It’s been too long since I dipped back into Hasbro’s outstanding GI JOE Classified series, and with some new figures stacking up in my backlog, it sure seems like a good time for me to get on that. Cobra has been getting a lot of the spotlight from me, so let’s have a look at one of the brand new JOEs… It’s Spirit Iron-Knife and Freedom!
If you’ve been away from GI JOE for a while, the name Spirit Iron-Knife may seem odd, but it’s just one of Hasbro’s little tricks to get around trademark legalities, by putting his real name on the box along with his Codename. My only gripe here is that I really do not like the character art they went with. It’s super stylized, and it just doesn’t stack up to some of the magnificent art we’ve seen on past packages. But, I mainly toss these boxes anyway, so it’s not a big deal. And I practically shredded this box, because I was so excited to finally get Spirit in this line. He was a fantastic release back in 1984, even though I’m pretty sure I didn’t get him until the following year. But once I had him, Spirit was on just about every team of JOEs I assembled, usually as a tracker, and often stepping in and picking off Cobra troops when his teammates got captured. I absolutely loved this guy!
And here’s Spirit out of the box and ready for action! And man, did Hasbro do a bang-up job on this update! Spirit hits all the right points of his vintage figure, from the high boots and khaki trousers to the blue shirt, rolled up sleeves, and red undershirt peeking out from the collar. This new figure sports the correct shoulder insignia, as well as the brown sheath slung vertically off the left side of his chest. The update adds a cross-strap and shoulder rig to hold the sheath. as well as a utility belt, and a regular belt with a bright silver buckle. The cross-strap has a couple of grenades sculpted onto it, which were sculpted as part of the shirt on the vintage figure, as well as that weird gizmo on his right shoulder that all the Classified JOEs have. Honestly, the only thing we’re missing here is the white feather necklace seen sculpted onto the original figure. I’m surprised they aren’t here, but I suspect something like that would be simple to make for him.
The backpack is a complete redesign from his old green one. Now it’s a mix of black and khaki, and instead of being stacked with arrow cartridges, we get four compartments, a peg for his rifle to hang off the side, and a perch for Freedom, but more on that in a bit!
And how about that portrait! This may be one of my favorite head sculpts in the Classified line to date. The definition in his facial features are splendidly realized, giving him a stoic, all-business visage. He has a thick, black hair, with one ear exposed, and a sculpted red bandanna, with some strands of hair spilling out of it and streaming down behind his left cheek. There are sculpted braids, which hand down over each shoulder, with red ties on the end. This is no doubt the face of Spirit! Let’s move on to his gear!
It may not be a surprise that Charlie Iron-Knife does love him some knives! Spirit comes with two combat blades, one stored in the chest sheath, and the other on a sheath that’s strapped to his left thigh. The former is a fancy knife with some patterns on the blade. I’m not sure if that’s supposed to signify a Damascus blade or a flint blade, but it sure looks cool. I only wish they had painted the hilt white to match the one sculpted on the original figure. The second knife is just a standard combat variety, similar to what we’ve seen other Classified JOEs carrying. Both his hands are gun-hands, but he can still hold the knives fairly well, if not quite as secure as I would like.
Next up, Spirit comes with an automatic pistol as a sidearm, which is stored in a holster double-strapped to his right thigh. It’s a decent sculpt, molded all in black, and I love it. There’s no sci-fi crap to the design, and it actually looks like a straight up Desert Eagle. Quite a nice addition, since the original figure didn’t come with a sidearm.
Possibly one of the biggest departures from the vintage figure is found in Spirit’s rifle. The original figure came with a scoped rifle that fired arrows. I never really got what it was all about, so I’m actually glad to see that Classified Spirit comes with a more traditional combat rifle. This beauty is mostly black, but with a brown foregrip, a suppressor on the muzzle, and a pretty serious looking scope. The magazine is even detachable, and I always love that! Yeah, some fans may be disappointed to not get an update to his classic weapon, but that thing never really became all that iconic to me.
And last, but certainly not least, Spirit comes with his trusty winged companion, Freedom! I really love what Hasbro did with this figure, and yeah it really is a figure all it’s own. There’s articulation in the upper legs, swivels in the feet, articulation in the neck, and the wings are on ball joints with a set of spread wings for flight, and tucked wings for chillin’. There are pegs in Freedom’s feet that allow him to perch on the backpack, and Spirit also has something like a Falconer’s Gauntlet on his left arm with peg holes for him to perch there as well!
Wow! Spirit turned out to be an absolutely fantastic figure, and he’s certainly high up there among my favorite JOEs in the line so far. Hasbro did a nice job paying respects to a lot about what made the vintage figure so special, while also tossing in a few new updates here and there. The fact that they were able to give him a solid assortment of weapons, in addition to decently articulated Freedom, really showcases the sense of value I get out of these figures. Especially when I see the price of Marvel Legends creeping up there. I guess it makes all the difference when you own the license yourself!