The selection of Carla Greer for the FSS is all at once confusing, yet also makes perfect sense, especially as an entry into the 13th figure category.
From 2003 – 2004, Devils’ Due Publishing released an alternate universe G.I. Joe story entitled G.I. Joe: Reloaded which featured Duke as a COBRA double agent, Storm Shadow as a Yakuza looking guy in a white trenchcoat, and a version of Doc who was female rather than the Carl Greer we all knew and loved. It was an interesting twist, and at the time was not a part of normal continuity.
Fast forward to 2007 and the G.I. Joe Collectors Club released the “Tanks for the Memories” Convention set. Within that boxed set, they brought forward the idea that Carla Greer existed in the main G.I. Joe continuity and had elected to join G.I. Joe after the death of her father, the original Doc. It was an interesting way to tap into the Reloaded series and provided the G.I. Joe team with another much needed Medic. For that reason, it does make sense for them to then bring that character forward into the modern format, and to their credit, they do it pretty well.
She’s got a decent build, combining some Rise of COBRA era parts with some nice later generation 25th Anniversary parts, which makes for a good update to the 2007 original. Her elbow articulation is a little restrictive, but she’s got a great look and manages to tie back some homages to the original Doc as well as her own original figure from seven years back.
I believe her head sculpt is new, it isn’t one I immediately recognize, and while it’s not phenomenal, it’s always great to have a new addition to the library of female head sculpts, which are badly needed.
The figure’s paint deco is clearly inspired by both the vintage Doc and the 2007 update, with tan, brown, and white put together in a very nice combination. This is a really solid figure, though not one I thought I desperately needed as part of my collection.
Carla “Doc” Greer borrows much of her gear from her father, including the bandolier with med kit and the flare launcher. She also has the webgear from 50th Anniversary Lady Jaye and the hypodermic needle from Lifeline. It’s a great selection of accessories that really adds some nice design aesthetics when it’s all put on the figure. The darker webgear and lighter bandolier contrast quite nicely with the tan uniform underneath adding some much needed flair.
Note – I somehow misplaced the hypodermic that was supposed to come with Doc, so Fred from JoeBattleLines very kindly allowed me to use some of his images for this review. Thanks, Fred!
I wouldn’t have picked Doc as a necessary figure in the FSS even if you gave me 100 choices, but the execution is decent. She makes sense as a 13th figure, one that has some great collectible elements, but not one that’s eminently desirable, and balances the execution of the figure quite nicely. Not bad.
Along with the different Action Force focused characters released as European exclusives, one of the more famous and popular branch of UK and Europe released figures were their Tiger Force themed versions. Outside the United States, the Tiger Force color pallet went a decidedly different direction, using oranges, blues, browns and greens rather than the more familiar yellows and blacks. Looking back on it, the orange and brown specifically makes a bit more sense given the whole Tiger Force motif, though the domestic released figures appeared to be paying homage to some real world military themes.
One of the most familiar of these repaints was Tiger Force Outback, who actually developed a whole new t-shirt deco featuring a great looking cat face that has really drawn lots of collector interest over the past several years. It makes sense for the Collectors Club to want to dip into this area of collector desires.
What’s really interesting about how the Collectors Club handled this was that they actually wrote Outback into this look and feel throughout their monthly comic. Making Outback a part of the Zombie Invasion convention set, they had him infected by Compound Z, and while he ultimately recovered, it ended up coloring his hair white (as the foreign version had white hair and a beard as well). Once that revelation appeared in the convention comic, it was pretty clear that this figure was in the works. So now that we have it, how does it measure up?
It measures up… pretty well, I suppose.
I love the concept, and I love that they revisited the UK Tiger Force Outback in a modern format, I just wish they had taken a few more chances with the build. I love the new head sculpt, it’s a great likeness and quite a bit better than the head we got for the 25th Anniversary. It’s fantastic, actually.
