City Strike Beachhead

I went on and on about the Pursuit of Cobra Snake Eyes, but let me tell you, he got top marks largely because he was Snake Eyes. Like Wolverine, or Batman, that name brings a lot to the table. If I had to choose one Pursuit of Cobra figure though that stood out from the rest through merit alone, I'd have to say it was Beachhead.

Though he doesn't have the cache that Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow have, he's always been a favorite Joe of mine. Because I was a dumb kid, I always imagined he was a ninja too (duh, mask), so he was always the one I'd send on missions with my Snake Eyes when I was a kid, loading them up with all sorts of guns and swords and having them kick Cobra's ineffectual ass.

I'm no longer sure how it happened (it's been maybe a year since the Pursuit of Cobra line arrived) that he became a pegwarmer, but somehow there was a huge gap in the supply between the other figures in the first few waves and the Beachhead figures. The rest of the toys were sold in sets, while Beachhead was regulated to the toy aisles in Toy Kingdom Megamall. There was one shelf dedicated to the line and almost all the figures on it were Beachheads.

Beachhead was the reason that I got started with the Pursuit of Cobra line. I saw this figure and the Firefly figure in photos when the line had first started. The photographer had placed them in a diorama simulating an urban environment and jeez, they looked good.

For the life of me, I could not understand why no one was buying this awesome figure.

I've reviewed a few of the Pursuit of Cobra toys already, including the Wave 3 Snake Eyes and the Cobra Shock Troopers, so I've covered the packaging of the figure already. Suffice to say that it's a blister card that is sturdy, compact, and very well thought out. It's no Sigma 6 foot locker, but it is excellent toy packaging.

Right off the bat through the clear plastic bubble, you can see one of the figures most excellent features: it's accessories.

Goddamn, Batman. Look at that gear!

There's a black gas mask, a flak vest, a pair of flippers, two submachine guns (SMG), three rifles, a pistol, a knife, and the requisite G.I. Joe display stand. Whew. The sheer number of accessories is a reason for some strong objections to this figure in forums, but more on that later. Right now, let's go through these one by one, starting with the flippers.

The flippers are awfully funny looking, sort of curved at the end, and short to boot. I'm sure it's a design based like something in the real world that are designed with portability and hydro-dynamics in mind, but that doesn't keep me from loathing them on sight. Even the fact that they plug in to his vest doesn't really help. They bug me almost as much as these things do:

On the opposite end of the love/hate scale is his knife. I love his knife.

It's smaller than most of the ones that we saw with the 25th Anniversary figures, which let's face it, were butcher knives at this scale. These are more keeping with a realistic look, and sweet mother of Geebus, they actually fit in the sheaths provided! This really made my day.

For some odd reason, though, Hasbro gave him two sheaths (one on his shoulder and one on the small of his back) but only one knife. At first I thought I'd just lost it and spent not a few minutes looking for the non-existent second one (I probably should have spent the time looking for Lowlight's bullet, but more on that in a future review). I was all like “WAAAAAAAAAHHHH!” until someone on the boards sent me a link to which lists the figure's gear. What do you know: one knife. Fail fail fail.

Next up are the two SMGs, both based on the Heckler & Koch MP7A1. The weapon was made as a Personal Defense Weapon (PDW) that acted as a mini assault rifle and could penetrate the increasingly high quality body armors. It would have been great if they had included removable suppressors and foldable front grips, but Hasbro did the next best thing. One has the grip down, the other has the grip up with the suppressor fitted. Neither has the stock extended though.

They may look familiar to Joe fans. That's because they also came with the impossible-to-find Paris Pursuit Baroness from the Rise of Cobra movie line. That figure was very popular due to the great accessories that came with it, and the fact that these are re-issued doesn't make them any less cool.

While you can't fault the badassitude of these weapons, you can fault the fact that old Mr. Sneeden can't seem to hold the things in the proper position. Beachhead's hands aren't molded to grip the handles of the guns properly, so they're always going to point downward. It's great for stalking poses, but not for ones where he's aiming.

Still, the fact that he's got two SMGs is something you have to put in the win column.

Of the three rifles, my favorite is the FN SCAR-L. The FN SCAR-L is a modular rifle with attachments for CQB (Close Quarter Battle), launching grenades, etc. It's used by the 75th Ranger Regiment, which makes it perfect for Beachhead, who is a Ranger (and not a ninja. Doh.)

He looks great holding this thing, and it fits relatively well into his arms. Though he can cradle the weapon, he can't really shoulder it as a real soldier would due to the limits that plastic toys have. He can get a relatively close approximation of a firing stance though. It’s too bad they didn’t give him the same wrist articulation that the Pursuit of Cobra Snake Eyes had.

The second rifle looks to be either a British L85A1, or the Austrailian Bushmaster M17S, both bullpup-type rifles. The idea behind the bullpup design is that the meat of the gun is located BEHIND the trigger. That means instead of having a useless stock in the back eating up space, you have the magazine and firing mechanisms back there. This allows you to have the same barrel length as a regular rifle, while keeping the part extending out in front of you to a minimum. It’s meant for CQB, perfect for urban environments where you have to peek around corners constantly.

Sadly, Beachhead can't shoulder this weapon at all due to that huge buttstock. I don't think any of my Joes can, actually.

The last rifle is the "U.P.R. (Urban Plasma Rail) Weapon" mentioned on his file card.

It's not... bad...

Ultimately, I don't think it's right for him. With the Pursuit of Cobra line being what it is, having something so obviously in the realm of science fiction is kind of out of left field. It probably would have gone better with the Alley Vipers or Shock Troopers,  Cobra figures supplied by M.A.R.S Industries (it originally came with the Paris Pursuit Baroness so that was probably the idea).

At least it fits better in his hands than some of the other guns.

His last weapon is his SIG Sauer P226 pistol, which is another nice looking piece.

Sadly, Hasbro failed to include a holster for it. I cannot for the life of me understand why it isn't included on either his hip or his flak jacket. There's plenty of room for it.

I've got feeling that there were accessories that were made for the figure (i.e. the FN SCAR) and then the rest were just thrown in after the design was finished. It explains why none of the other weapons really fits him perfectly and why there's not storage for any of it.

Last up in terms of accessories is the gas mask and flak jacket.

The helmet and gas mask are just one piece that slips onto his head. The fit is good and it doesn't look too off scale. Although the mask covers his face entirely, effectively obliterating his familiar balaclava clad face, I really dig this look for him. Along with the MP7, it looks like he's ready to kick some serious butt.

The vest is just as awesome, with detail galore. Aside from the aforementioned sheaths, he's got tons of padding, armor, Mp7 clips and pockets enough to satisfy even the great Liefeld himself.

He's also got some kind of doohickey (maybe an iPod?) connected to his thigh, with a cord that runs from it to his ankle. The cord plugs into his ankle, for whatever reason. Maybe he's measuring how much fat he's burning while on patrol. Those combat rations really pack on the pounds!

And that's it for gear.

If Hasbro were to go back and attempt this figure again. I'd say put some pegs on those MP7s so he can carry them instead of the fins. Then give him a backpack instead of the L85A1 so he can carry the fins. Put another peg hole on the pack so that you could peg in the rail gun, and give him a strap for the SCAR.

And for God's sake, give him a holster!

Even without the ability to carry all of that stuff, Pursuit of Cobra Beachhead is still a superior action figure. He's definitely better than the Snarler Cycle Beachhead or the Hall of Heroes Beachhead and well worth the p500.00 (About $11 US) he used to cost at retail.

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