GeneralsJoes Reviews FSS Bullhorn and Inferno B.A.T.

It’s been a crazy month or so at GeneralsJoes HQ, including the receipt of the latest shipment of the G.I. Joe Collectors Club Figure Subscription Service.  1990 favorite Bullhorn and the COBRA Inferno B.A.T. have arrived and the reviews have now been posted.

You can check them out on the G.I. Joe Collectors Club Review Page, and I’ve also linked them below.  Video reviews are posted as well, which are also linked in the individual reviews, but also embedded below, too.

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Bullhorn (Figure Subscription Service)

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As I mentioned in my review of Pathfinder, the FSS figure shipped just last time around, 1990 was a bit of an enigma to me in my younger years, but one character I completely latched onto was Bullhorn.  It was in 1990 when my own little personal G.I. Joe universe first got rolling, and where Hit & Run became such a central part of my mythology.  At the same time, Bullhorn was introduced, a rookie Joe communications specialist, who quickly took center stage alongside Hit & Run and became a very important member of the G.I. Joe roster.

When it comes to new characters I can’t quite explain why certain ones appeal to me, but Bullhorn had some unique traits that I just loved.  The face camouflage, the nice patterned shinguard things, and a somewhat bulky mold, that was still quite well articulated.

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Not to mention in 1990 Bullhorn came with quite possibly the greatest accessory that the line had seen so far.  The backpack with the take apart sniper rifle was absolutely ingenious back then, even if Bullhorn himself couldn’t really hold it.

Looking at the Figure Subscription Service update to Bullhorn, the Club did a pretty good job approximating the vintage look.  The figure is essentially a Pursuit of COBRA Shock Trooper from the neck down, with Pursuit of COBRA Dusty’s head sculpt (with black hair).  Both components of the figure have been in use for what seems like forever, though with the right paint applications, the figure manages to still look relatively unique.

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Variations of grays and browns make up Bullhorn’s overall deco, with camouflage on the knee pads to resemble the vintage shin guards, and the colors match pretty well.  It’s tough for me to give a real in person opinion, because my vintage Bullhorn is viciously discolored, but from a quick look, the modern version certainly looks like Bullhorn.

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I’ve seen quite a few customs in the past using the grenade strap webgear from the COBRA Trooper from G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which is a little strange, since it doesn’t very closely resemble the vintage look for Bullhorn.  From a functional perspective, it makes sense, because you could see a negotiator carrying around tear gas grenades.  Of course, Bullhorn doesn’t come with a grenade launcher at all, but a little suspension of disbelief could allow you to assume he throws them by hand.

Accessories

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The FSS Bullhorn is pretty well stacked with great accessories.  Along with the COBRA Trooper grenade strap gear that I already mentioned, he’s also got the removable headband, the pistol for his holster, plus Low Light’s sniper rifle and sniper rifle case.  He also comes with a second sniper rifle, gas mask, and his megaphone.

His Low Light sniper rifle is included to resemble the classic version, and as a bonus, he can actually hold this one, though like the Pursuit of COBRA version, the scope doesn’t stay on all that well, which can be a challenge.

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Although all of the parts that make up Bullhorn have been seen many, many times in the recent past, the combination of those parts and the updated paint scheme does still resonate as the 1990 hostage specialist.  I have a real affinity for the Bullhorn character, and while this modern update doesn’t look nearly as cool or unique as the vintage version, I appreciate the update and I think it fits the 1990 aesthetic quite well.

Another very nice installment into the FSS.

Video Review

Inferno B.A.T. (Figure Subscription Service)

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It was a simpler time.  G.I. Joe had just barely made it’s splash back at mass retail, and the biggest debate at the time was o-ring vs. no-ring (though it wasn’t much of a debate, to be honest) and how many paint wipes Hasbro was lathering on their tail end TRU releases.  The property as a whole still felt very fresh, Devils’ Due was getting in the groove, and Fun Publications was introducing their first entries into the 3 3/4″ convention realm. Things were amazingly uncomplicated.

In 2002, Hasbro experimented with an online exclusive and shipped out a white-box package of o-ring B.A.T. army builders.  Rather than dipping into the more familiar 1986 well Hasbro went with repaints to the 1991 version, including a classic themed deco and the fantastic Inferno B.A.T., a transparent red repaint that immediately became a fan favorite.

