DESTRO v.29 (2014)
With the passing of 2014 so to passes the 50th anniversary of G.I. Joe. It was a pretty lackluster anniversary as far as standard G.I. Joe figures were concerned. We got four 2-packs, a couple 3-packs, and a couple vehicle packs. Fortunately, besides the limited standard releases we also got a great convention set and 13 new subscription figures from the Collector’s Club, a bevy of Kre-O block figures, some unexpected Burger King kids meal toys, and the promise of 12” retro-figures from Gentle Giant. So while the 50th anniversary lacked the impact of the 25th anniversary it could have been much worse.
The small wave of anniversary product that Hasbro did provide us with was an interesting mix of figures. Some were straight re-releases of figures we’d seen before, like the Cobra Trooper and Hawk. Some were repaints of figures and vehicles we already had, like the Viper and the VAMP. And some were brand new figures, like Heat Viper and Ice Viper. The plastic used was softer than usual and there were a number of reports of quality controls issues in regards to the paint apps so some fans were fairly disappointed. Personally, I was quite satisfied with anniversary figures overall. One of the biggest highlights from the small assortment was Destro.
Destro’s been around since 1983 and this is the 32nd version of him in the 3 ¾” scale; the 19th version in the modern style alone (the reason it says v.29 above is a technicality I won’t bother getting into). As with other overexposed characters like Snake Eyes, Cobra Commander, and Duke, I usually try to avoid buying the multitude of Destro variants Hasbro puts out. The way I see it, you really only need 2 versions of Destro: His v.1 look from 1983 featuring the silver chrome helmet, exposed chest and medallion, and his v.2 Iron Grenadier look from 1988 featuring a gold helmet and cape. Practically all of the other versions that have come out since are just redundant variations of those two signature looks.
The first modern version of Destro came out in 2007. It featured the 1983 silver helmet design and I thought it was a great figure. It still holds up as one of the best 2007 figures. Hasbro was still working out the kinks of the new figure construction at that point so some of the other 2007 offerings are pretty wonky. The first modern take on the 1988 gold-helmeted Grenadier version of Destro came out in 2008 and it was also quite good. With 2 great modern construction style figures in my collection, one representing each of the character’s iconic costumes, I should’ve been able to stop buying Destro figures right then and there. Unfortunately Hasbro kept including variations of Destro in multi-packs with other figures and vehicles that I needed so I ended up with a half dozen more Destros that I didn’t really want or need.
This particular Destro was another multi-pack version. It was included in a 3-pack with the re-release of General Hawk and one of the must-have 50th anniversary figures, Leatherneck. Therefore I would’ve got saddled with this Destro whether I wanted him or not in order to get Leatherneck. However, in this case, I wanted this Destro; I wanted him bad. Yes, it’s another modern-style take on 1983 Destro, much like the 2007 figure, but this one is totally badass.
The first difference you’ll notice between the ’07 version and this figure is that this version is much taller; by at least a quarter inch. Bigger doesn’t always mean better but in this case I think it does. Real people come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and one aspect of the modern construction that I really like is that it allows for a much wider array of body types. This figure is a frig’n giant. Destro wasn’t generally portrayed in the comics or cartoons as being huge but he was definitely an imposing character. I think the original toy would have been bigger if the designers had the ability to do that back in ’83. This larger physique really suits Destro’s character.
The other thing about this figure which immediately stands out is the head sculpt. It’s absolutely deadly. This is the closest we’ve come to a figure that accurately represents Destro’s 1983 card art. The artwork featured a mask with blunt angles but the original toy, and every subsequent version until now, has featured a very rounded mask; almost like the silver is Destro’s actual skin. I like the smoother look but this angular design is a refreshing change of pace.
The last thing that needs to be pointed out is the collar. This thing is a beast and it looks super cool. The collars of previous figures look laughable when compared to this. Destro has always had a flair for over-the-top ceremonial garb and this collar finally does him some justice. The rest of the body construction is good but not particularly noteworthy.
For accessories Destro comes with a display stand (with nifty gold accents) and a briefcase. Destro has come with similar cases before and they’re usually filled with money which makes sense given that he’s a very wealthy professional arms dealer. This time around the case contains a rifle broken down into 5 separate components. It’s very cool and perhaps even more appropriate than the money cases.
This is an excellent Destro figure. I’m reluctant to say it’s my favorite simply because it’s lacking a vac-metal chrome helmet which is a Destro must. However, I feel that the beautiful sculpted detail on the mask would have been lost had they chromed it so I guess I have to give Hasbro a pass on that. Chances are they’ll eventually release a chromed variant of this figure anyway and so I’ll end up adding yet another Destro to my collection. 10 out of 10.