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