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Hasbro: G.I. Joe Classified Series Deluxe Metal-Head Review


Metal-Head was a 1990 addition to the bad guy ranks. By that time, I was a teenager, and had rapidly gone through my “I’m not collecting toys…wait, life without toys is dull as shit, I’m collecting toys again” stage, so I was back in. As it turned out, I was back in at just the right time, because I didn’t miss out on the totally cracked-out human missile launcher.

He also came out at just the right time to be featured in the DiC version of GI Joe cartoon.

As a toy, Metal-Head quickly became a favorite. Every character in the GI Joe Universe had their shtick, but Metal-Head’s dedication to explosive lunacy far exceeded everybody else’s. As the line headed towards inevitable endgame status, subtlety had long since been thrown out the window. We were right on the cusp of the Joe line getting even crazier than it had ever been, with actual aliens being brought into the story. If you use that as a landmark, Metal-Head could almost be called tame.

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to see Metal-Head so early in the line. And when I say early, I have to remind myself that the line is already 4 years old. So maybe he’s right on schedule. Time does fly.

Since Metal-Head quickly became a favorite his first time around, I had high expectations. As a deluxe figure, there’s been no scrimping, so he’s pretty loaded. With that said, I do have some issues and places that I think either could have been better.

The figure itself features the standard Classified Series articulation we’ve all come to expect. As with many figures, there is an overlay on his chest, but it’s cut in such a way that allows him to get some use out of his ab crunch, and all the use out of his waist swivel, so when compared to some other overlay-hindered figures he’s not bad. You still won’t be getting any deep crunches, but you’ll get motion.

Metal-Head comes with one head with removable hair, allowing three options: Goggle-free with hair, goggled, and if you remove the hair completely you can attach the helmet, a far fancier thing that replaces the basic white helmet of the original figure.

I like the addition of the helmet. It has a cool gladiator-type of feel to it, and is much more interesting than his original figure’s helmet. I never used the helmet on the original figure, and I don’t intend on using this one, as nifty as it is.

My default vision of Metal-Head is helmet-free with the targeting goggles, and that’s what I intend on keeping as standard on this figure. That does double duty of covering that single-tear tattoo. I’m kind of at the point where I’m a little tired of random tattoos just for the sake of tattoos. Where appropriate, sure. Dreadnoks, and so forth, go nuts. I get that I may be alone in that, but I think Jinx pushed me over the edge in my distaste for random tattoo additions.

The chest overlay is an update of the original figure, with a bit more detailing added in. The knife sheathe was left in, providing a nice visual callback. You can see the words Cold Slither written on his…chin-guard or whatever that piece is.

He comes with two weapons. One is a more standard machine gun, and the other is the gun that resembles the laser gun used on the cartoon. Obviously, it also can pass for a “real” gun as well. They’re painted in the same red and black pattern so his weapons match.

The missile system on the original figure was always a little overly-bulky—especially on the thighs—so this figure streamlines all of that and brings it a little more in line with the cartoon and card art depictions. The thigh launchers attach by a ball joint, allowing them both to have a very wide range of motion. I’ve read that they’re very tight on some people’s figure, but on mine they were right in the sweet spot.

Metal-Head comes with 6 rockets. Four are smaller and are intended for the thigh launchers, two are larger and are for his backpack launcher. All 6 rockets come with blast effects that can attach both to the launchers and the missiles, to simulate them having just been launched. The end effect is very cool, but it also opens up a few problems that I’ll get to in a second.

Oh, and just to point out: there is a cable that should attach the backpack to the thigh launchers, but it was a huge pain in the ass and I didn’t even bother leaving it on. The vintage figure came with hoses as well, but I never bothered with them there either.  

The backpack launcher is where the design deviates from the original figure. The original launcher utilized a rail system so you could slide the launchers forward and the return them to a neutral position. This time, the rear launchers are on two articulated arms that allows for a far wider versatility in aiming.

In promo pictures, I had no issue with the update, but in hand I find I am kind of annoyed that these rear rocket launchers can’t really be put in some kind of a neutral position. They don’t necessarily have to replicate the original toy, but as it is, it feels a little distracting. I think another joint midway along both of “arms” would have allowed that.

Which leads me to my last issue. I like that the smaller rockets can fit inside the thigh launchers. They slide out a little too easily, so I stuck some blu-tac in there to keep them secure, but they look great. However, the rockets intended for the backpack launchers do not in any way fit in the tubes. To me that’s maybe the worst mistake to have made from a design perspective, because I like the look of the tubes with rockets ready to be fired, like on his thighs. There’s an unspoken aggression inherent in seeing the rockets in the tubes, like a constant threat. Otherwise, it just looks like he’s standing there with empty launchers. I’m not sure why either the tubes weren’t made wider or the rockets narrower to facilitate storing them in the rocket tubes.

So in conclusion I do have some issues (maybe magnified by my own desire for a “perfect” Metal-Head) but it doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm for the figure. I love that we live in a time where a 1/12th scale Metal-Head is a thing.