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G.I. Joe Subscription Service
(FSS) 2.0: Bombardier Review

I think every time I’ve reviewed a subscription G.I. Joe, I’ve talked about how I don’t know if I really should’ve signed up for the FSS. Spoiler Alert: this time isn’t going to be any different.

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…

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20 comments to G.I. Joe Subscription Service
(FSS) 2.0: Bombardier Review

  • Brainlock

    flash mold injection line running across bicep padding = AAARRRGGHHHH!!!!

    I like his look, and the backstory is interesting enough.
    I just can’t get into the Joes much since the 25th changed up the molds, moving the waist artic up to the midriff, and the few I have bought seem so damn fragile, even in my decrepit fingers. The 80s-90s Joes seemed more *sturdy* and posable than these/MU/SW and numerous larger figures. Heck, there are even a number of “classic” TFs in the last few years I bought trying to replace those I lost, but even now, I’m finding it harder to figure out the transforms.

    …sigh, where’s my time machine so I can rescue my older stuff from storage before it got “lost”??? :/

    • Jester

      In my experience, the post-25th Joes are FAR less fragile than their O-ring’ed predecessors, and let’s not even get started on articulation.

      • Oh, agreed! The artic on the recent figures has been great. I dare say Hasbro could milk me on some of the very first 25th Anniversary characters all over again.

    • The learning curve on the 25th figures was so amazing though. The only thing that wasn’t cool was that the movie figures benefitted from it more! Some of the 30th Anniversary figs are easily the best ever and the new stuff coming to TRU could be amazing too.

      And none of their crotches break off like my old eunuch RAH figures… lol

      • Brainlock

        I only had one ARAH crotch break, and that was SCARLETT! LOL
        thumbs, however, were a different story, R&R and Breaker, most notably, and one of those was done by someone else! ‘_’

  • Great review and pics, nifty figure.

    I’ve pretty much given up on G.I. Joe. The SDCC exclusives are a ball-ache to try to acquire, which is doubly annoying when they’re team-completers like Jinx. Didn’t know anything about the subscription figures until it was too late, and Hasbro has a history of not allowing Non-Americans to join their clubs, so I wasn’t even going to try to sign up, anyway. If they do a BBTS Cobra-La 7-Pack, and/or reissues of the STUN, Thunder Machine, and/or Night Raven SP3, I’ll move mountains to get in on those. Otherwise, the horrible availability and secondary market prices of what should be readily-available key team members have put me off.

    • Sandman

      Hasbro doesn’t run the Joe fan club or the Transformers fan club, it’s licensed out to Fun Publications, who have a markedly crap way of dealing with international fans.

      As for the availability, it is simply because no American retail chain except Toys R’ Us would take GI. Joe. Target, Wal-Mart and K-Mart all said no to even the Retaliation movie line simply because they believe that military action figures do not sell, coupled with the fact that the 25th Anniversary line was a huge failure which left them with tons of unsold product.

      Military just isn’t “in” now. It’s sci-fi all the way. Robots and Star Wars.

      And I say this as a huge Joe fan, and it kinda pains me.

      • Thanks for the info. Well, Hasbro or Fun Publications, it’s all the same to me: us non-American fans are used to getting the raw end of the deal. We’ve come to expect it, but we sure as Hells are getting tired of it.

        • Sandman

          Yeah I know, and I feel your pain. I’m using Joe fansites like HISStank and Yojoe to nab the figures I want, but it does sting a bit not to be able to just order them…

      • Brainlock

        My Targets had the initial Retaliation shipments that hit right as the movie was “delayed for reshoots” eight months. #FML
        without that movie to push the product, it sat pretty much untouched after that first week before finally being clearanced. When the movie did come out, they ordered bare minimum and forget restocking. I never saw the Bruce/Colton figure, but they couldn’t give away Rock-block.

    • I know, Beedo. I was going to review Zaranna first, but then I knew that comments section would just implode. lol

      I wish GI Joe were doing stronger as a brand. That would make it much easier to collect.

      • I was actually able to get Sgt. Slaughter and Zaranna from BBTS (eventually, and for ridiculous mark-ups), but Jinx . . . YEESH! She went up on BBTS, and sold out while I was in the checkout section. It was like a sneak preview of Matty Collector. Haven’t seen her since. That was the start of my decline.

        They pull that crap with the Night Raven, Thunder Machine, or STUN, I will not be held responsible for my actions thereafter. You read it here first.

  • Sandman

    Good review and I wholeheartedly agree with you about the FSS.

    While I would never sign up for the MOTUC subscription as an international fan because of the insane charges that Digital River has implemented against us, at least that line has a lot of winners in it. Sure there’s pointless rehashed figures and characters you never heard of, but it manages to hit the important ones on the way. The FSS can’t really do that, because Hasbro will cover those figures themselves. It’s like if you removed every vintage toy figure from MOTUC and just left it with the rest. Sure you may get excited now and then, but overall it feels unsatisfying. Of course the flip side of that is that you won’t miss any super-essential figures if you don’t bother with the FSS whereas the MOTUC sub will totally cut you off if you don’t have it.

