Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rock Trooper Guile - Street Fighter Movie

Several years ago, I profiled the Paratrooper Guile figure. At the time, I was enjoying the various Guile variants that are available and felt the paratrooper was one of the better options for a profile as it was one of the higher profile Guile variants. Accompanying that Paratrooper Guile was another, more obscure Guile theme: the Rock Trooper Guile. This version of Guile features the same head as the other figures, but has a repainted body from the 1991 Dusty figure. The result is a solid repaint that has found a home in my collection.

The Street Fighter Movie figures were a ploy by Hasbro to milk some last pennies out of their now defunct G.I. Joe toy line. The line featured some new parts. But, the vast majority of the figure construction was leftovers from the Joe line. At the time, it was a way for Hasbro to keep the costs down while still producing a line of toys that would take advantage of the marketplace. It is curious that Hasbro has again done this just this year with toys from the Hulk movie line. The existing Joe molds were a cheap way for Hasbro to bring more diversity to that line without having to invest in all new tooling. I don't mind this approach. In the case of the Street Fighter and Mortal Combat Movie figures, the results were some great additions to any Joe collection. In time, it would be nice for Joe collectors to have some other lines like this that would keep classic Joe molds on retail shelves.

Really, what is a "rock fighter"? Is he a mountaineer? A survivalist? Or, is he just a figure that has some a tan base and comes with an eagle? At its core, this is what makes the figure useful. This Guile can be a Joe, an unaffiliated, military consultant or just some guy who likes to forage in the woods with a high powered assault rifle. As such, he brings some much needed diversity to a collection. He is a visually distinctive method of adding some diversity to your Joe ranks. The figure looks like a Joe, but is different enough that most people would not recognize the body at first glance.

This leads to the question of how does one use this Guile version? I see him as a standard infantryman. He is somewhat of a survivalist and is capable of operating unsupported for long periods of time. In a way, he has many of the characteristics of Outback. But, I see more of an independent and rebel streak in the Outback character. Guile is more straight and narrow when it comes to his outlook. He will get the job done. But, he often lacks the creativity that someone like Outback could provide to a situation. But, this trait is also highly desirable in some circumstances as Guile is somewhat predictable. His teammates know what to expect from him and will not be surprised by Guile going against his training when the situation becomes stressful. He is a dependable soldier who is always a known commodity. In a unit like the Joes, this is the type of person who is needed to offset the more rebellions tendencies of some of the other team members.

Guile features a very intricate set of paint masks. They are the most significant part of the figure. Guile is covered in overlaying applications of red, green and blue cammo all on top of a light tan base. He features black painted details that offset the colors, nicely. You wouldn't think that red and blue would make a color palette that was pleasing to the eye on an action figure. But, surprisingly, it actually works. The colors are muted and work to give the figure depth without making him stand out like so many of his neon contemporaries. Even the red and blue help the figure to blend into a neutral background like you find on many rock formations. He isn't invisible, for sure, but he also doesn't stick out like some of his neon contemporaries would.

Guile's mold was well used. Originally, the entire body was used for the 1991 Dusty figure. From there, it was used for the obscure Chinese Exclusive Flint figure. Immediately after that, this Guile figure appeared. In 2000, Hasbro recolored the mold for inclusion with the first wave of A Real American Hero Collection figures. The mold was planned for use in 2001 as the driver of the Desert Striker, but that figure was replaced with Flint. It then appeared for the last time in 2002 as the seldom seen Convention Paratrooper Dusty figure. At this point, we have probably had enough of this body mold to satisfy even its most ardent fan. However, I would not mind seeing the Guile head return. Master Collector has proven that some Street Fighter heads make for great new characters. As such, I would not mind seeing the Guile head return as a different take on a characters like Mace or, maybe, even Duke. It would be a daring departure from the norm. But, in the right context, it would also make a figure for the ages.

Guile's accessories are very solid and provide an interesting look into what was available at the time. The figure includes the first black version of the 1991 Dusty's backpack. (Which has subsequently become quite common.) It also includes an olive version of the 1991 Snow Serpent's rifle. This accessory is somewhat fun as it gives the rifle that is only otherwise available in white a very different look. As such, it helps to distinguish the figure. Guile also includes the missile launcher from the 1994 Flint figure. Only, this version has an olive trigger and missiles that match the plastic color of the figure's rifle. The final accessory, though, is the most interesting. Guile also includes the falcon from the 1987 Raptor figure. This is notable as Raptor was last seen in Brazil only a few years prior. Among Raptor's contemporaries, though, were Blizzard (who also appeared in the Guile series), Hydro Viper, and the unproduced Crimson Guard Immortal and 1991 Cobra Commander. Just about all of Raptor's Brazilian contemporaries ended up in India. But, Raptor did not. Not to say that I would like for Raptor to return. But, it does lend credence to the theory that Hasbro had access to molds like Repeater, Sci Fi and Psyche Out. Perhaps they could one day appear if one knew they were likely under Hasbro's control.

Rock Fighter Guile figures are not easy to find yet still inexpensive. It will likely take a few weeks to find a mint, complete or carded version of this figure. But, a carded sample will run no more than $15 and a loose, mint, complete figure will typically run about half of that. As such, when you do track one down, it will not cost you a substantial amount to add the figure to your collection. Of the Street Fighter Movie figures, the Guile variants are the most common. You will pay substantially more for some of the ancillary characters in this series of toys. Personally, I find these Guile environmental figures to be a fun addition to my collection: but not figures in which I maintain any level of long term interest. They are fun to have, but hard to use. On display, it's cool to see all the Street Fighter Movie figures. But, as integral parts of a collection, only a select few of the total figures released in this set are really worthy of distinction.

1995 Night Fighter Guile, Street Fighter, 1991 Grunt, 1985 Heavy Metal, Bomb Disposal

1995 Night Fighter Guile, Street Fighter, 1990 Rock Viper

1995 Night Fighter Guile, Street Fighter, 2005 Convention Exclusive Gung Ho, Steel Brigade, Mega Marines

1995 Night Fighter Guile, Street Fighter

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