The A Real American Hero Collection sort of died an unceremonious death, with the announcement of the 2002 relaunch as G.I. Joe Vs. COBRA line. However there’d also been the already announced fifth wave of the ARAHC, which had some fairly heavy hitters known to be in the assortment, such as Serpentor and Tomax and Xamot, the Crimson Twins. With the new sculpt era coming about, it was originally stated that Wave 5 would be cancelled. However the then burgeoning online Joe Dealers, stepped in and were able to make the figures available. Wave 5 at one point had a bit of a legendary status about it, because of the fact it was saved by online dealers, and that made it the first Online Exclusive for G.I. Joe. Online shopping was still somewhat new in the early 2000s, so some collectors were out of luck trying to get these figures, which tended to make the figures both pricier on the aftermarket, as well as having an acknowledged scarcity.
Coming from the A Real American Hero collection, meant that these were high quality action figures, despite the fact that many figures were quite often lacking in the area of paint details. This was due to changes like rubberized lower arms and the strengthening strips placed on the inside of the crotch made for figures that would not break as often. However, it appears that the plastics of the early 2000s are one to yellow quite badly. These figures, alongside others such as the Shipwreck from this same wave, the Night Watch Troopers, Comic Pack Scrap Iron, and the Wave 1.5 Alley Viper all have been known to yellow. It’s a shame, especially because these figures coming out in the post-collector G.I. Joe world almost felt that they should be immune to that.
I didn’t buy the Crimson Twins back then, in fact I didn’t buy them until December 2019, from some seller in China, who’d been selling them for probably a decade. What fears of them being part of an underproduced wave might have been true, but I doubt it. I’d spent years putting off buying them, for one reason or another, but I finally bit the bullet and picked them up, so that they can join the Serpentor, as the only wave 5 figures I own, and only own because Chinese Joe Sellers are an important facet of buying underpriced G.I. Joes.
These figures are quite similar to Wet Down, in that they’re pretty much the v1 figure, with slight differences. The blue is no longer COBRA blue, and has a greyish tinge to it, the crimson is more maroon, and aside from Tomax receiving a scar, that’s about the differences from the 1985 figures. Like a lot of the ARAHC figures, they were equipped with their original accessories, for most figures that’s a plus, but the Tomax and Xamot laser pistol is a horrid gun. Honestly, I don’t think that the lack of differences from the 1985 figures to be all that big a deal, as it was a classic design, and perhaps the most wanted colouring for the Twins, a version where they were actually in Crimson was saved for the 2002 Convention Set. While it would’ve been nice to see the figures in a new colouring, it’s not like it’s a particularly useful mold, so an environmentally specific design would’ve been fairly likely to fail, all things considered.
The fact they mirrored everything while sculpting the figures is actually quite impressive, because none of the parts are shared. It shows a real dedication to the characters, and the fact they didn’t skimp in a place like not having knives or holsters could’ve been a much easier thing to do. It’s quite a ceremonial outfit and has an almost Roman Empire feel to it. It’s a kind of strange outfit, but one that I think isn’t any more ridiculous than Destro’s leather disco suit. The boots with the COBRA armour on them have always been one of my favourite design aspects of a G.I. Joe toy. They look very cool and are the over-the-topness you could see someone very dedicated to COBRA actually wearing. I’ve always seen the snake aspect of COBRA being kind of like the occult and runes shit used by the Nazis to get people who otherwise wouldn’t, to really buy into the whole organization.
The Crimson Twins are interesting. On one hand the majority of their character was ripped off from an old story, which made their most memorable character trait overall fairly hokey, it helps to play well into the more adventurous aspects of G.I. Joe. It also plays off the special connection twins have, and while the “feeling each other’s pain” aspect was probably overstated in the media, I figure it would be more likely some kind of pain synesthesia. I feel the reaction the Twin who isn’t being injured has is very similar to the feeling you get when someone is describing an incident where they’ve been hurt (Men usually get that feeling when hearing a story involving someone getting hit in the groin!). The finishing each other’s sentences thing has never really bothered me, as that’s not really all that outlandish, people with close connections do that. There’s the old saying “Two Bodies, One Brain” for a reason.
Where the real interest with the Crimson Twins lies to me, is in the story in their filecard. Wherein it’s mentioned they were in the French Foreign Legion until the Algiers Putsch of 1961, which for those unaware, was an attempted Coup D’Etat by rogue French Generals against Charles DeGaulle, over DeGaulle’s willingness to leave Algeria. The Franco-Algerian War was a particularly long, brutal and bloody war, wherein a lot of the strategies used in it, were later adopted by the US for their counterinsurgency war in Vietnam.
The fact the Twins were Legionaires shows that they were probably some of the more dangerous and combat hardened COBRA agents. One example of what Legionaires did in the Franco-Algerian war was brick up the entrance to a tunnel system, due to a lack of explosives or flamethrowers, causing those inside to suffocate to death. Fun stuff.
The idea that the Crimson twins left professional soldiering for the world of Corporate Finance is an interesting twist, and very topical for the figure’s original “Greed Is Good” release era. The Twins being the bag men for COBRA, explains a lot of how COBRA was able to get entire towns under their control, and such. Having capable financiers, for example, would allow COBRA to purchase vast amounts of land, incorporate a town get chosen candidates entangled in both State and Federal politics, and using that to bring local, state and Federal funding into their “Nice Little Towns.” Having some high financiers who are skilled enough to not only cause the United States to pay into COBRA’s operations, but also get their chosen operatives into government is something that would be quite important and useful to COBRA Command. I’ll readily admit that’s an idea that came to me after learning about the Rajneesh conflict in Oregon, because there was an Episode of Forensic Files that HLN would air 3 times a night 4 days a week about it, which I wound up seeing countless times.
Having the COBRA money-men role, which would make them a little too valuable for field operations also helps deal with the biggest issue brought up by their backstory, which is that they were involved in Mercenary work as early as 1961, which by their release date would make them in their mid 40s at the youngest. My silly little G.I. Joe world takes place in the 1977-1983 time frame, so it makes the 1961 date a little less ancient history, but still doesn’t make me view Tomax and Xamot as guys who would be doing acrobats and trapeze acts. I see them being mainly involved in backroom COBRA operations, but still they’re guys who like to get their hands dirty occasionally.