If you don't think even for a moment he looks anything like any thing in the GI Joe line before him, it's because he isn't meant to! Or at least he's meant to look like something else, something like...The Predator!
First we had Pursuit of Cobra Duke. Then we got Recondo, followed by Spirit. And all three figures were part of the Jungle Assault themed characters in the line but had very strong likenesses to characters from the original Predator movie.
Recondo looked suspiciously like Blain (Jesse Ventura), Spirit like Billy Sole (Sonny Landham) and Duke, while he didn't much look like Arnold Schwarzenegger's Dutch, is attired very much like him (and is also the leader, so yeah.) So then it's no surprise that they would finally come up with a character that looks like the title character of the classic movie.
I'd been waiting for this figure to arrive in Singapore for a long time, so much so that I'd almost lost all interest in getting him. So when I finally did see him at the local flea market, I almost passed because I'd kinda grown lukewarm about it. Also, he was priced at S$22 (US$17).
But just how would Hasbro pull off making a human look like an alien hunter? Well, let's find out!
Like: Dreadlocks, mon! A simple and elegant solution to mimic the Predator's head tails. They've given the Shadow Tracker a real shock of 'locks so that his hair has some real body. The dreads are also so detailed that you can see the texture in each 'lock.
His dreads are a two-piece affair with a base piece for his inner 'locks and and a top layer forming his fringe and back 'locks. It's got a real 3D effect going because it is in fact 3D! :P
Special mention goes to the translucent green mask and the creepy black eyes with white pupils, which are sharply painted. The mask lets just enough color past that you can see a stange shade of his brown skin tone and what could be black face paint or possibly his skull.
Like: That he's got more weapons that he can carry! But it doesn't mean he's got no way to carry all of his equipment. In fact, he's got plenty of weapon peg slots...But more on that later! Shadow Tracker comes with: an elaborate spear of seemingly alien design, a modern bow, a quiver with a detachable arrow, a bolas, a net (with drawstring), a short sword, a dagger, a machete, another larger silver jagged-edged dagger, and a modified sickle. I just ran out of breath writing that.
Like: That his vest has two holes in the back and an attached sheath for his dagger between them, at the small of his back.
Like: The spear has another hole so you can peg in his bolas. Hell yeah!
Like: That he's got a hinged right wrist so he can properly be put in a bow firing pose! Better yet, his wrist hinges allow him to wield his large array of knives with all sorts of flourish!
The fingers on his right hand are molded so that an arrow notched between them but that two hooked digits also add to his machete-brandishing brilliance! And that hand, oh that same right hand, makes him look like he knows all sorts of martial arts moves that no alien has the earthly right to know!!!
His left hand is hinged but in an up/down fashion as opposed to the more commonly seen left to right hinge. What does this mean? Well, more kick-assery posing with blades!
|Right Wrist "Slapping"|
|Left Wrist "Stabbing"|
Dislike: Or more like disppointed that his mask isn't removable. It's stuck straight onto his face.
Dislike: That the mask and 'dreads severly limit his head articualtion. Limited to swivel by mask and vest, not the dreads--those are flexi enough to that the can bend to accomodate the head turns. Still, his head can safely move about halfway to the right and left efore popping off. Down is ok, but up is out of the question because of his bulky hair. Tilting either way is also fine.
Aesthetics: 8.5/10 - Great "Predator" look, great choice of skin color and of course, those marvelous dreadlocks. His head sculpt really steals the show. But other than that, he's an ordinary Joe (or rather, ordinary COBRA, uh, dude...) in the looks department. I'm also not a huge fan of his neon green trimmings. Perhaps it was meant to reflect the color of the Predator's luminous blood? But in al fairness, they didn't overdo him with neon green, so his colors are acceptable--I just don't think he'd blend in well in a jungle!
Fun: 10/10 - There's no end to the fun you can have with the "Predator" terrorizing Dutch and gang, killing Blain and BILLIEEEEEEE!!! And what's more fun than a litle crossover with our favorite planet-hopping alien hunter than to have him visit all our fave planets from across all our fave brands?
Even if you just wanted to use him as a regular (and I use hat erm loosely) COBRA troop, he looks unique enough that he'll pop out on the shelf and and even outshine the likes of the more human looking Joes.
Value: 9.5/10 - 11 accessories, a figure stand, a vest, lots of great head tooling really make Shadow Tracker worthwhile. The extra wrist joints are also very welcome bonus and the effort put in is very much worth every cent you put into the figure. And really, across the board, GI JOes are right not the absolute best when it comes to bang for your buck.
Overall: 9.4/10 - Shadow Tracker is not just possibly the best Joe figure ever, he's also one of the best 3.75 inch scale figures I've seen with a few special exceptions. (Yes, World War Hulk is my absolute fave...) Recondo/Blain from this same Pursuit of COBRA line was excellent but Shadow Tracker is better.
|Chase away the leader...|
I like this figure so much that I hope that they need to reuse Shadow Tracker's head sculpt on a different guy with different colors--more predators so that COBRA can have their own Predator squad!
|Blow away the big mouth...|
|Kill off the minority...|
Then take the show on the road!