G.I. Joe: 25th Anniversary Shipwreck
As only a moderate fan of the 80's cartoon, the Shipwreck character is one that just never appealed to me at all. He didn't get much personality in the comic, and whenever I saw him in the cartoon he was an insubordinate slacker and did not even remotely fit in with an "elite fighting force" as I saw the Joe team even back then. Over the years I've gained a small appreciation for the Shipwreck character, though, and can understand why some folks find him appealing, even though he's not personally one of my favorites.
Even though the Shipwreck character doesn't really light my fire, I can't argue that this Anniversary rendition of him is pretty darn great, head to toe. First glimpses of this figure at the San Diego ComicCon seemed to indicate that the sculpting and design was exceedingly "animated" and didn't really fit in with a more real world toyline, but I'm happy to report that in person, that is definitely not the case. While he has his share of over-exaggerated proportions, it still seems very spot on with the Shipwreck character and he blends with the other Anniversary figures perfectly.
At first I thought that Shipwreck might end up sharing some common parts with Duke, but that is definitely not the case. Shipwreck's torso is a totally new sculpt and while it's relatively plain, it looks very good, and fits the character just as it should. His head sculpt, as has become expected in the Anniversary line, is absolutely terrific. He's got an angry scowl, that nicely sculpted beard, and the ever-present sailor's hat that immediately identifies him to those folks who aren't Joe diehards like the rest of us.
From the anchor on his belt buckle to the holster on his leg, and all the way down to his pant cuffs, Shipwreck's detailing is relatively plain but simply fantastic in it's simplicity. Small details like the way the pants are sculpted bunched up around his boots (which hides the ankle articulation, but it is still present) just knock me out and make me SO impressed with the skills and talents of folks working on this line today. Yeah, the o-ring figures will always be my favorites from a simple play value point of view, and the exacting detail and pure skill of the sculptors involved in the Anniversary line is just incredible. Even the tiniest details are meticulous and presented so well that you can't help but be impressed, regardless of any articulation issues.
The other great part of this figure are his arms. At first he looked to have some majorly overexaggerated "Popeye" forearms, but luckily they do not look nearly that bad in person. They are large and well-defined, but they just end up giving us a figure that looks strong rather than one that looks rediculous. A lot of folks have also been complaining about Shipwreck's permenently closed fist, but honestly I don't have a huge problem with that. It gives Shipwreck a certain "attitude" that works for the character. While I would much prefer that we get interchangable hands that let us have the best of both worlds, but really, the permenently closed fist doesn't tick me off too much. It gives the figure a neat element from a design perspective. His left hand is also in a permenent position, but it is sculpted to hold the sawed off shotgun he comes with, and it works very, very well.
As for his coloring , the different shades of blue work very well, and the nice little touch of the rank insignia on his right shoulder, and the anchor tattoo on the same forearm. The anchor isn't 100% accurate to the vintage version, but it still looks fantastic, and is a great detail. There are variants out there with a dolphin/shark tattoo, too, and at this point I'm not really sure what the purpose of the difference is or which one is more rare.
From an articulation perspective, most of Shipwreck is exceptional. On this figure the joints seem even more sturdy and usable than joints on other figures. His torso joint is great, his shoulders and wrists both work perfectly, and I love the double-hinged knees. Shipwreck does have some of the same hip joint problems that other figures have, but it's not quite as serious as it was with some others. He can't sit perfectly, but it's not too bad, really. From an articulation standpoint he still work very well regardless of the hips.
From an accessory standpoint, Shipwreck is pretty darn nice, I have to say. He comes with a terrific sawed off shotgun with some terrific detailing and multi-colored paint applications simulating the wooden handle and pump. It's an awesome looking weapon and something that I think suits Shipwreck perfectly, even if it's not really the weapon he originally came with. Shipwreck's pistol, though, unfortunately, is a bit mixed. It is a little too small for his holster, so it doesn't stay in there very firmly or snugly. This is the first real obvious problem I've had with an Anniversary pistol/holster, though, so I can't complain too much. Still, though, it would have been nice for the pistol to work there a bit better than it does.
The weapon that confuses me, though, is the submachine gun...I'm not really sure what that one's all about. It's obviously a repack from the Spy Troops version, but it doesn't fit in any holster and it doesn't really fit all that well. I suppose it's okay, but it just seems a bit out of place here.
Now what would Shipwreck be without Polly? I'm happy to report that Polly the Parrot has been included with Shipwreck here and is actually a very nice looking bird. Extremely well detailed feather sculpting, a nice overall relaxed look for the bird...very "real world" accurate from what I can tell. Polly looks surprisingly great. His claws fit perfectly around the shotgun, though he can't really actually fit on Shipwreck anywhere that I can tell. Neither could the original, though, so I'm not going to fault Hasbro for that. From a design standpoint, Polly looks really nice.
Unlike many Joefans out there I'm really not big on the Shipwreck character, but his inclusion in the Anniversary line makes sense and it's tough to hate the character when the figure is this damn cool. Great sculpting, excellent paint applications, and a nice assortment of accurate accessories gives you another great addition to the 25th Anniversary line. Even with the closed fist, I think this figure has great potential and is one you should definitely consider adding to your Joe army.