E&S Agency GRS Globe Response Staff Asset ( 26010 )
Here we are with another Easy & Simple review – one in a series…
Since their debut in 2013, I have been impressed with this company for several reasons. They have emerged from a collaborative process – one that involves folks located in the United States, and in China. They have announced and released figures at a rate that is unparalleled in sixthscale. And they have been very conscientious in listening to their base – a prudent approach to take when one wants to get a head of the competition in any business.
With this latest, we see subject matter that is quite reminiscent of the operators seen in the film 13 Hours – an elite ex-military contractor who is now working for the Central Intelligence Agency as a security liaison/operator – a GRS member of staff.
Here is a selection from an online article about the GRS ( Global Response Staff ) – with some emphasis on the tragic events that occurred in Benghazi Libya:
The rapid collapse of a U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya exposed the vulnerabilities of State Department facilities overseas. But the CIA’s ability to fend off a second attack that same night provided a glimpse of a key element in the agency’s defensive arsenal: a secret security force created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Two of the Americans killed in Benghazi were members of the CIA’s Global Response Staff, an innocuously named organization that has recruited hundreds of former U.S. Special Forces operatives to work as close protection detail operators for the agency.
The GRS, as it is known, is designed to keep a low profile, training teams to work undercover and provide an unobtrusive layer of security for CIA officers in high-risk outposts.
Beyond hiring former U.S. military commandos, the agency has collaborated with U.S. Special Operations teams on missions including the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
CIA veterans said that GRS teams have become a critical component of conventional operations, providing protection for case officers whose counterterrorism assignments carry a level of risk that rarely accompanied the encounters of the Cold War.
Although the agency created the GRS to protect officers in war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan, it has been expanded to protect secret drone bases as well as CIA facilities and officers in locations including Yemen, Lebanon and Djibouti.
In some cases, elite GRS units provide security for personnel from other agencies, including National Security Agency teams in conflict zones. A former special operator said. The most skilled security operators are informally known as “scorpions.”
In Benghazi, a GRS team rushed to a burning State Department compound in an attempt to rescue U.S. diplomats, then evacuated survivors to a nearby CIA site that also came under attack. Two GRS contractors who had taken positions on the roof of the site were killed by mortar strikes after an hour’s long harrowing and valiant battle to hold back the attackers.
Head-sculpt and base body:
Real-like Head Sculpt
ES-Buddy 1.0 Body
The head sculpt on this one had me guessing – based on a real guy – based on celebrity? Or maybe the sculpt is a mix of both the everyman, and the idol? By my eye, I see a hint of Viggo Mortesen’s character “man” from the 2009 film The Road ( based on the depressing and dark novel by Cormack McCarthy ). Whatever the origins and inspirations for this head-sculpt are, we may never know – but it is certainly a superb sculpt none-the-less.
One of my favorite aspects of this sculpt is the beard. This guy has one of those beards that you don’t screw with – the thick, unrestrained, full on beard of a man ( or the character “man” – see previous paragraph for clarification). It is nice to see a fuller ( and longer ), beard offered on a sixthscale figure. Usually, the beards are more akin to the dandified hipster style beards made popular by a now remorseful Gavin McInnes ( the potential patient-zero of the hipster outbreak who never could have known how fully the old school barbershop haircut and beard trim would become ). It was once alleged that if you drove a stake through Gavin’s heart, all of the hipsters in Colonial Williamsburg would instantaneously drop dead. Go to the very end of this review to read my on the beard cum 2017…
Getting back on track, another point of difference with this sculpt is the facial expression. For what seem like fairly obvious reasons, many of the military and law enforcements themed head-sculpts that we see in sixthscale feature a justly serious facial expression. These sculpts ( expressions ), are prevalent in sixthscale, again for what seem like fairly obvious reasons.
Nevertheless, with the E&S GRS figure the head-sculpt has a sort of confident beam etched onto it – like he is in a stressful situation, but is enjoying a funny quip from one of his battle buddies. And it works in this case – it is a really good sculpt, and it looks good with the kitted up figure.
The paint effects are clean and realistic looking – Easy & Simple are becoming masters of this stuff – aiming right up there with the talented folks who sculpt and paint at Hot Toys. Another plus with this head-sculpt and is that it is nether too big, nor too small – a good fit under the helmet without being under-scaled.
The Easy & Simple Buddy 1.0 base body is getting better – gone are the old wobbly hips, knees, and ankles. Although, they still show up in some form, and in some samples that I have worked with. I will therefore be producing and posting a short fixer upper video that shows how to stiffen key joints in under five minutes with nothing more than a few inches of Gorilla tape.