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Obviously tooling limitations leave the Club a bit ill equipped to do a true vintage inspired homage, so as they have done in the past, they blend a few different inspirations together, and bring us the FSS Inferno B.A.T. which is conceptually pretty awesome, but unfortunately in execution it drops the ball somewhat.

Leveraging the nearly perfect 25th Anniversary B.A.T. as a template, the Club shifts gears a bit and gives him Retaliation Storm Shadow’s lower legs.  I can only view this as some kind of homage to the new sculpt B.A.T., as both iterations of that figure have streamlined metallic legs rather than the more typical pantlegs of the earlier versions.  I actually think it’s a great choice and I love the look of it, though the more we get these rocker ankles that can’t fit on existing battle stands, the more tired I get of them being used.  It’s a shame because the figure looks great with these different lower legs, but the battle stand thing is a real pain in the rear end.

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Like the original Inferno B.A.T., the Collectors Club goes with transparent plastic throughout most of the figure, to pretty great effect.  It’s not quite as stark and clean looking as the vintage figure, but the basic effect remains spectacular.  Over the top of the transparent plastic they drop some black trim and sprinkle some gold, both as a manner of homage to the older version.  By and large, these additions are great, until you get to the chest.

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For whatever reason the transparent plastic didn’t carry through to the front half of the torso and so the Club just elected to go all black, and the look is not a good one.  I’m not sure if there were some kind of production or factory issues, but whatever it was, the way the black jumps away from the red makes the figure look slapped together and incomplete.  I love the inspiration for the transparent red, unfortunately they were not able to pull off the execution as I’d imagine everyone wanted them to.

Accessories

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The FSS B.A.T. comes with a number of the same accessories that the 25th Anniversary version did, with two hands, a laser gun, flamethrower, and the familiar opening claw.  However, this version of the B.A.T. also comes with the terrific long bladed sword that was initially released with the new sculpt B.A.T. in the early 2000’s.  This is also meant as an homage to an older version of the figure, and I love the addition.  It makes for a really great new weapon that further enhances this figure’s release.

Like most of the attachments, the backpack that holds them comes with the figure as well, and the Club has added some interesting deco to the back, making it strongly resemble to look of the gears in his chest.  A neat touch.

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I wanted the Inferno B.A.T. to be awesome.  It isn’t a figure that many fans have been clamoring for, but the way the Club was approaching it seemed interesting.  Unfortunately for whatever reason the transparent plastic didn’t “take” or wasn’t applied to the front half of the torso and the end result is a figure that could have looked amazing, but unfortunately ended up tipping the other way towards disappointing.  They took a chance at trying to do something pretty cool and outside the box, but it was a chance that hurt this particular figure in the end.

Beyond that disappointment, much of the figure is really interesting from a design perspective, with the Storm Shadow lower legs and the new sword attachment leading the charge.

Video Review

Fun Pub BotCon recap – what does the future hold for JoeCon?

Botcon has come and gone, a couple of weeks back, and devoted G.I. Joe fans James Kavanaugh, Jr. and Patrick Stewart were there to not just get us some Transformers intel, but also give a little perspective on what’s coming for JoeCon and what the future may hold for Fun Pub and JoeCon.

James’ dialogue can be found in bold, with Patrick’s in standard font.

James: Hi all!  I am excited to write my first report for General’s Joes.  He must be desperate for contributors.  But I didn’t feel right flying solo on this mission and asked Pat Stewart to join the fun.  Pat did the full BotCon journey from Thursday to Sunday.  While Pat is hands down one of my go-to guys for a second opinion on G.I. Joe, it’s lesser known that his Transformers knowledge is valued as well.  I made a point to hit up BotCon 2016 because it was close and because of the closure. I thought it would be a nice change of pace to try and write a little more informal so maybe envision a scenario where we’re hanging out over coffee or maybe a beer.  If you’re envisioning hanging out over four or more beers, just light the seat next to you on fire. 

Patrick: James, I don’t drink coffee or beer.  Can we hang out while I just have some sweet tea?  This is seriously your first report for GeneralsJoes?  Well welcome to the cl—-wait a minute….I haven’t ever done a report for GeneralsJoes either.  And I don’t think this counts as it is more your report while I just toss in another view from time to time.

