Thursday, May 21, 2015

FSS 4.0 Reveals: Barricade & Jammer

And cries of outrage echoed across the land. 
Cue "butt-hurt" sound effect.

The GI Joe Collectors Club revealed the first two figures from FSS 4.0. At JoeCon this year, the Club only revealed the list of character names. last weekend, they promised that the reveals would begin and ordering would opened up.

First up are Barricade and Jammer.

Barricade first appeared in 1992 and I immediately liked the figure and the character. I've always thought that the Joe team needed armored troops. I remember buying quite a few of him to make some customs.
When I first saw Barricade on the list from the Club, I figured that they would go the route of using the Delta suit torso from the Rise of Cobra figures. Oh, the freaking outrage that is rocketing around the various Facebook GI Joe pages. Damn, what the hell do people expect? An exact duplicate of the original? 

Oh yeah, the Club is just rolling in money and can afford to make brand new tooling to satisfy fanboy whims. "Oh dear god, my childhood is forever raped!"

Maybe I'm just becoming a Club apologist, but I think they generally do a damn fine job. They use the resources that Hasbro allows them to use and generally come up with some pretty decent figures. Some are better than others, while some just kinda' suck a little more. Hell, Hasbro didn't hit everything out of the park.

Next up is Jammer, a character from the Action Force line. Jammer originally was just a straight up repaint of the original Stalker figure from 82. I think he's supposed to be Action Force's communication guy, so the Dial Tone back pack works for me.
I can't ID all of the parts that are being used, but it appears to be a significant upgrade to the "original" bodies from the 25th Anniversary line. the Club is also using the new Stalker head sculpt from the 2015 Convention set.

I like the looks of this guy. I think the Club did a solid update for him.

So what... I'm a Club apologist. I like action figures better than pissing and moaning about how something doesn't look quite right.

Life's too short to be an asshole.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Hasbro 2015 Vehicle Sets

Hasbro also has plans to release vehicle sets as well this year. It looks like there is a great deal of re-use of existing vehicles. Tooling may be limited at this point in GI Joe's production. Items could be held back for subsequent release for the third GI Joe movie. Hopefully, the movie will actually happen.
DESERT DUEL: F.O.E. Striker and the Cobra Basilisk. Includes Philip “Chuckles” Provost and the Elite Horseman. This is the regular retail release. The AweStriker, now the FoeStriker, has been retooled a little to include some new accessories. As weary as fans have become over the constant reuse of the AweStriker, this one has got some good buzz about it. The Basilisk is just a recolor of the GI Joe SnowCat or WolfHound or whatever its name is. This vehicle was also used by the Club as the HAVOC II for their Cross Country exclusive figure.
I like the new FoeStriker and the inclusion of a new Chuckles, but his head looks enormous. Not too interested in the Basilisk or its driver. 
DESERT DUEL: Available from Toys “R” Us at the Entertainment Earth booth at San Diego Comic-Con. Features the F.O.E. Striker and the Cobra Basilisk. Includes Night Fox, Philip “Chuckles” Provost, Elite Horseman and Cobra Air Trooper.
This is the same basic set as the retail set, except it has two exclusive figures - Night Fox for GI Joe and  a Cobra Air Trooper. SDCC exclusive - don't care.
G.I. JOE SILENT STRIKE: Features the G.I. Joe Skystriker taking on the H.I.S.S. Tank. Includes Brad “Ace” Armbruster, Sightline, H.I.S.S. Gunner and Driver.
A black SkyStriker! Very pretty! Hasbro did an awesome thing and created a character named SightLine as a tribute to Gary "Goggles" Head. (Nice job, Hasbro!)
There are now two figures for the HISS, a driver and a gunner. It's about time. The HISS has a new rail gun weapon system. Not a bad looking set, but I don't know if I will ever get it. Not terribly interested.
G.I. JOE CRIMSON STRIKE: Available in the Hasbro Toy Shop booth at San Diego Comic-Con. Features the Cobra Scythe jet and the G.I. Joe Chimera. Includes Grunt, Ralph “Steeler” Pulaski, A.V.A.C. & Alley Viper Office figures. 
SDCC? Sorry, too expensive and don't care. 
Hasbro basically just switched sides with the two vehicles. The HISS looks slick in green and the Cobra Scythe looks sharp in the new colors.

There's not much of "got to have" in these sets. If I don't get them, somehow I'm sure I'll survive. The Desert Duel is probably the one of most interest.

