BARONESS v.9 (2007)
I try to keep this blog as diverse as I can, reviewing figures from various toy lines in order to keep everybody interested. The truth of the matter is though, that my G.I. Joe collection dwarfs every other collection in my toy box and so more often than not you’re gonna get G.I. Joe reviews. Even as far as Joe reviews go, I try to shake things up by reviewing figures from the various eras of the brand, the Real American Hero figures from the 80s, the new sculpt “Joe vs Cobra” figures of the early 2000s, and the modern day/25th anniversary style figures. You need only look at my checklists (found under the blog banner) to see that I’ve been reviewing modern style Joes more than the others. There are a couple of reasons for that. One: Only my modern Joes are currently on display right beside my computer desk practically begging to be reviewed. Two: The size of my modern Joe collection easily eclipses my vintage collection. Vintage reviews must be rationed out. My new sculpt era collection is quite vast as well but many of them are doubles and triples because I was a habitual army builder back then. To break it down even further, I find that I end up reviewing very recent modern figures much more so than the early modern figures of 2007 and 2008. If you find me focusing too much of my attention on any one era feel free to call me on it and suggest a figure for me to review. Today I’m going all the way back to 2007; to the humble beginnings of the modern G.I. Joe toy line to review the Baroness.
I’m a big fan of the modern style Joes. Some might think it blasphemy for me to say that I don’t miss the O-Rings but I don’t. I loved playing with those old toys and I still love hauling out my bin of vintage Joes to revisit them. But as an adult collector I like my toys more detailed, more durable, and more realistically proportioned. When the uber-detailed Spawn toys started coming out in the early 90s, after the demise of the vintage Joe line, I used to imagine a line of Joe figures coming out in that scale, sculpted with gritty realism. I would have loved to have seen Joe figures that detailed but on the flip side, Spawn toys were so stiff and I didn’t want Joes that couldn’t move; their posability is a big part of what makes them great. When the 25th anniversary line launched in 2007 I felt like I was getting the best of both worlds. The figures were much more intricately detailed yet still highly articulated, and they only increased in size by a quarter of an inch, keeping them affordable, collectable, and displayable.
The 25th anniversary line was originally planned to feature the top 25 Joes and Cobras in this new format. The series launched with two 5-packs, a Joe themed one and a Cobra themed one. I talked about the Joe pack in my Gung-Ho review. The Cobra Battle Pack contained Cobra Commander, Storm Shadow, a Cobra Trooper, Destro, and the Baroness. A nice selection but not all of those figures have held up in the years gone by. While I liked the Storm Shadow and Trooper quite a bit at the time, vastly improved versions have since been released. I still think the Destro is awesome. The Cobra Commander was definitely lacking and the Baroness was a real let down.
To this day I don’t think Hasbro has managed to produce a Baroness figure superior to the 1984 original. The coke bottle glasses version of the new sculpt era was a fail and subsequent modern versions, including those based on Sienna Miller from the Rise of Cobra movie have all been disappointments. I know I said that the modern line was an improvement over the original in part because of their realistic proportions but that is not the case with this figure. I think Hasbro was trying make her curvy but only succeeded in making it look like she has scoliosis. None of her limbs rest naturally and her head is hunched forward. It’s a shame because there are elements of this figure that I like. The wind blown hair is cool and there is plenty of nice details in the costume. I had planned on being much harsher on this figure but now that I’m really looking at it for the first time in years I don’t hate it as much as I thought I did.
For accessories she came with a submachine gun, a display base, a long dagger, and a backpack with a Cobra logo, reminiscent of her vintage backpack. I also have her displayed with a briefcase which was probably intended for Destro. The case is pretty cool. it opens up and has lots of sculpted details inside and a removable pistol.
While it’s not as bad as I remember it being, it’s by no means great and sadly this is still my go-to Baroness for my display shelf. Slightly better versions have been released since but none have been good enough for me to bother shelling out my cash. But finally, a very nice looking Baroness figure is being released as part of the San-Diego Con set this year. The Baroness with leashed Ravage was my main reason for buying the SDCC exclusive set this year. Finally I’ll be able to tuck this lackluster figure away to the back of the shelf once my SDCC set arrives. The Baroness is a great character but this is not a great figure. 5 out of 10.