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Scarlett has the dubious distinction of being the first Anniversary figure to leak out into collector hands back in early 2007. Dubious distinction because she left a LOT to be desired in both the articulation and the design department. Here we are over a year later and while much of the Anniversary product has moved leaps and bounds since last year, this Scarlett figure still feels a bit somewhat "stuck in the past". With extremely scrawny arms, fairly limited hip articulation, and an overall somewhat dated design (since when did dated mean "last year"?) in normal cases this figure would be considered pretty lackluster, and in some ways, it is.
A few things do help the figure along somewhat, most notably being the color scheme, but other things should be mentioned, like the new head sculpt.
Scarlett's new facial features are a remarkable improvement over the original, toning down a lot of the over-animated facial structure and going for a more normal, understated look. She has softer sculpting, yet still manages to resemble the Scarlett we all know. Other newly tooled elements are her lower legs, which seem to be wrapped in some strange leg warmers that I'm not exactly sure the origins of. Whether they're decorative, or meant to be somewhat functional for pilot use I don't know, but they add a nice amount of bulk to the figure and give her a sense of solidity matched by her flight vest. Like I said, I don't know if they're supposed to actually be something in particular, or if they're just decoration meant to hearken back to the 80's or what. Regardless, they're an interesting choice.
But for obvious reasons the big draw for this figure is the color scheme. While the thousands of Joe fans from the 80's are intimately familiar with the characters and toys we got here in the States during the heyday, there are a lot of people out there who are unaware of G.I. Joe's international standing as well. Several different countries produced their own lines of G.I. Joe figures from Argentina to Brazil, the United Kingdom, and China. Many of them had figures in exclusive color schemes, some with their own unique identities. Sub teams like Action Force has formed a long-standing cult following, even among American fans, and there are a large number of folks who are devote followers of the South American figures as well. This is an obvious homage to those roots.
Appearing in a blue and silver paint scheme and dubbed "Glenda", Scarlett migrated from her familiar Covert Ops roots to being a pilot. For obvious reasons, this figure covers all of those bases, even including an alias of "Glenda" on her file card. It's evident that there are some big time old school Joe fans on the design team at Hasbro, and I for one appreciate the homages. The paint scheme on this figure is far and away the absolute best aspect of this Scarlett. Though it would have really rocked to have a chrome-plated torso reminiscent of the vintage figure, the normal silver color works fine, too, and completes a nice homage.
Sure you get a fair share of complaints about the hair color ...I mean Glenda was a blonde, after all. But that doesn't matter too much to me personally. Obviously Hasbro can't release a figure named "Glenda" at retail that many US-based Joe fans don't care about, but you will potentially get many Scarlett fans who will latch on just because of the name. The folks who are diehard enough to be interested in the International element will buy the figure regardless of the hair color or the "real" name.
There are other draws to this figure beyond just the color changes as well, mostly due to the accessories. The gear that comes with this version of Scarlett is pretty awesome, all told. Her helmet is great, I really like her bulky flight vest and web gear, too. Very elaborate, very well sculpted and it adds a nice new element to a somewhat bland and uninspired figure mold. I do wish she had a holster for her pistol instead of a pistol sculpted into the holster already, though.
She also comes with the same pistol and crossbow that the original came with, which is somewhat unfortunate. The pistol is good enough, but her crossbow still falls apart when you sneeze in the next room.
The Scarlett figure, to this day, remains one of my least favorite figures in the Anniversary line. I absolutely love the fact that we're getting an International homage, I love the new gear, and the new head sculpt is great. But, the core figure itself is still pretty flawed, and as such this figure only gets a moderate recommendation. For those international fans, obviously this is a no-brainer. But for the rest of the folks out there I'm not sure if the new elements are really worth the cash.