I'm glad that Hasbro is keeping GI Joe alive and present at least somewhere in the retail environment. Hopefully, this is just a dip in the lifetime of GI Joe. Perhaps one day, GI Joe will return to some of the glory of the past.


Time will tell.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

FSS 3.0 Bombstrike & Night Creeper Leader

The fifth shipment of FSS 3.0 has arrived! Night Creeper leader (NCL) and Bombstrike are the next two figures up for a quick review.

First up is the sister of the Stall clan, Bombstrike. There's an interesting story behind the Stall kids. Barrel Roll is an active member of GI Joe, while Black Out is a GI Joe wash-out now working for Cobra. Both Barrel Roll and Black Out have been a part of the previous FSS 1.0 collection. I've got a custom of Black Out that I'm pleased with. Perhaps one day, I'll figure out a custom for Barrel Roll.
Bombstrike has turned out to be one of the best figures of the FSS 3.0 series. I'm very please at what the Club did with her. I haven't really compared the various body parts, but it looks like the Club used Retaliation Lady Jaye's torso, Lady Jaye's arms, and RoC Scarlet's legs. Everything works great together. I'm not real thrilled with the arms; they don't bend well at the elbows, but they'll do. The hands aren't the best either.
The head sculpt is excellent. A very feminine face with a hint of a mischievous look. Her vibrant blond hair is well sculpted also. 
Bombstrike comes with a decent set of accessories. She comes with the computer case that came with the PoC Hawk figure, the drone that came with the Data Viper, an assault rifle, and a pistol.
 The face is just so well done. Boss Fight did a great job. The paint apps turned out very well also. 
 Bombstrike takes her place among a few of the FSS 2.0 and 3.0 Joe figures. 
 
Next up is the Night Creeper Leader (NCL). This figure is actually based on the paint scheme of the 2nd version of the original o-ring figure. Apparently, there was some sort of issue related to which color palette the Club was going to use. I really didn't care and I really didn't like the character that much anyway. 


NCL comes with a crap-load of gear. He comes with the traditional Night Creeper crossbow, a couple swords, some small spiky knives, a couple shurikens, and some clip-on mini machine guns.
The clip-on machine guns just don't really work very well with these specific hands. The hands are designed more for the various martial arts weapons.
As for the look of the NCL's head, there has been some issues related to the Club trying to recapture the look of the original. I applaud their attempt, but it didn't work well. I think this could be the Serpentor head sculpt.
In an attempt to match the blindfold over the eyes, the Club has a separate piece that goes over the eyes. The problem with this is the gap between the painted hair or whatever that black splat is. 
I don't really have a huge issue with the black splat. It's not great, but it's not totally horrific. It kind of reminds me of a possible monk haircut. I'm not picking a particular brand of monk, it just sort of looks that way. If you consider it as a monk style haircut, it would work. 
If not, then just don't worry about the blindfold aspect and push the purple band up a little. This works fine too.
One issue that I do have with this figure is this damn web gear. I don't like it when Hasbro uses it and I don't like it when the Club does. I like the look of it, but it's just so inflexible. It's just bulky. NCL looks actually better without it, in my opinion. 
I like these three figures more than I thought I would. NCL isn't in the top five, but he's better than I expected. I don't think he'll be the NCL for me. 
I don't have a Slice.... Hmm...

Quite a few ninjas on the Cobra side of this FSS. Wait... All ninjas so far? That's cool, I guess. I do like the ninja aspect of the GI Joe/Cobra conflict, but I would have liked to see some different characters though.

I'm planning a post on what I would like from future FSS series. Not that my opinion counts for much, but I'll give it a whirl anyway.

Big Ben, Crimson Guard Immortal, and #13 are next! I'll agree with the guesses out there on #13 - Frostbite. Stay tuned!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Hasbro 2015 Three Packs

