Desert Wolf is a Combat Squad figure that initially caused quite a stir among fans of 8-inch G. I. Joes, not because of the figure itself, but because of its name.  You see, Desert Wolf has gone through a number of name changes, most notably for the short period when he was called Beach Head.  Joe fans just couldn’t take stomach the thought of one of their favorite characters being made into a figure that did not resemble the character in any way.

Well, as it turns out, the figure was called Desert Wolf originally, and was finally released as Desert Wolf, a ranger with a specialty in desert warfare.  Having the figure in hand, I really like the character and the figure, but there are a few setbacks that perhaps hold it back from true action figure greatness.  What are they? Well read on and find out!

The Figure:

Desert Wolf is a great addition to the 8-inch team, as Long Range in his desert gear has been getting pretty lonely patrolling the desert all alone.  The figure overall looks great and actually feels like a new character and not just a repaint.  A large part of that is due to the head sculpt chosen for Desert Wolf: Frontal Assault Duke.  I love the Frontal Assault Duke head for its shear nastiness.  The scowl, the stubble, and the eyes really portray a soldier who you do not want to mess with.  This was a cool look for Duke, but it even looks better here with Desert Wolf.  The hair is black, the skin has a more tanned look to it that is quite fitting for a desert trooper, and the stubble looks darker and thicker.  Overall, this is a fantastic head sculpt, and to me really looks like Flint as he has been portrayed in Devil’s Due’s America's Elite series.  Could be a good head for customizers to use.

The body sculpt is nothing special, but it gets the job done and looks good.  Desert Wolf reuses Long Range v1’s body, so he has the appearance of having a standard Sigma suit, except in all yellow.  Don’t fear, it’s not neon yellow, but a bland yellow that really looks like it would provide some nice camouflage in the desert. Detailed with some bland brown boots, gray shoulder pads, black fingerless gloves (with Kung Fu grip), and the Combat Squad logo on his right chest, Desert Wolf retains a pretty nice realistic look overall.  He also has the Sigma wrist communicator, which is cool to see again.  I like them a lot.

There is one issue that I have with Desert Wolf’s uniform, and it is the pants that he comes with.  They are kind of a yellowish khaki color, and they look kind of off.  They don’t perfectly match the yellow of Desert Wolf’s Sigma suit, but they also don’t provide enough of a contrast.  It’s kind of like when you try to wear a different colored sport coat and dress pants.  Two different colors that work together look okay, but if you try to wear two different shades of black or brown, things look a little weird.  The pants are also missing the camouflage pattern that they were shown with in promotional shots.  Too bad, cause those pants would have made Desert Wolf’s outfit go from good to great.
There is one other minor problem with Desert Wolf, and it is a problem that Leatherneck also suffers from.  The elbow joints on Desert Wolf are not painted.  Between Desert Wolf’s flesh colored upper and lower arms, there is a joint which is the same color of yellow as his uniform.  Really, this is just a mistake on Hasbro’s part as someone evidently forgot to or just didn’t care to have these joints painted.  It’s not terribly noticeable, but it does make the figure look a little thrown together.  I know these Combat Squad figures are basically just repaints, but that would seem to imply that greater focus would be given on the paint job since no new parts had to be sculpted and cast.

Tech Specs:

Like the rest of the Combat Squad figures, Desert Wolf comes with some great gear molded in realistic colors.

The only problem with Desert Wolf’s gear is that there are quite a few pieces that really don’t fit him.  He comes with three pieces of gear that originally came with Grand Slam, and those accessories prove to be a little too large for Desert Wolf’s smaller frame.  Grand Slam’s helmet and bandolier are included, redone in a more grayish green, and you’ll have to work a little bit to get them to look right.  The helmet doesn’t look bad once it is on Desert Wolf’s head, but it has the tendency to flop around a bit.  Grand Slam’s SMG is included, and it has the same problem.  The handle is almost too big for Desert Wolf’s hands, he can’t really hold it properly, and there is really no way to hold it that looks right.  A good idea might be to give this gun to Leatherneck and to give Desert Wolf the rifle that Leatherneck came with.  That way both figures get a weapon that fits them better.

Desert Wolf’s main weapon is the sniper rifle that originally came with Long Range v1, only this time done in all black with gunmetal gray highlights.  Although the weapon is missing a few pieces that it originally came with, it still looks pretty cool.  The rifle has a detachable clip, and actually makes a really cool futuristic assault rifle with a detachable grenade launcher.  The rifle also features a cool feature that simulates firing and a detachable silenced barrel.  You might have a hard time finding a good way for Desert Wolf to hold the weapon, but we had the same problem with Long Range v1, so it is a little more forgivable.

To round out Desert Wolf’s arsenal, he comes with two of the grenades that originally came with Tunnel Rat.  They’re colored differently, but still look pretty cool.  These grenades are great accessories, and it is always cool to get more of them.

Desert Wolf also comes with the obligatory dog tags, one that fits the figure and one that is the same size as a real dog tag.  Both are made of plastic with the stars and stripes logo and feature a metal chain.  A weapons crate is also included, molded in an olive drab green and featuring the G. I. Joe logo.  This is the same as the crates that were included with Sigma 6 Commandos, except that the Sigma 6 logo on top of the crate has been removed.

Overall, Desert Wolf is a great looking figure that looks quite unique.  The only real problems the figure has are the same problems that plague the rest of the Combat Squad figures: accessories that aren’t always compatible with the figure and unpainted joints.  Still, Desert Wolf does manage to stand out and deliver a unique figure that you should probably look into getting.  Unless you are totally against purchasing repaints, I’d recommend picking Desert Wolf up as a worthy addition to your 8-inch Joe team.














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