Slaughter's Marauders Battle Set
The Joe-centric 7-pack is the newest incarnation of Slaughter's Marauders! This pack takes elements from both of Sgt. Slaughter's teams from the past - the original Slaughter's Marauders and his team of Renegades which preceded them by two years. Hasbro probably took the Marauders name since it created the rhyme, and is thus more memorable, and also to avoid confusion with a certain cartoon that also currently has action figures on the pegs.
Say hello to David "Red Dog" Taputapu! He's one of the large figures in this set, and it's in line with the large, imposing nature of the Renegades we saw in the 1987 film. Unfortunately, he doesn't look very much like his original figure - Hasbro originally intended to give him the Cobra Trooper webgear, but I guess someone noticed that it doesn't fit on his frame! So instead we got Sgt. Bazooka's belt in gray. David doesn't have much in the way of weaponry, just a pistol. But he does have his trusty football! It's not much good on the battlefield, but hey, at least we know he can relax on his downtime! I'm guessing he picks The Fridge, Capt. Grid-Iron, and Big Lob for his team. Bazooka never gets picked; he only gets to watch from the sidelines. Poor Bazooka.
Felix "Mercenary" Stratton, formerly Mercer, has always been one of the more underutilized characters in the G.I. Joe world. Aside from a few comments in the 1987 movie, it's never really acknowledged that he's the only successful Cobra defector. There should be a lot of story potential there, but to date we've never really gotten it. Thankfully, this figure does make some strides in that regard: aside from his cartoon-accurate crossed-out Cobra tattoo, he's also got the vest from an Alley-Viper and the rifle from a Viper. He's also got a shotgun that should probably go to someone else, but was packaged near him in the box. The weapons in this set are really hard to decipher, as nothing really matches the filecards or press photos. Maddening, I tell you!
Here we have the first of our homages to the actual Slaughter's Marauders - Gabriel "Barbecue" Kelly. Barbecue shakes things up a bit by using the limbs of the not yet released 30th Anniversary Airtight. I actually think it looks better on him than the old Snow Job parts, since they seem more like the rubbery fabric Barbecue would use. Instead of a straight representation of the original figures, these toys shake things up a bit by giving us woodland camouflage with a bit of that royal blue for flavor. Actually, the camo on the uniforms is how the DiC cartoon potrayed their original uniforms! The homage is clearly still there, but we're ever so slightly more realistic with it. That blue helmet's still a nice little target for a sniper, though!
And speaking of snipers, it's Low-Light! While Low-Light may have been the darling of the Pursuit of Cobra line, here he's a bit lacking. In accessories. The lower accessory count is understandable in a set like this, but it's still annoying to have an empty knife sheath on the leg with nothing to fill it. Low-Light seems to have taken the brown from his previous figure and translated it to burgundy here - it's brighter, to be sure, but it's a bit too red for the Marauders color scheme.
In what may be my favorite figure of the set, we have a bit of a conundrum. Spirit Iron-Knife is neither a close translation of his original figure, nor is he the Pursuit of Cobra Spirit in Slaughter's Marauders colors. Instead, we have something in-between, with that great webgear from Duke. And though Spirit seems to have lost his shirt, the overall look just works for me. ...That came out wrong. I'm just saying that with the sculpted muscles from the Snake Eyes parts and that prominently-placed tribal tattoo, I like the look of his chest. Okay, I'm just gonna move on here....
Varujan "Bull" Ayvazyan is a name that is as hard to remember as it is to spell. I'm just going to call him Taurus and leave it at that. While he now looks like he escaped from the set of Cowboy Bebop, I do have a soft spot for that handlebar mustache he used to have. He could rock the Russian circus strongman look back in the day. Now though, he wears webgear that's shared with Zanzibar, and with the difference in bulk between the two figures, he doesn't carry it well. I keep having to push it sideways, or else he spends his time chewing on the grip of his pistol.
Now we move on to what is clearly an excellently made figure: Vincent "Falcon" Falcone. The Comic Pack Falcon was, by and large, a real letdown, especially in the headsculpt department, and I know the fandom has been clamoring for a better version ever since. This figure goes a long way towards fixing that. With a new head and parts from two Dustys, we've got a Falcon worth showcasing. And it helps that he is the bridge figure between the old Marauders and Renegades team, too. As he was a Renegade in the cartoon only, not included in their 3-pack, he was individually carded, much like the later Marauders figures. Giving him a more Marauders-centric paint scheme, and we've got a figure who fits in both teams.
I'll admit that this set doesn't wow me as much as the Dreadnoks Battle Set, but there are some real gems in here. Mercenary, Falcon, and Spirit are all top-nothc figures, and the others are no slouches either! With a Footloose figure coming from the club next year, it should only be a matter of time before we get the rest of the Marauders to round out the set!
More action shots:
Images from the collection of: Phillip Donnelly
Figures courtesy of BigBadToyStore — get your G.I. Joes and much more at BigBadToyStore!