1998 GI Joe Colonel Brekhov Review

(Editor’s Note: Today’s review comes from my dear friend Corps Commander Cody. As always, please check out Cody’s great photos, customs, and commentary on Instagram and Twitter.)

It’s a certain kind of funny that I am typing my review of the Oktober Guard guy on July 4th. I can literally hear fireworks celebrating America and I was like “yes, it’s time to write about the Russian guys.”

Hi, I’m corpscommandercody, returning guest of Dustin’s site. It’s time for me to talk about one of my favorite figures of all time- Red Star and 1998 GI Joe Colonel Brekhov, who are remarkably similar, you will agree. Hell, even the GI Joe comic (146) makes fun of it. This may even be where the idea to reuse the mold came from.

1998 GI Joe Colonel Brekhov Review

1998 GI Joe Colonel Brekhov

Colonel Brekhov was the original commander of the Oktober Guard in the GI Joe comic. Red Star was released in 1991, the first Russian figure to be so. The names of the characters are different (Red Star being an Anatoly Krimov from Ukraine) but their characters are quite similar. They are both leaders in the Oktober Guard, Red Star taking over for Brekhov after his death in the comic series.

Their parts would be reused in several other OG members- namely Misha and Stormavik. There is even an update to Brekhov with a new headsculpt but the body is all the same- but that’s 2000s so I ain’t talking about it!

Here’s a side by side of the two officers:

1998 GI Joe Colonel Brekhov

As you can see, even their equipment is 90% the same (and I’ll get into the difference soon), despite the 90’s reissues being the era of “Well, only one guy in this diver set needs to come with a pair of flippers”.

1998 GI Joe Colonel Brekhov

We’ll be using Colonel Brekhov to look at the accessory complement.

This Brekhov is my one from childhood.

When I turned 6 in 1998, my dad took me to Toys R Us for possibly the first time. I purchased the Oktober Guard set and I enjoyed them a lot. I’m pretty sure I had them opened when we got to mom’s salon after dad dropped me off. A lot of accessories might have met their doom there, too.

The gang was a frequent appearance at pool time- where I did at least 75% of my outside play, at my grandparent’s. Brekhov, Volga and Gorky were always involved usually. Brekhov was a no-nonsense commander- lots of my adventures involved either dinosaurs, snakes, or whatever monster of the week I could come up with. I don’t have any specific memories of him, but I imagine he was probably one of my last guys to bite it, if he ever did. (I mean hey, someone has to GET TO THE CHOPPA at the end.) Eventually, Gorky’s o-ring snapped and I didn’t know how to replace him so he was either sold or lost. I’ve scoured all of my Lego tubs and there’s been no sign of him, so I figure he’s on some collector’s shelf now. Volga’s did the same, and other than losing her waist piece, I kept her around for some reason. I’m glad I did. Brekhov saw a lot of action and has even survived getting a backpack peg stuck in him a couple years ago.

1998 GI Joe Colonel Brekhov
The others pretend they don’t know Gorky is an imposter. Not of our box! Not of our box!

If you’re here for official information, I’ll say this- the whole set was a reissue of Red Star, Big Bear, and Lady Jaye with a new headsculpt, meant to emulate some of the Oktober Guard members. It was a common theme in the late 90s Joe revival after Sgt. Savage and GI Joe (enunciate it with me) EXTREEEEEMEEEEEEE bit the dust. Hasbro used molds that they had on hand and tried some new color schemes to jazz it up. They came up with some fairly nice ideas! I know some are divided on them, but I think a lot of these late 90s sets had fun colors. Anyway, Big Bear was never in the comics but he was in the animated series by DIC (try saying the company name without yelling- I can’t). Volga, on the other hand, was supposed to be a new character, but I think fans were disappointed she wasn’t Daina, the headstrong female Oktober Guard member in the comics. At least the camo is cool!

Red Star has orange with reddish camo, while Brekhov is more of a yellowish orange with no camo. Maybe he sacrificed his camo so that Volga could have some, since the Lady Jaye body was originally naked (not like that). We may never know. To be fair, Brekhov does have highlights on the web gear, which Red Star does not! So that’s pretty neat. I suppose an “ultimate” version would combine the two.

Let’s dive into the accessory complement, shall we?

