Figure Subscription Service 2.0 - Grand Slam

"I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened."

As I was driving down to New Jersey a few weekends ago for the fantastic New Jersey Collectors Con (check out my write up of the show right here) I had this premonition that something awful had happened. And sure enough as I made one of my stops along the way, a quick check of my phone revealed the truth.

The Figure Subscription Service mysterious 13th figure was revealed... and in the minds of many, it was not good.

There was a loud outcry from the G.I. Joe fandom as Grand Slam's emergence as the 13th figure from the Figure Subscription Service was first received and revealed on, and in some ways I can't blame them. In other ways I'm a bit confused, though, because I had heard quite a bit of demand for this type of thing. It's a difficult argument to make from either side, as some will say that the 13th figure is technically the "free one" so you shouldn't hold lofty expectations for it, while the other side calls BS on that and says for $300+ there are no "free figures" in the FSS the cost is just spread throughout the other figures.

I can totally and honestly see both sides, and as I have the internal debate over this figure, each side gets the brief upper hand. The truth is, I've had this figure for nearly two weeks, and I still don't know how the hell I feel about it. On one side of the coin, there is a large subset of Original 13 fans who are getting the exact figure they've been asking for over the past few years. On the other side of the coin, this is a figure from a relatively expensive subscription series that is barely a repaint of not just a figure that's six years old, but another exact same figure that appeared in a shipment only two months ago. NGGH.

My first instinct was negative, I'll admit, simply because I've grown past the "25th Anniversary" stage and I had fully embraced the Pursuit of Cobra and 30th Anniversary mantra, which was "tribute but not reproduction". The 25th line seemed more bent towards the "reproduction" side of things, which was never my favorite mindset. To be honest, even back in the early 80s I always posed my silver pads Grand Slam with the Original 13, so in my mind the Original 13 of the modern era was already "complete" and didn't need this addition.

To Grand Slam's credit, though, I will admit that the 2008 Flash was a pretty great figure for the 25th Anniversary and one of the few figures that has aged well over time. However, I'll also admit the body has gotten some heavy reuse as the HISS Driver and Tripwire, not to mention Bombardier, so it also feels a little repetetive.


Ultimately, I have to go with my base instict, and my base instinct is disappointment. Especially with G.I. Joe figures more or less gone from retail shelves (at least until the fall) I lean heavily on the Collectors Club to fill that void. Considering all of the different choices they could have made, the fact that we got a repaint of a 2008 figure with black gloves instead of brown? Yeah, I'm not real big on that, even if it is the "free" 13th figure. Adding to this feeling of disappointment was what is likely a factory error that left a bulk of the silver straps on his back unpainted. I'm figuring it must be a factory error, because these straps were painted on Bombardier, and I can't see how the paint masks would have been changed.

But all things considered, this figure is basically Flash with black gloves and boots, and I find it very difficult to be excited by that.


One argument from the fan side of things that I don't understand, though, is that this Grand Slam somehow doesn't count because he doesn't come with the "JUMP". Uhhh... well, it was the SILVER pad Grand Slam that came with the JUMP, this one was the HAL gunner. Obviously the Club ain't cramming a HAL into this blister, so instead they used a variation of Scrap Iron's rocket launcher. A somewhat strange choice, but It makes a certain amount of sense and ties into the HAL in its own interesting way. That rocket launcher felt like a pretty unique part of Scrap Iron's repertoire, though so I'll admit it feels a bit strange to see it in the familiar Original 13 green.

The figure also comes with the helmet and visor, as well as binoculars and an old school M-16, which round the figure off pretty well, too.

Look, I know Original 13 fans... I know this guy fills a spot in your collections, and I can appreciate why the Club got him out there. And yes, I know there are many folks that consider the 13th "Mystery Figure" to be a bonus, and thus not necessarily held to the same standards as other figures, but for the price we pay per figure, I don't buy that argument in this case.

The fact remains, in my opinion, I would love the 13th figure to be an "incentive" to subscribe, or else people are just going to camp out at the Club store and wait for singles to go on sale. If the Club wants this figure to be an incentive, I think they need to be more creative than this. I thought Blackout was the perfect choice, in both concept and execution. This one? Sorry, I think they missed the mark.