TOMAX & XAMOT v.5 (2005)
Friend of the site and regular reader and commenter, Guy, recently requested that I review some Tomax and Xamot action figures (side note: More of you should leave comments). I already reviewed the vintage 1985 versions of those characters a couple years ago so my first thought was to review the modern-era versions released in 2008. However, I have a whole slew of modern-era figures in my “to be reviewed” queue so I thought I’d go for a less obvious choice. These figures were released in 2005 during the new-sculpt years…and yet they’re completely made up of vintage parts so the “new-sculpt” moniker isn’t exactly apropos in this case.
Tomax and Xamot are identical twin brothers who run the public face of the Cobra organization, Extensive Enterprises, but they’re not just business men; they’re skilled fighters and acrobats. Often times, in the 80s cartoons and comic books the brothers were shown flipping around and swinging about like professional trapeze artists. Their flair for showmanship was evident in their choice of clothing when out getting their hands dirty in battle. They wore sleeveless blue jumpsuits, knee-high Cobra themed boots, metal half-collars, silver codpieces, and red sashes. Those were the outfits the version 1 action figures were wearing which made sense because those were their battle-ready outfits and most kids want to play out battles.
But as often as the twins were shown wearing their flashy sashes they were shown just as frequently, if not more so, in their suits and ties. These boys from the Mediterranean had a corporation to run after all and they needed to look presentable in board meetings. I’m sure an action figure in a 3-piece suit would not have sold as well as a soldier or a ninja on the mass market but speaking personally I really wanted a sharply dressed Tomax when I was a kid (and my brother Doug wanted a Xamot.)
When we played Joes back then Doug and I often housed the twins on the top of a dresser which was a stand-in for the Extensive Enterprises skyscraper seen on the show. We would sit them behind a Kleenex box office desk where they would taunt the Joes who couldn’t touch them because as far as the general public was concerned the twins were legit business men with no connection to Cobra. This required some suspension of disbelief however because the twins were sitting there literally covered in Cobra logos. Variant versions of the twins in suits would have been very welcome and it seemed like a no-brainer. Hasbro released a version of Gung-Ho in his dress uniform so why not Tomax and Xamot in their Sunday best?
Well somebody at Hasbro finally realized it was a good idea 20 years later. 2003 saw the release of the twins in red military outfits and then in 2005 we finally got these suited versions. These figures mark the first and only time to-date that Tomax and Xamot have been sold separately. Each of them came packaged with 4 Crimson Guardsmen and Firefly. The Crimson Guard is the faction of Cobra which the twins command (its why they’re often referred to as the Crimson Twins) so their inclusion made perfect sense but the addition of Firefly to both packs was odd.
The Crimson multi-packs never showed up in my neck of the woods so I ordered these two figures online. I was very happy to get them at long last but sadly they failed to live up to their potential. The biggest problem is the body Hasbro used. It’s the zoot suit originally used for the character Headman, released in 1992. Headman was a Dick Tracy villain type of character created to do battle with the Joe team’s new Drug Elimination Force (D.E.F.). I‘m not a fan of the Joes fighting street level gangsters concept but fortunately that all came about after I had quit collecting Joes in 1990.
So while I do appreciate that this was the only suit-wearing body available at the time, and that the Hasbro designers did the best they could with what they had, it really doesn’t work for a couple of CEOs. A neck tie and dress shoes would really have helped to make this sculpt feel more contemporary. I was going to knock the double breasted jackets as well but when I googled images from the old cartoon it turns out that those were the style of jacket they wore.
It doesn’t help that the whole suit is painted with a metallic blue sheen. A flat blue jacket and some gray slacks might have been better and more ‘toon accurate.
As for the heads, they’re the exact same ones that were used in ’85. They may seem a little soft but I like them…they’re classic.
These figures aren’t perfect but they are pretty cool and they filled a long standing hole in my collection. I hope we get modern-era suited twins at some point because Hasbro has many more “suitable” pieces to work with nowadays. 7 out of 10.