Wow, whoda thunk with this pairing, I would play the straight man? 

For simplicity sake, I refer to myself as a “Joe Collector” and I tried to take in the fun that is BotCon while also trying to “butt out” of “their” thing.  Fun fact for any Trans Fans or Crossover Collectors reading this, I have a pretty complete TF comic collection and try to stay hip.  Don’t let WOJM’s Gary Godsoe find out MTMTE is, in my opinion, the best comic out there.   One more fun fact, this was my third BotCon, I try to do any 80’s toy show within a few hours of me and BotCon was close.  Anyway… This write up is written with the facts and insight pertaining to BotCon.  Obviously, Joe Con and BotCon are owned by Fun Publications and I think it’s safe to assume that this year’s clubs’ procedures will be identical, but want to clarify that we won’t know exactly how Fun Pub will be handing the Joe Club until Joe Con (unless they choose to announce things sooner).  I do, however, think it’s safe to assume you, the reader, can extrapolate from my report and assume the next eight months will be the same for both.

Gary tends to come up a lot when Joe fans start talking Transformers.  I think by now we all know it’s because of his secret love for everything that has anything to do with shape-shifting robots.

While I definitely go much more in-depth with collecting Joes, I have also been a collector of Transformers from the beginning.  So while I was using the experience to prepare myself for what to expect in Loveland, I was also just there to take in the BotCon experience one more time.

So, prelude to BotCon, the Joe Club and TF Club were renewing their subscriptions until Dec 31, 2016.  They will not be valid Jan 1, 2017.  The club also sent out two different emails thanking the fans for their support.  See Gen Joe’s archives for details.  The club is known for their copy ‘n paste (I jest with love), so that told us something. 

Now, BotCon.  At 2:00 p.m., I arrived to make the 3: 00 p.m. BotCon Club panel.  Pete, Lanny, and Brian gave a retrospective of the club’s offerings from day one to now.  They left the TF FSS 3 and 4 images at home so I was not able to get the TF fans’ reaction to Serpent O.R. ( a personal curiosity).  They reaffirmed the trials and tribulations of a small business turning the 50 some odd total toys both clubs provide within a year’s time and repeated their overall love.  I’m not going to comment on the b.s./believability many fans have always had on this point but I will say they were somewhat teary.  I think this panel showed their love for the product as they did not have their “business-like tone” they typically have at shows.  The shows are a major part of their jobs after all.  This was my first inclination of the show’s overall tone and more on that later.

The club showed the BotCon FSS5 figures but for “us,” the big reveal was the Joe/TF cross over pack.  Justin covered the set but if it wasn’t said, the Cobra Commander is dark blue, the Megatron is translucent and emulating a hologram, and the Rat Bat is a REALLY.  BIG.  DEAL.  The mold was only released in Japan and the handful of Trans Fans I talked to said with certainty the set would sell out.  If they said the price, I did not catch it.  Oh, it’s a loose crossover so don’t get caught in the minutia.

This set is already a win.  For Joe fans who are not interested in the Transformers, I would bet that the offerings will have a solid resale value.  While the plethora of bootleg Ratbats have driven his price down, this one is a unique color scheme that many people will want.  If the comic-inspired Masterpiece Grimlock is any indication, this comic-inspired Masterpiece Ratbat should sell quickly.

The Club panel did give us these answers, starting with the big one:  All products must be sold and shipped by Dec 31, 2016.  If that doesn’t say finale, I don’t know what does.  Another big club answer clarified, if your membership expired in April and beyond, (past the March 31st deadline), you cannot renew your membership (by their contract with Hasbro) and thus, at this very moment, not sign up for TF FSS5 or buy other items.  This is an internal system error (maybe “complication” instead of error…I don’t think they ever planned for this) but there is a way to look up those who were members within the last year and something manual will be done to allow those to buy product.  They absolutely do not want to limit the number of customers.  So, if you are being a bum and only hearing you “not sign up for TF FSS5 or buy other items,” you are short sighted and could probably use some timeout in your life.  There will be a solution.  TF FSS’s come in all at once (for clarity, this should probably say “arrive to FunPub from China all at once”), each month takes only a few days to mail out.  There was no clear statement if they will ship them all out at once and a payment plan will still be available.  They will probably, at one point, ship them in larger groupings. 