That withstanding, the improvements that have been seen and experienced go to show what can happen when a company actually listens to customer feedback. Plus the folks at Easy and Simple and Mission Specific Equipment, are collectors and customizers themselves – they wouldn’t stand for a sub-standard base body from a rival company, so they won’t force you to stand for sub-standard goods from their company either. This is a hallmark of business integrity, and is something that I am happy to see with these guys. Is there still some room for improvements? Yes. But I have no doubt that we will see the fruits of their labors.
One change I would like to see is a little bit stiffer joint in the midsection/torso area. I have noticed that with some samples of the Buddy 1.0 base body, the figure will tend to sort of slouch back when you are posing it. Kind of like it wants to return to this gut out chest back pose no matter how often you try to convince it not to. But luckily this is in only a few of the base bodies that I have worked with – and will no doubt be an area that will someday get updated. In the meantime, it is one of the areas that I will address in my fixer upper video.
Printed Navy Blue Work Shirt
Stalker Low-profile Tactical Pants
Inner Duty Belt
Cobra Rigger’s Belt
Kailash GTX Boots
The first thing I want to mention is the Printed Navy Blue Work Shirt . It is a great idea – a long-sleeved navy blue tee shirt with the addition of some black velcro patch fields on the upper arms – a welcome addition to our sixthscale market in my opinion. There is a large printed image on the front of the shirt depicting what looks to be a sort of dragon skull with glowing red eyes. Not a bad look – just an interesting choice for a milspec figure. So does it really matter what this bearded operator guy has printed on his shirt? After all, the print is mostly hidden under the Sentry Plate Carrier – so you hardly even know that it’s there.
I really like the addition of the Stalker Low-profile Tactical Pants. They are a very unique and again, welcome addition ( clothing wise ), to the sixthscale market. The stitching is particularly intriguing and unique – following a criss-cross-over line that gives the pant an almost harlequin pattern ( in the area of the stitching ). This is both eye catching, and seemingly functional in an anatomical/comfort way. The darker warm grey color is also a nice accompaniment to other Wolf Grey offerings that E&S has produced in the past. The fit is trim, tailored, and has a high speed/low drag look that is a good complement to the theme of the figure.
The Kailash GTX Boots, and Ironsight Gloves are very detailed – well sculpted, and intricately pained – although this is more a case with the boots than the gloves, as the gloves are blackout – with some gloss, and some matte black sections. The Kailash GTX Boots are on my loose parts pick up list – they would be a great look for an arctic or cold weather custom figure.
I want to take a second to commend Easy & Simple on fixing the fit/closure of the line of Cobra Rigger’s Belts they produce – and more skeptically, the Cobra Rigger’s Belt Cobra buckle. It is a difficult endeavor to get a sixthscale Cobra belt buckle to function correctly, or to hold once it is fastened. But E&S has refined the fit of the two intersecting buckle components in such a way as to make them a good fit and a strong secure hold once fastened ( or closed ).
Lastly, I want to mention the patches. I seldom talk about patches in my reviews, but I think that is high time to mention that E&S has done a pretty darn good job in rendering some clever and realistic looking patches. Good detailing and construction make these patches look very scale appropriate – and make them good loose parts grabs as well.
Sentry Plate Carrier LCS
Invader Courier Bag
Both the Sentry Plate Carrier LCS, and the Invader Courier Bag are excellent pieces – with precise stitching and detailing. I really like the latest wave of go-bag style bags/packs that we have seen from E&S. I also like that the Invader Courier Bag is rendered in the time tested woodland camouflage pattern.
The Sentry Plate Carrier LCS is a very cool low profile design. I particularly like the absence of stitched on PALS/MOLLE webbing, which has been replaced by cut in ( die-cut ), slits ( slots ). I found these to easier to work with than I had expected. You use the same principal to weave in the PALS/MOLLE webbing located on the back of the pouches – the tried and true tweezer/forceps method. And with the Nexus Gen 3 Fast Mag Holster AR-15, and the Nexus Gen 3 Fast Mag Holster Pistol, the little hard rubber PALS/MOLLE tabs are especially easy to weave into the inverted mounting slits ( slots ),on the vest.
While we do not receive a huge amount of softlines gear, what we do get is a very respectable selection none-the-less, with al the bells and whistles of 0 scale zippers, low profile Velcro, and very clean and well-constructed Fastex buckles.
Nexus Gen 3 Fast Mag Holster AR-15
Nexus Gen 3 Fast Mag Holster Pistol
HTC Modular Mag Holster-Left-handed
HTC Modular Radio Holster
Airframe Ballistic Helmet
Skeleton NVG Shroud
L4 G24 NVG Mount
NVG Amber Filter
Model 640 Advantages Strobe
TAC Switch Helmet Light
Comtac3 Headset & U94 PTT
Foretrex 401 GPS
Tactical Tomhawk with Sheath
The lack of softline parts with this set is made up for with the large selection of hardlines that we receive. Some of the standouts are the Nexus Gen 3 Fast Mag Holster AR-15, the Nexus Gen 3 Fast Mag Holster Pistol, the Airframe Ballistic Helmet, and the Tactical Tomhawk with Sheath. All pieces are chock full of crisp detail and are a great compliment to the overall look of this figure.
