G.I. Joe Club Subcription:
Big Boa Review

The paintwork could be a little better. I’m always a little hesitant to make this scale down as it’s likely more difficult to paint than my preferred bigger scale, but it’s acceptable in most places. I think the main place I wish it were tightened up is the red on the helmet. The right is sharp, but the left side could use some help.

Since the figure is made up from movie figure parts, the articulation is thankfully closer to the modern figures than the early 25th Anniversary stuff. The neck has a good ball-joint as do the shoulders, elbows, hips, & ankles. Double-hinged knees, wrist swivels, and ab crunch finish off the figure. I still could use some swivel cuts throughout the figure, but there are plenty of great boxing poses for Big Boa to get into.

While Big Boa doesn’t have his classic punching bag accessory, Fun Pub did a great magic trick for the accessories they were able to include: a jousting stick, a dumbbell, a sledgehammer, the training mask, and boxing gloves. Most of the accessories are technically new. Hasbro had a cancelled “training” Duke lined up after the release of the Rise of Cobra, but it didn’t reach stores. The accessories must have been tooled though, as Fun Pub jumped in and snagged most of the gear for Big Boa (all but the gloves and sledgehammer). It fits wonderfully with Boa’s trainer status – though I’m not sure what he does with the sledgehammer and they’re just some fun accessories to boot. The dumbbell alone appeals to me. Great accessory.

Big Boa was really the shot in the arm my Joe collecting needed. I may have not had much need for the Valor vs Venom Jinx or Black Out & Barrel Roll, but Big Boa really rekindled my interest in Joes. He’s wonderfully done – so much so that I wish all the modern Joe updates were done as well as him. And I guess that’s why I keep subbing. I may not keep all the figures (FSS 2.0 Skull Buster is already gone), but subscribing is still the best and maybe cheapest way to ensure I get more figures like Big Boa. I’m not sure who the star of 2.0 will be. I’m enjoying Widescope so far even though I’m not familiar with him. Keel-Haul & Cesspool are the ones I’m looking forward too. I don’t know for sure, but I hope someone gives Big Boa a run for his money as the best FSS figure.

Also, I really need to trim down that MOTUC collection…

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27 thoughts on “G.I. Joe Club Subcription:
Big Boa Review

  1. Hey Noisy, another great review with great pictures!

    Personally I absolutely loathe subscription-only lines. It’s related to living in Europe, which despite having huge collector communities is always shafted by clubs like FunPub and MOTUC. The fees are unreasonably high, the shipping is insane, and you have to lock yourself in for stuff you don’t want.

    I’m not kidding when I say that it’s often cheaper to get the figures by waiting for them to hit ebay, sometimes even BBTS!

    That being said, I feel the way you do about the Joe figure sub. For me it’s one pip below the MOTUC sub, where most characters feel at least fairly grounded in -something-. It’s almost always a character from the cartoons (new or old) or comics (and minicomics) and only rarely something totally off the wall. And fortunately they have partitioned the subs so you could select -not- to get the all-new “Anniversary” line (which was a bunch of duds and Draego-Man) or the Filmation sub. Good ideas!

    By comparison the Joe sub tosses together classic figure updates, never-before-seen variants, international exclusive remakes, Gen2 remakes and more. Not a bad idea, as there’s always some good nuggets in any category, but it feels like there’s a bit too many duds in the line compared to hits.

    Still, both of them are much better than the Transformers Collector Club! Oh boy, don’t even get me started!

    Anyway, I have a very soft spot for the Joes and Cobras that fell just outside the “classic” years but before the neon years. As a kid I found myself loving the 1987-1990 assortments a lot, maybe because they just didn’t get featured that much. And 1987 with its much-reviled lineup is just kind of cool in a hokey way, in my opinion. Big Boa, Crystal Ball, Raptor, Chuckles, Fastdraw… They’re all lame, but they’re lame in intriguing ways.

    And Larry Hama wrote them awesomely in the rare occasion he used them.

    So I’m glad you decided to keep your Big Boa! He’s truly the gem of the FSS year one, and his assortment of great-looking accessories kick ass.