Fun Pub owns the name BotCon.  It is just ambiguous enough to let slide.  After the non compete expires, they could do unofficial shows but experience has taught them it’s not worth the hassle without exclusive toys available to back it up.  Any more official 2019 plans will require a DeLorean, Libyan plutonium and a flux capacitor.   They did not say that.  If there was any doubt, they Officially announced Joe club stops at the end of the year unless something changes via Hasbro.  Fun Publications will not be involved.

So what’s up, why the split?  Hasbro simply decided to go in a different direction.  Hasbro even went so far as to put out an open letter to the fans that was readily available on various tables.  I did talk to the TF design team and, for those who want to go down memory lane, this year’s offerings are very retro.  Again, I came down with my Hot Rod (TF, not Piper) t shirt on but assumed the mantel of Joe Fan so I’m not going to go into action figure minutia.  Suffice to say, the team was only able to publicly say things next year will only go onward and upward.  They said they weren’t really aware of the details and, as of the show, the only ones in-the-know were the higher ups.  Don’t read into any of that more than what it is, the team was super cool, super fun, and, I get it, it is business and I’m coming in as a nerdy fan boy.  Time will tell. 

That was a Hot Rod t-shirt?  I thought you were following up the infamous Pythona costume with a Road Rage shirt.

For the guests, the show seemed to be a lot of fun.  I think, based on the above, they know the show isn’t over, just changed.  The show wasn’t even technically “BotCon” until FunPub started running the convention.  So, uh, what’s in a name?  I love the name BotCon for that show but we all know the spirit will carry forward and they are a very loyal, family-like group.  If you buy into that five steps of grief, they were all clearly in acceptance.  Like I alluded to earlier, the team was a lot more casual than they were at the thirteen Joe Cons I’ve so intimately attended.  The show apparently went real smooth so maybe it was easier to be nonchalant but I can’t help but think the transition played a role.  Don’t get me wrong, as far as I could tell, the business aspect was conducted appropriately; I felt it appropriate to try and convey the tone of this show in my informal writings.

The show had a slight carnival tone to it as well.  The costumes were huge (to reflect the notion of giant robots), the international presence was larger (the line does originate from Japan), and it was just a simple reminder that the property is more robust than Joe currently is.  In my opinion, I think Joe Fans are more unilaterally focused on the toys and then branch out into other IP while Trans Fans are more diverse.  One path is no better than the other, just fun insight.

Agreed.  While the bulk of Joe fans are focused on the toys, there is a much greater percentage of Transformers fans who are more focused upon the story and characters.  It is pretty common that people at the show are passionate about the comics and cartoons but really don’t buy the toys.  Because it has been a long time since I have been able to make it to BotCon, I was somewhat surprised that there was almost no presence of the movieverse designs.  The work I saw in Artists Alley seemed mostly inspired by G1, Animated, and the current IDW comics.  A fan of the Bay movies would have also been doing some digging on the showroom floor to find their figures as the bulk of the room was Masterpiece, Combiner Wars, G1, and Beast Wars.

At one point I felt very old.  I was in a small group of people and the ice breaker was to just tell about your first Transformer.  The youngest person in the group said his was a Fast Action Battler from the 2007 movie.  He looked to be about 13, so it seemed right but then he added that he had gotten it when he was four years old.  As we talked I was happy to hear how much that toy really inspired him to dig deeper into the characters and now he has a love of all sorts of Transformers.

If it’s any consolation, Pat, I’ve always felt you’re young at heart.

To wrap up the melancholy, Pete hosted an informal BotCon wrap up.  It was neat to see someone put on a panel that started as a diehard attendee to one of Fun Pub’s bigger shot callers for Transformers.  They shared memories and personal growths as this family of like minded individuals grew together over the twenty-two years of BotCon are transitioning into something undocumented.  I think I’m spoiled to have attended this because, in a sense, it will help me prepare for Joe Con’s Sunday when the proverbial doors close.

My Joe Fan role did take me to one interesting turn, Mark Weber was in attendance.  If there was ever a Hasbro employee to win the award for “Fastest to Become the ‘People’s Champ,’” it’s Mark Weber.  He was gracious enough to take pictures for the fans and answer questions about a property he is no longer working on.  But the big news to come out (and possibly the only reason why you read this) is that, when asked if he was attending Joe Con, he said his “official” response (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) is he is, Hasbro will have a booth, and fans will be either “pleased” or “excited,” (I don’t remember the exact word because BotCon and Joe Con Saturday nights are apparently very similar).  Suffice to say, the one was exuberance.  There is no way you could convince me that his statement insinuated zero product.  This does not say that it will be 1985 all over again either.  He left us in suspense for a reason. 

