2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker) Review

Hello, everyone. Nice to see you again. I am still alive and I still enjoy toys, so let’s talk about one today. Sound good? Alright then.

The Haslab Skystriker Scarlett is not a 90s toy in any way. It’s a sort-of remake of a kitbash that could possibly happen with 80s toys, but is a new mold.

I did buy the figure to serve a 90s-related purpose (which we will get into in a bit here) and it’s a new GI Joe figure, so I decided it might be a decent review subject.

Also, Mike T from Forgotten Figures and RTG from Attica Gazette are also reviewing Pilot Scarlett this week. Here are those links:

Make sure you check their reviews out, as our perspectives are all likely to be pretty different.

Let us begin.

Why I Bought 2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)

2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)

I made the decision that the Haslab Skystriker was not for me soon after it was announced. I really like fighter jets (particularly sci-fi versions of the F-14), but I just don’t have the room for it. And it probably would not get much use. And even if I did have the space and could think of something to do with it, it would not have been a sound financial decision at the time.

So instead I found a trailer for Top Gun on YouTube, took a screenshot of one of the jets, printed it out, and stuck it to my fridge with a magnet. It’s basically the same thing, right?

I did like some of the announced figures, though. The 2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker) figure caught my eye instantly. Here was one of my favorite GI Joe characters in a science fiction flight suit, and it would be a real thing I could probably find later on the secondary market. Sure, the figure looked like it was just Ace with a Scarlett head, but I’m cool with that. It’s a great idea for an easy kitbash. So I made a mental bookmark and moved on.

Recently, the people who backed the crowdfunded Skystriker started getting their toys in the mail. So I hopped over to The Electronic Bay to look for Scarlett.

2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)

I haven’t really been in much of a GI Joe mood lately, for a combination of reasons (real world wars, Hasbro quality control issues, interest in other toy lines), so I figured Haslab Scarlett might rekindle my passion for sci-fi army dolls. I found one for $50, which seemed pretty reasonable, and clicked “buy it now.”

I was excited for the figure in a general sense, but I also had a specific purpose in mind for her. I wanted to use the figure as a Star Brigade Scarlett, as the Ace flight suit design has always looked high tech and spaceworthy to me. I thought Scarlett’s various shades of blue and white would look good with most of the 93 and 94 Star Brigade figures, too.

Space Scarlett! What a grand idea.

Unfortunately, when the figure arrived, I realized it wasn’t going to fit into my plans very well.

Here’s why.

2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker) Review

2023 GI Joe Scarlett was released only with the crowdfunded Haslab Skystriker set. The figure came individually carded inside the Skystriker box, but could only be bought with the entire set, which includes a jet, utility vehicles, and six other figures. It was a Big Thing.

Here’s the carded figure:

2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker) 2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)

That card art is beautiful! It’s some of the best GI Joe artwork I’ve seen in quite some time, even if it’s not accurate to the actual figure, who neither has a pistol or a long ponytail. But whatever, I’m still glad it exists. Note the lazily inserted “oh and uhhh she can totally fly planes and helicopters and stuff” line on the file card.

I’m totally cool with Scarlett being a pilot. It makes sense for the character and just makes her that much cooler. If Tom Cruise can do it, Shana O’Hara can do it. I’m just saying that Hasbro could have put a little bit more effort into the file card.

“Hasbro could have put in a little bit more effort” will be the running theme of this review.

Here’s the figure:

2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)

From what I understand, all of the new o-ring GI Joe figures from the last couple years are entirely new “digital sculpts.” They aren’t just remolds/repaints of the 80s toys. The designers wanted to get as close to the classic sculpts as possible, but they had to be recreated. So this is the newly sculpted Ace figure with a newly sculpted Scarlett head, both of which are trying to recreate the classic 80s molds as closely as possible.

That doesn’t affect my opinion of the toy either way, but it is worth noting.

