Tuesday, June 30, 2015

GI Joe Club Dr. Mindbender Review

I figure it's about time that I get caught up on my lame reviews. This year's "free" membership exclusive figure is a new version of Dr. Mindbender. His look comes from his appearance during the cold weather/BET sequence of the GI Joe animated movie. 
While the overall look of the figure is great, I'm still not terribly excited by the figure. I'm just not really digging the poofy purple coat. I know it looks pretty close to the design of character, but it still doesn't work for me. I wonder what Dr. Mindbender's favorite color is? I'm pretty sure this is the Renegades Cobra Commander body with the added poofy elements. 

The accessories are decent enough, nothing overly impressive, but they work. I'm going to have to print a sticker for the good Doctor's laptop.
The head sculpt is the real winner for this figure. Another Boss Fight creation that just captures the character. 
 While the paint apps are a bit off on the mustache, it's not anywhere near being 50th Anniversary Leatherneck bad.
Here's my current Mindbender in my collection. I was able to randomly pick up a white lab coat Dr. Lewis from the Rise of Cobra collection and nearly immediately was able to make a deal for the Dr. Mindbender figure from the Defense of Cobra Island set. That's a damn fine head sculpt and has served me well.
But now, I think I have my new Dr. Mindbender. The head sits a little high on the neck, but it will work. My only issue that I have is that the Rex body is just so much smaller than the more modern bodies. I'm working through my various bits and pieces to see if there is an alternative body. The criteria being that I have to be able to use the white lab coat. I'm not much into doing huge body part switches, so I'll have to figure something out.
Yeah, this is a pretty good look for Dr. Mindbender. I've got to make sure that I keep the lab coat. None of this bare chested, purple pants nonsense.
For now, the purple party dress body will go into the parts bin and I'll stick with the lab coat version.

What are your thoughts on the new Dr. Mindbender?

The Leader

Sometimes you just stumble across a figure that you just can't leave in the store. Once in a while, I'll swing by the local 5 Below and see if they have anything of interest back in the toy section. The GI Joe figures are long gone, but sometimes oddball treasures can be found.
I came across this figure of the Leader from the Avengers line. I've never seen the figure anywhere else, so for $5.00, why not? Somehow, I've got to be able to integrate him into my bizarre twisted world. Based on the look of the figure straight out of the package, he definitely has an alien vibe about him. I don't integrate too many super heroes into my GI Joe toy world, so he can possibly fit in as maybe some sort of alien?

The articulation of the body isn't too bad. There's pivoting knee and hip joints, rotating shoulders and elbows, and the ball and socket neck. No waist movement or any hand or feet movement.
Just look at that head sculpt! So awesome! (crappy picture aside)
Or maybe he's just Dr. Mindbender after a bad day in the lab? The socket in the head is a bit larger than the standard neck post for Joe figures, so there will need to be something added to tighten the head onto a neck.

I'm thinking his future lies as a Cobra scientist gone bad. What are your thoughts?

Monday, June 29, 2015

FSS 3.0 - A Final Look

I thought I'd take one last formal look before I move on to whatever else strikes my mood. Not much has lately. Or I'm just lazy. I'll go with the lazy aspect.

I'm going to try to rank the Club figures from FSS 3.0, but only the GI Joe figures. This year, GI Joe dominated the Club figures with a total of 9 of the 13 figures. Of the four Cobras, the three that I kept were ninja based and that would be an easy list to compile. From best to least favorite (of only the three), there's Slice (#1), Jinx Vypra (#2), and the Night Creeper Leader (#3). The Crimson Guard Immortal doesn't make the cut because mine ended up in the barren frozen wastelands of New Hampshire to the GeneralsJoes compound.

Now I just need to rank the nine GI Joe characters from the Club. This is going to be tough, because there were several figures that were really well executed. 

Here goes!

#9 - Alpine
Alpine just doesn't cut it for me. Unfortunately, he's at the bottom of the list. I think the oddest issue that I have with him is the skin tone. It's just oddly reddish. the face looks a little too Wayans-esque.He looks too much like the Ripcord figures from the Rise of Cobra line.
His gear is not that great either. The backpack doesn't look supported with any web gear and that rope coil keeps slipping off.
Sorry, Alpine, someone had to be at the bottom of the list.
#8 - Spearhead
Kind of a tough call putting Spearhead down at #8. A couple issues for me - the vest doesn't fit very well and the belt is just too loose on his hips.
Thankfully, the Club did tone down the original orange camo pattern.
Plus that bright orange cheeto bobcat just doesn't work.
On the plus side, the Club did an effective job of using the Cobra Shock Trooper body parts. Additionally, the head sculpt has been used for PoC Dusty and the Dollar General "Duke" figure. I think it works best here.