I think I was a little bit surprised at BotCon.  We had been told via club email, “Hasbro looks forward to sharing new plans for the Collector’s Club with you in the future” yet I am still wondering exactly what those plans may be.   I think many took this to mean that we would receive some kind of announcement during or on the heels of BotCon.  BotCon is over, some time has passed, and still the only official word I have seen was in the form of the memo to fans distributed at the show. It consists primarily of information we already knew while also stating that 2016 was the “last BotCon in its current format” and the statement “We look forward to sharing updates with you as our future plans evolve.” While the gesture was nice and the tone positive, we didn’t receive any new information.

The two most pressing questions Joe fans have when attending Joecon 2016 are “What is the future of the brand at retail?” and “What is the future of Joecon?” If BotCon is any indication, I think we need to be braced for the possibility that these two questions will be left unanswered as we head home with what will most likely be our last 15-figure set.

Plus the other yearly extras.

Fans who came on during the celebration that was the 25th line may not recall, but I feel that this simply puts us back in the driver’s seat. We are a passionate fan base and even if G.I.Joe is not at retail, that doesn’t mean G.I.Joe is dead.   I would encourage everyone to remain respectful in the way you voice your concerns.  We want to have Joes at retail and we want to have a great annual convention.  But with FunPub departing, they won’t have answers and to use a word from Hasbro’s statement, plans may still be “evolving.”  We need to do what we can to show Hasbro that our excitement for G.I.Joe is still very present and that we are ready to be a part of their brand-building future.

So that’s a “Joe Fan’s” report.  It was a lot of fun.  Two things I failed on, there was no good way to disrupt the causal tone to learn the future of Joe Con.   And, on the immediate front, what is the state of Heartwrencher and the Dreadnok 4×4.  Joe Con is only two months away and something tells me they’re going to go fast.  Let’s hope we get as good of news (as good of news as it’s going to get, given the situation) as BotCon got this weekend.  Sorry I this was so long, if we’ve talked, you know I ramble like this in person.  If the next chapter of TF cons is anything like this BotCon, I encourage those close to do it for a day.

The club mentioned at BotCon that two of the Transformers they had planned were cancelled due to the change in license.  I think it goes without saying that we should be cautiously optimistic regarding what time they have left for G.I. Joe.   I would have liked to have asked about those items as well, but the weekend was all for the Transformers fans and we will have our time in June.

Oh, and p.s. the really scoop from BotCon, Brian Savage now has a rockin’ Rikeresque beard!!

And here I thought he was preparing to join the Adventure Team.

Huge thanks to James and Patrick for taking so much time out of their busy schedule to do a BotCon/Fun Publications recap.  Lots of great information here, and stuff to look towards as JoeCon comes at us in June.

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GeneralsJoes Reviews FSS 4.0 Jammer and Pathfinder

The latest installment of the Figure Subscription Service arrived a short while ago, and I’ve officially posted my reviews on the G.I. Joe Collectors Club Review Page.

Check out the direct links below!

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Pathfinder (Figure Subscription Service)

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I can’t quite explain why, but in my younger years, I couldn’t quite get my head around 1990.  Where the years leading up to then were a mixture of classic characters and new blood, the main line in 1990 was new blood soup-to-nuts.  Being someone that appreciates new characters now, I’m surprised that my younger self didn’t embrace that fact, but for some reason I didn’t.

It’s only now, over two decades later, that I recognize 1990 as perhaps being a “soft reboot” of sorts, giving us a whole series of new characters and taking play to a different level with many smaller, more intricate accessories making these figures unique.  Pretty much every single figure in that 1990 line came with elaborate and well detailed accessories that really enhanced the play value.  From Stretcher’s air sled to Bullhorn’s take-apart sniper rifle, not to mention Ambush’s camouflage tent and Topside’s backpack mortar launcher.  Pathfinder was no different, coming equipped with two hip-mounted heavy machine guns as well as a full blown weed whacker.  While parts and tooling restrictions made it so we couldn’t get the hip-guns with a modern release, I’m happy to say the updated Pathfinder is ready to go, weed whacker and all!