2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)

At first glance, the figure looks pretty good! The light and dark blues work very well together, and the little pops of white also complement them nicely. But then you notice that her hair is more of a brownish-red than the vibrant red we’re used to. By itself, that’s not a bad thing. She’s still recognizable as Scarlett.

Then you’ll notice the brown paint on the torso, which I’m almost 100% sure is the same paint they used for the hair. Then you notice the figure’s waist, which is cast in entirely in brown plastic and features no paint. It absolutely does not match the brown on her torso, and it just looks odd. I don’t think brown was a great choice for a highlight color in the first place (red, purple, silver, or black would have all been better).

2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)

The sculpting itself is quite nice. This is a cool looking flight suit and/or space suit with lots of neat little details. I really do think Hasbro should have painted the pistol handle and picked out a few more details, as this is an expensive, premium product for adult manbabies/collectors.

2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)

The lack of effort is already showing through, and we haven’t even gotten to the figure’s accessories or articulation.

But, if some odd paint choices were the worst thing about this figure, I’d still be pretty happy with it.

2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)

The nature of the Ace body mold means 2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)’s face is partially obscured from most angles, but you can see it from the top of the figure. It looks almost exactly like the 82/83 Scarlett head sculpt we’ve all grown to love. The paint is also just as good as it needs to be. Some fans have been very vocal since prehistoric times about Scarlett being “ugly,” but they also don’t realize this is just a doll and Scarlett is a non-romanceable NPC. She’s not gonna swipe right on you, bro. She’s made of plastic.

I’ve always liked Scarlett’s head sculpt, as she looks like a real person to me. She’s got some real personality and a totally unique look.

When I compared the figure to my old 2003 ToyFare exclusive Scarlett, I noticed that the head on the 2023 version is much smaller. That’s fine, as it’s a “new sculpt” and it also has to fit inside the Ace helmet. It’s no big deal at all, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)

Now, let’s move on to the accessories. Settle in for some serious gripes and grouching.

First, let’s cover the helmet. On the surface, it’s a well-done accessory. The paint is nice and it fits the figure well. The plastic is crystal clear and you can see the figure’s face through it easily.

2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)

It’s also an essential component here, as the figure looks incomplete without it. If you somehow lost the helmet, I don’t think 2023 Haslab Scarlett would be a useful or desirable figure in any way.

With the helmet, Scarlett looks like a super cool high tech pilot, astronaut, or space soldier. I have no gripes about the aesthetics here. With the helmet on, this is a fantastic looking figure. You can even overlook the poor color matching on the torso and the unpainted waist piece.

The helmet has one big problem, though, and it’s a doozy.

Once you put the helmet on the figure, it’s very secure. Too Secure, if you will. As in you cannot remove it through any normal means.

2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)

I first tried to remove it by using some hot water, hoping the plastic on the neck brace might expand and/or soften. I struck out with that one, but did get some water inside of the helmet.

Next, I was a total idiot and tried to use pliers. The helmet still didn’t come off, and the pliers scraped off a good amount of blue paint on the helmet. That’s totally my fault for being such a fucking dummy, but it was still frustrating. This is an exclusive figure I paid $50 for, after all.

So, finally I decided to just take the figure apart. The screw hole on the figure’s back (we will come back to that later) is smaller than a regular GI Joe screw hole. The screwdriver I use for all my Joe repairs did not fit inside easily. I did get the screw out, but it was a bit of a scary process– I felt like I was scraping the plastic around the screw hole and possibly stripping the screw a bit, too.

2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)

The helmet did come off pretty easily once I separated the figure’s torso halves. But I shouldn’t have to do that to remove a helmet!

I mentioned this on Twitter, and many other people told me this happened with both their Ace and Scarlett figures. So this is a widespread issue and it’s unacceptable for a premium product. It’s like no one tested anything before the figure’s release. The helmet should fit securely, but it should not be impossible to remove.