To fully appreciate some of the finer details of the hardlines – as well as the details of the weapon and weapon complements, I would highly recommend laying hands on a small magnifying glass – it is really a treat to see just how detailed the details are with this stuff.
AR-15 Assault Rifle with Super Modular Rail System 15”
Micro T1 Red Dot Sight
M300 Scout Weapon Light
I really like the ambidextrous charging bolt on the AR-15 Assault Rifle with Super Modular Rail System. While it is no doubt NOT based on a Raptor Charging Handle by AXTS, it does have that cool Raptor look. About darn time we had a slick looking ambidextrous charging handle in sixthscale – way to go E&S! I also love the gold bolt – very Salient choice ( wink ).
MK16 Assault Rifle
NXS 2.5-10×24/25 Scope
CNVD-T Thermal Sight
I want to mention what may seem like a small thing, but to me was a really big deal ( figuratively speaking of course ). And that is the “MADE IN USA” markings that are etched into the bottom plates of the magazines that come with the SCAR MK16 ( there are three 5.56 magazines in total ). It is not often that we see updates to standard aluminum body style sixthscale magazines. Typically the only detailing updates have been some base relief style details on the magazine’s bottom plate. It is such a small bit of detailing that one would likely miss it if they were not looking for it. By I like details, and I know that E&S is one of the most detail rich companies out there. They also seem to overhaul and update parts a whole lot faster than previous sixthscale companies. Their series of Glock handguns are a perfect example of this practice. This mag-plate detailing makes these things loose parts gold – and I hope that I can score a dozen or more before people notice the additional detailing.
The SCAR is tres’ trick – with it’s menacing blackout appearance and it’s ghost grey CNVD-T Thermal Sight. The NXS 2.5-10×24/25 Scope is also detail heavy, and is a good look with the system – gives our guy the ability to engage targets and short and long distances. One note with respect to the NXS 2.5-10×24/25 Scope – there is a removable endcap/lens cap eyepiece. I found that I had to remove this piece to get the scope to slide back far enough on the SCAR’s top rail to accommodate the iron sight, the NXS 2.5-10×24/25 Scope, and the CNVD-T Thermal Sight. No big deal here – the eyepiece pops on and off without any fuss. The endcap/lens cap also has an “NF” logo engraved onto it. I love it!
Model 3280 Tactical Holster
I was very happy when I first saw that E&S had decided to make an HK pistol. This one of the only pistols that I have handled at a range ( the 9mm variant ), and I found it to be exceptionally easy for a novice such as myself to handle. So it is sort of favorite – in part for that reason. The E&S version is detail rich, and has been offered in a variety of different color variations ( similar to what E&S does with both their Glock’s and their Sig’s ). I am really pleased with the weapon molds that E&S has presented. The details are rich, and lines are crisp. Additionally, there are easy to break down and are for that reason easy to tinker with for scratchbuilder/ weapon customizers.
In conclusion, I really like the theme of this figure, as well as the overall look once he is kitted up and ready to rumble. The box is also very well made – constructed from the same sort of cardstock that hardbound books are made from. The art is very well done – big kudos to Jennifer Sullivan for the creativity. And keep up the great work!
A short exposition on the beard ( circa 2009 – 2017 ):
The beard as had by man in the first part of the new century. There are really more than two types of beard roaming the streets these days, but for the sake of terse, I will only stick to two types…
Whimsical Whiskers – the Hipster Beard:
We have all seen these tidy beards on emotive neophytes’ boho-ing around the non-GMO parts of town. Yes, these skinny jeans wearing comrades have beards, and yes, those beards look like most other beards – well, sort of. But we all know that not all beards are created equal. The hipster beard enjoys a pampered life – treated as a highly valued piece of fashion accoutrement. It is meticulously trimmed and styled, is is washed with organic handmade non-conflict soap, it is blown dry ( on low heat ), it is fastidiously fashioned with artisanal beard tonic, and combed to radiant lushness with an antique boar hair brush. It has made the scene – from Burning Man, to campus safe space – it is a cultured clump of fluff. I have one of these beards, but mine is not as cool as the aforementioned.
Primordial Face Fuzz – the Everyman Beard:
The everyman beard is a beard of a different stripe. It is oftentimes the beard of the work-a-day man – more pragmatic in nature – not worn for affectatios motives or sardonic revenues. It is located in the general vicinity of the face.