|Code Name: RED DOG|
Red Dog was very much The Other One in the Renegades. There was Taurus the one who was mad and bald, Mercer the one who was actually cool and Red Dog the one who was just sort-of there. He's always stuck in my mind through being introduced in the film as having been kicked out of pro-football for "unnecessary roughness", which always made me thought he was basically Vinnie Jones. Oh, and he bit a stick once for some reason that escapes me now.
He had two other minor claims to fame. Along with the (Turkish) Taurus, the wood-muncher was one of the first Joes who wasn't born in America, which might be why he didn't feature in Larry Hama's right-wing nationalistic comic stories. The other, unfortunately, is that his original figure is probably the closest the line came to outright racism, being a Neanderthal complete with prominent brow. Samoans are cavemen, apparently.
So the newest figure of Red Dog takes a different tack, thankfully. Oddly they don't go with the rather more cultured character model but instead just made up a design on the spot. I could take the head cast as a more mature update of the original but the uniform (okay, costume) is completely changed. Aside from his headband, necklace and still having the #1 jersey he has basically nothing in common with the original. God knows why - possibly to avoid doubling up with Bazooka, but then they weren't that bothered about Grand Slam and Flash, were they?
The idea that someone at Hasbro just needed a seventh figure for the Slaughter's Marauders set and just turned in Red Dog in five seconds flat the guy even has the weakest accessory pack of the set. Hell, it's difficult to think of a G2 figure with a weaker one. Red Dog comes with a small silver pistol and an American football. Because, of course, being a former pro footballer he's certainly going to take a football into battle with him, isn't he? Bah. Red Dog's not a particularly bad figure in his own right, but you have to wonder about the wisdom of making a nostalgia-based figure that has next to nothing in common with the original, especially as Mercer and Taurus are fairly faithful to their 1987 incarnations. A redesign was needed but this is going overboard.