It’s about time that Spirit gets a new sculpting! The original Joe tracker has always held a prominent position in the cartoon and in the comics so it’s only right that he finally receive an updated look. Charlie Iron-Knife has the distinction of being the first DTC figure to receive a repaint as he’s also to be included in the forthcoming “fan’s choice” comic pack from Hasbro. So, did the Joes’ resident tracker and profiler fare well in the update? Read on, true believer, read on.
I’ve always felt that previous Spirit sculpts never did the character justice. As much as I loved the character, I always felt the original spirit made the figure look too old for his position. The Sky Patrol version was somewhat of an improvement but awkward colors and a head sculpt that had some vague “drag queen” qualities never really captured the essence of the character either. This time Hasbro seems to have gotten it right. Spirit’s uniform is perfect—an olive drab shirt and pants with tan boots, belts, and harness. Add in some gray color on the kneepads, molded pistol, and knife hilt and you’ve got a believable color scheme. Some vaguely Native-American flavor appears in the form of the fringed boots and knife sheath that is attached to his belt. A necklace of what appear to be bear claws encircles his neck. (This evokes images of young Tristan in “Legends of the Fall” with a young Charlie tracking bears through the wilderness to hone his skills.) The overall appearance is simple yet practical—which makes complete and utter sense for a character that may be tracking down someone across extremely rough terrain. The only issue with the figure is that the proportions are a bit off with the torso being a bit short and the legs being a bit longer to compensate. It does throw the figure off slightly but not enough to completely hamper my love of the design. The only issue is found with the knife sheath that is situated on his left hip. When empty, it sits nicely on his belt and doesn’t interfere with the figure’s poseability at all. However, place the knife in the sheath and you’ll find that the handle hits Spirit in the armpit. This makes posing his left arm a bit awkward and also gives Spirit a knife that would be a bear to draw quickly. However, the belt piece of the figure is removable so if you find this to be an issue, simply take the figure apart, remove the piece and reassemble Spirit. Problem solved.
Spirit’s head sculpt is a real winner. Whereas previous sculpts took things a bit too far with the original resembling a famous portrait of Crazy Horse and the second coming across a bit too feminine due to a “Flashdance” headband, this one gets it right. This is strong, determined, intelligent face that would fit someone who is not only a master tracker but also a trained psychologist and profiler. Seeming to jump right off the pages of the Devil’s Due comic, this is the Spirit I’ve been waiting years for. It’s also nice to note that Freedom has also been updated and now appears as a much larger eagle that the RAH version.
Much like Bombstrike, Spirit seems to possess elements of discarded unifying theme that would have been in place for 2006. Spirit comes equipped with a rather large and oddly proportioned sniper rifle. This rifle has a large round pin extending from the upper stock. Upon closer examination the pin seemed familiar—and then it hit me that this is similar to the pin found on the VvV 7 Overkill’s arms. Sure enough, the rifle fits snugly into Overkill’s arm socket, giving the BAT commander yet another weapon to turn against the Joes. However, the surprises don’t end there; on the site of the rifle are two small posts. It wasn’t until Madmac41 pointed out to me that Scrap Iron’s rifle has two small holes in it that I realized here was another combiner function. Spirit’s rifle will attach to Scrap Iron’s to form a mega-cannon. Now, whether or not you believe the rumors of the “Robot Rebellion” theme that circulated around the web earlier this year, this is no happy accident of design. These weapons intentionally combine and are compatible with the new-design Overkill and most likely the forthcoming new BAT design as well.
Spirit is a terrific figure. He’s not only a good likeness of the Devil’s Due version of the Joe tracker but he’s also a terrific update of the character. While I’d prefer a darker color palette I don’t dislike this figure in any way. It may have taken a while but Hasbro has finally given Charlie Iron-Knife a figure worthy of his character. So, if you’re thinking of skipping a figure in this wave, don’t let it be Spirit. Even though he’s coming in a comic pack later this year, this is your only chance to get him with Freedom and that definitely makes him worth purchasing.