Luckily, my pal Ross (who has written for this website before) came up with a good method to remove the helmet:

Okay, so at least there’s a solution for that.

Let’s move onto the crossbow, shall we? Surely things will get better.

2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)


The design and/or product team at Hasbro FORGOT THE CROSSBOW’S HANDLE. On the one hand, it’s hilarious. On the other hand, it shows that the team working on this project was not detail-oriented at all. Scarlett’s crossbow is one of the more recognizable accessories in the entire GI Joe toy line, but someone at Hasbro either didn’t know what it looked like (and thought the bow’s sight was the handle) or it just got left out of the molding process and no one paid attention or cared enough to notice or fix it.

2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)

Granted, this Scarlett probably doesn’t really need a crossbow. She’s a pilot and/or astronaut. And if she DOES need her crossbow, it’s an easy accessory to track down. It was released many times in the 00s with various figures, so sourcing a complete one should be easy. But you absolutely should not have to source one.

As it stands, she can only hold her crossbow by the sight on the top/rear of the weapon.

2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)

If these were the only two problems with the figure, I’d still like it quite a bit. Unfortunately, it still gets worse from here.

Before we resume the griping, here’s a lineup of Scarletts over the ages. Some have held up better than others. I don’t have every version of Scarlett, but I think this should be every unique Scarlett mold released in the ARAH style.

2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)

So now we have to tackle the two remaining major problems with this 2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker) figure:

  1. She cannot wear a backpack
  2. She has an “o-ring pull,” which severely hinders her articulation

Both of the newer GI Joe o-ring two packs I bought last year featured some problems that showed the GI Joe team at Hasbro either doesn’t really care about these figures, or just has no ability to pay attention to detail.

The 2022 Cobra Officer cannot bend his knees all the way due to a molding problem. It’s a bummer. The 2022 Duke figure has some wonky eye paint that you rarely see in any GI Joe toy line. It’s not super noticeable unless you’re up close, but it is still an issue.

So we’ve come to expect that there are going to be some problems with Hasbro’s newer ARAH-style offerings. But Haslab Scarlett was a figure I was very much looking forward to, and her issues are worse than either Duke’s or the Cobra Officer’s.

First, let’s talk about the backpack problem. The first thing I did after I opened pilot Scarlett was try to equip her with a Lanard Star Force backpack, as I thought it would complete the Star Brigade/astronaut look nicely. And it would have, if the figure could wear a backpack at all. But she cannot.

2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)

The screw in the figure’s back protrudes out too far for a backpack to fit, even when it’s tightened all the way. And, since the backpack/screw hole is smaller than usual, it’s possible that the figure couldn’t wear a backpack even if the screw wasn’t an issue.

Every single ARAH GI Joe figure is supposed to be compatible with all GI Joe weapons, stands, backpacks, and vehicles. That is the entire point of the toy line– interchangeability! Even Star Brigade Armor Tech figures can wear a GI Joe or Corps! backpack.

I’m sure the Hasbro designers either didn’t notice or didn’t think it would be a problem. They probably figured most adult collectors would either keep the figures carded, stick them into the Skystriker and forget about them, or stand them up in a straight line in a glass cabinet or on a shelf. And maybe they were mostly correct about that.

But I’m not leaving this figure in a vehicle forever or putting her on a shelf. That’s not why I buy GI Joes.

So, the backpack thing is a big deal. But 2023 Skystriker Scarlett is a cool, nice-looking figure so maybe I could even look past that whole thing if it was the last problem I encountered. But it was not.

2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)

Next, we come to what I call the “o-ring pull.” This was an issue with many of the old 00s comic pack figures (and other figures from around that time), and it also happens with many factory custom figures (Black Major, Red Laser, etc). Basically, there’s something wrong with tolerances and engineering within the figure that causes the toy’s waist and legs to snap back into a few “neutral” positions when you try to pose them.

