Like Big Ben, the genesis of Crimson Guard Immortal comes from the 1991 line of G.I. Joe figures, a run of toys that totally thrilled me as a child. I was infatuated with nearly every figure in the 1991 line, but especially loved the updated looks for the familiar characters. By far my favorite Cobra entry in the 1991 line was the Crimson Guard Immortal, which is probably why I was initially so critical of the look of the concept case version.
While a lot of folks seemed excited for the concept case Crimson Guard Immortal, I wasn’t really feeling it. There are certain elements of the CGI that are critical parts of the figure’s design success, and the chest panels were some of those unique elements. I just didn’t feel like the Pursuit of Cobra Firefly vest worked in that same way.
Not only that, but the somewhat clugey gauntlets from the G.I. Joe: Retaliation Cobra Trooper didn’t fit my perceived aesthetic either. I didn’t consider it a great update.
So when the Club announced they were revisiting the idea in the FSS, I crossed my fingers that they might tweak the design somewhat and bring something a bit different to the table.
Well, a couple of interesting things happened. First of all, they did follow the formula pretty much exactly, down to the Retaliation Snake Eyes legs. Second of all, even though I fought against it all the way until cracking open the card, I find myself liking the end result a lot more than I thought. Aesthetically, I still don’t like those flashy gauntlets. I understand Hasbro and the Club were going for “ceremonial” but they just don’t look all that great to me. From a functionality perspective, though, they’re pretty darn nice. The somewhat longer arms have great range of motion and enable the Immortal to hold his weapon extremely well, and as folks who read these reviews should know by now, I often use that as a big measuring stick towards a figure’s success. I still don’t love the look, but the feel is downright awesome.
The Club used Hasbro’s new head sculpt, which is great, but also added some nice deco to the PoC Firefly vest, putting some black in with the silver to add some nice contrast. I still don’t love the different shades of silver in the gauntlets and the vest, though, and that does detract somewhat from the cohesiveness of the figure. The base red matches the existing Crimson Guard figures from the Retaliation line very well, and I love this new and updated Crimson Guard corps I’m now able to put together. Although I’ll admit I really wish the Immortal was easier (cheaper) to army build…the whole idea of putting troop builders in the FSS argument has been done to death, so I won’t regurgitate that here. It doesn’t bug me a whole lot (I’d rather just get the figure in the first place than not) but in some cases, like this one, it’s a bit frustrating.
The Club also added some nice flair to the accessories for the Crimson Guard Immortal as well. I totally hated the rocket launchers the vintage figure came with, and while the Club does include that, along with three rockets, they also give him a fantastic machine gun and a great Crimson Guard themed flag that are awesome additions.
Conceptually I really wasn’t a fan of the look of the Crimson Guard Immortal in the concept case, and my feelings didn’t change a whole lot with the FSS rendition, but I’m happy to say in execution, I find myself enjoying it a lot more than I thought I might. There are still some changes I would have loved to have seen made to make it perfect, though.