RAZOR TROOPER v.1 (2004)
In order to take a side-by-side comparison shot for my recent Bombstrike review I had to haul out my box of new-sculpt era G.I. Joe figures. “New-sculpt” is the designation assigned by Joe fans to the figures produced by Hasbro from 2002-2007. By and large those years don’t get a lot of love from Joe fans but I get more nostalgic about them all the time. Digging through the box looking for my 2005 Bombstrike I came across so many cool figures that I don’t get to see very often because I haven’t had my new-sculpt Joes on display since 2007 when the modern-era figures took over their spot.
If I had the room to display all of my toys I would but I don’t so some things have to remain boxed up. It makes sense that of the 3 eras of 3 3/4″ G.I. Joes (Real American Hero (RAH), new-sculpt, and modern) that the modern figures would be the ones displayed for a couple of reasons. Not only am I still actively collecting them but also because they’re geared towards the collector market so they have a level of detail not seen in the first two eras.
As an adult collector who displays his toys I think the modern era Joes are perfectly suited for display purposes. However, if I was a kid who wanted to play with his toys the modern-era figures would fall short. The RAH and new-sculpt figures had a fun and playability factor that is sadly lacking in the modern Joes. When I was sifting through the new-sculpt box I kept coming across figures that I wanted to play with, not just stick on a shelf for display. The Razor Trooper is a perfect example.
In 2004 Hasbro followed up their “Spy-Troops” theme with “Valour vs Venom”. The idea was that Cobra was infusing their soldiers with animal DNA to enhance their abilities. Most of the “V-Troops” were new army builders like Swamp Rats and Electric Eels but a few new “name” characters were introduced as well such as Venomous Maximus and a new Croc Master. One of the new individual characters was Razor Claw; a warrior trained by ninjas and infused with the DNA of a tiger. Nothing about his costume read “tiger” which seems kind of odd but perhaps they didn’t want him to look like a member of the Joe sub-team, Tiger Force. Razor Claw had a black and red uniform with grey highlights and black goggles. His defining characteristic was a couple of sword blades attached to his forearms. Razor Claw was a decent looking figure but I didn’t care much for the head sculpt.
Later that year Hasbro decided to give Razor Claw some underlings to boss around. They repainted his body, plopped on a new head, and created the Razor Trooper. The Razor Trooper’s file card read almost the exact same as Razor Claw’s. It said the venomization process erased their memories and filled them with unrestrained anger. They are proficient with high-tech weaponry but they don’t rely on it. They prefer to use the retractable claws gifted to them as a result of the tiger DNA. There’s no evidence of retractable claws on the figure and it seems like a tad bit of overkill to give a guy claws if he already has sword-arms but who am I to second guess Dr. Mindbender.
I think the Razor Trooper is a pretty cool figure. It’s proportioned fairly well which can’t be said of many new-sculpt era figures. I like the sculpted cobra emblem on the chest and the raised black piping on the torso gives the figure a pretty distinct look. The trooper has a similar color palette to Razor Claw (black, red, and grey) which ties them together nicely and yet the outfits are still quite different. The arm blades are a cool idea but what I find especially neat about them is that they are articulated at the base. That way the blades can be pointed up or down. The fact that the Trooper can flip the blade back and forth makes it seem much more functional than just a blade for stabbing. I can imagine him swinging them about and using them defensively to block attacks as well as using them as offensive weapons. I bet it would look awesome in a cartoon or live-action.
The head was the only newly sculpted piece for this figure which is fine with me because that was the only piece I didn’t like about Razor Claw. The helmet shape is similar to the one worn by Razor Claw but instead of black goggles and an exposed face the Razor Trooper has a solid black faceplate akin to the classic Viper. It’s a very cool look that fits in perfectly with the established Cobra aesthetic. The Razor Trooper was one of my favorite V-Troops and I’d love to see him updated in the modern style someday so that he could once again be put on display and enjoyed on a regular basis. 8 out of 10.