SWITCH GEARS v1
The new sculpt era of G.I. Joe that lasted from 2002 until 2007 will probably go down in history as a pretty forgettable period for Joe; or rather it won’t go down in history at all which is really kind of a shame. The new sculpt era brought us some horribly proportioned figures, a lot of ugly redesigns, mediocre direct-to-video CGI movies with bad characterizations of well-established Joes, a flood of repaint figures, and some wonky articulation. However every era of joe has had their share of misses. The new sculpt era may have had more than others but in part that’s because of the massive amount of product released during that time. There were only 6 different versions of Snake-Eyes released in the entire first decade of RAH Joe from ’83-’94. There were 19 versions of him released during the new sculpt era between 2002 and 2006. Amongst all that average product some real gems were released. The new sculpt era brought us a whole bunch of cool new characters and some of the redesigns of classic characters were actually improvements over the originals. The plastic used was more durable during those years and some cool concepts were introduced. One of my favorite aspects of the era was the 2-packs of figures.
Today I’m going to review Switch Gears who I feel is a fine example of what was good about those years. First off he was a brand new character. I wouldn’t be interested if they relaunched G.I. Joe with all new characters as I love the characters I grew up with but I feel an infusion of new blood is necessary every now and again to keep things fresh. Switch Gears’ file card says he’s a tank driver and a tough guy and yet he didn’t come with a tank and he’s got a friendly baby-face so the description doesn’t really match the toy. Switch Gears came packaged with Cobra Commander which seems like an odd choice. Usually they seemed to make an effort to pair rival characters together like Duke with Cobra Commander or Snake-Eyes with Storm Shadow. Slapping this rookie tank driver in a 2-pack with Cobra’s top dog seems kind of lazy to me. But it was a 2-pack none the less and maybe Hasbro thought people wouldn’t buy this new character unless he was packaged with somebody important. Another thing I like about Switch Gears is that he was a part of one of those high-concept subsets. He was part of a wave of figures known as Spy-Troops where one character in each 2-pack came with a disguise so that they could infiltrate the other team. Switch Gears comes with a disguise that makes him appear to be the B.A.T. commander Overkill. Not that his disguise would actually fool anyone; he’s about as convincing as Fakor but it’s a fun feature that added some play value. Switch Gears’ overall design isn’t great. His pants are an ugly color, he’s got random non-sensical armor padding, retarded shoulder pads, and a gay vest. (pardon my double political incorrectness) Despite having all those strikes against him I still find myself liking this character. Perhaps it’s because he was one of the first new Joes introduced to the team in years. He looks like such a fresh faced young kid amongst the other Joes who in my mind are all battle hardened vets. It makes me long for the days when I was a kid and I’d get a new figure that I could introduce into the team during play, I feel I could’ve “told” some good stories with this kid and his sad attempt at impersonation. 6 out of 10.