Hey folks, Mysterious Stranger here, pitching in and giving General Hawk a little help in the review department. With all the new product coming out all at once it seems our favorite Joe junkie got a little overwhelmed so I'm going to do my best to give you some reviews that are just as informative and interesting as he does. Though my style is a little different I think you'll enjoy my opinions, at least I hope so. Anyway, without any further ado, here's my Guest Review of ...

Combat Squad - G.I. Joe Black Ops [Codename: Shockwave]

That's how the name appears on the paperwork but for the sake of this review (and to save my fingers) I'm just going to call him "Shockwave". And that brings up an interesting point. Back at Toy Fair it was revealed that the "Sigma 6" line was going away and being replaced by three different 8" figure lines: Commando/Soldier, Adventure Team and Combat Squad. "Shockwave" is part of the Combat Squad (CS) line and as such is 90% repaint/reuse. See that's the signature of this line, realistic military style figures using existing parts to create new combinations. At least that's the gist of the info we've received from Hasbro about what the Combat Squad figures are supposed to be.

So how well do they pull it off? For what the line is supposed to be, they are 1 for 3 in my book. We've all seen the Toy Fair pictures of "pinhead" Leatherneck and the Dusty/Desert Fox/Beachhead controversy is over but still fresh in fans memories. But "Shockwave" was a general hit with fans, even if he was all reused parts. I'm not sure exactly why he was the most popular of the first 3 CS figures but he seemed to be getting the least amount of negative buzz and given the initial (and somewhat ongoing) reaction to these figures that's about as positive as it gets.

The Combat Squad uses the same Commando style packaging and also has the familiar footlocker we're all used to. The only difference is the top of the locker no longer sports the "Sigma 6" logo, instead replaced with a blank space below the smaller "G.I. Joe" logo that's been there all along. And the CS footlockers are molded in a military green color, a very nice choice considering the theme of the line. The box art is a bit more realistic than the rest of the line and the familiar filecard is gone, replaced by a short list of particulars about the figure, codename, specialty, etc. I like the art and it fits the line but a filecard has been part of the G.I. Joe legacy from the beginning. A simple list of details doesn't cut it for me. But I guess its part of the new branding and since I'll be customizing this figure a filecard isn't a dealbreaker but its still sorely missed. The package does have the new modern G.I. Joe logo which I really like and the bright red Kung-Fu Grip sticker is there too. Not bad and different enough to catch your eye. Still not something I'd display MIB on my shelf though.

"Shockwave" comes with some interesting and logical accessory choices which I'll go over in the Tech Specs section but I wanted to mention them up front so you don't think I forgot about them.

"Shockwave" uses the new "Lockdown" body with the "Wet-Suit" head and overall it really works for a black ops soldier. The buckles and pouches on the legs are a far cry from the Sigma-Suit look of the first figures. He has molded pants and all the details are incredible! From the hip pockets and molded kneepads, the straps and inner thigh panels down to the new combat boots, his lower half just oozes detail and its all done really well. His torso and arms are just as detailed with the sculpted on body armor on the torso and the shoulderpads, the rolled up sleeves and the molded wrist-watch on his arms. Now "Lockdown" was painted with bare lower arms so the arms here have little sculpted detailing but the coloring makes up for it so it works. His hands have the fingerless gloves that seem to be the norm for the 8" figures and his Kung-Fu Grip hand fits in with the non-KFG hand really well. The head is the "Wet-Suit" mold we've seen before, just painted differently. I would have preferred a new mold BUT I understand the logic behind this decision even if I don't agree with it. And the "Wet-Suit" head does suit the black ops nature of the figure.

But a mold is only as good as the paint that covers it and "Shockwave" doesn't disappoint. Seeing as how this figure is all reused parts, they obviously had some money left in the production budget to put a little paint on this guy and the subtle paint apps work. His body is molded in a nice deep gray with black accents on his shoulders, boots, hands and the wrist-watch. His pants have a nice subtle gunmetal gray cammo pattern and it works really well. His head is molded in black and his hair is a blonde color with blue eyes, which is more along the lines of "Lowlight" than "Shockwave" but since we've never seen "Shockwave" without his mask he could very well be blonde so I can live with it. However the only downside to the paint is his face. With such a dark color pallette the light skin color looks a bit heavily applied but with his mask on it really doesn't matter. Overall "Shockwave" has some very nice clean and subtle paint applications. Exactly as a black ops soldier should.

