G.I. Joe: 25th Anniversary Beachhead
Beachhead has long been one of my favorite "obscure" characters, and I put obscure in quotes because it's tough to really call him obscure. He wasn't seen a whole lot in the main Joe comic book mythos, but he definitely established his own personality through the Sunbow cartoon, and made his share of appearences in the Special Missions series as well. His gruff, no nonesense, almost mean personality translated to pretty much every iteration of the character that I've seen, though I never really understood how he earned his "Drill Sergeant" reputation that the cartoon passed along to him. To me, he was always the covert ops specialist, in the field, doing the dirty work that others wouldn't do...I just don't really see him being in charge of training cadets and dealing with that stuff. No matter how you like your Beachhead character, though, there's no doubt that he's been done a GREAT service with this 25th Anniversary update. A great figure here.
Beachhead has been a fan favorite for a while, but in my opinion, his action figures have been somewhat lackluster throughout the years. The first version had some terrific military elements, but his head sculpt was a bit oversized and just looked a little goofy. Overall he was a bit short and "dumpy", too. Just didn't fit my mental picture of a slim, muscular, athletic Army Ranger that he was meant to be. In his Battle Corps version, I actually liked the figure quite a bit, but it didn't fit the "Beachhead" character. The numerous renditions we got in the new sculpt era weren't a whole lot better.
But this 25th Anniversary version...this is just a terrific figure, especially if you can look a bit past the articulation issues that appear to be in the process of getting resolved.
First of all, just by looking at the figure you can tell it was designed and sculpted to be used for Firefly as well. The tools on his left thigh, the straps on his boots...it's obvious that the figure is sculpted to work for multiple characters, and you know what? That's perfectly fine with me. Just sit back and look at this figure, even without the webgear, and he looks JUST like Beachhead should look. This is Beachhead, regardless of the parts of the figure that more closely match Firefly. This is a perfect example of how Hasbro is reusing parts and tooling to get the most mileage, and is doing a very successful job at it.
Beachhead's head sculpt is terrific, too...he's got an awesome quilted skimask, with a properly angry looking face sculpt and a nice, in proportion head...a nice change from the original. The balaklava matches his quilted turtleneck perfectly, and even without the removable tac ops vest, looks very cool.
Compared to the first wave of Anniversary figures, Beachhead is simply incredible. In my opinion Hasbro has made huge strides compared to their first efforts. The sculpted musculature, slender arms, the grenade detailing on his belt, and his working holster are only a few of the terrific small details that make this figure look terrific. Then once you get his accessories involved, the figure gets only better. His removable tactical ops vest is absolutely loaded with detail, from the pouches to the familiar bundled beret on his shoulder. His leg and boot detailing are purely pulled from the vintage Firefly aesthetic, but as I've said, that's fine with me and works well, in my opinion.
The paint apps here are great as well, with the perfect shade of green on his upper body and the nice camouflage colors on his legs are great, too. A liberal injection of black throughout darkens the figure nicely and you end up with a great Beachhead update. Very display-worthy figure.
As we've come to expect from the Anniversary figures, the articulation isn't perfect, which unfortunately is a knock against a figure which could otherwise be fantastic. The mid-torso joint works exceptionally well with Beachhead, and I actually don't feel like it's all that distracting as it is with some figures. His elbow joints are pretty good, though still don't quite bend as much as I'd like. They do okay, and the sculpting doesn't get in the way like it does with some other figures, but the nature of the joint itself means it doesn't quite flex as much as I'd like. A minor quibble, but still a quibble.
Now the hip sockets, again...we have to touch on the hip sockets. Thankfully Hasbro is resolving this, as some Wave 3 Fireflies are showing up at retail with a differently sculpted hip/crotch tooling that look to improve the movement of the legs, which is great. At this point, though, Beachhead still has the same restrictive hip joints that prevent his legs from reaching their full poseability, which is too bad. I am hoping that maybe somewhere down the line Hasbro re-releases some of these guys with the modified articulation, but even with this problem, this is still a great looking figure.
When you break Beachhead down to all of the gear he comes with, you realize he comes with a TON of weapons and accessories. In fact, seeing all of this stuff makes me wonder, is it possible for an action figure to be TOO loaded with functional features? I only ask because as cool as the Crossbow is, the fact the it breaks down into 2 pieces, and then hooks onto his backpack adds a lot of moveable elements to something that could potentially make the figure tough to "play" with. Don't get me wrong, I love that crossbow, and it looks great, but it seems to pop off the backpack fairly easily, and then the crossbow in turn separates pretty easily as well. What that means is that with the backpack all together the figure becomes somewhat fragile, as it can fall apart at a moment's notice.
But this is a minor thing, and when to step back and look at all of the other gear, you are immediately impressed. The tactical vest, pistol (which fits in his holster) and a great looking new sculpt submachine gun are all awesome weapons that suit the figure very well. The machine gun is a bit odd because it doesn't resemble the vintage Beachhead's weapon at all, but regardless of that, it's a great weapon and I really dig it personally. A great allotment of accessories, for sure.
From head to toe, Beachhead is one of my favorite Joe figures that's been released for the 25th line to date. Great detailing, awesome accessories, a terrific character, and some decent articulation all add up to a great addition to the 25th Anniversary line. There are those familiar hip-socket articulation limits, but beyond that, the figure moves very well. The trigger finger is nicely separated and works well in the gun's trigger guard. Nearly everything about this figure is great. A definite must buy.