1998 GI Joe Colonel Brekhov

I’m going to start off first with the removable hat. This is a very cool accessory indeed. Red Star’s has a blue base but Brekhov’s is all black. Red Star’s is made of softer plastic than Brekhov’s, which matters when it comes to it staying on.

It would be nice if the star was detailed on the hat in the center, but it’s a pretty minor gripe when you consider how many accessories we received.

Let’s mention the one unique accessory to Red Star- the launcher. I’m sure you’ve read ad nauseam about how 90s Joes had spring firing missile launchers. I think they’re pretty neat, honestly. This launcher is well molded, with lots of details including a shoulder rest and sight. It doesn’t rest on the figure exactly but it looks great. Fun fact- several European releases of figures (notably 1991 Dusty) included this launcher.

1998 GI Joe Colonel Brekhov
“Is this how it’s done?”
“Da, comrade. Fire!”

Next, with more heavy artillery, it’s this hand cannon thing. It has two rotating barrels that are removable (why you would I don’t know). It’s belt fed from the backpack. This is a really cool personal weapon. I assume it’s a gun he can just fire from the hip and never mind the spread.

1998 GI Joe Colonel Brekhov

Moving on, we have the AK47. A veritable workhorse of a weapon, and with the scope, it looks really cool. This comes with both guys as well. Both men were well armed, but this weapon would certainly be relied upon after the bigger weapons get used. This weapon is an amazing one in anyone’s hands, but Brekhov wields it well. (Love those bendy thumbs!)

1998 GI Joe Colonel Brekhov

Finally, if he needs it, both figures come with a wicked knife that sheathes into the backpack, which is a great feature.

1998 GI Joe Colonel Brekhov

I suppose if Brekhov has blasted off all of his other weapons, he can certainly use this. The unique design and great storage makes it a nice knife.

1998 GI Joe Colonel Brekhov
The Early Bird catches the WORMS

A word about the backpacks- the Red Star version is brown and the Brekhov version is black. There are no painted details on either one but there’s plenty of nice sculpting.

Thankfully, the antenna are the same between both versions. When I was completing Brekhov again, I knew that if he had a different color antenna I was just going to scream. Luckily it wasn’t that hard to find one.

1998 GI Joe Colonel Brekhov

Verdict: At the end of the day, this is a figure I enjoy immensely. I am biased as all hell- BUT! and this is a big but- the large set of accessories totally makes this an awesome figure. I have seen him being bought and discussed a lot in groups online and I know I’m not just looking at him through Red Army colored glasses. This figure is fun whether you have all of the accessories, some, one, or even none. He makes a great field commander for your guys. Consider adding him to your fireteam. Highly Recommended.

Closing Remarks on 1998 GI Joe Colonel Brekhov

1998 GI Joe Colonel Brekhov

By the way, I should also mention that Dustin and I’s friend General Liederkranz on Instagram has an excellent comic called “Terrifying Lasers on the Tundra” (a reference to the 90’s advertisement insert, which is brilliant) which features Red Star and the late Oktober Guard prominently. Check it out!

1998 GI Joe Colonel Brekhov

Thanks for sticking it out and listening to me rant about probably my favorite figure ever.

(Thanks so much, Cody! What do you think of Brekhov? Who is your favorite Oktober Guard member? Let us know in the comments!)

9 thoughts on “1998 GI Joe Colonel Brekhov Review

  1. This is a figure I’d like to revisit one day – Since I already had Red Star, and I was familiar with him from DiC but hadn’t yet read old comics with the O.G. I ended up not using this Brekhov very much, but super appreciated getting another copy of all these fantastic accessories. Usually, Volga and Gorky-Bear shared his gear. Looking back via your review though, I really do appreciate some of those extra highlights he has. You’re absolutely right that it would be wonderful to see a “best of” combo of paint apps on that mold.

    Speaking of, I like pretty much every use of the body – and by the time the comic pack versions came around I was much more endeared to Brekhov, got one of these CORPS! 6 wheeled cars that everyone uses as a makeshift Oktober Guard vehicle and started using this figure for real as an extra driver, thought he went through a few head swaps.

