In the first FSS, I ended up keeping six of the figures (& I think only two got reviewed). For FSS 2.0, I think the final tally may end up being about the same, but I just haven’t really felt engaged so far. In fact, I’ve only opened two of the figures from 2.0 so far. I’m not sure what it is. I think that, if pressed, I would say I was a bigger G.I. Joe fan growing up than I am now. We could never afford many Transformers and, my regular MOTU readers may cringe, but I did like Joe more than MOTU back in the day. And yet, as an adult, the MOTUC sub is just intensely more satisfying. I think it may be the nostalgia. Modern He-Man figures have no other outlet; the sub is the only game in town. Rio Blast? Extendar? Skeletor? They’re all in the subscription.
The Joe sub doesn’t have that same luxury. Some key characters aside, Hasbro nailed down modern versions of many Classic Joes at retail years ago. And while some of those figures simply aren’t as good as the more recent fare, I have Bazooka, Shipwreck, Lifeline, etc. The Club even took out some huge holes with their membership figures – Dial-Tone, Footloose, and almost Iceberg. That leaves the subscription in a bit of lurch at times. They do some great classic Joe updates, but they have to farm the other eras too. Which honestly is great. Those eras have their fans! I love that MOTUC has been as inclusive as it can be with the various eras, shows, and concept characters. I want that in MOTUC and I think it should be the same for G.I. Joe. I also want to love G.I. Joe the same way, but for some reason, I’m having trouble. And it makes me again wonder if I will sign up for FSS 3.0 should there be one.
What helps though is a figure like this one; something intensely cool like Bombardier. I kinda fall in love with what the FSS can do all over again. On the surface, Bombardier should be a pretty run of the mill figure. He’s a Flash repaint that’s not Grand Slam. He’s a third guy using all the same parts. While that particular area is actually a problem (We’ll get to that), it’s the toy history that first draws me to Bombardier.
Some of you may remember, collecting toys before the internet was funny. You had to rely on magazines for month’s old Toy Fair pics or use the classifieds in the back to find harder to get items. (Yep, no eBay! My parents ordered a super rare TNG Thomas Riker figure out of the back of a Lee’s). If you wanted specific info that wasn’t covered in a magazine pullout or, occasionally a book, you’d have to track down another collector… by mail. It seems like the Dark Ages now, but it was really just the 90s. It was during that time that a collector in Florida ran across Bombardier. The figure was already quite a few years old by then, but no one knew who he was, where he came from, if he was official, anything. It was just this funky colored Flash. And that would be the case for nearly another decade until another collector found a second funky-colored Flash in England.
The UK-based Palitoy Company had a popular figure line in the 80s called Action Force. These guys were mostly 5 POA figures, but Palitoy licensed Joe Molds to make the more articulated vehicle drivers. Cobra Commander became the Red Laser for example. Or, more confusing, Snake Eyes became Stalker. Bombardier, it turns out, was likely planned to be included, but was scrapped, leaving just these two prototypes, one finding its way into the hands of a collector years later and starting off the whole mystery. I’m probably not explaining it well, but if you’re into toy history – it’s fascinating.
So much so, that it makes me want to keep a repaint figure in my collection some thirty years after the fact. A repaint of a figure that I already sold off twice in two other color schemes. Doh. What really helps is the card bio I think. Some fun tidbits like Bombardier’s real name being an amalgamation of the two collectors who discovered him and who he is, but also his back story – it’s crazy in a world of crazy bios:
That story helps breathe some life into the figure which I have to admit is needed, since a straight-up Flash repaint is… well, it is what it is. Continue to Page 2…