Review by Fred Meyer & Chris Chung
Pics by Fred Meyer
G.I. Joe Collector's Club Figure Subscription Service 5.0
Combat Information Specialist - Code name: Scoop
In today’s modern world, the concept of media coverage of military conflicts is accepted without a second thought. However, back in 1989, it had been some time since the average person was exposed to the concept of the embedded reporter. It had been over a decade since the United States’ last prolonged military conflict and the Cold War was in full swing. There simply weren’t that many reporters that were sent out with the troops. As such, the G.I. Joe information specialist Scoop was a bit of a novelty. Based on real-life NBC correspondent Mike Leonard, Scoop was a journalist first and foremost. Except he was a Crimson Guard spy, and an a-hole in the DiC series. Thanks to the folks at the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club, Scoop returns again in his second-ever figure. Yay! Not.
Fred, how the hell do we have this loser over Fast Draw, Hardball, or Crystal Ball? Oh wait, recycled head; with Cold Front likely next on the re-use merry-go-round. Nevermind.
Was he worth the wait? No. Read on and find out what two long-time Joe fans think of this release.
The original Scoop was presented as a man in basic jumpsuit with a tactical vest over the torso. To recreate this look the Club opted to use the following parts:
Honestly, I feel like this build is a list of all of the “go-to parts” that both the Club and Hasbro have been using for the past year. The arms and legs have seen heavy use of late in a variety of figures and the torso was last seen as part of last year’s Sky Patrol convention set. It’s a good build and one that recreates the original body well enough if you’re willing to overlook all of the specialized sculpted bits that were part of that uniform. The parts build is functional and the articulation is plenty which serves Scoop well. So would have a new head and removable helmet. Hint hint.
Let’s just say it-- apparently orange is the new yellow. If you ask ten Joe fans to describe the original Scoop’s most defining characteristic, I’m willing to bet that at least 8 of them would mention his yellow jumpsuit. It helped to mark him as a non-combatant and helped him stand out in an era when G.I. Joe was transitioning from military realism to a decidedly more fantastic approach to capturing the attention of children. In fact, the only Joe with a similar color scheme was Lightfoot, something that I noted in my review of the 1989 vintage figure. Don’t forget Airtight shared a similar palette.
Apparently something was lost in translation as this figure is orange. Not yellow. Not mustard. Not even lemon-hued. He’s orange---and a dirty orange at that. In fact, Scoop is the color that you achieve when you mix ketchup and mustard together on a plate. (Apparently I’m hungry for corn dogs right now.) I don’t know if the color mix-up is a conscious decision on the part of the Club or if something was lost in translation at the factory. The original photoshop mockup was presented as more orange than yellow but, let’s be honest, the Club’s mock-ups aren’t always accurate in terms of hue. Regardless, this is pretty big change to the character and one that I’m not entirely pleased with. Call me a fanboy but it’s akin to releasing Storm Shadow in pink and saying that it’s “close enough.”
Yeah, what’s with his colors? So instead of keeping the character “vintage accurate”, the Club threw that norm outside the window and decided to recolor him. In the case of Cross-Country and Psyche-Out, that was a boon because the Club fixed the garish neon greens and subdued them into something a bit more tactical. But ohhh, no. Not here. Instead of fixing his color, they made him WORSE! Let’s all think about that for a second... The Club decides to change Scoop’s color violating the “vintage accurate” Prime Directive, but instead of giving him something more combat appropriate, they make him MORE of a bullet magnet than he was before. Seriously, WTF?
When the GIJCC debuted the head sculpt for the 2016 Sky Patrol Airborne figure many fans commented on the resemblance to Scoop’s helmet. The changes made to Airborne’s design were such that result was an odd fusion of both his and Scoop’s head gear. This proved to be quite the cost-saving decision for the Club as that same head is reused here for Scoop. Functionally, it works well enough although the “AirScoop” helmet lacks the extra microphone attachment that was part of the original. Still, there’s one thing that’s missing that keeps me from accepting this 100% as Scoop. Oh, and it lacks the ability to be removed from the head.
