CRIMSON GUARD OFFICER v.1 (2008)
I’m not on ebay very often these days. Making an ebay purchase usually means I’m on the auction site seeking out something in particular that I can’t find anywhere else. For the past couple of years I’ve pre-ordered many of my toys from BigBadToyStore so it’s rare that something new slips past me forcing me to turn to the pricey secondary market. Also, I only browse ebay when I have some disposable income burning a hole in my pocket. Between the G.I. Joe convention sets, the G.I. Joe Figure Subscription Service, my monthly Masters of the Universe purchases from Mattycollector, the influx of Transformers Combiner Wars figures at local toy stores, and the multiple action figure kickstarter campaigns I’ve backed this past year, I’ve pretty much bled my disposable income dry. There are still plenty of holes in my toy collections that I’d like to fill one day but the steady stream of new product has diverted my attention from seeking out those older items. And yet, despite the fact that I’ve stopped looking for them, those “want list” figures still manage to find me and bleed my wallet just a little bit drier.
I’m a member of a couple G.I. Joe discussion groups on facebook; at least two but possibly even three or four. I didn’t set out to join those groups; I was “invited” by friends and once invited I’m automatically a member. And so everyday my newsfeed is flooded with posts from strangers debating things like “What’s the best water-based Cobra vehicle” or “Should your collection be arranged alphabetically or chronologically?” I actually enjoy reading the posts most of the time but sometimes it can be a bit much.
One of the benefits of these facebook groups is that members will often offer up figures for sale and trade. Because we’re all “friends” in the online G.I. Joe community people tend to offer items at pretty good prices most of the time. You may recall a post I wrote a few weeks ago where I reviewed a Crimson Cobra Viper. That was a purchase I made through one of the facebook groups. There’s another dude named Robert in one of the groups who is constantly posting pictures of huge lots of Joe figures for sale ranging from $5 to $8 a pop. I’ve bought a handful of figures from him now in three different transactions. A couple days ago my most recent acquisitions from him arrived in the mail.
My latest batch of figures from Robert included 4 G.I. Joe troopers from 2008, an Elite Viper from 2009, and this Crimson Guard Officer from 2008. All of them are figures from the early days of the modern-era that I either passed on initially or they eluded me at retail.
The Crimson Guard Officer came in a 3-pack which was part of a series called “Senior Ranking Officers”. The pack also included a red hooded Cobra Commander and a standard Crimson Guard Trooper. All of the Officer 3-packs were exclusive to Toys R Us stores. I was buying all my Joes from my local comic shop, Strange Adventures, at the time and didn’t get over to Toys R Us very often. I managed a couple of trips but the only Senior Ranking Officer sets I found were the the one with Ace, Starduster, and Wild Bill and the one with Cutter, Torpedo, and Deep Six. The other four 3-packs frustratingly eluded me.
My brother Doug scored the Crimson Guard themed pack on one of his visits and he doesn’t even collect Joes. It’s annoyed me for the past 7 years that he had this figure and I didn’t but finally that wrong has been righted.
This is the only figure I got from the 3-pack but that’s okay. The Crimson Guard Trooper doesn’t really matter to me because I already have a few of them and the red Cobra Commander is neat but not essential (I already have more than a dozen CCs and the red one is kind of dated). It was only this Crimson Guard Officer, with the gold faceplate and the black panel on his jacket, that I needed for my collection.
The build of this figure is identical to the Crimson Guard Troopers I already had. The only difference is the paint job but what a paint job it is. As you can see from the pictures above and below there have been several paint variations of the standard Crimson Guard. Some of them are subtle ( a silver faceplate or a silver visor) and some of them are drastic (the python patrol and desert versions). This version is the best of both worlds because the differences are obvious so you know immediately that this guy holds a higher rank than the average trooper and because he’s still a CRIMSON guard. I always found it odd when Hasbro released Crimson Guards in colors other than red. They might look cool but it kind of clashes with the name.
The sculpt of this figure is pretty great. It does the fan-favorite 1985 original proud. I prefer the rounder head of the original for nostalgic reasons but this helmet design looks more menacing. I’m glad Hasbro has released so many variations of this figure over the years as its given me an excuse to army build a small squad of them.
For accessories the Crimson Guard Officer has a standard CG backback, a rifle with bayonet, a display base, and a pistol which can be holstered on his leg. Many of the early 25th anniversary figures have not aged well but I think this one has stood the test of time. 9 out of 10.