The torso is the same torso we got with the 25th Anniversary version, as are the legs, both of which are kind of a shame. I understand why the Club went that route, mostly for the leg-mounted flashlight and the tie back to the original, but at this point, parts developed in 2007 – 2008 look pretty out of date next to more modern sculpted figures. Not only that, but the COBRA Trooper legs tend to look bow-legged. The knee pin on my figure is actually barely holding together, which might color my opinion a little bit too much, but still, looking at Outback’s legs compared to legs sculpted and developed post 2010 is a pretty stark reminder of how far things have come. Thankfully, however, the Club does change out his arms with the more modern 30th Anniversary style short sleeves, which is a change that is very much appreciated, adding some better articulation and range of motion over the old school 25th Anniversary arms.
What the figure does excel at, however, is the deco. The cat face shirt pattern looks terrific, and the color matching of the figure is pretty spot on. He’s a vibrant, interesting looking entry into the FSS, I just wish they hadn’t been quite so faithful to the outdated original with their parts choices.
Tiger Force Outback comes with a different sort of webgear that is actually cool, because he can wear it around his shoulders without covering up the awesome cat face. He has a machine gun, large backpack and knife (again with the 25th Anniversary accessories, though. It looks woefully out of scale and out of date compared to newer items).
The accessories are pretty good and work well for the character, though don’t provide anything especially revolutionary.
Ever since his escape from Borovia, Outback has been one of my top tier characters in the Real American Hero mythos. He’s gotten a surprising amount of love throughout the modern era, but none of them have been quite perfect. The Tiger Force version improves most with a vastly improved head sculpt and great shirt deco, but the outdated build once again reduces the “wow” factor that the vintage figure provided.
Like with Tiger Force Outback, the G.I. Joe Collectors Club looked overseas for an idea on the deco for this particular figure, and I’m really glad they did. In a way, I’ve always preferred the look of the European Tiger Force exclusives over much of the domestic releases (and really loved the aesthetic of the Toys “R” Us set, which mimiced some of that look) and it’s cool to see those decos represented here, even if they don’t really closely match some of the domestic figures.
I found myself especially excited for Sneak Peek considering his recent (well, somewhat recent) run in the IDW G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero comic, which had him coming back from the dead as a top secret undercover operative. Interestingly that storyline tied into a story bringing Darklon back as well, and now both of those characters are appearing in more familiar paint schemes in FSS 5.
Keeping our minds on Tiger Force Sneak Peek, the build is pretty straight forward, looking like more or less the Pursuit of COBRA Shock Trooper from neck to foot. While not unexpected, this kind of default build can get a little tiring after a while, especially when it sidesteps some of Sneak Peek’s more identifiable traits like his rolled up sleeves and knee-high boots. I know, I know, I consistently complain about dovetailing too closely to the vintage look, but in the case of Sneak Peek, it feels like they ignored some of the unique aspects that make him different, instead just giving us more of the same with the Poc Shock Trooper. I’m curious to know if their access to tooling libraries is getting more restrictive, as we’re starting to see more and more figures sharing more and more of the same parts.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the Shock Trooper parts, they have great sculpting and impressive articulation, and look suitably military, but I’m hoping they’re not becoming a crutch and restricting creativity, especially when parts do exist. Sci-Fi’s legs and 50th Anniversary Flint’s arms could both work for a Sneak Peek formula. Perhaps there were restrictions I’m not aware of, though.
Thankfully they appear to be under no restrictions with the color pallet, though, and do a great job with the orange and blue that’s become a trademark of the European Tiger Force clan. The look is great from that perspective, and I love the colorful nature of Sneak Peek. He’s a great looking figure in spite of the somewhat generic build.
Sneak Peek comes pretty well loaded with accessories. He’s got a removable helmet and Scrap Iron’s vest, along a newly sculpted and tooled periscope which looks pretty fantastic. He has his trusty M-16, binoculars, and a field radio, all of which mesh nicely with his specialty. It’s a pretty awesome selection of some great accessories that make the figure really pop.