    (The second reason I stopped even trying with MOTUC was when they made Shadow Weaver a sub exclusive, meaning my Horde team would never be completed. Subsequent events like Two-Bad not even getting a Day of Sale further hammered the point home.)

    That being said, I have decided to dip into the FSS pool for a few figures which I really liked. I got Cesspool and Blackout who are amazing, and Skullbuster who is… not. Still no luck to find anyone even selling Big Boa, sadly, so I fear that one will forever elude my grasp, like Shadow Weaver.

    As a general rule of thumb, I will only go for a FSS figure that uses a Rise of Cobra or never mold, which thankfully is most of them these days. And with the 50th Anniversary line upcoming which will finally bring a GOOD Lady Jaye, Flint, Destro and Leatherneck, there’s at least a lot of stuff to be excited about!

    Good review and great pics as always!

    • Thanks, Sandman.

      I love Cesspool. He’ll stay. My bigger thing is figures like Blackout or Barrel Roll – I want to enjoy the VvsV charactrs, but I just find I have a hard time caring? From FSS 1.0, I kept Big Boa, Covergirl, Dice, TNT, Topside, & Iron Klaw. The others just didn’t catch my attention well for whatever reason. Maybe the nostalgia is a bigger factor than I thought? In 2.0, the Tiger Force was neat, but I don’t need them. Keel Haul is the real prize, but I’ve kept Bombardier & Widescope (Loved him actually), Cesspool, & Toll Booth. I’ll surely keep the Oktober Guard, but that’s just going to lead to me overpaying for the others eventually…

      • Sandman

        Cesspool is pretty much a home run in every way, isn’t he? The face sculpt by Boss Fight Studios absolutely blows me away with the detail and paint, and his colors and accessories are excellent.

        And yeah, it’s really up to personal preferences. As a kid I was always prone to play with whatever toys I thought looked neat, rather than those that were shown to in whatever media (toons, comics, whatever). So for example I didn’t get the regular old He-Man until quite late in the MOTU line just because he didn’t look that fun. I guess that’s still in effect?

        Widescope looks great too, I’d like to get that guy!

  • The stand is grey because this figure represents the area where most decisions will fall regarding a third FSS subscription. Obscure is good long as you have a connection to the character, at least in my book. You can’t get more obscure than Bombardier, so if you don’t know the story behind this figure, only his vivid colors and depressing bio (is this the first instance of torture and murder in a Hasbro-sanctioned file card?) are likely to catch your interest.

    I sign up for the FSS strictly out of nostalgia, so I hope to see characters from the vintage line or ones from the comic and cartoon which were never produced when I was a kid. Even variants such as Hawk in his dress suit or the Crimson Twins in their Extensive Enterprises suits are far more recognizable than a guy like Bombardier. Granted, we also got two more Oktober Guard characters this year along with guys such as Tollbooth and Keel-Haul, so it’s not all bad news.

    To be fair with Hasbro, I have a similar problem with the character mix in MOTUC. I only collected the vintage line during its first two years. The vintage POP was a girls line, so I had no business there whatsoever. I was around eighteen when NA debuted and still remember how it flopped with kids of the early Gen-Y era. And I wasn’t collecting at all when the 200x line was announced.

    So this may explain why my interest in the Mattel sub wanes more and more the deeper the line goes unless the character involved is aesthetically pleasing enough on its own, say, as Batros turned out to be last year. Bombardier here has done the same for you more or less in this case, but in the long run I can see subbing up to be one heck of a judgement call for most collectors. These guys are going for some pretty hefty premium prices and the cost of getting a couple of Boss Fight Studios head sculpts on some figures as opposed to paying for straight repaints and recycled accessories is squeezing a lot of folks out of the whole deal altogether.

    • LOL about the stand. For a second I thought you were really trying to tell me something. 😀

      You bring up some great points like Hawk in his dress clothes or Tomax & Xamot on the suit body. The Club seems to have leaned away from variants like that – is that a Hasbro thing or do they think they need original characters? I mean, I do figure it works like MOTU – fans from all eras need to buy in and subsidize each other, I just have a hard time feeling as good about it as I do with MOTU.

  • J. Lee

    Looks nice but agree and yet never see these at local toy shows. I kick myself on not buying Lifeline or some other figs that hit and I saw at the shows. Guess its do to wanting to cut back I guess. I also forget who I really want when finally spot some of them.

    The sub service can be a tough choice.

    • Cutting back is always good.

      The sub always gets me on the 13th mystery figure. It’s looking like an Oktober Guard this year, but I’m not sure who it would be… I felt like Blackout was a let down last time.

  • ero

    I NEED that helmet and visor to complete my Sunbow-style Short-Fuze. C’mon, someone, part this guy out and send it my way! 😀