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The figure has Lifeline’s existing head sculpt, which matches the look of the original figure, and the removable hat does an okay job of replicating that look, too.  To copy the brim fold of the original figure, the hat is positioned in a way that doesn’t stay on the figure’s head very well.  Once I swapped the hat around it actually fit a lot better, though that small piece of vintage accuracy is lost.  I think I can live with that.

Pathfinder uses Kwinn’s torso and arms, which are a great choice, as they pretty accurately mimic the original, but are newer construction, offering very good range of motion.  If I have any complaints, the somewhat tight hand grip doesn’t fit the handle of the machine gun very well, but you can work with it.

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His legs are from the G.I. Joe: Retaliation era and also are excellently sculpted, with some great baggy effects, though the more I see these legs used, the more annoyed I get with the weird rocker ankles.  They end up pretty stiff and difficult to pose, and the footholes are becoming an increasing issue on existing battle stands.  This figure isn’t nearly as bad as the Night Creeper was with the last installment, but it can still be somewhat difficult to get him to stand.

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Paint deco is pretty fantastic.  Straight black on the upper body, and the camouflage pattern and colors on the legs are pretty close to spot on perfect.  Great articulation, effective parts choices, and the base figure for Pathfinder is excellent.

Accessories

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As we’re used to with the 1990 era Joe characters, Pathfinder comes pretty well equipped.  A couple of his accessories are pulled from the Pursuit of Cobra Jungle Strike Duke, which I’m completely cool with, including his backpack and flashlight.  He has a great pistol for the holster at his hip, a gray colored heavy machine gun, inspired by the original’s hip mounted weapons.  His removable hat works moderately well, and the removable vest does as well.  The plastic is a bit stiff, which makes the vest a challenge to remove, but it’s not insurmountable and the end result is a figure that looks much more like his vintage counterpart.

Of course the focal point here is the weed whacker, and I’m happy to say it fits his hands well, looks pretty nice, and ends up being a cool finishing touch to the figure.  If given a choice between the hip-guns and the weed whacker, I probably would have chosen the hip-guns, but I can understand the Club not being able to retool a piece (or a belt) to make that work.

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All in all, Pathfinder is a very effective figure.  The paint work is really nicely done, and he’s got a good number of fun accessories.  A pretty great installment for the FSS 4.0.

Video Review

Jammer (Figure Subscription Service)

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Any day we get a modern update to our favorite European special missions force is a good day, and I’m a pretty big fan of Jammer.  Even back in the 80s, Jammer was a barely repaint of the original Stalker, essentially a slightly different shade of color with the trusty Zed Force logo in red on his chest as well as a red beret.

When the Club revisited the whole Action Force/Red Shadows conflict in the Convention set in 2010, we saw another update to Jammer, this time using the Comic Pack Stalker formula (o-ring version).  Now, for this final iteration of the infamous Zed Force Communications Specialist we get much the same, though with some interesting twists.  His head sculpt is from the Convention Tiger Force Stalker, which is nice for folks who might not have that figure yet (and it certainly helps that the head sculpt kicks all sorts of ass).  The torso is from the 25th Anniversary, which is a bit of an oddchoice, in my mind, as it makes the figure look somewhat short and misproportioned, and the torso is visibly less detailed than the rest of the figure.  I understand why they made that choice, to tie him into the vintage “original 13” aesthetic, but I would have loved to have seen something a bit different.

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His legs are the updated “Original 13” legs that were seen with Attack on COBRA Island Zap and the discount store Duke, which is a cool enough choice and fits the theme.  His arms are more modern, large and baggy with the updated wrist joints, which is all well and good, except they somewhat add to the misproportioned look, making the figure look somewhat top heavy and creating a mis-match between the exceedingly wrinkled arms and smooth torso.  As much as I love the Pursuit of COBRA Shock Trooper arms, I can’t help but think they don’t jive 100% with the rest of the figure here.  I am glad to see the increased articulation, though perhaps if the Club had used the Shock Trooper torso, the flow would have been a little better.