As a character, Sneak Peek never did a whole lot for me until Hama inadvertently brought him back from the dead and added some more intriguing twists to the character. Since then, I’ve become much more of a Sneak Peek fan (even if it was a pseudo retcon on Hama’s part) and I’m glad to see him represented here as well as in the upcoming FSS 5. Plus, it’s about time we started filling out more of the 1987 roster, which was one of the more unique series in the line’s history.
Although the parts chosen here feel a little bit phoned in, the deco is great and they gave him a ton of awesome gear, so the end result is better than I might have suspected. A good note to end FSS 4 on.
The written reviews are on their way! We stand at about 90% complete and hope to launch very early next week.
While you wait, Chris from The Full Force and I worked together to get some video reviews done to take a quick peek at the 2016 G.I. Joe Convention boxed set! These videos have been broken up into two parts, one looking at the Sky Patrol members, with the other digging into the COBRA A.D.D.E.R.S.!
Head on over to my YouTube channel to check them out, or they are also embedded below. Full written reviews are on the horizon, expect them very soon!
In spite of what you may think of the movie, I think it’s tough to argue that the G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra era was a turning point for the toy line, finding an awesome balance between aesthetics and articulation and cranking things up as far as accessories and detail work. The period from 2009 – 2011 encompassing the Rise of Cobra and Pursuit of Cobra lines gave G.I. Joe fans a lot to love and even more to look forward to. For his landmark Rank and File series, James Kavanaugh, Jr. is exploring this period of time for his second volume and it’s available now!
The adventure continues to evolve in Rank & File — A Guide to Third-Generation 4” G.I. Joe Action Figures!
After a brief hiatus in 2006 that allowed G.I. Joe to flourish in other areas, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero went in a new stylistic direction that is still predominately used today! Not only did fans get to revisit some of their most cherished icons within the G.I. Joe mythos, they were also introduced to new characters that are now known and loved.
The Rank & File guide volume 2 displays every G.I. Joe action figure produced between the The Rise of Cobra and The Pursuit of Cobra series, complete with every accessory and variation produced. Not only are the accessories shown, they were carefully cataloged in an upcoming section that will guarantee the proper shade of accessory goes to the appropriate action figure. To top it off, every vehicle and play set released in the 4″ era is documented and every easily removable piece is shown individually photographed, ensuring collector completion.
This full color, 52-page resource manual beautifully illustrates the two series’ 180 action figures, 55 vehicles and every accessory, including all known variations. Not only is every accessory present and accounted for, they have each been assigned a unique number and identified throughout the resource guide. Each action figure was carefully examined between its initial run and any further re-releases to ensure accurate samples are clearly and concisely presented, perfect for the collector who is identifying individual action figures or sorting through unorganized lots.
Whether you are a seasoned or rejuvenated collector, enthusiast, or toy vendor, the Rank & File series is the decisive compilation for G.I. Joe action figures, vehicles and play sets produced between 2007 to today. Let the Rank & File Guide serve as a reference for completion or a scrapbook to the next big turning point of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.
The MSRP for The Rank & File Guide Volume 2 is $20 and available at www.rahcguide.com. Buyer will pay all additional shipping and handling costs. If you have purchased the R.A.H.C. guides before, the process will be very similar. This guide was self published and produced in quantities reflecting previous sales so do not hesitate in ordering if owning a guide is a priority.
Is this real life? Only two weeks ago I got done posting my review for Billy, a figure G.I. Joe fans had been waiting for for nearly thirty years. Now here we are taking a look at Pythona, Cobra La’s notorious infiltrator and assassin, a character who made her debut in 1987 and just barely received treatment in plastic form.
