|Code Name: RED STAR|
The original Red Star figure was actually the first Oktober Guard toy to be issued in 1991, coming after most of the original Guard had been wiped out in the Marvel comics. Red Star basically took over from Colonel Brekhov, and in the comics inexplicably looked like him too (well, according to the dialogue). For the 25th Anniversary line, he once again was the first (and to date, only G3) Oktober Guard figure, packed with a greenshirt version of Duke and a special comic. Quite why they led with him and not Brekhov I don't know - possibly because Red Star, with his fancy codename, sounds more like a G.I. Joe character.
The figure is basically a Soviet soldier with only a couple of flourishes, so it's easy to see why Hasbro did what they could to glitz him up and get the green light. There's not actually a huge amount of resemblance to the original Red Star figure beyond his blue cap, but the changes are largely for the better - the dodgy camouflage pattern being replaced by a more sedate green tunic. In a nice touch, he has Oktober Guard patches on his shoulder, and just to make sure of things there's a red star (really working that name) on his cap, his webbing and his satchel.
Red Star also comes with a whole pile of accessories - and not the random rubbish the original did either. Firstly there's a complex set of webbing that includes a couple of moulded grenades and a water bottle (which his cap can be placed on if needs be). Then there's a huge clunky backpack modelled on the original, no doubt full of heavy Communist political tracts and vodka. He also has a satchel and one of those Russian submachine guns, with a removable ammo drum. To top things off, there's a pistol in his hip holster and a little knife that fits nowhere and seems to be included solely to get lost. He looks nicely tooled up with all this on him.
Moulding-wise, Red Star sadly suffers from the slit wrist syndrome, while the pistol holster is a huge, cumbersome thing. The head cast is the same one used on the figure that was meant to be Rip Cord but had a head that looked nothing like Rip Cord. Here, with brown hair, the aged look is a much better fit (unsurprisingly, as it was designed for Red Star). It's a good figure all things considered, doing the job it was meant to - though how much what's basically a 1980s vintage USSR soldier with a couple of flourishes will interest you is down to personal preference. It would be hard to improve on him with that remit in mind, however.