Even as a kid I was a veritable completist when it came to G.I. Joe. I loved the figures and vehicles so much that I just had to at least try and get every one of them that I possibly could. Back in the days before eBay, that was a somewhat tricky proposition. By the time 1987 rolled around, there were only a few figures I was missing: Ripcord, Cover Girl, and Doc. Because of this I drew a mild resentment from these three characters. To me I love reading and watching stories featuring characters I can re-enact when I’m not watching, and if I don’t own a figure of a particular character, it bugs me to see them get the spotlight, so because of that Doc has always kind of had a unique place in my collecting spirit.
Now its twenty years later, and I’ve owned my vintage Doc, Ripcord, and Cover Girl since 1988 when I absorbed a buddy’s collection, so I’m hoping I can take a little bit more of an objective look at the character and figure.
First of all, I think Doc is almost a perfect choice for a mail away figure. He’s a fairly well known and popular character, but with enough generic parts to allow for a decent amount of reused tooling. Yet while he’s pretty central in hardcore G.I. Joe fan minds, to the more outside collector he’s not all that important. Because of that, I could see him not getting much love in a standard single pack, but because he IS an important character (perhaps just because of his untimely death, but I digress) and it’s great that Joe fans can get an opportunity to own him. Do you have anything else to add, Fred?
I concur with much of what Justin said. Doc was one of those figures that was absolutely essential in the adventures of my GIJoe team when I was a young Joe fan. In fact, I think it was his “non combat” specialty that really made him stand out in my mind. Most toy lines featured plenty of combat-capable troopers but Joe was pretty unique in the fact that support personnel could actual play key roles in story lines. With his real-world uniform and some uber-cool gear, Doc has always been a favorite of mine and I certainly gushed about him when I reviewed the 1983 Doc some time ago. The fact that Hasbro released him as a mail-away figure was a perfect idea for a character that would certainly resonate well with collectors.
Construction and Design: There are two words that immediately strike fear and loathing into the G.I. Joe fandom when it comes to the 25 th Anniversary. Two words so insidious and disturbing that the only reaction can be disgust and horror. Two words… “Duke arms.”
Yes, Doc has the infamous “Duke arms”…those funky sculpted arms that can’t bend more than 45 degrees with that strange mid-forearm swivel joint that has made Duke one of the more hated figures of the line. I continue to find it odd that Hasbro saddles what is probably their most popular character with such a glaring design flaw. We have heard that they are working to correct this, and I really, REALLY hope they’re serious about it, because it is a large design and articulation flaw and draws some serious attention away from better parts of any figure, including Doc.
Thankfully, though, there are some positive reasons why it’s not such a big deal when it comes to the Joe medic. First of all, at least Doc doesn’t have to hold a weapon two-handed. As an avowed pacifist, Doc refuses to hold or fire machine guns, so the articulation misfortunes are at least somewhat concealed by this fact. The darker skin color also helps to conceal the cut of the joint in his arm as well, so even though he’s got those arms that are a pain in the butt for almost every Joe fan out there, on Doc at least the issues aren’t so obvious.
Besides the Duke arms, I’ve got absolutely zero complaints. Duke’s torso and upper legs work flawlessly for Doc, and this is a perfect example of why the removable secondaries work so well on these newer figures. Without that sculpted rubber belt, Duke’s torso is a lot more versatile and works for many different functions.
Alongside Duke’s parts, Doc has a new sculpt head, which captures his character to absolute perfection. The close-cropped haircut and green sunglasses are fantastic and this figure is immediately identifiable as Doc. But the head sculpt isn’t the only new part, so are his lower legs. He’s got ankle-length pants rolled at the cuff, and some more standard shoes underneath rather than the more familiar combat boots. These two changes are minor, yet make a world of difference for this figure. Even with so much shared tooling this figure works PERFECTLY as the first Joe Medic, even with Duke’s unfortunate arms, I can’t find much to complain about.
The paint apps are terrific as well, with a nice tan uniform, and the Red Cross on his chest. Not a lot of separate colors, but the colors here work and are a pretty accurate representation of the vintage Doc.
What about you, Fred? Do you have anything to pick apart here?
You beat me to it with the dreaded “Duke arms”. Seriously, while I understand that statement from the recent Q & A session regarding why the arms haven’t been retooled yet, I’m still not happy about it. The issue for me isn’t that they haven’t been “corrected” yet—it’s the fact that these arms shouldn’t have been constructed this way in the first place. If I wanted a figure that had the range of motion of C3PO then I’d go out and purchase a Star Wars figure. (Note: the few SW figures I’ve purchased in the past year have superior elbows to these.) However, I’ve ranted and raved about this continuing issue since the anniversary line debuted. If Hasbro is aware of the problem, then generate a new tooling with a range of motion that actually EQUALS that of the classic figures. Okay, rant over.
Like my illustrious counterpart, I find very little in this figure that creates any dissatisfaction. The reuse of the Duke torso works well as a reasonable facsimile of the original figure’s torso and, for once, the rolled sleeves seem appropriate. I do wish that the figure’s lower arms had simply been molded in the darker flesh-tone needed for the character instead of being treated to a glossy coat of paint. (This has been a complaint of mine since the line debuted—stop painting flesh tones!) The shiny surface of the paint gives Doc a slightly “sweaty” appearance that almost distracts from the overall presentation. I did, however, say “almost” as otherwise this is one extremely solid character design brought forward 25 years.
Accessories: This is something that has become a critical component of the success of the Anniversary line. With so much shared tooling and common parts, it’s important that Hasbro gives us new accessories and interesting gear to “spice up” the figures, so to speak. The upcoming Wave 4 Comic Packs are a perfect example of that, with a somewhat blah Firefly Vs. Storm Shadow being a highly desirable pack with a bunch of cool new gear that really makes the figures a lot more interesting.
