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

I get the position the Club is in sometimes. When you’re doing these subs, you need figures that aren’t going to require a lot of tooling to offset the ones that do. It makes sense, but I think that can sometimes lead to missing opportunities where new tooling would’ve gone a long way. Bombardier is a great example of this. There’s not a lot the club could do – the figure itself needs to use Flash as a base to get the detail right, I understand that. So I’ll take the skinny legs and the funky ankles, but I just can’t get past the head. Individual Joes just need unique head sculpts. Hasbro has this problem too – Cutter, Leatherneck, & Gung Ho are triplets. Duke has a twin in the greenshirts and Hasbro already did this exact thing when they made Grand Slam. It’s cute, it’s nostalgic, but nostalgia can have a breaking point. For me, reusing heads is definitely it. This is Flash in Bombardier’s gear and that does take away from the figure a little more than it should.

The other place where the body reuse does hurt Bombardier is in the articulation. The articulation is where newer Joes own their elder, 25th Anniversary brethren, and that is evident here. We have limited range on the ball-neck, ball-elbows, and ball-ankles. Just those three areas right there limit what you can do with the figure a bit, particularly deep poses and holding the included rifles with both hands.

Bombardier included a nice complement of accessories: helmet with visor, a stand, two rifles, and a mobile missile launcher. The two rifles are nice inclusions for some extra gear, but I can’t really pose him with both. Heck, even just giving him one is unintentionally funny because they’re kinda huge. And then the missile launcher. I have to laugh, because this is one those annoying oversized “working” missile launchers that were included with the Rise of Cobra movie figures. To this one’s credit, it more of a robot/drone that can roll around on its own – that makes a bit more sense than having those giant shoulder cannons with tiny handles. It’s a nice little addition and were I to have room for it, I would probably display it with Bombardier.

The helmet and visor he will keep of course. It helps hide the fact he’s Flash – even though Flash & Grand Slam have the same piece. I do like the blue on the visor this time around though. That helps make it pop and works great with the other colors. And, hey, there’s a stand! It’s grey instead of silver like the other “International” Joes. Not sure why. Who wants things to match?

Overall, Bombardier is an okay figure. He’s got some fun colors, almost a little bit more space-themed than battlefield-themed, but it works. He looked neat when I first ran across the pics of the original discovery and it works again on this repaint. What’s better is the new back story and the accessories that help flesh him out into his own character. If only he could’ve had his own, new face to go along with it. While I’m hesitant subscriber, I guess I still am one. I will likely re-up for a 3.0, but I wish I could counsel the club against using some of these earlier molds from the 25th Anniversary line. I know they’re limited in what they can use or what Hasbro will let them use. And in Bombardier’s case, choices were even narrower, but a few new pieces or even some workable part swaps could’ve fixed some of the issues the original faced and could’ve knocked this guy out of the park.

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20 thoughts on “G.I. Joe Subscription Service
(FSS) 2.0: Bombardier Review

  1. 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”??? :/

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

    2. 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

      1. 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! ‘_’

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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…

      2. 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.

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

  3. 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!

    1. 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…

      1. 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!

  4. 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.

    1. 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.

  5. 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.

    1. 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.

  6. 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! 😀

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