball joint, the figure was left permanently looking downward to an extreme degree. I posted a press image of the Colton figure on JBL’s Facebook page and it was confirmed by the lead designer on the Joe line that poor Recondo’s neck had been fixed. When I received Colton in the mail I immediately saw that the good general was indeed looking straight forward in the package as opposed to being left forever pondering his shoes. (Poor Recondo…) This one sculpting change gives fans a proper setting for the head sculpt that brings Bruce Willis properly into 1:18 form.
Okay, this is the part where my objectivity starts to wane a bit. As I’ve stated before I’m a fan of Bruce Willis. From Die Hard to Sin City to Fifth Element and lastly the Expendables, I’ve enjoyed his movies for years now. As such, I was a bit nervous when I first saw that he’d be receiving G.I. Joe treatment. After all, the accuracy of movie actor likenesses varies widely across most 1:18 toy lines. Some actors have faces that are easier to replicate than others; one only has to look at the various sculpts of Channing Tatum released to date to see the results of a inaccurate sculpt. However, I can safely say that Hasbro did right by Bruce Willis and produced a head sculpt that darned near perfectly captures the Die Hard actor in plastic form. The expression is intended to be fairly neutral and yet I can’t help detect a hint of a smirk across the face that will forever be John McClane to my eyes. The jaw line, shaved head and even the set of the ears are so spot-on that I almost have to wonder if Hasbro turned to something akin to Real Scan to produce the master for this sculpt. Even better—there is a hint of painted 5 o’clock shadow on the figure—conveying more of a McClane than Colton look to the figure. The entire head might be a micrometer too narrow but that could just be my eyes playing tricks on me.
In terms of accessories, Colton comes with the requisite “kid friendly” gear as well as some actual useful accessories that collectors will enjoy. For the kids Colton has the same garish orange rifle and “Blast-O-Matic 6000” rocket launcher that was included with the Retaliation Duke action figure. However, he also comes with a shotgun, .357 Magnum and an automatic pistol. In keeping with the John McClane homage, my Colton figure has kept the automatic in his left hand since shortly after being freed from his “plastic prison”. I don’t know if General Joe will be using the revolver in the film or not but the accessory is decent enough that both it and the shotgun will find a home in my collection somewhere.
So, is Joe Colton worth adding to your G.I. Joe collection? With his reused parts and winning head sculpt, I’d have to say “yes”. However, is John McClane worth adding to your G.I. Joe collection? ABSOLUTELY! The design team knew what they were doing when they produced this figure—giving him a generic enough look that he can easily replicate John McClane from Live Free or Die Hard or, with the help of some painted hair, Die Hard With a Vengeance! Look, I can’t help it—as much as I love the character of Joseph Colton this is John McClane! Let’s just not try and pretend otherwise. I don’t care what Paramount Pictures tells me—this figure is the fulfillment of a fan boy dream that has been decades in the making! (Besides, the Collector’s Club Adventure Team Commander figure already gives me a more comic accurate Joe Colton.) The real reason that people are going to buy this figure is for the uncannily good Bruce Willis head sculpt so that a plethora of Corbin Dallas, John McClane, Mr. Church, and Hartigan customs can fill the collections of many a Joe fan. Bruce Willis is one of the pre-eminent action stars of the past 30 years and this figure does right by that legacy in producing a fantastic 1:18 rendition of the actor. I’m sorry, I can’t be more objective about this but it’s true. I’d absolutely recommend this figure to any Joe fan—unless you happen to live anywhere near me. In that case, don’t buy him… and leave a few more for me on the pegs when he hits at retail! Yippee Ki-Yay Mother Viper!!!