The Corps
Rapid Assault
3 3/4 Inch Scale
By: Lanard

Lanard has been making CORPS toys since the early 1980’s when they went in direct competition with GI Joe. Although the Corps were more or less the bane of my existence as a child, I would occasionally fuse some of them into my playing. As I’ve gotten older, I can appreciate the Corps more. When GI Joe returned to the shelves in the beginning of the new millennium, so too did the Corps. They followed along with Joe, changing their sculpts to match somewhat in style (although not as closely as vintage RAH and Corps) and design.

When the GI Joe 25th line hit, Corps however seemed painfully outdated and generic by comparison. This year, finally, Lanard has rolled out some new Corps toys with updated sculpts and articulation. These very well may be the coolest Corps figures yet. Today I’m looking at the Rapid Assault vehicle set. This vehicle has been released countless times under many decos. BattleGrip’s Philip Reed reviewed the most recent Previous Incarnation back in 2009. However we’re looking at the newest model today.

An ace pilot in his own right, Ethan Crown can maneuver in the skies with the best of the best. He’s able to withstand substantial G-forces without losing consciousness. As captain of the flying force, this English native is a Royal Air Force pilot and technician.

I was able to get this bio for Ethan “Spade” Crowne on his included bio-tag, which is pretty cool. They have a Fancy Website but sadly, Spade isn’t listed on there. I guess that’s why he’s a “new recruit”. So what’s so special about this cheap toy?

Right off the package is recognizable, as Lanard has been using this same basic style of package for years. I believe it originated in around 2004, which is when this vehicle first hit shelves. It’s been repainted several times. This isn’t the flashiest of the decos for the jet.

What really sells this set is the Ethan “Spade” Crowne figure. He’s eagerly displayed on the side, looking a bit like Battlestar Galactica’s Starbuck (You know, before he was a girl) and he’s got such a great sculpt that even from the package I knew he was awesome. His bio-tag, with a great little picture of him is also clearly displayed.

The only real downfall to this package is that it’s an open window box, which means kids can put their grubby little mitts all over it. The good news is that the figures are actually pretty secure inside and safe overall, despite it being largely exposed. There are several pictures on the back showing the other “new recruits” and a couple of mentions about how these are all new sculpts. Oh and there’s also a huge white sticker that says this toy has lead in it and not to chew on it. Well that’s not a good sign, but even with lead poisoning as a threat, this toy is just too cool to pass up.

We’ll be looking at both the figure and the vehicle in this section, but since the figure is the main draw (at least to me) we’ll be covering it first and more in depth. Spade has a great sculpt that reminds me a bit of Lt. Stone from Sigma 6.

The face and costume on this guy is really well done. Honestly I think it’s one of the best concepts for a figure I’ve seen in a long time. Spade has a 5 O’clock shadow, an eye patch and this cool coat that definitely has an adventurer pilot feel to it.

I have already started to make up a Buck Rogers type story for this guy. I realize that he’s technically supposed to be a modern day warrior, but I see him more as a Han Solo type. The paint work on the costume is minimal, but the gold highlights on the jacket really set it off. It matches his artwork well.

The other big addition is that now you can actually put his weapons in his holsters. I remember when the GI Joe 25th stuff really first started to do this and it was amazing. Here that same feeling is replicated. It’s not quite as smooth as the GI Joe stuff, but this is Corps after all! It’s pretty good all things considered.

Scale wise, this figure fits in nicely with all modern toys. He’s not too big, not too small. He’s workable for just about any of the modern 3 3/4 scale dudes.

The paint overall is no doubt the weakest part of the figure, but I believe that all in all it’s not too terrible. It’s a little light and I do have a minor paint splotch on the pants, but the fine detailing on the coat is pretty spiffy. Considering the price, I’m not too disappointed. The 5 O’clock shadow is really well done, both from a sculpting and paint standpoint.

The Rapid Assault Jet isn’t quite as nice. The sculpt is pretty plain and it’s been painted better in the past. I would have loved to seen this in a blue, gold and red color scheme like the figure. It’s a bit more of a desert theme this time, I suppose to mimic all the desert warfare that goes on in recent years. The red highlights are nice, though. I have a helluva time getting the cockpit open after it’s closed, but I think there might be an extra plastic burr on the snap… I’m not sure if that’s a universal issue or not.

Only one sticker on the inside and it definitely reinforces my futuristic appeal with this guy. This is actually a new sticker, which seems a little more sci-fi than the older sticker. It’d been nice if there were some handle grips or something, but given how often those used to break off of my vintage GI Joe vehicles, maybe it’s better without.

Part of the problem that Corps has had in recent years was that they updated all their figures to match the Joe versus Cobra era of GI Joe toys. Those toys weren’t great from Hasbro, but Lanard’s sculpts weren’t bad for the time. However, when Joe updated to the 25th sculpts, Lanard’s Corps seemed woefully under articulated in comparison. Their entire articulation model seemed low budget. Now with the new recruits, Lanard hopes to rectify that!

Unfortunately, they didn’t add much. They removed the basic swivel arm and replaced it with Hasbro style elbows or Hasbrows, if you prefer. It does add a range of movement but it’s nothing amazing. I was most disappointed that there isn’t a swivel wrist for these guys. I should add though, that the swivel waist is really well done and the joint cut is completely hidden.

Even though they didn’t update the articulation to GI Joe 25th levels, they did update it enough that it’s comparable to many Star Wars figures that are on the shelf today. The actual level of movement isn’t improved much, but the articulation model is modern.

Corps is usually pretty good about giving you accessories. You could easily consider Spade the accessory to the jet here, or vice versa. Beyond that you also get some genuine accessories for the figure.

The bio-tag is really cool with some great artwork and facts about Ethan Crowne on it. You also get a pretty wicked looking pistol, a knife with brass knucks on the front and a grappling hook gun. The weapons are all decent, but the lack of paint aps and plastic colors do take away from some of the realism.

The grappling hook gun has a peg in it and fits into his back, like an old school GI Joe backpack.

The weapons could be a bit better, but I was never bothered by solid colored weapons as a kid. So long as the weapons weren’t bright pink or orange. These are definitely kids toys, so I doubt the youngsters will care.

The jet also comes with missiles. It has four total, two large and two small. These attach similar to the way old GI Joe vehicle missiles did, but there is also an additional bracket to hold them in. They’re some of the securest and functional missiles of this style I’ve seen on a vehicle, actually.

Additional Notes:
I really love this figure. Enough that I’m coming up with my own whole little outer space adventure for him. I’m maybe going to make some photo comics with him. That’s how much I loved this toy. It really inspired me more than almost any of the figures I’ve bought from major toy companies lately.

I bought this a while back, but the price was right at $5.99-$6.99! An incredible deal for a decent little figure and a jet. I’m finding that this holiday season there seems to be a lot less of “value” toys available. I’m really glad that Lanard is still pumping this stuff out and I’m actually going to be buying more of their new sculpt figures because I like this one so much. You can’t beat it for the value and durability.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 8
Articulation – 7
Accessories – Missiles, Pistol, Knife, Grappling Gun
Value – 9
Overall – 8 out of 10

A very solid 8 out 10 for this guy. I love this figure. You may not like him as much as I do, but you can’t deny that for the price this is a darn good toy for kids. Well, aside from the lead materials part.

7 Responses to The Corps: Ethan Crowne and Rapid Assault Jet Review

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