I’m going to be honest, there’s a few figures in the G.I. Joe line I’ve never owned. Probably the most ridiculous and glaring omission is the 1985 Crimson Guard. In fact, until the Black Major Siegie, I don’t think I’d even had a figure using the original mold. So it’s a figure whom I’ve never quite understood the hubbub about, since I’d had no exposure to it. I figure I should take a look at the mold, and since I still don’t even have a Crimson one, I’d go with one that still has a fairly vintage take on the mold. The late 2000s, Black Legion Guard
The Siegie sculpt is a fairly nice one, there’s a lot of ornate details on it, and such as the ceremonial cords and the medals. It really shows this is a ceremonial outfit, but there’s also some fairly sinister details to the figure. The spurs on his riding boots, the sawn-off Shotgun attached to his leg, showcase the likelihood there really is an “Initiation too hideous for description”. The head sculpt, and it’s face, are a real winner too. The 1985 Crimson Guard, as well as the Snow Serpent both had cold, emotionless masks. You know that behind that mask was a man who didn’t feel anything.
One thing that I find very interesting, is the fact that the Crimson Guard as an idea, likely didn’t have the kindest of inspirations. About a year ago I was watching some early 60s CBS documentary on the Invisible Empire, the Ku Klux Klan, and it seemed like a lot of the things they were discussing about the Klan, and how it was populated by seemingly upstanding citizens, could also work for the Crimson Guard. I guess the only difference is that instead of police officers, it’s bankers. It’s kinda fucked up, but I think it’s pretty cool, and I think it shows a real example how a thing like COBRA would engrain itself into society. Combine a shadowy secret society with BCCI and massive reduction in banking regulations, and all of a sudden the Viper having $50,000 worth of equipment makes sense.
This version being done up in black, silver and grey is a very menacing looking figure. The dark colours really emphasize both the regality and the sinister appearance of this mold. The Black Major was really into the Skull/COBRA logo for a bit, as he made a few figures featuring it. I like it, because it’s not too hokey, and suggests figures with it are up to no good, even in the seedy world of COBRA Command.
The custom Crimson Guards were solid figures. There were some loose joints, but you also have to be realistic with what these figures actually are. Of all the CGs, I think this one or the blue one were the most interesting, and integratabtle with vintage Joes, though it’s such a solid design, they’re all great figures.