As was previously stated, the original 1989 Scoop figure was based on NBC journalist Mike Leonard. That included basing the character’s head sculpt off of the very appearance of his real-life namesake. With the helmet and head sculpted as a single piece, that resemblance is gone. Even worse, in the DiC animated series, Scoop was frequently presented without his helmet. Only in his initial Marvel Comics appearance was the character helmeted the entire time.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again-- one of the strengths of the vintage line was the fact that almost every character had a unique head sculpt. (Not counting the 1982 roster.) This gave all of the Joes personality and make them feel more accessible. Cobra characters were sculpted with non-removable helmets but, with few exceptions, kids got to know the faces of their heroes. By cutting costs and sculpting the head and helmet together, the Club has removed that connection to the character. Now, Scoop and Airborne are head clones and are no visually different than any number of recolored Vipers.
Kind’a makes you wonder where all the money goes to; and if there is any oversight?
How does one equip a field reporter going into a hot zone? The Club did so by including the following accessories:
I have to admit-- aside from the fact that Scoop is carrying 3x the weapons of the original, I like this kit quite a bit. The M4 works as good standard rifle for the Joes and the legs used necessitate the inclusion of the pistol and knife. The video camera from the final 25th Anniversary MASS Device DVD pack should come as a surprise to no one as this is the one perfectly logical reuse for that part. I was surprised to see the inclusion of Sgt. Slaughter’s microphone but it works well enough here-- even though the reporter seldom holds both microphone and camera simultaneously.
I actually hate those legs because one leg is longer than the other so the figure can’t stand unless stradde-legged or on a stand. That, and theses legs have been used to death.
Ironically I just re-watched Full Metal Jacket a few days ago---a film about a Vietnam-era combat correspondent who is attached to a combat squad with his partner. Although fictional, it never-the-less confirmed to me that there is nothing noteworthy about Scoop. The only redeeming aspect he had was unique head, and that was taken away by the lame helmet and uber-generic lower face that is better served as a Cobra. With a terrible deco and nothing new to add to the franchise, Scoop is a backwash of uncreativity that not only wastes our money, but also a worthless addition to the team. And you know what Fred? The worst thing about Scoop is he’s shoehorned into sucking. Other guys have micronized digital cameras mounted on their helmets, but Scoop uses a bulky VHS camera that takes up weight and space better used for ammo. And while he comes with a M4, he can’t even be a shooter because his “first piss of the morning” colored deco makes him a tactical liability that also gives away his location as well as anyone else he’s with.
(And yes, in case anyone is wondering, the temptation to call Scoop ‘Poop” was present each time I typed out his codename.)
My bottom line is he sucks, and don’t buy him.
At the end of the day, is Scoop a worthwhile addition to a modern G.I. Joe collection? This one is a bit tricky for me. First off, I have zero childhood nostalgia for the character as he was released at a time when I was no longer buying Joes as a child. However, one of my closest friends is a HUGE fan of Scoop and it was through Mike’s love of the character that I began to see him differently. I began to look at the concept of the embedded reporter very differently and, when he was announced as part of the FSS, I was pretty excited for his release. Now, let me say this now: this isn’t a bad figure. Far from it in many ways. However, the Club release is missing the two aspects of the vintage figure that I feel define Scoop: the Mike Leonard head sculpt and the yellow jumpsuit. It’s the absence of those two details that make it hard for me to appreciate this figure like I should. Maybe I’m becoming an old curmudgeon of a collector but every time I look at Scoop, I see what could have been instead of what is and that makes me a bit sad. Rather than Scoop, I’m left with Tangerine Dream… Of course, that’s just this Joe fan’s opinion.
The Bottom Line: With his parts build and gear, Scoop could have been a contender for “best of the line.” Instead, he’s a figure that misses the mark with a puzzling color scheme and an non-distinct head sculpt.
|Copyright 2003 JoeBattlelines.com|