My history with Pythona is a weird one. While I actually enjoy the 1987 G.I. Joe animated movie more than most other people I know, at the time of its original airing, I absolutely hated Pythona. I still remember watching cartoons after school as I always did, when an advertisement for G.I. Joe: The Movie came on. Completely out of the blue, not something I knew was coming at all (back in those innocent pre-Internet days) and I was immediately enraptured. I’d already seen Transformers: The Movie and was still living off that high, and my mind went crazy with all the possible angles they could take in a G.I. Joe movie with the same production values.
The opening sequence blew my 13 year old mind, and afterwards, the entire infiltration scene with the Terror Drome was absolutely amazing. A dark cloaked figure tearing through the COBRA ranks, burning dudes with acid, tearing open walls with nasty claws and being just a general bad ass. Again, my mind went crazy considering who this could possibly be and what awesome character was doing all of this cool stuff.
When it was revealed to be Pythona, my initial reaction was pretty much… “who?” Here we had COBRA the most nefarious terrorist organization in the world essentially decimated by one person, and it was someone I’d never heard of and someone I couldn’t own as an action figure. Back then, and still to this day, my love for G.I. Joe and many toy brands is tightly focused on how the surrounding mythology supports the characters, and here was someone who had zero action figures I could play with to live out these incredible adventures happening on screen. It kinda made me mad.
My opinion softened over the years, and I’ve grown to really appreciate Cobra La and Pythona, and she became a figure that I really and truly wanted almost above all others. Her and Billy pretty much stood atop a drastically shrinking mountain of G.I. Joe and Cobra characters who never got action figures, and now within the span of a month, both of those check boxes have been checked.
I’ve said many times throughout the years that I didn’t think the Club would ever do Pythona simply because they wouldn’t be able to do her “right”. The texture of her costume would require significant new tooling and would be prohibitively expensive, but thankfully last year I was proven wrong when the Club announced that she would be the 2016 incentive figure. Now, when I heard they would be mostly mimicking the pattern of her uniform with paint, I was pretty dubious as to how well it would work. I’ve seen plenty of customizers try that over the years (myself included) with iffy results.
Holy crap was I proven wrong.
Now, the Club did invest in new tooling here, going with a new head sculpt, new hands, and what looks like a possible new upper torso for Pythona, but they went with paint for all the shaped circles and ridges in the uniform and it works spectacularly well.
Pythona herself is a mixture of existing parts for the legs and arms, with the Reactive Armor Scarlett lower torso, but the new upper torso, new head, and new hands go an incredibly way towards making her a very unique and deserved update to the missing Cobra La member. Her head is a gorgeous sculpt and features a removable ponytail so you can tuck the cloak’s hood up over her head, a little touch that is really awesome. The ponytail does have a tendency to fall out of her head, but the look of the figure is terrific, and that feature is a welcome one.
Her slim build and impressive articulation allow for all sorts of great poses and movements, allowing us to put her in all sorts of great “infiltration” positions. The newly sculpted hands are terrific, too, and while she can’t really hold anything, the trade off of those long fingers and fingernails is well worth it.
I’m happy to say her paint applications are nearly perfect as well, with dozens of those shaped circles all throughout the paint of her body, very closely matching the color pallet of the animated model and managing to look extremely realistic, even though the mold of the figure isn’t textured to match. Color changes are subtle throughout and excellently applied, really bringing the figure to life nicely. I can’t think of too many complaints at all when looking at the figure’s build, paint, and articulation.
I will admit there isn’t much here as far as accessories go, though I suppose Pythona doesn’t need much. She comes with a great cloak, which may be a newly developed soft good, and it works nicely, fitting over the figure, with the hood coming up tightly around the head (once the ponytail is removed). It adds some great aesthetic to the figure and in some ways I’m really glad Pythona was made now instead of 1987, because I seriously doubt the same effect could have been maintained back then.
She also comes with a foot stand and the same tentacle accessory that Nemesis Immortal came with several years ago. It somewhat replicates one of her nasty hand-held weapons, so it seems like an okay choice.
