Tuesday, February 23, 2016

FSS 4.0: Law & Order and Nunchuk

Well, the first two figures from the FSS 4.0 have finally arrived!


Not really, nearly everyone who is a part of the FSS already have their figures. So the first shipment includes Law & Order and Nunchuk. I thought that I would post my thoughts about these two figures. My reviews are very surface level, just general impressions.

First up is Law & Order. The Club used the base figure from the Renegades version with an older style vest. The colors reflect the original color palette of the original figure.

I do like this figure, but I'm not really sure that I want to open it.I've already got the Renegades version of Law & Order and I don't really need another. I suppose I could do a head swap and turn him into another MP. The new version of Order is painted quite differently and can easily pass as another dog.

I've read other opinions that many collectors want to keep their figure mint on card and eventually get Kirk Bozigian's autograph. Kirk Bozigian, formerly in charge of Boys Toys at Hasbro and instrumental in the early success of the ARAH line of the 80's, served as the "model" for the original Law figure. Many other people at Hasbro also served as the face "models" for various GI Joe figures.

My problem with this, is that this new version was not based on Kirk's head. It would have been very cool for the Collectors Club, Boss Fight Studio, and Kirk Bozigian to collaborate and do a proper update to Law's head. So why hope for an autograph one day?

The art work? Basically the same as the original artwork and that's Kirk Bozigian's face. My chances of getting Kirk's autograph are probably pretty slim. I generally don't go to Joe Con and he's never made it down to Joelanta yet. For now, I'm going to keep him mint on the card in hopes of one day getting Kirk's autograph.

Next up is Nunchuk, another ninja. Originally, Nunchuk was from the sub-group, Ninja Force. There has been a bit of complaining about the general plainness of the figure. Really? Remember how this guy looked originally? The original figure was pretty plain and kinda' dull.

The original seems to have a more traditional style of web gear on the figure. That seemed to be an issue when the concept designs of Nunchuk were first shown by the Club. Bitch, bitch, bitch.

The Club chose to go with the current modern gear most commonly associated with the various ninja figures that have been produced. So what? Not really a big deal.

The Club gave Nunchuk some nice color coordinated weapons. A green backpack for his green handled swords. Green nunchucks and green handled sai's. Plus there's the little dart shooter thingy with the nearly pre-lost tiny little dart. Hmmm... Those nunchucks and the very long string between them. No thanks! 

There's a bit of an issue, at least to me, with the backpack. The post seems a bit high in the pack and sits up pretty high on Nunchuk's back when it's plugged in.
The swords look pretty cool, but I may need to figure out a new scabbard set. 
I decided to try a different set of web gear for Nunchuk. I used the web gear that originally came with the PoC Jungle Duke and has been reused many times. This web gear rocks! This particular version came with the Alley Vipers from Retaliation - they sucked. I like Nunchuk's new look. I suppose he's my GI Joe "Combat" ninja.

That's about it for this first set of figures. Two decent figures, but I don't think they are the best of what is to come. I'm looking forward to seeing which figures are arriving next!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Wrong Neighborhood

"May I ask why you three gentlemen are in this part of town?" 

"Just passing through. We had a couple brews at O'Malley's and we decided to try a shortcut."

"You should stick to safer areas of town, gentlemen." 

"Can I ask why there are five armed Vipers in the neighborhood?" 

"No. Move along."

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Patriots Still Exist

Going back to my whole GI Joe vs/ Cobra reboot (here and here), I decided to try to visually communicate some of my concepts. Cobra has become legitimized by the corrupt, infested federal government. Once a huge multi-national organization, Cobra has now ventured into the realm of private.public security. Where police departments fester from within, Cobra represents itself to the general population as a force of benevolence and protection. 

Police departments merge into Cobra Security as an example of publically "cleaning up" corrupt police organizations. Staged machinations bent on corrupting the once great spirit on a once great nation.
Under the guise of "national security," those that speak of patriotism and honoring the old ways are often picked up by Cobra Security, usually without warrant or just cause.
There are those within the population, perhaps even once swayed by the enticement of the benevolence of Cobra Security, remember truth and justice and grow weary of the increasing oppression of all people, regardless of their heritage.

How much longer will the people cower behind the "protective" shield of Cobra Security? Will no one stand up to them? Are there no heroes left? 

Time will tell...

**Disclaimer: None of the GI Joe characters in these photos are intended to be those specific characters. I needed some civilians and civilian action figures are generally boring and not usually sold. So these heroes are doing their part as stand-ins for a growing group of angry people.

GI Joe Sneak Attack Review

Let's take a look at the Sneak Attack three pack from this year's "50th Anniversary" line. This is another set that I would never have purchased if it had always stayed at full retail price. But at $4.50 per figure, you can't fight the deal!