Next up for consideration are the three packs to be released by Hasbro this year. This is a tougher call than the two-packs. Quite a few misses as far as I'm concerned.
First up is the Chase for the MASS Device set with Cobra Commander, a Cobra Paratrooper, and Screaming Duke. I'm not impressed at all. I think most of this set comes from the 5th DVD set that was so tough to find at retail several years ago. I think the Cobra Commander is one of the older, original versions that just sucked in comparison to the most recent Ultimate version. The Cobra Trooper is one of the older modern body styles and Screaming Duke is just dumb. He does make for some good comedy relief though. I've heard that the CLAW is pretty weak. The camera looks interesting, but not enough to waste money on this set. Nothing much of interest here.
Next up is the Rock Rampage with a Cobra Shock Trooper, a Cobra Rock Viper, and Alpine. The elusive Alpine figure from the previously mentioned rare DVD set. I want this one primarily for Alpine. I can always use another Shock Trooper and I really don't give a rat's ass about the Rock Viper. Maybe I can trade the Rock Viper for someone's Shock Trooper.
Alpine looks great, I want him. He's so much better than the Club's shorts wearing Alpine.
Next on the list is Sneak Attack with Dusty, Firefly, and Bazooka. Dusty and Bazooka are blue toned. Why? What's the reasoning? I don't get it. Does it look like Bazooka is now using the Rock/Roadblock body?
I think this is the most recent Ultimate Firefly, perhaps the awesome one from the Retaliation Cobra Invasion Team 3-pack.
Overall, I'm not impressed with this set. It will have to be in my hands for me to look it over and consider it. Probably a pass.
Finally there's the Vanishing Act with Torpedo, Hit&Run, and Zartan. Interesting set, but I'm not sure. Torpedo looks good, but I'm more about land ops rather than aquatic ops. I'm not quite understanding the Hit&Run figure. Initially looks interesting. I like the colors. Is his face in shades of gray too? Dammit if it is.
Zartan? Yeah, he looks decent, but I'm suffering from Zartan fatigue. I'm kinda' over his original look and really haven't settled on which version is my "default" Zartan.

Not much of real excitement or interest for me with the three packs. One definite, two maybes, and one nope. 

I'll reevaluate once I see them in hand or pictures and reviews once they show up in August. 

Hasbro 2015 Two Packs

GI Joe is not dead! Yet...
Hasbro attended the 2015 JoeCon in Springfield recently and shared their plans for new product this year. I didn't go, but have seen the Hasbro press release images and thought that I would toss out my opinion on each set. 
First up is Classic Clash: Storm Shadow vs. Spirit. This pairing of characters was brought about by their interactions during one of the animated mini series. The Weather Dominator series, I believe. 
While this version of Storm Shadow is based on his v2 figure, I'm not really sure what the design idea for Spirit is. Originality? That's a switch. It looks like Spirit is using at least the upper torso of Retaliation Flint. I think it works great. 
There's a high probability that I'll pick up this set. I'm more interested in Spirit than Stormy. Once you have this Stormy, you don't need anymore.
Next up is Marine Devastation: Gung Ho vs. Cobra Shadow Guard. The Cobra Shadow Guard is just a black Crimson Guard figure. I like the concept of the CG's but haven't really liked any of the modern updates. This guy may wind up as custom material.
Gung Ho looks damn awesome. Sure, he's got that baby blue uniform, but he still looks pretty dang cool. There's been some concern that Hasbro used the Rock/Roadblock body with GH; I don't think so. I think this may be a new body. Looks awesome! Although, I would agree with other opinions and wish he was done in greens rather than the baby blues.
Next is Swamp Steam: Blowtorch vs. Croc Master. No thanks. I wasn't overly impressed with the modern Croc Master. And another Blowtorch? Seriously? but, ooh... it's the unreleased more military paint deco! Who gives a crap? Since when have flame projection weapons been a part of the military?
This is a complete pass.
But what about that red alligator?!?! Nope...
**EDIT**
When I first posted, I forgot to add this set - Hunt for Cobra Commander: Cobra Commander and Shipwreck. Don't know about this one. Let's start with the highlight - Shipwreck. I like the look of the "uniform" he's wearing. Looks like great custom potential. I really don't need another Shipwreck.
Now how about that sassy Cobra Commander? Red cape, red shoes, red gloves, and a red hood. Well, ain't he pretty? I'm thinking I might just buy one of these sets for the custom potential of Shipwreck and the comedy potential with sassy red Co-Co.

Last up is the Troop Build-Up: Steel Brigade vs. Iron Grenadier. This is a strong possibility. Both are some pretty decent troop builders. I like the Steel Brigade much more than the Iron Grenadier, primarily because the IG is more of a "heavy weapons" type of soldier, while the SB seems to be a much more light infantry type of soldier.
I've got quite a few SB's, maybe six or seven, and only tow or three IG's. If I get a couple of these sets, I'll be pleased. I'm thinking a little bit of custom work for the SB's; I really like the uniform colors. I'm not quite sure what I would do with the IG's, they are just so big and bulky. 

Not a bad bunch of figures for the two-packs this year. Two definite sets, two maybe, and one nope.

Only time will tell what lies beyond 2015.