Overall, as far as the Combat Squad line goes, I'm skipping the other two releases but I'll be looking to get another "Shockwave". He's got some great gear, a very incredible body mold and very nice colors. With the masks on I can definitely see a group of these as a black ops team without changing anything on the figure except what gun they're carrying. My "Shockwave" will be getting the custom treatment in the form of a new head, but I really like the rest of the figure. If you are on the fence about the Combat Squad, I'd say "Shockwave" is the one to get. He's the most interesting and for me, has the most potential in my Sigmaverse. Is he worth the $15 price point? Well that's for you to decide. He is mostly reused parts but we've seen that in the Commando price point before. But he doesn't come with a lot and for a new hat, cloth vest and green weapons locker, the $15 price is a bit high. If they had ditched the locker and released this as a $10 Soldier figure I'd be all over them, even consider getting the other two releases. But honestly for $15 I expect a bit more than an interesting repaint and a couple new small accessories. I'm glad I got him but if the Combat Squad line is going to succeed they need to start packing in a little more punch. Even if it IS reused punch.


The Combat Squad isn't just reusing body parts for the figures, they are breaking out some older weapons and gear too. For the most part all of the accessories are reused but we do get a couple new pieces just to keep things interesting.

Probably the most noticable item "Shockwave" comes with is the hat. Its a baseball style cap molded in the same gray as his body with the same camo pattern as "Shockwaves" pants, matching nicely. It has what looks like a buttoned on panel on the front and has such details as a top button, sculpted in panel lines and a fastener on the back. The one downside for me with this otherwise awesome cap is the attached balaclava mask. Its glued into the top of the cap and really restricts the use of this for me. The mask appears to be the same pattern as the one that came with "Arctic Snake-eyes" only sewn in black. It also makes the hat ride a little high on his head but it isn't really noticable if you throw his goggles on with the mask/cap combo.

Speaking of goggles, "Shockwave" comes with two pieces of eyewear, goggles and night-vision goggles. The regular goggles are from "Tunnel Rat" v.1 and done in black with yellow lenses. That gives them a real "shooter glasses" look that I like. The strap looks to be longer than what came on the TRat goggles but it fits nice and tight around his head. The night-vision goggles are the same that came with "Night Ops Snake-Eyes" molded in the same color with red accents in place of the neon green that NOSE had. The NVGs fit on his head but are a bit loose. You have to be careful and position them just right but they do look good and are another welcome accessory.

What's that? You want to know about his weapons? Well here's where "Shockwave" loses some points in my book. He comes with the corner-gun that came with "Night Ops Snake-Eyes" molded in gunmetal gray with red accents and the missile is a light silver gray. I really don't like spring-loaded weapons and this one is on the low end of my use list. Still some people really like this weapon and it does fit with the black ops specialty of the figure. Still I would have preferred the SMG that came with "Ninja Armor Snake-Eyes" or "Tunnel Rat's" machine gun. But that's okay, I have extras of both of those and honestly "Shockwave" will probably get a 1/6 scale MP-5 from my stash so its all good.

Aside from the corner-gun, "Shockwave" gets one of "Firefly's" machineguns which people can't get enough of, and I agree is an awesome weapon. Its still made from that soft rubbery plastic that the previous versions of the gun came with but still its a nice weapon and looks good with "Shockwave". He also gets one of "Lt. Stone's" silenced pistols, another fan fave and for this figure fits right in with the black ops theme. The only downside is that neither weapon gets any paint applications. The machine gun is molded in light gray and the pistol is done in flat black. Even a single bit of paint on each would be nice but we don't even get one app. Ah well, yet another part of the Combat Squad line that I wish could be changed.

Oh and "Shockwave" isn't just carrying guns. He's got two of "Night Ops Snake-Eyes" grenades and these it seems were deserving of a paint app, each getting a single red stripe along the bottom third. Grenades are an accessory that you just can't have too many of so including these is a nice addition.

"Shockwave's" final accessory is his new black cloth tac vest. Its made from a shiny slick material that is very lightweight and works surprisingly well. The one thing I didn't particularly care for with the Sigma 6 cloth goods was the thickness of the material. No matter what it was used for, it just looked a little too oversized. The cloth goods were very well done but the material was just a little too thick. This material is just right for this scale. Its heavy enough to not tear but light enough to conform to body hugging curves and not get all bunched up. Anyway, the vest has the shape of a SWAT tactical vest with a flap in the front and back that hangs down over his waist. It also wraps around his torso with a split down each side so it can be pulled over his head. The collar is high and tight and really carries the tactical look well. The vest straps in the back with two plastic clips we've seen before in the line. The straps aren't elastic but they are cut long enough to fit together without much work but not too long to leave it baggy looking. And it hugs his body very well and doesn't interfere with any movement. A great accessory that I wasn't looking forward to at all and a welcome surprise.

So with two newly created parts and some creative and logical reused pieces, "Shockwave" comes out a tiny bit ahead in the accessory department. The hat tops him off well, if you remove the mask, and the vest is a winner in my book. Not the typical Commando accessory compliment and honestly not enough to warrant the $15 price point, but I'm not disappointed here. I can use just about everything he comes with, something I can't say for some of the other recent $15 figures.














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