So, you really can’t do much posing with this pilot Scarlett figure because her legs will snap back to “straight at attention” and her waist cannot be rotated to any degree– it just pulls back into the neutral, forward position.

A few friends on Twitter told me that they even had problems getting Scarlett to set in a convincing looking position inside the Skystriker itself, and she has some trouble sitting in other vehicles like the Dragonfly, as well.

Not being able to get the figure into cool poses for photographs is the biggest bummer of all for me. She can take some poses, but you’re working around the toy’s own tolerances and engineering, so you’re very limited.

2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)

A new o-ring does not fix the issue and I’m not 100% sure what actually causes it. I understand that engineering these toys to work perfectly is difficult, so I will always cut Black Major and other third party Joe creators some slack on that. Hasbro has been making these toys since before I was even born, though, and they should have it down.

But again, no one is putting in the required amount of effort or paying attention to the necessary details. I’d say it’s tragic, but that would be overdramatic. These are just toys. I like toys a lot, but there are more important things in the world.

So instead of being tragic, it’s just disappointing. I was hoping this figure might renew my interest in GI Joe, but it ended up doing the opposite. I expect a certain amount of quality from a Hasbro product, especially if it’s part of an expensive, exclusive set.

I did not receive that quality at all.

2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)

In the end, this figure still looks pretty good with 93 and 94 Star Brigade Joes, which is what I wanted. She also looks great piloting the 93 Starfighter. I really enjoy the toy’s colors, sculpt, and design, as well. But the Hasbro design team’s refusal to give even an iota of a shit about the figure makes what should have been a rousing success into a bewildering disappointment.

Overall: Well, if you crowdfunded the Skystriker, you already have this toy and don’t need my opinion on it. It’s possible that you are perfectly happy to have 2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker) sitting in the jet, standing on a shelf, or remaining carded. But for everyone else considering buying pilot Scarlett on the secondary market, this toy is Not Recommended unless none of the issues I described matter to you.

Closing Thoughts on 2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)

023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker)

I didn’t set out to be negative and write 3000 words bashing Hasbro. I usually find something to like in almost every GI Joe figure. I want these toys to be good.

When I first got this figure, I didn’t set out to dislike it. I wanted to love it! I was quite excited for it, even. But it turned out to be a huge disappointment.

Did you buy the Skystriker set? What did you think of it? What do you think of Hasbro’s other recent o-ring GI Joe offerings? Let me know in the comments!

8 thoughts on “2023 GI Joe Scarlett (Haslab Skystriker) Review

  1. The figure quality is a disappointment. I fully believe that Hasbro just intended for these toys to remain packages and on display: like Star Wars collectors do. They didn’t think there was a dedicated group of toy photography people who do open their toys and try to pose them. But, the few guys who have Hasbro’s ear these days are “super-duper serious collectors who write books and defend Hasbro on Facebook” and they haven’t handled loose figures in years since loose is beneath them.

    I won’t go so far to say that I won’t back another Haslab after getting these figures in hand. But, it will be a consideration and the figures will have to be more compelling than the 7 figs that came with the Skystriker.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lawrence Kelty

    I agree with you on all points. I backed this project and am somewhat disappointed with the overall result. In my opinion the Skystriker vehicle is just a remolded 25th plane (I could be wrong) with Joe, Cobra, and Grumman stickers, and stand.

    I have more of a problem with the figures. Aside from Scarlett, they are all rather bland. The plastic is too soft and the paint looks very pasty. I believe another reviewer said it appeared as if the paint wasn’t sealed. I wonder if this is a result of the switch to factories in Vietnam as Lighting Collection figures have been full of QC issues since the move.

    It’s too bad that Hasbro didn’t include Strato-Viper Raven instead of the Cobra Trooper. Why include Cobra stickers if there’s no Cobra pilot?

    I kind of wish that I hadn’t backed this project (fingers crossed for the Classified HISS). I should have waited and just cherry picked the figures I wanted – Scarlett, Ripcord, and Cobra Ground Crew. I don’t know how Hasbro can continue to justify $250 – $300 vehicles when McFarlane is offering Batman ’66 ones for about $30.