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Where this figure does really shine, however, is with the paint applications.  The shade of green and black is fantastic and fits well with the Zed Force look and feel.  The “streak” pattern of the black camouflage is exceptionally well done, and I love the striking color of red in the logo and the beret.  Great to see the Union Jack on his right shoulder, too, which blends him well with Quarrel, Big Ben and Blades, who both had that distinct patch on their uniforms as well.  Great touch.

ACCESSORIES

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Jammer comes with a removable beret and the same chest strap that Zap and the Duke came with, which is a departure from the vintage version, who shared the same torso as Stalker with the double-strap webgear.  I don’t mind the change, as this webgear fits the contour of the chest well and is detailed nicely, however it also covers up a big chunk of the great Z logo on his chest, which is a bit unfortunate.  I have to admit, though, that older 25th Anniversary double strap webgear does look a little dated.

He’s got Dial Tone’s backpack, which fits the communications theme as well as a nice machine gun and two holsters.  A nice touch is that one holster contains the traditional pistol you’d expect, but the other holster holds a smaller mobile phone to fit in with the communications motif.  Unfortunately the peg on Dial Tone’s backpack is a little on the large side, and doesn’t fit real seamlessly into his back hole.  You can generally rotate it and get it to sink in, but I’d be concerned about wear and tear on the peg of the backpack long term.

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When it comes to a figure trying to resemble the original 13 look, generally I love using that Zap template.  It retains the vintage look but with slightly more modern sculpting, and I am in love with the twin holsters and removable pistols.  Unfortunately, while I completely applaud the choice to use more modern arms for the enhanced range of motion, it does look a little off compared to the rest of the figure in a way that my eyes can’t quite reconcile.

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Jammer has great accessories, I’m a big fan of the character, and the paint apps are pretty terrific as well.  Overall, I approve of the figure in most ways, I just wish the parts formula looked a little bit more consistent and uniform.

Video Review

GeneralsJoes Reviews FSS Barricade and Night Creeper

I’m running a little behind on reviewing the FSS figures, but I’m trying to play some catch up!

I have posted the FSS 4.0 Barricade and Night Creeper to my G.I. Joe Collectors Club review page.  You can also check out the direct links below.

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Night Creeper (Figure Subscription Service)

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I loves me some Night Creepers!  Even with the strange purple and gray camouflage of the vintage versions, I always really dug the overall look and concept of the Night Creepers.  Ninja assassins and saboteurs who leveraged next generation technology was always a really awesome concept, and Larry Hama executed it pretty nicely in the Marvel Comics throughout the 90’s.  The way the legs were somewhat thick but still moved really nicely, as well as the elbows on those classic o-ring figures just made the toys felt really “natural” for me and made the figures really easy to play with, which was important back in the day.  More modern repaints (specifically the COBRA Urban Strike Force version) made me love the figure even more, especially because the softer plastic for the hands made the thumbs a lot less breakable.  And before anyone says anything, no I don’t really consider the Rise of Cobra Night Creeper to be a proper “Urban Strike” repaint.

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When Hasbro revealed an updated build for the much maligned 25th Anniversary Night Creeper at JoeCon a number of years ago, I was pretty ecstatic.  I wasn’t wild about the COBRA Island 7-Pack version with those dated 25th Anniversary parts, and the more modernized parts combination was fantastic.

The Collectors Club seemed to take a page from that book, but instead of giving us just a new classic looking (or even better, an Urban Strike version!) they used the parts combo as a modern interpretation of the 1998 Toys “R” Us exclusive Arctic 3-Pack.  I’m pretty sure I could count the number of fans who wanted a modern update to that figure on one hand, but as a devout fan of the Night Creepers in general, I’m pretty happy to see any iteration of that figure in modern format.

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Replacing some of those dated parts with limbs from the Wave 1 G.I. Joe: Retaliation Storm Shadow makes a world of difference, giving us a more modern iteration of the arctic Night Creeper with parts that are better sculpted, larger, and have far better range of motion.  The seamless integration of martial arts and technology lives on in these Storm Shadow parts and suits the Night Creeper to perfection.  I am a big fan of this updated parts recipe, that is for sure.

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Looking at the deco of the figure, he certainly resembles the arctic 3-Pack version from 1998, and from a cost perspective, I suppose I can see why the Club went that way.  By eliminating paint masks for elaborate camouflage, they can bring costs down, fitting this figure better within their constricted budget.  If money were no factor, I would have much rather preferred an updated vintage deco Night Creeper or the Urban Strike.

