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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.