MUSKRAT v.4 (2013)
I’m currently on a mission to get all of the Joe figures from the 2013 Convention set reviewed. I reviewed Spearhead months ago and in the past few days I’ve reviewed Repeater and Charbroil. Today I’m going to take a look at Joe number four of six, Muskrat.
The original Muskrat was released in 1988 and he was another figure that my brother Doug owned when we were kids. Muskrat was the Joe team’s unofficial swamp trooper having grown up in the bayous of Louisiana. He was a rather plain figure but he had a couple stand-out features. His floppy brimmed hat made him stand out in a crowd and his boogie board “swamp skimmer” was a unique accessory. I personally didn’t care for either of those features. The board was too small to be useful for anything; a Joe scale surfboard would’ve been cooler. And the hat just looked stupid to me. Maybe I’m being too hard on Muskrat but he dressed way too casually for my liking. One thing I did like about the character was his face. It was nothing special but he looked like a nice guy.
Muskrat got a Night Force repaint in 1989 in a Toys R us exclusive 2-pack with Spearhead. A couple years later he got a radical makeover when he became a member of the Battle Corps sub-team. The hat, boogie board, machete, and everything else that made Muskrat Muskrat was gone. I don’t know why they didn’t just make Muskrat version 3 a brand new character.
With the arrival of the new sculpt era in 2002 I began collecting Joes on my own for the first time. Doug and I were all grown up and living in our own places. It was my first chance to own a ton of important characters from the early years of G.I. Joe because Doug and I split each wave down the middle when we were kids. In was super satisfying to finally own my first Destro, Duke, Storm Shadow, and others. Muskrat, however, did not get a new figure during the new sculpt years and I didn’t miss him at all. Muskrat was pretty low on my want list.
When it was announced that Muskrat would be included in the 2013 convention set I was excited to be getting my first Muskrat figure; but only mildly. Muskrat, Repeater, and Psyche Out were all Joes that Doug owned and whom I had no real fondness for. Charbroil and Hit & Run were both characters I liked but I already had modern versions of each of them so that lessened their impact in the set. The only Joe figure from the set that really had me excited was Spearhead. He was the only one of the six that I owned as a kid plus it was his first figure in 20+ years. That’s why he was the first to get reviewed.
Of the figures I was indifferent about both Psyche Out and Repeater impressed me once i had them in hand. Muskrat was, and remains, the only 2013 Night Force figure that leaves me cold. I didn’t care for this figure when I got it and my opinion on it hasn’t softened over the past year. It’s not horrible by any means it’s just very unremarkable.
The frankensteined body and webgear create a passable Muskrat body but it’s one of the least accurate vintage recreations in the set. The head is a new one but it’s very plain. It’s got a buzzed haircut and no distinguishing features. He has an angry scowl on his face which I don’t care for because the laid-back expression of the original toy was one of the few things I liked about the character. His hat is removable this time which is always nice. It fits snugly on his head and stays in place but I still think it looks stupid. I just don’t care for this style of hat.
The paint job is an accurate homage to the ’89 Night Force version but I don’t care for it either. The metallic blue on the hat and vest is the same that was used on Charbroil’s helmet and armor. It looked good on Charbroil because his helmet was supposed to be made of metal. But why would Muskrat’s hat and vest be shimmery? He’s supposed to be a swamp trooper, a Night Force swamp trooper no less. You’d think he’d want to keep his reflective glisten to a minimum.
Besides the hat and vest Muskrat comes with a display base, a shotgun, a pistol with removable silencer, a knife, and his trusty machete.
I’m glad I have a modern style Muskrat in my collection but only because I want modern updates of all the old Joe figures. This one is adequate at filling the Muskrat sized gap I had in my collection but it’s nothing more than that. I don’t expect to like the upcoming repaint much better but perhaps a muted green color scheme will help me gain a new appreciation for the mold. I think Muskrat would benefit from an entirely new head sculpt but that’s not slated to happen and I don’t really care anyway. 5 out of 10.