Tuesday, March 22, 2011

GI Joe 3.75" Pursuit of Cobra Shadow Tracker

Awww yeah!

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 then I convinced myself of how much I liked the Arnie's Predator (and that all the rest were just not that good).  I also wanted to complete the Predator sub-theme within the Joes so this guy was a must-have.  So I tried my luck and managed to get Shadow Tracker for S$20--reasonable considering the large department stores don't bring in the newer GI Joe stuff anymore.

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"
Like: That they chose to give him pale dark skin (a paradox!) because it resembles the skin of the Predator, while at the same time making him very much a human being with a scary mask and hair.  Herein lies the trick of making a human look like our favorite hunter-killer alien (except for all you Alien fans, of course. ;P)

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.

Dislike:  That his 'locks block his top vest hole in the back (that's for his quiver) unless you turn his head either way to the openings in the back of his hair.

RATINGS

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!

Poseability: 9.5/10 - Plenty of weapons, plenty of places to put them, and those brilliantly hinged wrists.  Excellent ankle hinges also allow him to point his toes very well, and he's also got great metal ball-joints for his hips/legs, which allow 90 degree bend forward and almost 90 straight out to the side. He does lose some points for the slightly troblesome head, but when it stays on, the head can look very menacing indeed.

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...
Recondo may have free head movement (baldness has its benefits) but he ain't got no hinged wrists madness.  Both the figures come with good, useful stuff, with 'Tracker just just simply having a ton more tools for a-killin'!

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!

20 comments:

  1. Huzzah! Another G.I. Joe review!

    I ordered this guy from Big Bad Toy Store and had him (and a number of other Joe figures) shipped to my dad, who in turn opened them and placed them in baggies and shipped them here to Asmara, where they'll hopefully arrive in another week or two--I can't wait!

    The way you pose figures in your reviews gives me a much better sense than anyone else's reviews of exactly what I can expect from the figure. Have you ever considered writing a guest review for Michael Crawford's site? He gets a LOT of traffic, so it might be a good opportunity to spread the word about your site.

    Excellent work!

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  2. Thank you, good sir. You are too kind.

    Am glad to hear your Shadow Tracker and other goodies are on the way! The best part is that you know they're being shipped to you by a reliable source. ;)

    What's the name of Michael Crawford's site? I used to (and am still to some extent) write for Articulated Discussion (I did almost all my Iron Man 2 figures there) but the site got hit bad by spam and was down for a bit before moving. During that time I really focused on this site, but I am thankful for the traffic doing reviews on AD gave me! I'd be really glad if I could start up another "outside" venture! :)

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  3. Crawford's homepage is here:

    www.mwctoys.com/index.html

    I find the main page a bit loud and busy, so I always visit the archive page, instead:

    www.mwctoys.com/reviews-all.htm

    I largely prefer your photos, and you cover more of the things I like than Crawford covers, but he set the template that 99% of toy reviewers follow, and the sheer scope of his archive is astounding. He's also a cool, friendly guy.

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  4. Wow! That is an awesome figure! I'm really impressed by these "Predator"-themed Joe figures.

    Great comics as always!

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  5. @Geekcreek - Thanks for the hookup! SOunds like it'll be easy since he has a set template.

    And once again, you're to kind! :)

    @3B - Thanks dude! I know, right? If you never liked Joes before this could actually pull you in or at least compel you to get some. Well, if you also lik Predato, of course. ;)

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  6. You officially made me want to track down this figure now. Thank you. Seriously though, awesome pictures.

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  7. Grrrrrreat review! I don't generally go in for Joes, but I think you've sold me on this guy. I'd be even MORE interested if NECA weren't currently kicking out pretty poseable Predators in 6/7" scale, but yes. :D

    P.S. AD is less encumbered by spam now... soooo yeah. If you ever want to do any guest reviews again... :)

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  8. Thanks Wes! Those 6/7" Predators are way sweet. I'm doing all I can to fend them off!

    And yes, Dr Nightmare and I actually spoke on email a month or two back. I'm supposed to be working on a review right now, (but of course I'm slackity slacking) so I should send a review AD's way soon! (Cue crickets.) But thanks for the invite to write again, Wes. I do so miss ol' The Articulated One. ;(

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  9. Great review! I like his mask as it remind me of Casey Jones in TMNT or Jason from Friday 13th. Only the hair and the weapon give the similarity of predator.

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  10. @LEon - Casey Jones is spot on! Now wouldn't be awesome if they did a Joe or four that had mask that loked like turtles? Hm...

    Yes, it's mostly in the hair and the spear with the bolas. Pity they couldn't him a mini shoulder mounted laser! ;)

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  11. Thinking about buying him just for all the weapons...

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  12. Good thinking! ;) Ya Joes are worth it simply for the stuff they come with. I bet you could even make back some of the money you used to buy him with. :)

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  13. Somewhere in the back of my head, I can't help but think that there's a Hasbro designer looking at Shadow Tracker and thinking, "We made a Predator-themed COBRA and people loved it...but that head would look great on a TMNT Casey Jones-themed G.I. Joe! Let's see...working name: Renegade...I can just change it later if it doesn't stick...short hair, of course--maybe a helmet...body armor/flak jacket/load-bearing vest that looks like football/hockey armor...arm and shin guards...at the very least, this would make a nice Capt. Gridiron reissue..."

    And that character would have four Ninja-Vipers in green (here's the perfect design for them: http://www.sideshowtoy.com/?page_id=4489&sku=100021&ref=search&100021) as his main adveraries!

    How awesome would that be? Har-har!

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  14. Very interesting. If only they could get not the license but maybe a one off special permission to do the Turtles. Then Casey Jones would be this guy's head re-tooled. That would be really nice, not to mention sell out real quick. Lol.

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  15. If they can pull that off, I'd suggest the following sculpts for the TMNT human characters:

    1) ROC Scarlett, Cover Girl, or Dialtone for April O' Neil.

    2) ROC Baroness for Karai (Shredder's Daughter/Lady Shredder)

    3) 2011 Storm Shadow for Shredder.

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  16. Wow, you got a good eye, dude. Do you customize much?

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  17. Outstanding review and even better pictures. Shadow Tracker is offically my favorite and the most bad ass Joe ever. This guy is in the same league as Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow and Stalker.

    The next move for the Joe franchise guys is to have him assassinate a whole bunch of guys fight Snake and the boys and give Shadow Tracker a removable mask with a human face and elaborate surprise origin to go with the one he already has.

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  18. Matter of fact I already bought three of em. And if Shadow tracker get alternate outfits I'll buy them too.

    Lets go hunting around the galaxy.

    Shadow Tracker Star Wars: Morgukai outfit with cortosis weapons (his sickle, knife and machete)

    Shadow Tracker Transformer: A decepticon vehicle that transforms and a 3 3/4 Shadow Tracker that fit inside.

    Shadow Tracker DCuniverse classic/Marvel legend:
    Eternia armor and weapons with Cobra logos.

    Shadow Tracker Predator: For the Win. Full Predator outfit setup with shoulder mounted gun, spear, flip up wrist remote the whole 9.

    Add in trophies from every conquered enemy and world and G.I.Joe and Hasbro would make history again. Not to mention a ton of money.

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  19. Thnaks, Omega Agent 1!

    And lol, glad to see you have it all planned out! If Hasbro did make anyone one these, I'm sure they'd make money alone on sales just solely to you. ;P But yes, I'd buy some of those for sure too, especially something like a Shadow Tracker TF. ;)

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

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