Figure Subscription Service 2.0 - Big Bear

As an avid fan of the comic books growing up, I always wondered where the Oktober Guard was in toy form throughout those early years. Introduced so early in the book and having such a prominent role in so many Marvel adventures, it seemed obvious that the characters should show up in action figure form. But it wasn't until 1991 that Hasbro finally got Oktober Guard into the toyline, and to my own personal distaste, they weren't even comic characters... they were Red Star and a year later, Big Bear. What was up with this??

Granted, the figures were pretty nicely done, but still, I wanted my Brekhov... I wanted Daina, Stormavik, and especially Horror Show!

It seems funny to look back at that now, especially because we've been almost inundated with Oktober Guard ever since. There was a three pack in 1998, several comic packs throughout the 2000's, Red Star in the 25th Anniversary line (with another version from the canceled "Wave 14" single pack assortment). This was all wrapped up, of course, by the mammoth 2012 Convention set, which gave us pretty much every single classic version of the Oktober Guard we could possibly want.

Now, here we stand in 2014 and I feel like I've gotten plenty of Oktober Guard, thank you very much, and I'm ready to explore some different factions. To the Collectors Club's credit, though, they've managed to continue bringing new and great elements to the Oktober Guard with these figures. Big Bear, for example, has a stellar new head sculpt courtesy of the geniuses at Boss Fight Studio, and as if that wasn't enough, for the first time ever, the Rise of Cobra Arctic Duke figure (or a variation of it, anyway) can be had by collectors who didn't want to go through gray market channels.

Was it worth the wait?

Speaking as someone who has one of the canceled Arctic Dukes, this one isn't quite as "fresh" as it might be for others, but it's still a great looking new figure. I've heard some complaints that this "arctic" look doesn't really suit Big Bear, and you know what? I don't really buy it. I realize paying homage to the vintage aesthetic is important for a lot of folks, and I think this figure does that in spades. The color scheme is clearly inspired by the 90's version of the figure, but the Collectors Club suits this version up in thick arctic garb, which is certainly something a Russian special forces trooper should have experience in.

The detailing on the coat is spectacular, with intricate straps and added details like coiled rope, a canteen, and prevelant sculpted wrinkles and cloth folds. I've already spoken about the new head sculpt, which looks terrific and fits the figure perfectly. This new bulky figure style was something that Hasbro experimented with in the Rise of Cobra line (with this figure as well as the Cobra Ice Viper) and the fact that they bulked up the figure so much and still retained a decent measure of articulation is testament to the skills of the Hasbro designers on the line at the time. The elbow joints here work remarkably well and he can hold his weapons nicely, even with the thick padded uniform sculpting and the nice added armor.

As a whole this figure immediately looks and feels like Big Bear, but has enough new elements to make this feel like a great fresh figure as well.


Big Bear comes with the highly sought after removable coat from the canceled Arctic Duke, which will probably generate a lot of interest in itself. Even folks (like me) who got a hold of that Duke were not able to get the coat with him. The Russian special forces trooper also comes with Red Star's original assault rifle as well as his own familiar weapon with the strap. He also comes with a great rocket launcher that is *GASP* spring-loaded, but fortunately it looks pretty darn cool on its own regardless.

There aren't a ton of accessories here, but the ones contained within are really nice and fit the character well. Some good choices by the Club.

Is this figure 100% accurate to the vintage look and feel? No, it's not. But why does it have to be? Part of why I loved the 30th Anniversary and Pursuit of Cobra so much is that they took inspiration from the originals, but still did some really cool new things. I feel the same way here. His colors are a perfect representation of the original, but the new arctic parts add a great new dimension. One of the better figures in this second run of the Figure Subscription Service to be sure.