|Code Name: BARONESS|
The Baroness actually appeared in the American G.I. Joe comic nearly two years before she showed up in the toyline. She also came out of most of the fiction very well - notably getting to be involved in several large storylines without having anything to do with killing the Hard Master (though obviously she was tied in with the Awesome Ethnic All-star Vietnam Patrol) in the comic. She also got a preposterous accent in the cartoon, and once wore a truly remarkable dress. All went well until The Rise of Cobra established her as a good girl misled (though she got off lightly compared to Rip Cord, Cover Girl, Cobra Commander, Destro etc., etc. and so on), even adding colour-coded hair so we could tell if she was good or evil. It's also worth mentioning she's hot, which had led to an enduring second career as the star of various cosplaying adventures and overtly sexual fan art.
Getting a decent figure of her was surprisingly difficult though. It wasn't through a lack of trying on Hasbro's part, though their first 25th Anniversary version was so horrible with its' strange cast, comically long legs and constipated expression that I very nearly stuck with the chunky-but-charming original. Thankfully, Hasbro did get it more-or-less right for the 2009 'Cobra' boxed set, with a radically updated mould compared to the disappointing 2007 version.
The girl is still very thin, but actually looks wonderfully petite next to big bruiser Destro, and at least looks like her proportions and general poise could theoretically be achieved without severe spinal trauma. Her original uniform is nearly faithfully reproduced - personally I wouldn't have gone with the silver highlights (an attempt to accentuate the overlapping panels on the original figure) as they stand out too much, just flat gloss black apart from the red Cobra logo, but it's still a pretty sharp look. Hasbro seem to have played down the fetish angle as much as is possible for a woman in a leather suit, with sensible curves deployed. The head cast is also very good, though I wish they'd done the glasses as a removable accessory rather than moulded detail, though that probably would have resulted in them being thicker and clunkier than the classic wire design. The thin limbs (including a very neat answer to the hand articulation problems found on some 25th Anniversary figures, utilising the gauntlets as a joint, much like Scarlett) also mean the Baroness can hold some great poses without overbalancing. It's a shame the original's Cobra backpack couldn't be worked in there, but it's a fair trade off for her having sensible hair - the previous version had an unconvincing 'do in order to keep the hole in the figure's back exposed and free up enough space for the thing.
So all in all the Baroness is not quite there (though remove the silver and I'd say she was just about perfect) but she's still very good, and it's probably my own very solid idea of how the character should look that's causing me to nitpick. One thing though is that having been restricted to boxed sets and having such an ardent following means both 25th Anniversary Baroness toys are now relatively rare and expensive on the secondary market, with the superior update costing more.