I had my doubts that we’d ever see Pythona as an action figure, and even if we did see her, I suspected the end result would be less than ideal. I was proven 100% wrong on both counts, and I’m exceedingly pleased with this figure, and am now firmly in the “Modern Era Cobra La please” camp. Like with Pythona, I can’t really think of any way Golobulus or the Royal Guard could be done without some significant new tooling, but maybe, like Pythona, the Collectors Club will find a way to surprise me. Considering the news from JoeCon that their relationship with Hasbro has been extended until at least 2018, that would be a terrific capper to their illustrious convention career.
Phil from YoJoe is KILLING IT today grabbing images from the Hasbro booth. Tons of pictures are streaming in, and they’re going up at the YoJoe Photo Gallery, while I’m also mirroring them below. These figures are looking great, and between Stiletto, Shooter, and Tombstone, I’m feeling like we’ve got some NEW BLOOD to play with here. Excellent!
While package pickup was late last night, the first official day of the 2016 G.I. Joe Convention is today! Already we’ve seen the parachute drop and panels by Adam Riches and James Kavanaugh, Jr., and some great updates are over at the G.I. Joe Discussion Group on Facebook. Dave Tree’s Action Man panel is hot on their heels.
Hot ticket item for the Con this year appears to be the carded Pythona, which was apparently sold without limits and burned through very quickly in the Club store.
G.I. Joe Con attendees will be getting their first sneak preview at the sales floor today at 2:00pm Mountain time, which includes the Hasbro booth, but don’t be alarmed if there isn’t much to look at there yet. Generally Hasbro puts out most (if not all) of their new product AFTER their panel, which happens tomorrow morning at 11:00am Mountain time.
It does look like someone got an advanced sneak peek at the Hasbro booth, and so far they’re just showing the SDCC set (priced at $99.99) but as I said, we can anticipate seeing much more than that tomorrow after their panel.
It’s Con Set pick up day! That means a first look at all of the various Convention exclusives (aside from the boxed set items). Several different folks on the G.I. Joe Discussion Facebook page have posted images from the pick up line, and the extra exclusives are as follows:
G.I. Joe Glider 2 Pack w/ Cloudburst and Skymate ($75.00)
COBRA Heli-Viper 3 Pack ($85.00)
Sky Patrol JUMP 6 Pack ($55.00)
COBRA JUMP 6 Pack ($55.00)
Sky Patrol Sky Sweeper ($68.00)
COBRA Hydra w/ Aero-Viper ($85.00)
Sky Patrol Skystriker ($160.00)
Paradrop Freefall figure (loose $35.00 and carded $45.00)
Pythona Carded ($38.00)
Free Attendee Air Raid
The Skystriker and Sky Sweeper are in the familiar Sky Patrol metallic colors, while the majority of the other items are reminiscent of their vintage look and feel. Interestingly the Aero-Viper is very similar to the version released during the Rise of Cobra line, but with some different parts to remove the Neo-Viper-esque ties. Check out all of the images below.
Hold onto your butts… What’s on Joe Mind is here with Episode 104, just recorded last week and ready to roll for JoeCon 2016! We cover the latest news, talk about the Joes of 2004, and lose track of what we’re saying consistently for nearly two hours. Just another day at the WOJM studio.
You can listen to the episode on Podbean, or the embedded player below.
We talk about the Joes from 2004, catch up on the news, begin to set the table of what will happen at JoeCon…and generally get side tracked – A LOT. Download it now and listen to it on your way to JoeCon!
Speaking of JoeCon, be sure to catch Mike, Gary, Joe and Chris McLeod from the Full Force at our JoeCon panel on Sunday, June 19th at 1:00. It will be the last ever panel at JoeCon. Join us as we turn out the lights…forever (maybe, maybe not, we will see – we’re looking at you Hasbro!)
If you have not signed it already, be sure to sign our petition to Save the GI Joe Convention! If you want a Joe-only convention like us, make sure you sign the petition and let the powers-that-be know what you think! More than 2500 people have signed. Sign on the campaign today!