|Code Name: RED LASER|
Packed with the Laser Exterminator, the Red Laser was one of only two Red Shadow figures (the other being the Red Jackal) to feature G.I. Joe-style articulation. This is because he was a recolour of the swivel-arm version of the original Cobra Commander, while the Laser Exterminator was the G.I. Joe HAL after similar treatment.
It's one of the most expensive Palitoy figures, especially with a complete Laser Exterminator. This initially set me on the course of repainting a 25th Anniversary Cobra Commander as the character, but this had a couple of stumbling blocks. Firstly, I'm rubbish at kitbashing (not to mention that red's a bitch to paint over blue or black base colours). The other is that in the comics the Red Laser was closely modelled on the actual figure with none of the redesigning undertaken for the Marvel comic model - the shape of the helmet being the most notable thing. Therefore even if I'd been able to pull off the paintwork, a red Cobra Commander wouldn't actually have looked much like the Red Laser. The final clincher was when I was able to get a Red Laser figure with a damaged crotch for a tenner.
Seeing as my Cobra Commander is the 25th version, this also has the happy side-effect that the visual similarities between the two are relatively minimal. He also works nicely with the other Red Shadow figures - the paint work on the helmet especially is very clever, combining with the uniform to create exactly the impression desired - that of a high-ranking Red Shadow specialist. And considering that in the comic the Red Laser was a (stereotypically undersized) Japanese chap, even the way he's visibly shorter than the rest of the Red Shadows works. Intentionally or not, it's probably the most effective of the Palitoy recolours.
The Laser Exterminator also works well, fitting in better with the Mutons, Shadowtraks and brainwashing of the Red Shadows than the dour green fatigues of the first series of G.I. Joe figures. It's a capable if unspectacular mould that's brought to life a little by the extensive, striking Red Shadows deco. It also helps that the Red Laser used it regularly in the comic, whereas I'm not entirely sure Grand Slam bothered with the thing after the first issue of G.I. Joe. Overall considering its' straight repaint nature, this is a very effective set which is much more than the sum of its' parts. But is still expensive.