The first foray into classic swivel neck Troopers, by Red Laser’s Army wasn’t quite what many people would expect. Rather than use the classic 82 Soldier or Officer body, other parts that were similar in appearance were used, creating various unique entries into the Army Building world. Of the 5 variations in 2017, my favourite wound up being the MARS Trooper.
One thing I will give Red Laser a lot of credit for, is there’s a lot of thought put into the ideas for these figures. This figure’s design and colours were taken from a figure from whatever movie it was that had Black Ripcord. When you’ve got a figure with a highly classic look, and then trying to determine the colour schemes, going to the well of an entirely forgettable character from a fairly forgettable movie, and having success with it, is very cool. The black, red, grey and silver mesh well. The figure isn’t a direct copy of the movie MARS Trooper, and that’s probably for the best, as the grey sweater and black pants are neither a typical appearance for basic Cobra Troopers, and it really breaks up what could’ve been a fairly monotone figure.
Technically this figure isn’t a COBRA, since, he’s got Destro markings. The fact he looks so close to a COBRA has been a subject of criticism, but to me, I think it would make sense. Destro’s got his own private soldiers, and I figure they would likely be wearing fatigues that are like the ones Destro sells. He gives his men a decent uniform, so that when they’re involved in Arms Deals, they are asked about. Destro ensures that his men are done up in a unique pattern so that they cannot be blamed for the crimes committed by any of his customers, but also makes it so that they’re identifiable as MARS products. I think the Iron Grenadiers logo on the torso is a nice touch, but to be honest it’s a design I’ve never been a fan of, likely due to the stupid “DESTRO” word mark, I think it would be a better design if it actually had the sword’s guard above the Mask.
The 2017 Red Laser figures, were the first experience I had with Red Laser figures, there’s a definite different feel to them from vintage or TBM, which I like. Having distinct feels to the figures is a good thing, as it prevents them from blending together too much, and multiple producers makes Joe more of a hobby, and less an example of retail frustration. These figures weren’t perfect, as they don’t have the greatest hand grips, which was a bummer, because it’s made finding useful accessories for the figure a bit of a challenge, however I’m not that big a fan of the Recoil gun, anyways. Overall for what was my first exposure to the RLA figures, I wasn’t disappointed, and there were aspects to them, such as the crispness of the paint apps, that I was impressed with.
I like this figure a lot, as it’s able to mesh well in with it’s molds contemporaries, especially the ’83 Destro, it’s also a fairly vibrant figure, despite the fact it’s mainly black and grey. While there are A LOT of figures based on this design nowadays, there’s still a place for this figure due to the unique non-Cobra role he holds. It’s a figure that I also found wound up looking a lot better in numbers.