    Now if only I could find some of these figures that I’m still missing…

    1. Thanks, Sandman!

      I always contend I wouldn’t collect toys as an international collector. I’d go into beekeeping or something. 🙂

      I considered trying to pick up some BBTS pre-orders or logging into the Club to snag a few, but I’m like everyone else and want the most demanded. For 2.0, Keel-Haul pre-orders were gone in a blink and he’s my must have from the second year. The one thing I do like about the subs is that I get exposed to characters and toys I might not know I loved – Widescope again being a great example. I wouldn’t have picked him up, but he’s actually a pretty cool figure. I can divest myself of the extras easily though and that does make a difference – I think I actually came out ahead by selling the seven I did.

      I think the Joes suffer in the same way the DC sub did, trying to serve too many masters. MOTU is still relatively small as a franchise and close knit – there are still faction issues, but there’s been MOTU droughts for so long that folks can get on board. That’s not true for Joes or DC.

      Those later 80s are great years for Joes. I just recently discovered figures like Colonel Courage & Stretcher. I’d love to see them get updates!

  2. I can relate. I’ve always been a huge G.I. Joe collector as opposed to MOTUC, but subbing is the only way to get new figures from either brand nowadays and it’s a real crap shoot for the current stuff: Most of the Joes included in Fub Pub’s rosters aren’t characters I would’ve picked up at retail, although some (like Iron Klaw) have made me reconsider who is cooler among the sub offerings. While I’m fine with most of MOTUC with the exception of the POP female characters, I mostly prefer updates of vintage Joes in my Fun Pub sub. That’s not always the case, though.

    Big Boa was already a fairly popular figure back in ’87 and his rep has only soared with this update. He was still a bit underrated in some quarters and it’s neat to see things changing for him. I am mostly looking forward to vintage guys such as Tollbooth, Keel-Haul, and the much-needed Dragonsky. Cesspool and Big Bear are also looking fine even though I didn’t care for their vintage counterparts back in the day. I’m sure that there will be a huge demand for Desert Scorpion, who enjoys a similar level of cult status not unlike that of Big Boa.

    But the figure I’m most excited about is the club sub renewal Cross Country, one of my favorite characters from the vintage line yet to receive the modern treatment.

    1. I’ve skewed fairly vintage on my Joe sub. Covergirl & Big Boa were the big two for me, but Dice, Topside, & TNT are still older Joes too. It was the VvV guys that got sent away. Oops.

      I’m not sure what to think about Desert Scorpion yet. I’m not familiar with his vintage figure at all for some reason? Oops!

      And, yes Cross Country will be great! I’m tempted for the updated HAVOC too…

  3. Great review, pics, and excellent comics. You’re obviously having fun with this guy.

    This is one of the sub figures I picked up from BBTS. After an incident many years ago where Hasbro wouldn’t let foreigners be part of their club any more, I’ve given up getting anything directly from them. And considering how hard they’re making it to collect some of their figures (JUST RELEASE A CLASSIC RED-OUTFIT JINX WITH SWAPPABLE HEADS, FOR #@&%’S SAKE!!!), I have pretty much given up on G.I. Joe completely, now. If they make some new Cobra-La guys, I’ll splurge. Otherwise, they’ve lost me.

  4. Never had Big Boa and last tine saw him he was dead in a chair. This is one nice looking update for this guy though. I lost track of what Joes I still have to get to finish the toon cast of favs. (I always miss out on Lifeline)

    Secretly I always thought Big Boa was Rocky BalBoa under the helm. Bazooka did unmask him in an.ish of the DDP book. Sold them off so dunno exact ish cause you do see a portion of his face.

    Dunno on the toy show for next year cause city is gonna tear down the building and build a new one in a new location. Sucks massive because dunno where they will go for next year.

    1. Well, originally, the figure was actually supposed to be Rocky Balboa, trainer for the G.I. Joes. But then licensing issues and such made the deal fall through, and the mostly-tooled figure was given a new head an switched sides, and the rest is history.

      1. We still got the Fridge, Slaughter, and…wasn’t there a third “celeb” classic Joe? Was Big Lob supposed to be based on a real basketball player?

        I do know Rocky made it to the Joe Files/Who’s Who miniseries, so the deal was still on at that time of publication. (mine are lost to the winds in the storage debacle.)

  5. The lack of ability to purchase this figure at retail outside of a subscription for a reasonable price is another factor in why I will no longer buy Joes (Kwinn being an exception as I finally had some Joe luck). It made me sad as Boa was probably my favorite Joe figure as a youngin (favorite figure, not character).