Well Hasbro takes that concept and runs with it here, giving us a lot of cool new gear, easily surpassing the stuff that even the original Doc came with. First of all, the rubber strap and satchel is fantastic! It fits over his shoulder perfectly and the pouch is amazingly well detailed with the medical symbol on the clasp and everything. He’s got a new sculpt flare pistol that is something the original didn’t come with, and it fits nicely into Duke’s holster on the reused upper legs, too.
The ground-mounted flare launcher is a pretty accurate replication of the same weapon he came with back in ’83 as well, and at first glance so is his stretcher. The sculpt is the same, but with a ton of added paint apps throughout the medical pouches and detail on the stretcher. And of course, his helmet tops it all off with some added detail as well. So you end up with a figure with a few new parts, but a wealth of great accessories that makes Doc even more desirable, in my opinion.
Fred, what are your thoughts in the gear that Doc comes with?
See what happens when I let Justin take point on one of these reviews? I end up being the one to sit here and simply say “me too! Me too!” I was always a huge fan of the original Doc’s accessories—especially the stretcher and I’m glad to see that someone at Hasbro apparently is too. Doc’s gear is back and this time the details on the bottom side of his wounded conveyance have been painted, which helps to bring out the details even more. I do wish that the flare launcher would have been molded in a different darker color to help provide more contrast with the rest of the figure but that’s a minor complaint. The included flare guy is a bit of a puzzler for me only because the portrayal of Doc in the comic series was such that he wouldn’t pick up a gun of any kind. However, it fits snugly in his holster and blends in well with the rest of his kit. If he’d come with an AK-47, I’d have something to legitimately complain about. However, his gear is extremely faithful to the original design as well as appropriate and so once I again I resort to being a parrot to Justin’s Cap’n Crunch: “Me too! Me too!”
Presentation: Yet another key point of the 25 th Anniversary line’s success is the presentation, and Hasbro has been hitting home runs left and right. From the vintage style single-pack cards to the incredible painted backdrops in the 5-Packs and Target Vehicles, Hasbro is really cranking up the marketing and presentation factor to make their figures jump of the pegs and shelves. Well, Doc won’t be found on any pegs or shelves, but that doesn’t mean they’ve taken his presentation any less seriously. Where most of the time you get mail-aways in a white mailer with a simple plastic bag, Doc comes fully CARDED. That’s right, the figure is sealed on a single-pack card just like his other single-pack brethren and it looks very, very nice. Even though you’re getting the figure essentially for shipping and handling and no other costs, you get a fully mint on card Joe figure that will fit seamlessly into your MOC display.
But that’s not all here…included with the Doc figure is an awesome little clamshell protective case with fully embossed Joe and COBRA logos throughout. This is never something that appealed to me back in the day, but now that I’ve got an amassed MOC collection, I LOVE this clamshell case and I desperately hope that Hasbro plans on selling these individually somewhere down the line, because I would definitely be picking them up for my own mint on card collection.
So, Fred, what do you think about Doc’s “look”?
“Me too! Me too!” Oh wait, it’s my turn again, isn’t it. When I first read over the mail-away form I was a bit surprised at the cost of the shipping and handling for each figure. Sure, it was $4.00 but how much does it cost to mail a loose figure in a small white box? However, when I saw the size of the package I was floored as I had never expected Hasbro to break precedent and ship Doc carded. For those MOC collectors out there, Doc will fit right in with the rest of your collection! The card art is just as strong for this mail-away premium as it is for the rest of the line which shows just how seriously Hasbro is taking the entire 25 th Anniversary concept. Not only that but the plastic clamshell protector is easy to open and reseal. I’m so impressed with this extra inclusion that I can only dream that Hasbro would actually sell packages of these via HasbroToyShop.com so that I can use them to proudly display and protect the rest of my carded 25A figures! Bravo, Hasbro! Bravo!!
Final Comments: How can you not love this? $4.00 shipping and handling, with some Proof of Purchase points that you have anyway from stocking up on the awesome Comic Packs and you have a fully carded, fully vintage Doc with new tooling and new accessories? This is an absolute NO BRAINER. Factor in the fact that you can use Battle Points or Flag Points, and I can find no excuse to stock up on Doc figures. This guy belongs on the pegs right next to the other fantastic 25 th Anniversary figures we’ve gotten in this line, and he’s essentially a “bonus” figure. You absolutely can NOT go wrong here. Hasbro is accepting orders on this bad boy through August of this year, so don’t hesitate, don’t lose your chance. This figure is worth every penny of the minor charge and you will not regret picking him up. Anyone not familiar with the intimate details of this mail away offer should click here to check out the details of the offer on GIJoe.com
So, Fred, what are your final opinions on this figure overall?
To date I’ve picked up every mail-away figure in the history of the GIJoe line (save for the Create-a-Cobra) and I have to say that this is THE best overall product that Hasbro has produced in terms of presentation and design. It’s a mail-away that works well for both carded and loose collectors, new fans and vintage completionists, comic and cartoon aficionados. It’s a classic character that’s been a perennial fan-favorite that is obtainable SHIPPED for less than the price of a new single-carded figure at your favorite mass retailer. The best part is that it’s not too late to order these figures as the deadline for the promotion’s end isn’t for a few months. In all honesty, even those who dislike the 25A line and the “no-ring” figures are going to have a hard time disparaging the overall quality of the product and presentation found in this mail-away premium. I’d encourage any Joe fan with Battle Points to spare to order a pair of these—one to open and one to leave sealed as an example of just how a proper mail-away figure should be produced. Once again, I find myself more than a little surprised of just how much I like a 25A product—in spite of those blasted “Duke arms”.