ACCESSORIES

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The COBRA Night Creeper comes with a decent set of accessories, including a crossbow and the trademark wavy sword that initially came with the vintage figure.  He’s got a modern version of the Night Creeper backpack as well as the shoulder cape that originally came with the Retaliation G.I. Joe Trooper.  Somewhat strange is that he cannot wear the cape and the backpack at the same time, so you have to pick and choose one or the other.  While the cape does have the backpack hole, the peg of the backpack isn’t quite long enough to accommodate for it. He also has the familiar head dress and chest armor that we’ve been getting on versions of the Night Creeper since the COBRA Island set.

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I love the Night Creeper.  I don’t necessarily love the arctic version of him, and desperately wish the Club had found a way to use this much improved parts combination on a figure with a somewhat more exciting deco.  Even as this figure stands, he’s got a great selection of parts and decent accessories, and is a fun figure overall.  I just wish his paint scheme was a bit more exciting.

Here is my YouTube review of the figure as well:

Barricade (Figure Subscription Service)

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While many a G.I. Joe fan will bemoan the Battle Corps era for its outlandish colors, spring-loaded weapons and plethora of sub teams, I remained quite interested in G.I. Joe even through those somewhat strange years.

It’s nice to see the Collectors Club pay some attention to the Battle Corps years within the Figure Subscription Service, though I have to admit, somewhat begrudgingly, that the execution leaves a little to be desired.

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Back in the day, Barricade was a “Bunker Buster” soldier, the guy who broke down the doors, took volleys of gunfire, but led the rest of the team into the breach.  The vintage version of the figure was very large and blocky, yet managed to maintain the great range of motion of those classic o-ring figures, a combination that I really loved, even if some of the colors of the time were questionable.

This version of Barricade seems to want to continue that philosophy, but ends up looking more cybernetic than armored (likely a result of a lack of parts choices that fit the aesthetic well).  Using parts from the Rise of Cobra Accelerator Suit figures, the parts are exceptionally well sculpted and have great articulation, and from a pure visual perspective, the figure parts look outstanding.  Instead of the Accelerator Suit arms, the Club went with Battle Armor Cobra Commander arms, which is a little unfortunate, as the elbows aren’t quite as flexible as some others, and the arms end up looking just a little “stumpy”.  They’re also pretty distinct for Cobra Commander and it’s tough to see them utilized in a different way.

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The head sculpt here is a re-use of the 25th Anniversary Chuckles  Rise of Cobra “Aqua Viper Officer” which has been used here and there (I believe it was also Dice’s head sculpt) but it works okay as a generic head that doesn’t look too much like anyone else.

In the past, the Club has had a tendency to take really bright figures and mute their colors somewhat for a more modern release.  Barricade is actually somewhat the opposite.  The blue used is brighter than the vintage version, and even though they added some paint wipe detail to the deco work, the gold ends up looking a little brighter as well.

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As for the paint applications themselves, that’s where I really struggle.  There is a ton of sculpted detail throughout these Accelerator Suit figures, but Barricade himself is just mostly gold with just a few hints of the blue.  He could have been much better served with some additional areas of blue deco where there was armor separation, even if it didn’t completely match the vintage paint masks.  Looking at Barricade from the front, it just looks like there’s way too much gold, and they don’t quite capture the “metallic” look of the original.

ACCESSORIES

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One thing I have to give the Club some props on with Barricade are the accessories.  The figure gets a nice spring-loaded grappling hook launcher, a great shotgun, very nice submachine gun, removable pistol and helmet, as well as a really cool breacher tool/battle axe.  There’s a lot of gear here, and a lot of it looks really great.  I love the blue pistol, even if it does look somewhat futuristic (either that or it’s some kind of taser).  Regardless, I really like the blocky barrel and how well it fits in the holster, even though the holster really struggles to stay flush with the leg.

He’s got the Accelerator Suit helmet which doesn’t jive real well with the original look of Barricade, but it’s still a neat helmet that I really like the design of.

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Barricade has been one of my favorite characters and vintage figures, and I was really excited to hear the Club was bringing him into FSS 4.0.  Unfortunately the end result isn’t quite as good as I hoped it would be.

Check out the YouTube video review below!