G.I. Joe Force Recon Marine - 2004

The Force Recon Marine from Hasbro (2004) was one of many exceptional 1/6th GI Joe's that the big H cranked out around that time. Habsro was really  hitting a creative peak with most of their 1/6th scale stuff. Small Joe collectors were trapped in the abyss of Joe vs Cobra and valor vs Venom nonsense. no worries, their time was coming soon.

The Force Recon Marine (FRM) came with quite a few high quality items as accessories. While not at the quality of Sideshow Toys, Hasbro had some pretty damn good bits of gear for their price points.

Packaging was quite well done. the art was vibrant and captured the "feel" of the soldier. It is important to remember that these Joes were definitely "ordinary" Joes, no characters, just your basic soldier.

I picked up this boxed FRM at Joelanta 2012. One of the Joelanta crew, Marten Jallad, had a great selection of boxed Joes available for sale. Should I reveal how much it cost for me to steal them from him? Marten is a great guy and a valuable part of the Joelanta team. For more on Joelanta, you can also dig through my other silly blog nonsense, Reasonably Intellingent Rambling. You'll have to dig back a little bit to find the Joelanta posts. 

Okay, back to the FRM. Once out of the box, you are struck by the gear and the way that the figure can be posed. There are three specific joints that have been created for an advanced body style from Hasbro. This body style is referred to as the Super Articulated Body. Can I just call it a SAB for the remainder of the review?

 So let's begin with a review of the gear. We'll begin with his primary weapon, an MP-5. 

The MP-5 is a really cool weapon and has become a part of both 1/6th and 1/18th scale collectors. Hasbro did a nearly exceptional job with this one. While the paint apps and detailed sculpting are highlights, there is a bot of a draw back. The weapon comes with two ammo clips and a bracket that holds the two clips side by side. 

The draw back is that the bracket is not too tight and the clips tend to slid out easily. I tend to keep the small clear rubber band on the gun to keep the clips in place, but those bands degrade after a while. This is still an exceptional replica for the 1/6th scale collector. Hasbro did some great work!

The trooper's helmet is very well done. The helmet is solidly constructed and includes an inner mount for the helmet/ Plus there are brass fitting that clasp the helmet straps together. Another nice touch by Hasbro.

The Marine also comes with a grappling hook and a very sturdy line that can be used with his "action feature." More on that later! 
The Marine also comes with a decent web belt. The belt itself is a somewhat rigid plastic with an attached holster and scabbard.There is a simple combat knife included for the scabbard and a pistol for the holster. The pistol has an odd feature. There is a coil attached from the holster to the pistol. While this seems to make sense in that the coil is to keep the troop from losing his hand weapon, there is an odd feature. The coil is actually attached to the ammo clip from the pistol. 

Seems a bit weird to me. What happens when he exhausts that particular clip? I don't know what Hasbro was thinking on this design element.

This is still a pretty damn cool pistol. There is a spring mounted in the barrel of the gun to allow the chamber to pull back. Cool feature, but you really can't make a Joe pull the slide back, the spring is too tight! Still pretty slick, though! 
 There is a draw back to the radio. Well, to the radio holster; the radio is just fine. The clip is very bulky and doesn't really fit snugly with the web belt. No huge deal.
 This is the balaclava and goggles that the FRM comes with. Cloth 1/6th balaclava's are brutal to reproduce on 1/6th scale. There is too much extra fabric on the interior seem on this scale. There is another answer that Hasbro attempted with great success, but you'll have to stay tuned for my next 1/6th scaled review.
 The figure also includes a set of elbow and knee pads. Well done by Hasbro, but the elastic can wear out over time. Get those sewing skills in order, you Joe collectors!

Boots are always an essential part of a soldier's wardrobe. Hasbro did a great job with these. No paint apps, but a great sculpt made out of soft plastic that allows for Joe feet to be slipped in. 

The combat vest is done quite well. Great stitching and close attention to detail. There are also clasps on the back. And they actually work! 

Another amazing bit of detailing is the 1/6th scale dog tags. One-sixth? Well, I don't know for sure, but they are pretty dang close. There is some fine etching done in the dog tags to really bring out some detail. 
Shoot, Joe's blood type is even give! 
 I used this particular head sculpt as my version of General Hawk.

So here is this guy's mug. Not a bad looking dude, but very different from the traditional 1/6th vintage Joe and quite different from other Hasbro head sculpts of the time. Hasbro went nuts with the amount of different headsculpts that they were creating. There were initially just a few when they started reintroducing the 1/6th scale (non-HOF) Joe's. They release a series loosely tied to the Pearl Harbor movie and each figure had a different head sculpt. From that point, they exploded. Historical figures, new sculpts for new themes and 1/6th versions of the 1/18th troops. I was seriously hooked! I hunted and searched until I found nearly every head sculpt that Hasbro had created, From that point, I created my own versions of the 1/18th scaled Joe's. Check the lists here - http://bellsouthpwp.net/g/i/gitomandlisa/ . I know that my website is lame, but I hope to rebuild it here in some fashion on this blog.

So let's take a look at the super articulated body. 
You have been warned!

The double waist joint was an added bonus to the prior "classic collection" body style. This new mid-waist pivot point gave the Joe an added range of motion. Look familiar, you modern 1/18th Joe collectors?
The elbow joint was double jointed and allowed the troop to get a better firing grip on his weapon. 
The knee joint was also double jointed, giving the troop additional range of motion. 
Oh, these feet! So small and misshapen! But it really doesn't matter. the primary purpose was to create a foot that could easily fit into boots. In the few years prior to these figures, Hasbro had created very anatomically accurate feet, but the dang things were brutal when trying to shove them into boots. This was a design for play value, rather than accuracy. 

Besides, how many kids were going to pose their Joe's without shoes, or better yet, like this picture? 
I think of this picture as my Joe POW picture, naked and curled up in a defensive position. 
 Now here is the real highlight for this figure - spring loaded grip! The spring loaded grip was originally planned for this figure to be used with the grappling hook and rope. You could have the Joe hold on to the rope and by tugging on the bottom of the rope, he would slide down the rope through the use of his spring loaded grip. Whatever. All I know is that he can hold weapons much more securely. Hasbro never made a plain hands spring loaded grip; it was always gloved hands. Makes sense to me.

The Force Recon Marine is just one of Hasbro's 1/6th offerings that drove me absolutely bat-shit crazy about the 1/6th line. They brought back awesome memories of my childhood with the original vintage 1/6th G.I. Joe line and were also just a helluva' lot of fun!

The big Joe's are awesome and will always be an important part of my G.I. Joe collection. 

While the latest 1/6th scale offerings from Hasbro are pretty cool, I'm not ready to go back there right now. I have tons of 1/6th scale stuff that really needs to be sorted and reduced.

G.I. Joe rocks - in what ever scale format. From 12" to 8" to 4". 

But not G.I. Joe: Extreme - they just suck.

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