If I learned anything from G.I. Joe, it’s that heroes and villains should almost always be named in direct correlation to their stereotype (let’s call the karate guy “Quick Kick” and the sailor dude “Ship Wreck”) and that – say it with me now – “knowing is half the battle” (Yo Joe!).
Head on down past the break, as we have a few laughs and experience this (curiouser than expected) figure together. Big Joe/Cobra fan or not, you’ll come to want him. Badly. His shiny head is so irresistible.
I’ll be honest, I never thought I’d care about seeing Destro as a high-end collectible figure. I always preferred his lady friend Baroness (She had specs appeal! Get it… she wore glasses?) second to Joe’s more popular characters like Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. Even though his shiny metal head marks him as one of Cobra’s most identifiable villains, I always looked at him as a second class bad-guy. Like if I had a younger brother (I don’t. I curse my parents for not having had enough sex. And for divorcing. #onlychildproblems) and we were to play with our old school Hasbro G.I. Joe figures, I’d take Cobra Commander and stick him with Destro or, if I were to feel particularly cruel… Dr. Mindbender (what a boob). Chalk it up to personal bias, but I just never gravitated towards the character. Sideshow, however, changed my mind entirely. Can a toy really flip-flop one’s feelings? Eh, probably not, but if there was ever the chance of changing your mind, Sideshow sure tugs at the right strings.
I’ve been fortunate enough to own and see firsthand a number of Sideshow’s 1/6th scale figures. The one thing that never fails to amaze me is their remarkable attention to detail. We live in an age when toys on the shelves (ones aimed at collectors) are given sculpts and paint jobs better than what kids growing up in the 80s and 90s ever got. Just when you think it couldn’t get much better, Sideshow takes it out of the stratosphere. There’s some bells and whistles to this figure that surprised me, even well after examining it for days.
Before we get down to the nitty-gritty, let’s start with the collectors case – the box that Destro comes in. Sideshow puts almost as much effort into their packaging as they do their figures. In the case of metal head here, this box pops with art reminiscent of the classic 80’s G.I. Joe Real American Hero toy line from Hasbro. What with its recognizable G.I. logo, figure action shot over yellow/red flame burst and character profile cut-out (which explains why original Joe figures are so damn expensive on the collector’s market, as scumbag 80s kids cut their figures packaging to shreds and saved the profiles like trading cards). Much like Sideshows many other 1/6th scale figures, the packaging is designed with the collector in mind. The front portion of the box is actually a flap (which stays in place via a small hidden magnet latch on the side of the box) which opens up to a viewing window. The piece is meant to be enjoyed in its packaging just as much as it is without. Afraid to open up the box and ruin its value? Well, like I said, it’s designed with the collector in mind. Sideshow’s got you covered, with no twisty ties (the bane of most collectors’ existence) or even tape that needs to be cut. The multiple plastic trays keep everything intact. This makes reselling your figure, should you ever want to, cake.
Freeing this Cobra enemy from his spiffy cardboard prison, let’s take a full look at Destro in all his splendor – you can almost hear the sunlight bounce off his head with cartoon-esque finesse.
Destro stands 12 inches tall (thoughts of emasculation much?) and the first thing you’ll likely admire is his wardrobe – us guys are supposed to notice such things, right? Destro’s signature long overcoat and red mane is perfectly realized in this legit hand-tailored attire. In addition, his black cargo pants, bad-guy vest, muscle undershirt and knee-high boots, make you quickly realize “Shit, this guy has a better wardrobe than I do. WTF?”. Clearly, this figure is rapidly inciting more and more jealously from me.
Commenting further on the wardrobe, I prefer Destro to wear his rad, uber tough guy vest underneath his long coat (it’s a more finished look) but I had a bitch of a time getting the coat off and on as it was so tightly secured on him. I eventually stripped him down to his skivvies out of frustration. Word to the wise, always make sure your parents or significant other are out for the day before you go undressing your figures. I’ve learned from first-hand experience what it’s like when the important people in your life suddenly burst in on you while you’re putting your hands all over a semi-nekkid doll. No this isn’t what it… yeah it’s exactly what it looks like. There’s no explaining your way out of that awkward and uncomfortable moment.
Destro is accessorized with a number of goodies; here’s the full run-down (pulled directly from Sideshow) followed by some commentary:
-Fabric Costume includes: shirt, vest, jacket, pants
-Belt with pouches and pistol harness with leg straps
-Rocket dart gauntlet
-Gloved hands in multiple poses
-McCullen family ruby medallion (on chain around neck)
-Satellite communications case w/ hidden weapon storage
-Satellite location tracker
While I could speak excessively (haven’t I already?) about each accessory, I’ll leave my thoughts to a select few. They’re all pretty cool though.
While I like the primary head sculpt (Note: It does come with a 2nd head, but it looks like a rejected Dr. Doom mask so I tossed it aside), I found myself staring at it for some time with an odd case of familiarity. Suddenly, it hit me… friggin’ Destro looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger! Ha, you see it too! Now picture Destro saying “I’ll Be Back” with Arnold attempting a Scottish accent. I told you my interest in the character was quickly peaking.
A couple of details regarding Destro’s swag really surprised me, I mean really. I never cared for manila folders in real life (they remind me too much of work), but make em’ wee tiny and insert some weapon blue prints and it’s goddamn adorable. The top of Destro’s hand pistol slides back to mimic chambering of a round, which is a completely unnecessary but totally cool exercise in detail. The Satellite Communications case has a SECRET (not so secret now, haha #soevil) compartment. I just thought it was a surprisingly heavy briefcase. It took me DAYS to realize the top panel can be removed to reveal a hidden compartment to pack/stash Destro’s laser gun. In hindsight, I now see that Sideshow specifically details this in their product description. I’m an idiot. But who reads anyway, right? Uh, hello?
Overall, as someone who never had a great affinity for the character, I’ve quickly been converted into a fan. Which is the primary result of my imagination running wild picturing Arnold Schwarzenegger with a chromed head shooting laser pistols at Joes shouting “Come with me if you want to live. NOT!”. Truthfully, it’s Sideshows commitment to detail that had me wanting to relive my childhood imaginary battles with my G.I. dolls and this time choosing Destro as my go-to guy. Now, all I need to do is to pick up the 1/6th scale version of Baroness and I can really get this party started, if you know what I mean. Again, please be sure the people you call family are absent when you decide to do unspeakable things with your dolls.
The price point on Destro will fetch you $179.99. Don’t let that number scare you off, though, you can always go for Sideshow‘s affordable $60.00 a month payment plan.