An odd choice of characters and an even odder color palette choice. Blue? Seriously? 
Sneak Attack includes Dusty, Bazooka, and Firefly. Blue? I'm not sure, as I write, which one is my favorite. I do know which one is my least favorite though. 
The Firefly from the set is very well done, but there are just a few minor issues. He's basically a repaint of the Retaliation Firefly (best ever!) from one of the three packs.  I like the different shades of gray for the uniform, but I think the boots and gloves should have been a darker gray. The added detailing rocks.
The paint apps on his weapon just make it pop. I haven't seen this MP5 very often in a GI Joe figure. I don't know where it originally came from, but it's a cool weapon. One drawback for the figure are the two bombs; they've been glued to his web gear. Dang it.
Ooh, that backpack! Where did this come from? Such cool details and great paint apps. Another drawback - the backpack peg is very short; it barely fits into his back. Very loose fit. No other solution besides glue.
Compared to the Retaliation three pack Firefly, I'm still in favor of the one on the left over the new paint scheme. Maybe Firefly in night ops gear? That'll work for me.
Next up we have Bazooka. Oh the pain. So much fail. Blue? Seriously? Blue? Hasbro took Bazooka's head and dropped it on the Rock/Roadblock body. Hey, let's make another tall figure! I liked the original 25th version of Bazooka and it still holds up to the more modern figures. Plus he seems to be looking downward, almost sad. 
I'd be sad too if I had to wear a baby-blue uniform. I don't know what I'm going to do with this guy. You may never see him again in another photograph of mine. Poor dude.
Lastly, we have Dusty. In blue. A desert ops soldier. In a blue uniform. Yeah, seriously. But I actually like this figure. The blue tones aren't quite as baby-blue as Bazooka's outfit.
Plus the parts selection just works for this figure. The PoC Duke torso and web gear look great. Original Duke arms and new hands? Unsure, but the parts choice works
This particular head sculpt is quickly becoming a generic multi-purpose head for bot Hasbro and the Club. It was originally used for the PoC Dusty, then it went to the Dollar General Duke, onward to the SpearHead figure from the Club from last year. This year, the Club is using it again for Bullhorn. 

I don't think I'm going to use this guy as Dusty though. You know, because his blue uniform would stand out a bit in the desert. I've seen some talk on the interwebs of using this guy as an aquatic ops sort of guy. Yeah, I like the land warriors better over other environments, but he could still work for me as an aquatic specialist. I'll have to come up with a new code name for him.

I'm going to have to go with blue Dusty as my favorite from this set, with Firefly coming in at a close second. With the other lighter gray version being my favorite, this new one just doesn't quite make it enough to bump blue Dusty from the lead position.

Trailing in at a very distant third place, Baby-Blue Bazooka staggers across the finish line.

That's almost it for reviews for this latest batch of "50th Anniversary" sets from Hasbro and Toys R Us. I did buy the two vehicle sets, but I sold off the HISS tank and the oddly colored Snow/TigerCat - HAVOC II thingy. I still have the black SkyStriker and the FOE Striker to review. I had almost forgot about them!

It looks like the figures from FSS 4.0 are finally going to start shipping next week! Yeah! New toys!!

Stay tuned!

GI Joe Vanishing Act Review

When this year's batch of "50th Anniversary" stuff first showed up online, there were quite a few of the two-packs that I knew I wanted to get. I've been pretty successful in getting what I want from the two-packs.

The only one of the three-packs that I was interested in was the set with Alpine. Got it, sold off the Rock Viper, no big deal. None of the other sets were of much interest to me.

Until Toys R Us started clearancing them out...
I couldn't resist. How can you resist when the per figure price drops down to around $4.50? So I picked up the Vanishing Act and Sneak Attack sets. I still don't give a crap about the Screaming Duke set.

As usual, I'm late to the game on figure reviews, but what the hell. Here goes my random thoughts.

I'm actually not very impressed with either of these sets.

The Vanishing Act set includes Torpedo, Hit & Run, and Zartan. Zartan is the high point for this set. 
Zartan has been a bit of trouble for me in recent years. I haven't been able to figure out my "default" version. I'm thinking that this guy has made the cut. For a while, the Resolute version filled that slot, but I think this version jumps ahead.
The parts choice works out quite well to closely match the original look, but not obnoxiously so. There's enough of a modern vibe to the figure that all the parts work well together.
The oddest accessory is the mask backpack. Like the original figure, the mask just slips under the hood and, there you have it, Zartan in disguise!
Uh, who the hell is this supposed to be?
Oh yeah, it's Storm Shadow! Yeah, that's right...
Crap, I forgot to take a picture with the Duke mask. Oh well, no loss.
This is a decent head sculpt. Is that the Vosloo head sculpt? Looks a little like it to me.
One day, I've got to revisit all the different versions of Zartan and make a final choice. I think this guy wins.
Next up is Torpedo. Decent figure, but there are a few issues. It looks like Hasbro went with the original torso and added the arms and legs from the Retaliation Snake Eyes. The new parts actually work quite well for Torpedo. The new arms and legs give a lightly armored look to the figure. I'm not too sure where the head came from.
The belt that originally worked with Retaliation Snake Eyes should work on Torpedo, but the sculpted belt interferes with its ability to rest comfortably on his waist. I like these types of figures just fine, but they just don't really work with most of my collection. I focus more on land warfare over water or air warfare. I may try him on eBay and see what I can get for him.
Lastly, we have Hit & Run. Such potential and such failure. The uniform color is great, but what the hell happened to his skin?
Look at that paint job on the helmet and the backpack! Excellent paint apps!
Alright, so Hit & Run is going for some nighttime camouflage, right? Yeah, sure, that's the ticket. I suppose it could work, but after the all green face from the Club version last year, I was hoping for a more normal skin tone. Perhaps Hit & Run got caught in the "Great Magnetic Field."

So for Vanishing Act, we have one hit and two misses. All decent figures, but Zartan edges out the two Joes with their flaws. Still, at $4.50 per figure, not a bad set. 

Next up - Sneak Attack!