|Code Name: RED SHADOW|
The Red Shadows were the enemy faction in the Battle Action Force comic, and the same name was given to their standard infantry type. The masked, faceless troopers - with their battle cry of "Blood for the Baron!" were hugely popular, but raised inevitable Nazi comparisons. This wasn't that surprising, as the Red Shadow figure was a remould of the 1983 Action Force German Stormtrooper - the only change to the cast being a masked face and a couple of adornments to the helmet, none of which really disguised the basic shape of the thing.
The figure was originally packed with a bazooka and an ammo case, and is one of the most expensive of the single-pack 'straight arm' figures - the Z Force Minesweeper is rarer, but can't match the Red Shadow's collectability. Most AF collectors own these in bulk as an army builder, moreso than any of the other figures, and even an accessory-less Red Shadow can fetch £10 second hand if the paint's good. For a 2010 G.I. Joe convention, an O-ring version of the Red Shadow was made, which looks great, but sadly costs about £30-40. I don't have one of these to compare. Yet.
The colour scheme and look is very good, though. It's a very distinctive look pulled off without being too cartoon-y, and the skull logo and soulless mask really do give the impression that these guys mean business. You could quibble that being universally armed with bazookas means the Red Shadows have limited infantry use, but to be honest it fits in with them being fanatics - considering the number Baron Ironblood had at his disposal and their willingness to commit suicide attacks, they'd probably use them as close-quarters weapons...
Articulation is Palitoy standard, i.e. not particularly impressive. There are only about two poses in which the thing can hold the bazooka, which is held by the 'bent' arm and more sort of rests in the other hand. This can be a bit frustrating, especially as the soft hands rarely grip it tightly. The other problem is that like many Palitoy figures the Red Shadow is prone to main wear, and the base plastic being right red means this shows up a bit more than it does on some of the others. It's actually a bit difficult not to be underwhelmed when you first get a Shadow, even if you're prepared for the basic Palitoy articulation. It's a figure that works best in numbers, though that can be expensive and more than a little addictive.