Figure Subscription Service 2.0 - Keel Haul

Keel Haul was one of those conundrums to me as a kid... I clearly remember having his 1985 figure when I was younger, but I never got my USS Flagg until adulthood, so to this day it's still a mystery how I had that figure in my collection. This figure, however, is no mystery.

As one of the final stragglers of 1985 (leaving only Frostbite at this point) it makes a lot of sense for the Collectors Club to bring Keel Haul to the Figure Subscription Service, and overall, I think they did a very nice job at it. In many cases they've sacrificed some more modern traits for faithful reproductions of classic figures, but in this case, it seems like they accepted at least some "newness" and yet still managed to make an easily identifiable update to this character.

That's not to say the parts choices here are perfect, but I think they work well enough.

First, I feel compelled to mention Keel Haul's brand-spanking new head sculpt, because it was done by the guys (and girl) at Boss Fight Studio, and as one might envision, it rocks all sorts of ass. The stern look, the insanely well detailed Admiral's cap, and the thin moustache all infuse the right character into this update, and I find myself increasingly pleased that Boss Fight is so closely involved in the process of bringing us club exclusive figures.

From the neck down, Keel Haul reuses the parts from the Rise of Cobra General Hawk, which was released with The Pit Playset. That's not a bad thing necessarily, but it also doesn't seem to suit the distinguished Admiral quite as nicely as his old school leather jacket and khakis did. I would have loved to have seen perhaps a more beefed up jacket, though I like these arms far better than the 25th Anniversary General Hawk, that's for sure. It also seems like they could have borrowed the twin-belt from Hawk, too, for a more realistic look compared to the vintage version. Ultimately this looks like a somewhat slimmed down, more modern interpretation of Keel Haul, while trying to stay at least somewhat true to the original.

Unfortunately, some of the structural issues from that Rise of Cobra General Hawk carry forward here, too, specifically the somewhat strange shoulder joints (that are, for some reason, totally different than any other shoulder joints in modern Joe figures) and the minor bow-leggedness. They aren't show stoppers, but they keep this version of Keel Haul from being a terrific "30th Anniversary" style and leave him firmly entrenched in a somewhat less exciting "25th Anniversary" style.


Keel Haul comes with a pretty decent selection of accessories, especially considering his non-combat oriented position as Admiral of the USS Flagg. Speaking of "Flaggs" he comes with a pretty neat flag of his not a 7' aircraft carrier, but a nicely decoed and original flag that plugs nicely into his battle stand. He also has a great set of binoculars (you'll probably have to pop off his head to get them around his neck), a pistol, a flare gun, and... a coffee mug. I LOVE the coffee mug. This was another carry over piece from the Rise of Cobra Pit playset and I think it's a really sweet touch. No high caliber rifles or huge rocket launchers, but a nice assortment of understated weapons that fit the character really well.

So, another figure from 82 - 86 gets knocked off the "to do" list, and you have to figure Frostbite is a "must have" over the next year or two. I'll make a bold prediction that we see him either as the 2015 membership incentive figure or in FSS 3.0. Like his fellow FSS 2.0 addition Tollbooth, Admiral Keel Haul takes enough vintage elements to retain that look and feel, but is infused with some modern design choices as well. I think ultimately the execution is better with Tollbooth (yes even with his short stature) but there are parts of Keel Haul that are certainly nice as well.