I’ve been chomping at the bit to get to Destro here for a long time, so let me start out by chronicling the hold up. Destro sat on my pile of “To Open” stuff for a few weeks and then when I finally did open him I found he was missing some pieces. His vest wasn’t in the box and instead of getting his right “gun holding” hand, I got two of his right “suitcase holding” hands. I was worried because I didn’t want to have to return the whole figure just to get one with the missing parts. Also, since I waited so long to open him, Sideshow would have been within their rights to refuse me any kind of resolution. Thankfully, Sideshow’s customer service has always been impeccable and no less so in this case. After a few emails clarifying the problem they had replacement parts on their way to me in a couple of days and the box arrived just a few business days after that. This is exactly why I love doing business with them and the only time I ever order a Sideshow or Hot Toys figure from another e-tailer is when it’s the only way to go. And with that preamble out of the way, let’s get to the review!
Destro arrives in the wake of the bitter news that Sideshow has decided to put their GI JOE line on hiatus, and while that decision disappoints me greatly (I was hoping against hope we might see a Sixth-Scale Scrap Iron! I LOVE SCRAP IRON!!!), I’m mighty glad they got Destro out before pulling the plug. As usual with these guys, I’m going to do this feature in two parts. Today we’ll check out the outfit and the portraits and tomorrow I’ll wrap it up with a look at his accessories. Let’s start things off with a look at this glorious packaging…
The box consists of the same brilliant design and deco that we saw with Cobra Commander and Baroness. It mimics the vintage Real American Hero card art beautifully right down to the animated explosive backgrounds on the side panels and the “COBRA ENEMY” stamp on the front panel. The rear panel also has a file card, again just like the old cardbacks. I love it! There’s also an excellent piece of character art inside the cardboard tray.
The box has an opening front flap that’s held snugly down by a magnet. Open it up and you reveal a window showing off the figure inside with a blurb about Cobra on the reverse of the front flap. I do prefer the older style boxes, used for Crimson Guard and Zartan, where the box opened up to reveal two windows, one with the figure and one with the gear and had a detailed inventory of the figure’s accessories. I’m guessing they switched over to this style to cut costs, and it still looks fantastic, but it doesn’t offer quite the same premium level of presentation. In this case, the figure’s accessories are held in nesting clear plastic trays behind the figure. On the plus side, these boxes are a lot thinner than the older ones and make use of a better economy of space. Let’s get this bastard set up…
Destro comes out of the box wearing his more Sunbow-styled head and his trench coat, so let’s start there. To set him up all you need to do is put on his arm bracers and his bling necklace. At least theoretically. My figure actually came out of the box with stuck elbow joints. I had to take his coat off, then remove his shirt so that I could find and finesse those elbow hinges without fear of breaking them. I’m still not sure why they were stuck, because the arms are molded in bare black plastic with no paint. It didn’t take much effort to get them working and then I had to put everything back on again. The bracers were a little tough to get on because the combination of the t-shirt sleeves and the coat cuffs don’t give you a lot of room to work with. On the other hand, once they’re on, they stay nice and snug. This is as good a time as any to point out that Destro’s torso is molded in black plastic as well as his arms, which is a tad disappointing. Had they done it in flesh, we would have had the option for the bare-chested look. Not a big deal, but it’s nice to have options.
So, let’s talk outfit first. My initial reaction to the reveal of this figure’s outfit left me a bit tepid, but now that it’s in hand I’m totally in love with it. Most of my trepidation rested in the trench coat, which is made of a thick felt material. I think the big problem here is that it looks so much better in person than in photos. It’s got a rugged, almost oily texture that looks like it would work for back ally meetings as well keep Destro toasty warm during a secret arctic rendezvous. It’s pleated in the back and has a red liner and some red piping across his chest and across the back of the shoulders. The coolest thing about it is the collar, which can be folded down or worn up. I do think the faux pockets look a tad puffy, but then Sideshow isn’t quite up to Hot Toys standards with their outfit tailoring, but they’re getting better all the time. Under the coat, Destro sports high boots, a pair of standard black trousers and a grey long sleeved t-shirt. I wish the shirt were a tad longer because I have to hike his pants up a little higher than I would prefer in order to keep the shirt tucked when I articulate his arms. He has a standard belt and an integral pistol holster with two thigh straps. There are also a couple of ammo pouches to hold his extra magazines, but more on that later.
Destro’s bracers are quite well done. The one on his left arm features three grenades and the right bracer has three rocket darts. The bracers themselves are sculpted to look like they fold closed when in fact they really just slip onto him. The grenades are highly detailed and nicely weathered. The rockets look as if they could be removable, but they are in fact glued into place.
Before we get into the other outfit option, let’s talk portraits. The Sunbow-styled head gives Destro that more organic aesthetic to his mask. The Sunbow Destro had that weird thing going on where his mask was expressive as if it was painted onto his head. There are some black panel lines and some slightly exaggerated contours in his face to suggest that it is indeed a mask of some sort. Destro is wearing a grim expression with green eyes squinting, mouth downturned, and one eyebrow jutting up. He definitely looks pissed off, as if he showed up to buy a warehouse full of weapons and the seller just asked for more money. Don’t ya just hate that! I’ve seen some complaints about his “giraffe neck” but I’m not seeing a big problem with it. It does look rather elongated from the sides, but looking straight on its fine to me. This portrait is by far my favorite of the two, which is why you’ll see it on the figure for the bulk of this review.
The alternate portrait is more angular and looks like an actual metal mask. If you look carefully into the eye sockets you can actually see his eyes sculpted and painted inside. I really like that effect, and I’m not totally hating on this head, but in the end I think it just looks too large and clunky on the figure to make it work for me.
If you’re going for a more “realistic” Destro look, this head might be the ticket since the articulated organic metal one doesn’t make much sense in the real world. Honestly, if I were designing a live action movie Destro, this is exactly the kind of likeness I would go with. So, yes, I guess in a sense I do like what Sideshow tried to do here, but it’s just not the one that I’ll be using for display.
And that brings us too his alternate outfit which removes the trench coat and gives him a vest. The vest is just puffy enough to make it look like it might have some bullet proofing in it, but ultimately it has a pretty trim fit. The zipper on the front is faked out and the vest actually goes over the head like a poncho and then the straps on the front secure it snugly with velcro. It’s a good effect and I think the tailoring on the vest is overall better than the trenchcoat. The only downside here is that it really shows off the rather lean body build that Sideshow used here. I think Destro should be bulkier than than the body used here and the trenchcoat adds a bit of that bulk to him. That having been said, deciding which look to go for is going to be really tough for me. They each have their merits. His trenchcoat is definitely great for conducting those blackmarket arms deals, whereas if he’s going to be sitting in the turret of a HISS Tank in battle, the vest is the way to go.
Ok, I’m running ridiculously long today so I’m going to break here and when I come back tomorrow we’ll wrap up with a look at Destro’s weapons and accessories.