    I think I probably still prefer Red Star overall but really, any version of this mold is worth having! The details are so good and their origins are unmistakable. His authenticity is so charming, I wish we had gotten more figures from that time that depicted foreign military dudes. As far as the straight laced brown and green wearing dudes the 90s went, they were some of the best ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Corpscommandercody

      I think I’ll have to try and make that ultimate version, now that I’ve spoken it into existence… maybe a project for the future. Lord knows I have enough of this guy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A-Man

    That 1998 Oktober Guard set is interesting. They didn’t bother to make Brekhov’s hair black or Gorky’s hair blonde. Not-Daina’s hair is red instead of blonde, were they thinking of Dana Scully? Why is she wearing a cap she didn’t wear in the comics? Why does she still have LJ’s accessories? And of course, using one of the bereted Joes for Gorky would’ve made more sense, well…Dusty V2 or maybe Falcon’s would. It would be hard to see past a recolored Flint.
    Three pack was a huge peg warmer at the time, too. They shipped the good guys (well, if you consider the OG’s that) 2 to one for the Cobra sets. Hasbro’s cluelessness or TRU’s insistence?* Who knows?
    Hama’s decision to make Red Star a Brekhov look-alike was another late comic silly thing that I ignore.

    I haven;t had any 1998 Joes in hand in many years, so I don’t know how well they hold up quality wise. But 3 figures for $10 is something we’ll never see again. I miss those days.

    *Not sure how picky stores were back then, but in the 2000’s Toys R Us rejected the Crimson Sabotage set when Hasbro offered it to them, so Kay-Bee’s got it. The plus side is that the Vamp/Whirlwind set was created for TRU instead, giving us a set that might not otherwise exist, the downside what some Kaybees never seemed to stock the Crimson Sabotage Hiss set. I had to order mine from them online. After wasting gas and time…same thing happened with the CAT II.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Corpscommandercody

      If I had known the actual characters, I’d probably been mad. But, as a kid, I was excited to have a commando team.

      It would be nice if we eventually got a Daina figure that was good. So many customs I’ve seen just don’t do it for me, personally.

      These guys still move around fairly well! I don’t feel nervous about them like some of the 2004-6 comic figures.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s always interesting to see perspectives from collectors who were kids for the ’97 through ’06 run. I was a adult collector, buying on Ebay and conversing online.

    This set was “supposed” to be the hot set in the year. Collectors were desperate for the Oktober Guard. But, the set flopped for several reasons. Collectors did not like any mold post ’87 and were all too glad to skip this set due to the later molds used. Volga not being Daina was also a bust. Thomas Wheeler painted the original Volga master. It might still be on JoeCustoms.com. It was meant to be Daina and had blonde hair. But, Hasbro changed it without explanation. Finally, the Cobras being shortpacked lead to these hanging around and collectors were quick to discard anything that didn’t sell out right away.

    The Gorky is my personal favorite figure from this set. The paint apps and colors are just great. But, all these figures have help up pretty well.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My friend had Red Star when I was a kid, but he was the only “offical looking” guy we had, so he ended up being amercian! I remember him well because of two things: Removable hat, and KNIFE STORAGE. I loved knife/sword storage, back in the day. Anyone with that ability (that I ran in to) was immediately imprinted on my brain.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 4005

    The Callsign Longbow guy will go well with Red Star- same blue and white striped undershirt! But god, I hate when they change the hair color of the same character. It’s like they went to the salon. XD

    Liked by 1 person

  6. generalliederkranz

    Great review! I love the pics, especially him with Volga and Gorky, and sneaking up on the WORMS. It’s fun hearing your memories about him. I have similar good memories about the original Red Star. When I got Brekhov, I was a little older and he seemed too similar to Red Star–but I appreciate him more and more as time goes by. The quality of all those 1998s was just great, especially compared to the 1997s before.

    Gorky was kind of emblematic of Hasbro’s lack of creative thinking. There’s nothing about the Big Bear mold that means it HAS to be a Soviet! There were so many others they could’ve used. but they just stuck with –“oh, another October Guard character? Ok, let’s just use the mold from our last October Guard guy.” And for the same reasons, they just gave Volga the accessories from Lady Jaye, because she used LJ’s molds. Why not give her a Dragunov? They had a mold for it already! But I’m really happy they broke out of this rigidity when they got to the comic packs, allowing innovations like Snow Job parts for Misha or Action Soldier parts for Gorky v2. Even still, a bunch of those figures used Red Star parts.

    Liked by 1 person

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