    BTW – I love your site. I always come back when I need a hit of nostalgia!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dracula

    Co-signing Mike’s comment here. These are designed for people who handle a figure once or not at all. And that’s really sad to me, because it runs counter to everything that makes ARAH figures such a joy. Part of me wonders if Super 7 had been given the go-ahead to make O-ring figures if they’d have been better quality…but then again, S7 markets to that same crowd, and they’ve been having QC issues of late too.

    But, hey! Your photos are gorgeous, and if I’d seen them without reading any of the words I’d be sold on this figure!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. For someone who likely acquired most of his collection for a few dollars apiece back in the day (as I did), I can understand being disappointed with these “retro” o-rings figures and frustrated by the QC issues, especially after paying $50 for this one. If Hasbro had tried to sell what is effectively a kitbash repaint of a couple different, common figure parts at this price point back during the Real American Hero Collection days around 1998 or so, it would have been considered obscene and greeted with outrage from fans.

    The thing is, this isn’t 1998 anymore. G.I. Joe o-ring figures have been off the market for the past 15 years. The old molds are gone and had to be recreated. Most of all, these figures are no longer toys for kids. They’re nostalgia collectibles now. It’s a different world.

    Am I disapointed in some of the issues you cite? Sure, but not nearly as much as you are. The crossbow thing was stupid screw-up and Hasbro should own up to it. Their response is ridiculous. At the same time, I have a few vintage crossbows I could put in the figure’s hand if it really bothered me (and I bet you do too). More importantly, what does a fighter jet pilot need with a crossbow in the first place? I’d rather display her without it anyway.

    It seems like there is a way (albeit not very intuitive) to get the helmet off, and I never had any plans to put a backpack on this figure. The brown paint thing is a non-issue, as far as I’m concerned. Plenty of vintage figures did the same thing.

    $50 is excessive to pay for one 3.75″ figure, no arguing that. But keep in mind that what you’re really paying there is mostly the reseller markup. The whole Haslab package itself was actually a pretty good value all together. $230 for a retooled Skystriker and 7 figures wasn’t too unreasonable, all things considered. Again, this isn’t the 1980s or ’90s anymore. Toys are way more expensive now in general.

    Point being, your complaints may all be legitimate, but I try to put things in perspective. I’m just happy to have new G.I. Joe o-ring figures again, even if they’re overpriced and imperfect. I don’t expect this retro line to last much longer, beyond perhaps another Transformers crossover or two. I’ll take them as they come.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. relenawarcraft

    She’s not perfect, but I still like her. Really, my only complaint about her is the hair. How’d they screw that up? The crossbow is just hilarious, especially when you notice the missing handle on the original render. She serves her purpose for me. She’s new, different, and had more than 5 seconds of thought into her, which is more than what can be said for some of the other parts of the set.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s a shame to hear some of this stuff. Even though I wasn’t getting it I had hopes for the newer aspects of this set just because I want to see them get beyond the full on remakes. The browns are a little curious but I do love the colors they chose for her overall, it’s a nice call back to Glenda/”pilot Scarlett” while still being something new that totally makes sense. I tend to think she looks better in the backseat than Fail-Safe, mostly just because If I was climbing in and my pilot had a crazy looking crash test space suit on and I didn’t, I think I would get a little nervous…

    The crossbow handle issue is so strange. The funny thing is, I agree that the crossbow wasn’t even necessary. No one would have blinked if she just came with pistol like the others. But instead, they’ve embarrassed themselves with this. I hadn’t pulled the trigger on any of these new O-rings, because I had heard about some of the weird incompatibility and was waiting and hoping to hear the releases would course correct and strengthen. (and, well, I went big on non-hasbro o-ring projects) I still might crack on the Duke-CC set just for Cobra Commander. Maybe things were too far along to get a fix on the backpack hole, but I wish they had thought it was worth delaying over.

