2023 Retro Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)

In the last week or so, everyone got their Haslab Skystriker, or was able to buy figures from it on the aftermarket, at a time when the prices of everything is varied to the point where you don’t know if you’ve over or underpaid for another couple weeks, when things stabilize. Because of this, Forgotten Figures, and The Dragon Fortress publicly pressured me into writing an article about the new Retro line’s version of Scarlett, where she is now wearing a space suit. Since I was cyberbullied, I agreed to write this.

The Skystriker was one of those things that had a lot of built up excitement, but that kind of went away, once people realized “Well, shit, I just pre-ordered something that won’t be available for at least a year”, which in the G.I. Joe fandom, can be a tad concerning, since I think it took like 8 or 9 years for some Eagle Force figures to eventually get made, even if Hasbro probably has a slightly better track record.

G.I. Joe is a line where it’s found itself between a rock and a hard place, as people want new and different figures, but at the same time, want the line to freeze in about 1985. In some respects, being adverse to “new” figures and characters isn’t necessarily the worst opinion to have. It’s a vast line with a lot of things that weren’t fully explored, and from 1998-2006 we were subject to a lot of really bad new characters, like “Double Blast” or “Switch Gears”. People really just want the same 2 dozen or so characters in new colour schemes.

So in one way, the Haslab Scarlett works very well at providing a new figure and idea, without bogging the line down with a character that doesn’t really bring anything to the table. Putting Scarlett in the Ace flight suit, is a relatively unique idea, but it fits in with the Sunbow “Everyone can fly a fighter jet” trope.

Scarlett’s been released as a pilot once before, in the 25th Anniversary line, where the figure that was supposed to be a Glenda from Argentina homage, was called “Pilot Scarlett” and received a funny helmet. That figure was predominantly blue, so that also ties in somewhat with the new Scarlett.

Ace’s flight suit is one of those figures that’s really well done, but also somewhat of a twist on G.I. Joe, and what it represented in 1983. While most figures from that era were fairly Vietnam war influenced, Ace looks like a dude who’s going to be standing around on a soundstage with Werner Von Braun and Stanley Kubrick. The colouring on this figure shows just how much more can be done with early G.I. Joe figures, if a little creativity and an expansion in the colour palette are used. The two tone blues are nice, and make things exciting, and the brown and grey highlights give the figure enough contrast, while also preventing it from looking too similar to Ace. Blue isn’t a common colouring for a Joe, so it’s always nice to see, especially if it’s still somewhat of a rarity.

The paint apps on Scarlett, aren’t as detailed on the body as Ace’s, which I like in some ways, as it’s not just a case of “copy and paste but this time it’s brown”. Scarlett’s head sculpt also required different paint apps, which were likely taken from what could’ve gone on the body. The eyelashes and eyebrows are well done and give an appearance of femininity. Where this Scarlett really changes from the status quo, is the fact she’s no longer a red head, but rather someone with light brown hair. I’m not entirely sure if it was intentional, but it’s a change for sure.

This figure, and it’s Ace counterpart have probably the most noticeable change in the thumb construction of any of the figures in the Retro line. Earlier figures like Snake Eyes had a change, but visually it wasn’t as blatant. Doesn’t bother me, it’s something that helps hold the brand new pistol sculpted for Ace, and now no one can claim this 2023 Scarlett was a “lost figure from the 1980s” on eBay or whatever.

The most notorious aspect about this figure, goes to the included accessory. Scarlett’s been equipped with a crossbow since the line’s inception, so it made sense for it to be included with this figure, even though the subpar card art showed her holding a pistol. Somewhere along the lines, likely due to a lack of knowledge about the vintage G.I. Joe line, the crossbow was re-created, but the pistol grip handle for the crossbow wasn’t added to the sculpt. So you’re left with a fairly blah weapon at the best of times, that is now impossible to use, unless you follow the rickety photos provided by Hasbro.

In some ways, you gotta hand it to Hasbro for refusing to admit to being wrong. Most people would’ve forgiven it if the response to the questions was “Our bad, we overlooked it! We’ll try harder in the future”, but instead it was “Nah, just have the figure hold it this way, like it’s designed”. I don’t know if anyone’s actually mad, but it sure has drawn laughs from the fanbase.

I’m not entirely sure what the figure’s role truly will be in my collection, the Ace mold is good, and there’s a few different versions of it, so it could be used as a special piece of equipment to be used by early Joes. I’ve toyed with the idea of turning her into “Glenda”, since she’s predominantly blue and has a different hair colour, but that’s one of those things that requires too much reasoning that I’m really willing to do.

The figure is strong, and I was happy that both Scarlett and Rip Cord made it in the stretch goal funding. I know some people were hoping the two other guys would make it, but I’m neither here nor there, and feel that the COBRA Ramp Rat figure, which shares everything but the head, was probably a better figure than either of those two would’ve been, especially since those two would’ve been far too similar to the Failsafe figure, who’s nice, but truly just the 1994 Action Pilot figure, done up in the 82-84 swivel head construction.

Of all of the Skystriker figures, I’d say Scarlett was the best. It’s unique, and has a vibrant colour scheme, without it being too far gone, like the Retro version of Duke that truly doesn’t fit in with much of the line. The Retro figures have the curse of not being entirely compatible with the vintage figures, but Scarlett is one that blends in better than most. In the end, the thing that causes a figure’s ability to blend in with the vintage line is the colours, while these shades of blue weren’t common in the 80s, they’re at least from the same rainbow, where if you were to compare it to figures from the repaint era, more often than not there’s no compatibility.

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3 Responses to 2023 Retro Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)

  1. Mike T. says:

    She actually looks decent with that Duke. I haven’t been able to match him to anyone, yet. Personally, that refueling/missile loading vehicle is the highlight of the Skystriker set. I’ve got both of mine out, even though I haven’t even removed the plane from the box.

  2. Pingback: 2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker) Review – The Dragon Fortress

  3. Josh Zyber says:

    Hasbro’s handling of the crossbow issue is ridiculous. They should just admit the error.

    That said, the idea of a pilot carrying a crossbow is pretty stupid in the first place. Yes, sure, it’s Scarlett’s “iconic” weapon and all, but what’s she gonna do, open the cockpit in flight and shoot an arrow at another plane flying by at Mach 3?

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