#7 - Muskrat
I'm not complaining about Muskrat's smaller stature because it sort of works for him. Everything seems to look right. His head is proportional to his body and he just looks pretty decent.
The only real drawback is that his boonie hat won't stay on. A little rubber cement will take care of that issue.

#6 - Psyche Out
Psyche Out's head is quite the contrary when compared to Muskrat. This guy has a pretty big head when compared to the body. Hell, I can't complain too much, I personally deal with that everyday.
Psyche Out goes ahead of Muskrat primarily based on the character. I don't think he's ever been a huge fan favorite, but I always liked the concept of the character. Plus the Duke body that the Club used just did an excellent job of recreating his original look.

#5 - Hit & Run
H&R jumps up higher in the list, primarily due to just the overall feel and look of the figure. Don't look too close at his stubble, that will drive you nuts. Not good, but it works fine for my blurry near vision.
While the Club went with the full green camo paint on the face and hands, it really didn't turn out too bad. The green turned out to be a much lighter wash over his skin and it looks pretty good. Odd hair paint job though. I'm not sure if he actually has sculpted hair or just a paint job.

These last four are tough...

#4 - Big Ben
A solid home run by the Club with Big Ben. they really recreated his original look, while still making him look modern and relevant. He's also got a great set of accessories included.
I don't really like the back pack though, but that's not a huge issue with the figure.

Time for the top three!

#3 - Bombstrike
So very close to cracking the top two, the Club did a damn fine job with Bombstrike. I'm actually quite glad that they didn't try to recreate her original white t-shirt look. The Retaliation Lady Jaye torso really added more of a military feel to the character.
Yeah, her head is a bit over-sized, but that happens in real life too!
The head sculpt is exceptional as well.

#2 - Frostbite
The }mystery" 13th figure takes the number 2 spot. Everything just works with Frostbite. The head sculpt is amazing, the web gear/collar looks great, and he's rocking two removable pistols!
The only drawback is the silly demolition pack, but that is a very minor issue.

#1 - Repeater
The big guy takes the top spot. Repeater didn't come with much gear, but he sure does compensate for just the mass of the figure.Using the Retaliation Roadblock body and a killer head sculpt, the Club produced an excellent upgrade to the original figure. Between Repeater, RET Roadblock, and 50th Leatherneck, the GI Joe team has some seriously big dudes manning the big weapons.
Sure, Repeater is a big guy, possibly nearing seven feet tall in scale, but which "standard" figure would be considered six feet tall within the modern era? I think there's enough variation in figure height where we don't have to consider these three big guys to be abnormally huge.
So that pretty much wraps up my thoughts on the Club's FSS 3.0 figures. Don't worry, loyal reader(s), they won't be disappearing forever. I really need to just get back to taking some diorama pictures of these characters in action and interacting with other figures.

I would be interested in knowing your thoughts on my rating of these figures. What would your ranking of these nine figures be? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

FSS 3.0: Big Ben & Frostbite

Wrapping up the reviews, I finally arrive at the last two figures  - Big Ben and Frostbite. Technically, these are numbers 11 and 13. The Crimson Guard Immortal didn't stick around and found a new home.

This last shipment ends strong for the Club. These last two Joe characters really turned out extremely well.
Big Ben is a fairly faithful reproduction of the original figure. The Club captured the essential elements of the character and makes everything work great together. Except that backpack. I'm not too thrilled with it. It doesn't close smoothly and doesn't fit too well on his back, especially when he's wearing the bullet bandoleers. 
The head sculpt is great with just some minimal paint apps for the camo pattern.
Check it out! He's got a Bluetooth earpiece! Snazzy looking Union Jack there on his right sleeve.
SAF tag on the left shoulder.
Overall, Big Ben is well put together. The Club chose wisely when putting him together. Boss Fight's head sculpt adds immensely to the design.
I'm not too thrilled with the ammo belts, but they work and give the desired look to the figure. They're just a little too bulky to work with the backpack.
The mysterious #13! Frostbite! The Club had a Tiger Force version of Frostbite for the most recent convention set. He looked like the same figure, just with the Tiger Force colors. Many people figured, correctly, that the Club would just go with the same figure, but with the more accurate original arctic uniform.

