STALKER v.21 (2015)
Merry Christmas gang! I hope you all had an excellent holiday. Mine was quite good. I spent a few days at home with the family, my little brother was visiting from New York, my lovely Vanessa returned home from her family Christmas earlier than expected, and lots of presents were exchanged. Between Vanessa, my brother Doug, and Santa, I ended up with a nice little haul of action figures to tell you about. But before I get to those I’m going to post a review I wrote a week ago…
A couple of months ago I reviewed Sabretooth from the 2015 Joe Con box set titled “Tiger Force vs Iron Grenadiers”. I’ll get to the Grenadiers in due time but today I want to take a look at another one of the Tiger Force crew; Stalker.
Stalker is one of the original 13 Joes from 1982 and one of the first figures I ever owned. Of the original 13 line-up I had Snake-Eyes, Short-Fuze, and Stalker. That’s it. Doug owned the other ten. It seems a little unfair in retrospect but I didn’t mind at the time because I felt I had the cooler figures.
Short-Fuze’s coolness is debatable because he was just another guy in a plain green suit like almost all of Doug’s ten figures (the exception being Scarlet) but because he was the only plain green guy I owned he felt special to me. Snake Eyes was undeniably cool for obvious reasons, he was a masked Commando with an Uzi dressed all in black. What made Stalker cool was his uniqueness. Amongst a squad of white guys in olive uniforms who shared the same three faces Stalker was an African American with a unique head sculpt and distinct uniform. He was the only guy with a moustache, the only guy with a beret, and the only guy wearing camouflage. He had a pretty bitch’n submachine gun too. The original 1982 Stalker was a fantastic figure.
A second Stalker came out in 1989. That time around he was wearing arctic gear and a tuque and he came packaged with a kayak. It was a cool update but since he was a character I already owned and I was moving on from playing with G.I. Joes by that point in my life I never picked up that second figure (I have it now though courtesy of the EPIC HAUL). Stalker got an additional update in each of the final 3 years of the G.I. Joe: Real American Hero toyline (’92, ’93, and ’94) but I had completely stopped collecting by then and missed out on all of them.
Stalker got multiple updates and make-overs during the new sculpt years (2002-2006). One of them was a Tiger Force figure which was included in the same multi-pack as the original Sabertooth/Wreckage in 2003. I never got that pack and so I’ve never really associated Stalker with Tiger Force before now. The ’03 TF Stalker was a repaint of the 1992 Stalker which featured a scowling new head sculpt and a big goofy Spawn boot. Stalker’s Tiger Force paint job (orange striped pants and blue bandoliers) was consistent with the other Joes included in the multi-pack but it didn’t gel with the vintage Tiger Force figures of the 80s.
This 2015 Stalker is an homage to the 2003 figure except instead of faithfully recreating that blue and orange paint job Hasbro has tweaked his colors so that he better matches up better with his modern-era Tiger Force cohorts. I know I shouldn’t endorse yellow pants with tiger stripes but I gotta say that I really like the color choices for this figure. In real life these pants would be a fashion catastrophe that Stalker would never live down but in plastic form they somehow work. The black and yellow look really sharp together and the patches of green found on his gloves and web gear add a little military realism.
The best thing about this figure has to be the newly sculpted head by the team over at Boss Fight Studios. This face has a lot of personality and the sneer gives Stalker an edginess I haven’t seen in him before. I always imagined Stalker to be a smooth operator but this figure makes me think that he can get pretty nasty if you get on his bad side. This is the first Stalker figure to feature a removable beret (previously see on Flint) which is a pretty cool feature.
Besides the beret and webgear, Stalker also comes with Snow Job’s backpack which holds a removable phone and antennae and can be used to store the pieces to his silver machine gun which comes disassembled. He also has a standard black machine gun and a pistol which can be holstered on his leg. It’s a lot of pieces so Stalker looks well prepared for whatever comes his way.
Stalker’s body is made up of a mish-mash of Viper, Joe Trooper, and Duke parts which come together nicely to create a well proportioned figure with a very detailed baggy uniform. The Club wisely did not attempt to recreate the Spawn boot. All-in-all this is one of the best Stalker’s ever released. It’s another nice job by the Collector’s Club (which sadly is rumoured to be ending in 2016). The only thing keeping this figure from being perfect is the shallow pegs holes which make it very difficult to keep this guy standing. 9.5 out of 10.