    On a positive note, really cool figure and a well-done review.

      1. hell, I put up my retro 3pk Arctic Snake-Eyes/Scarlett/Kwinn and Cobra sets three times on ebay this summer and not a single bite.

  6. I had this guy, I really wanted him and was able to score him from the Club. Unfortunately, I never got to enjoy him. I needed some cash and these guys were going for over a hundred dollars. Ended up selling him. I don’t regret it, but I do wish this figure had seen a real release so I could have just enjoyed it, instead of having to treat it like a Fabergé egg.

  7. the sledgehammer is a training tool. MMA and boxing guys use them all the time, you get a large truck tire and pound it with a sledgehammer, blasts the entire arms, the lats, the entire core, and develops coordination, since the sledge rebounding off the tire can go in a number of directions (you can find blooper videos of “tough guys” hitting the tire, and then experiencing a rebound into a shin or groin area.)

    great fig too, i love the comedic angles you took on this guy because it is precisely where my mind went as well.

  8. I had the original Big Boa, too, and he was one of my “regulars”, even if I did decide he was a cyborg with Cyclops’ laser eyes. LOL

    This guy does look cool, for being minimal new tooling (head/accys) on re-used parts. Should we start calling that MOTUCing? or Matteling?

    I don’t much care for the figures the past few years, as when I do get them, they seem even more fragile than other lines of comparable size (esp MU) and I’m afraid I’m going to break them just taking them out of the package. That’s probably 98% of the reason I finally started to custom the Joes in 6″.
    (and speaking of Lady Jaye, I just got in an ML Mystique to use as a base for her (re: the neckline), but she came with dislocated left leg. now I’m thinking keeping her an X-man, as Xi’an/Karma?? and how is Raven a better redhead than JEAN????)

    1. Massive part reuse is probably just called “normal” at this point. Everybody’s doing it!

      I’m still in-between on Star Wars Black 6″, but if they made GI Joe Legends I would die. I’d have to cancel some Mattel subs… LOL

  9. He was the only Subscription Club I got (from the first year), and though I paid around $60 for him, I’m so pleased with him that I’ve never regretted it. Great sculpt, great articulation, great accessories, and one of the figures I always wanted but never had as a child. I agree 100% with you, he is (and should’ve been presented as) the centerpiece of the Club. Amazing update, all around.

  10. Awesome to see a spotlight on this guy!

    I’m a big fan of many of the “fringe” Joe figures from 1986-1990 roughly, so this guy was a must for me, one of the only Joe Club figures I’ve shelled out on the 2ndary market for.

    Knowing I wanted him, I actually ebayed a busted up crappy RAH version just for the missing punching bag to go with the new one. 🙂

  11. I’ve subbed both years and Big Boa is my favorite so far. At this point I’ve been able to sell any of the FSS figures I haven’t wanted for at least cost, so I’ll gladly keep subbing instead of being stuck paying 2-5x cost for the three or four figures in each sub series I actually want.

  12. Awesome review!

    Man, I was a hardcore Joe collector and completest for years but this whole year I’ve only bought one Retaliation 3 pack, Kwinn, and the Marauders set on clearance. Even back during POC, the 30th, and ROC I was a completest. I’m also now a MOTUC completest and love that line to death. I’ve been thinking about why my Joe collecting passion stopped. This is what I’ve come up with:

    1. I can’t find anything in stores. Ever. During past Joe eras, even figures I wasn’t thrilled about (repaints,etc) were fun impulse buys. Now I don’t see anything.

    2. An abundance of exclusives I can never get. I really think not getting Sgt. Slaughter was the first shot in my diminishing Joe fandom. When I cease to be able to be a completest due to not being able to get a figure, I start making my own cuts. Figures like Jinx, etc., just didn’t help.

    3. I’ve never liked the club. I was a member during the Sigma 6 era (also a completest) but I’ve never felt like the club was worth it. Not only do you pay to join, but everything else is so ridiculously high that it doesn’t make sense. So to sub for the overpriced club figures I also have to pay to join the club.

    4. Drop in quality- To go from some of the great figurs in POC and the 30th to the collector’s club sub of foreign repaints and kitbashes just seems unappealing to me. I really hope Hasbro gets great Joes back on shelves in the future, but for now I’m content with the Hama penned comics and the Bellomo edited collections to get my Joe fix.

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