Monday, February 1, 2010

Good Girls 4, Bad Girls 1

That's the ratio of Good Joe females to Evil COBRA females in the Rise of COBRA line.

For the Joes it's Scarlett, Cover Girl, Dial Tone and Agent Helix, while for COBRA, it's well, just Baroness!  Even then, the Baroness is not technically a bad girl.  (Or is she? :P)  But of these 5 female characters, it's Agent Helix and her repaint Dial Tone (from the Zartan Infiltrator 5-pack Toys R Us Exclusive) which are the rarest. 

So imagine (once again) my surprise when I walk into one of the specialty toy stores that favours selling GI Joes to find Helix hanging on a peg on display by the door.  Then again, I probably shouldn't have been that surprised because this place does regularly bring in new stock, albeit in small amounts.
I snapped her up for just S$15 ($US10).  Not cheap by regular standards.  But for Helix, it's a steal. ;)

So what makes the good (or bad) Agent the most sought after female in the ROC line?  Well, after busting her open, I can only put it down to her being a short-packed figure.

Don't get me wrong, ROC could use more female characters in the toy line, so having Helix (who appears in the background in some Pit scenes from the movie) can only be a good thing for us toy buffs.  But I think she barely holds her own when put her side by side with the widely available Baroness (Assault on the Pit).

True, Agent Helix is a fresh sculpt with some bright colours and really great articulation and poseability but the Baroness also has these, along with a fully fleshed out character over Joe continuity, more relevant accessories, and a major role in the film.  So I do apologize to all you Helix lovers out there (I know there are a LOT of you), but I think Sienna beats random-chick-in-the-background all day and all the way from the movie to the toy. *Wears flame retardant suit*

I do, however, concede that Helix is a great toy.

So let's take a gander!

Like: That the figure is full of detail.  The parts that impress me the most are the torso in general, especially the belt.  Now the belt's not removable but it does have a bunch of silver 'utility belt'-like compartments, what looks like a pair of mini-grenades, and a couple more slimmer compartments for her pistols' ammo cartridges.

She's also got a molded-on harness, and molded-on arm, thigh and boot compartments.  You also gotta love that they didn't leave her lower torso 'blank' or with just creased cloth/uniform but instead adde a nice studded leather body armour effect.  Cool. :)

I'm not entirely sure I like the yellow, grey and black combo they've used on her, but at least it breaks the monotony of just using black or even Joe blue/army camo.

Like: Helix's ankle and head movement are simply superb.  Her head can look up and down no problem even with her hair looking like it might get in the way.  Now I imagine this is probably the only part that beats the longer-haired female characters, that she can hold her head looking up or down without her hair pushing the head back to neutral position.  But her eyes, though...(see below)

Now I just love her ankle movement.  All Joes can rotate their feet allthe way around no problem, but Helix can also point them pretty well.  Both feet can click up to pivot or down to point almost straight.  And I can't tell you how much this adds to any bending, kneeling or action poses you can put her in.

Like: Twin guns.  I think these are great--simple and versatile.  Ever since it was made popular in ASia by John Woo's Hong Kong action flicks and adopted by the likes of Neo, Trinity and Gang in the Matrix, it's kinda lame to just have one pistol when you can have two.  That or a big, heavy, ammo-chuggin' machine gun.  Yeah.

Dislike: No Holsters/pegs for guns, knife.  It's a pity because Baroness has two holes in her thighs where she can peg in her two pistols.  I thought Helix would at least have these, if not holsters, but she doesn't.  I mean, I saw that she lacked them in-packaging but got her anyway. What can I say?  A rare figure is a rare figure. Heh. ;)

Dislike: Poor grip on guns.  This is pretty sad because her twin pistols have a really neat design: futuristic barrel with a sight and modified (extended) ammo cartridges.  The guns could stand to be a little less grey plastic in colour but I guess that's the closest to silver they could get without having to paint over them.  But it's an even greater waste that she can't hold them tight right out of package.

Dislike: Helix's eyes have been painted to look up, for some reason.  I've seen other Helixes and their eyes all look the same, so it's definitely not just inherent in the figure I got.  She's like Heavy Duty--it's nigh impossible to find one that doesn't look like he's been shot dead and has eye-balls lolling to the back of his head.

Fortunately (or not) for Helix, the way her eyes are paint simply make her look dopey.  Now if you angle her head down enough, she'll look ok, but only just.  But that's the only look you can get out of her--a cutesy Japanese teeny-bopper doe-eyed stare that doesn't say 'killer' enough.  In fact, she looks more menacing/dangerous when eyes are covered by her hair.

Dislike: Satellite dish-like accessory.  Like many have other reviewers have said before: what's this for?


Aesthetics: 9/10 - Somehow the pinkish white hair with black streaks, yellow, grey and black work well on Helix.  Her jaw could be a little narrower and eyes painted better, but overall a good-looking figure.

Poseability: 9.7/10 - Hey, it says on her bio card she's an Olympic-class gymnast . 'Nuff said!

Fun: 9/10 - Greater poseability leads to greater fun for me.  Pity she doesn't have anywhere to store her weapons.

Value: 9/10 - Well, I can't says she's fantastic value for the S$15 I paid for her.  Heck, ROC Joe's go for 10 bucks a pop nowadays.  But she's still worth getting, simply because she's really hard to find.  She's also female and comes with two pistols.  Uh, yeah...

Overall: 9.2/10 - Helix is good, but she ain't great.  A touch up here and a holster there and she would be up there as one of the best.  But still, you can't deny a new Joe her due, especially when they gave her such great tooling and detailing.


  1. I can't help but look at Agent Helix and think that some female character from Marvel deserves to share this mold.

  2. For sure, dude! I mean, I wish I knew what's stopping them from doing so. :/


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