Last year's #13 figure was disappointing. This year, the Club kicked ass.
This head sculpt is amazing. I always liked Frostbite and the Snow Cat. Even with that silly grin on the original figure. This new scowl on his face just works so much better. 
Boss Fight also created the new collar piece for Frostbite. Excellent detailing on this piece and there's also an attached working holster. Frostbite is rocking two pistols!
Not a huge issue, but the pistols are a bit loose in both holsters. Still pretty cool that he can have a pistol in each hand.
There always seems to be at least one issue with most figures, Club or Hasbro. Here's Frostbite's issue. This silly explosive pack. This is a recreation of the pack originally included with the very first Snake Eyes figure. It looked cool then, way back in 1982, but it just doesn't work here. It's too stiff and plain looking. A white version of the pack that came with Big Ben would have been better.
Frostbite's goggles are also removable. The easiest way to put them on or take them off seems to be popping his head off and sliding them up from underneath. No big deal.
I don't know that Frostbite appreciates me talking shit about his stuff. He looks a little pissed to me.

And that's it for FSS 3.0! Overall, I'm very pleased with the Club's efforts. There have been a few issues with the figures, but they've basically been some high quality stuff.

I'm looking forward to more reveals for FSS 4.0!

Friday, June 12, 2015

FSS 3.0: Crimson Guard Immortal

The final shipment arrived a couple weeks ago and I'm finally getting around to reviewing the last three figures.

First up will be an individual look at the Crimson Guard Immortal. Last year for FSS 2.0, the Club released the Desert Scorpion as part of the line up. I never really liked that figure originally and didn't really like the idea of a troop builder being included as part of a collection of high priced figures. I like to troop build and I'm also fairly cheap. 
The new Crimson Guard Immortal is another case of an expensive troop builder. I didn't like the original figure too much and only bought a few way back in 1991. I've always liked the Crimson Guard concept and the original figure was pretty cool, but I've never been really pleased with the modern updates.
I considered opening this guy and thinking of him as an individual character, perhaps an officer of some sort. Ultimately, I decided to let him go. For last year's FSS 2.0, I didn't keep the Desert Scorpion, Big Bear, or Dragonsky. This year, I'm keeping 12 of the 13 figures. 
FSS 3.0 has turned out to be a generally strong group of characters.True, many of them were previously released as part of a convention exclusive set, but since I don''t have that set, I'm very pleased to have all of these figures.

Coming up next - Big Ben and the mystery #13 figure.
Oh wait... I'm so late. Everyone knows by now.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

FSS 4.0 Reveals: Pathfinder

For the next reveal from the Club, we have Pathfinder, everyone's favorite combat gardener. I'm pretty impressed with how the Club matched the look of the original figure.
So we don't get his waist mounted machine guns. Oh well. Not a huge deal. It looks like Lifeline's head is being reused. That makes sense to me, but the drawback is that both characters have the same color hair, so there's no real variation. The hat looks a little over-sized.

Pathfinder doesn't move up to the top of the list of the reveals so far, but he's been recreated pretty well.

Monday, June 1, 2015

FSS 4.0 Reveals: Nunchuk & Inferno BAT

Two more reveals from the GI Joe Club for FSS 4.0.

First up is Nunchuk, a member of Ninja Force. Looks like the Club is using what is now the standard ninja body. The head is from a version of Storm Shadow from one of the comic 2-packs from a few years ago. Pretty decent looking to me. Some have said that he needs web gear rather than just the belt. 
I'm kinda getting tired of all the ninjas. I know they've been a part of GI Joe mythos and they're an easy figure to go with because of Hasbro resources. I'll be glad to be past the ninja phase. 
I like BATs. I really like BATs. The 25th anniversary update was and still is one of the best updates Hasbro did for the modern era. Initially finding them in the wild was tough until the 25th line faded from regular retail and the overstock moved into Family Dollar stores. $3.00 for BATs. I guess you could say I went a little BAT-sh!t crazy. I think I have around two dozen of the regular BATs, 2 of the "Resolute" BATs, and 3 Jungle BATs.

I like BATs.

But this one? Not so much. Word is that some of the pieces will be translucent on the final figure. Not really interested. I'll have to put this figure at the bottom of the list right now plus, I'm not thrilled when the Club does a non-character troop builder. Basically a figure that you'd want multiples of, like the standard BAT. 

With this reveal, Nunchuk is a keeper and the Inferno BAT will probably head off to the secondary market. 

I'm ready for some more reveals!