    I have a hard time holding some of these Classified figures in my hands and broadly proclaiming Hasbro doesn’t care, because it’s clear there’s a lot of love for the characters on that team. Format seems to be the real issue. I just don’t think this digital scan & fix pipeline is working for the tolerances they need, or communication is breaking down at the factory, hard to say and I don’t have a magic eye into the process. I guess I’m trying to say it feels like there is more passion on the planning side than there is the execution side and that’s a huge bummer.

    I’d really like to see them abandon this remake model, no matter how many people it would upset. They need to develop a fresh buck and sculpt NEW figures. Remakes like this are a perfection comparison trap that’s impossible to escape. I think more people would be happier in the long run to get familiar characters in brand new molds. It frustrates me to no end how all-in they are the 80’s swivel necks. I’d have bought doubles of some the 2packs by now if they had been ball necks and the thicker, more detailed sculpt approach of later years. The Sunbow colors of that Duke/CC set are so appealing, It’s a tremendous annoyance they aren’t new sculpts that further chased that particular depiction. They have to do the work from scratch anyway, so why not? Somewhere between these and the ReAction figures are the perfect G.I.Joes, but instead I’m just holding my money and passing on both.

    Anyway, I’m babbling about the O-ring line in general instead of Scarlett here. I think your Star Brigade idea for her is pretty great, and you took some fun photos with her despite the struggles. I do like that card art, though it’s funny to imagine her squeezing the ponytail inside the helmet. Thanks for bringing us on your journey with her!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. generalliederkranz

    This is a great and thorough review, thanks! I like the idea of using her in Star Brigade, and your pictures in that setting are awesome.

    Your criticisms are valid and serious (unlike many of the whiners on Facebook–veined cards? lifted bubbles? please.) At the same time, I’m sad that you and AG and Mike T all seem so down on her, and by extension on the Haslab set as a whole. Most of these problems I either haven’t encountered (maybe I’ve been lucky) or they haven’t affected my enjoyment of the figures, including Scarlett. (I had one figure, a spare Ace, with a defective rivet. I should probably contact Hasbro, but he’s just a spare that I plan to sell eventually.)

    The “o-ring pull” as you call it has bothered me, and it’s made it more difficult for me to fit Ace and Fail-Safe into the Skystriker cockpit. but I can still do it, and that’s good enough for me to take pictures which is what I’m really concerned about here. I did run into the problem of her helmet being hard to remove, but luckily I stumbled onto a version of Ross’s trick before I did any damage.

    The crossbow is absolutely silly and embarrassing for Hasbro but at the same time, it’s solvable (as you mention, and I also like using an accessory pack crossbow), and it’s also not unprecedented, even in the vintage line: I’ve never been able to make Thrasher hold his weapon, and Night-Viper and Bullhorn both have rifles they can’t easily hold.

    Because of my good experience, I’ve dismissed the myriad complaints on Facebook as whining (mostly from MoC collectors who I think are being unrealistic in their expectations of absolutely perfect packaging, and who will never pose their figures so why do they care about other issues?). But your review and the others is making me reconsider–perhaps I’ve been too charitable.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ll admit: “Works with Star Brigade” is generally all I need, but this does sound very disappointing. And yet…I am still tempted. With the helmet on, it does look very good!

    But man…that is a lot of bad news. I keep thinking “wouldn’t it been cool to go back to vintage repaint 6 packs like the 2000s?”, but if they did…what would we even get? Those were mostly some damn sharp paint jobs with slightly softer hands that could hold things and NOT break. They were perfect! But we don’t appear to be able to go back to that. Hasbro keep getting more and more expensive while getting less and less quality, which is something I usually don’t want to say, since people say that crap all the time for stuff that is actually good. But Hasbro is really trying hard to suck recently, if they have even managed to shake my confidence.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s