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Spirit Iron-Knife (v3)

When you think of iconic years in the history of G.I.Joe, many people cite 1984 and 1985 as definitive years; they weren’t super gritty military or olive drab, but instead, they were diverse years of color and characters. Spirit is definitely one of those iconic and important characters from the era that fans reminisce and discuss quite frequently.

First off, I never was a big Spirit fan. He was a cool character in the cartoon, and pretty awesome in the comic book, especially when he was the guard to the entrance of the PIT III back in the late Marvel comic run (seriously, if you haven’t read those late Marvel series issues, you gotta). But that blue shirt and braided hair just didn’t work for me, so when this version landed in my lap, my expectations were pretty low. (Just a note so I don't get death threats – I like the character, just never dug the uniform!)

Wait, let's back up a bit. The previous versions of Spirit, especially the 2006 Comic Pack version have been pretty interesting and have stayed mostly true to the Tracker concept (although a bit more aggressive in the case of the 06 figure), but were never as iconic as the first version to the masses. Me personally? I’m more of a European Sprit fan.

So back to today, Spirit Iron-Knife arrived on the same foil vintage card that reminds me of being a kid again and the art, although new, looks almost identical to the original. Okay, job well done there, Hasbro. Also, the file card text is the same and remains unchanged from the original. Also my kudos.

Now to the figure itself.

Spirit uses the same upper and lower torso and arms as Shipwreck (v11), along with new hands and legs. Let me comment on the hands, they're huge, unnaturally huge, especially the left one. The hands seem either out of scale or Spirit has been hitting the HGH, either way, I don’t like it. As for the rest of the design, the legs are spot-on accurate representations of the 84 legs as is the breech-cloth (thanks for the name Wikipedia!). Also there is the attached and sculpted accessories like knife, webgear and grenades which offer far more detail than the '84's sculpted (and only half painted) equivalent. Overall the base design is good and accurate for Spirit.

Now, the head – look, I’m a big fan of consistency in my action figures. I don't like varying scales or huge differences in size. But Spirit here, he's got one heck of a huge melon. Same issue as Crankcase, the head is just too big compared to other figures in the line – I know I'm really grasping at details here, but seriously, the scales are too big or too small, and it throws the whole figure out of whack when standing next to other figures.

Looking at the accessories, they are so cool! First off, the rifle is an updated version of the one that the '84 Spirit used, except it has these really well detailed arrow magazine cartridges that lock into place – looks great. The backpack is a two piece pack and frame setup that carries two more rifle magazines and it's just a really innovative way to update the '84 pack and give it functional details. Spirit also comes with a black and white version of his pet eagle Freedom, a hunting knife, and the standard black display stand (now with two pegs – expect this revised stand on all new figures and later shipments of repacked figures from past assortments).

With all of his gear on and fully displayed, Spirit is impressive. It's a substantial figure, with a lot of little details that actually serve a purpose and work well. This is not to say that Spirit doesn't have his flaws, but the figure as a whole is pretty good. I can recommend Spirit to any collector; he's a good Joe,an important character that fills out the ranks of the 25th Anniversary Collection. (Spirit Iron-Knife also helps a collection that's suffering from being a monochromatic black and OD green!)

So go get him while you can – his whole assortment is selling fast.


Archive entry: Spirit Iron-Knife (v3)

Editor's Note:
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More action shots:

Images from the collection of: Phillip Donnelly

Figure courtesy of Brian's Toys

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