I can still remember as a kid when Hasbro started introducing new characters to fill positions already held by early Joe team members. In my mind, Leatherneck was supposed to take Gung Ho’s slot as a Marine, Torpedo was being replaced by Wet-Suit, Breaker was getting tossed in favor of Dial-Tone, etc. I wasn’t happy with this move by Hasbro but eventually managed to incorporate the new characters into my childhood Joe-verse alongside the originals. The exception was Grunt who, in the comic, left the team to pursue his engineering degree. I was never a fan of the original bland Grunt figure and so I welcomed Footloose as his replacement. When Hasbro released a 4” Grunt figure in Spy Troops I wondered just how long it would be until Footloose made a return in new sculpt form. With DTC Wave 2, my Joe infantry team just got one man larger.
As with other figures in this wave, Footloose reuses parts from other figures. At first glance, this figure will appear very familiar—the torso, waist and legs of this figure all come from the VvV 6 Shipwreck figure. I loved this body when I reviewed it the first time and that sentiment still holds true with Footloose. There are some color variances—his harness is now a dark tan vs. brown and the overall body is a darker almost olive green. The camouflage pattern is a darker brown and the pouches on the sides of his pants are now painted tan whereas they were left unpainted on Shipwreck. Also, Footloose is wearing a white t-shirt that adds a nice dash of additional color to the torso. The arms of this figure appear to be new and utilize the older swivel-arm battle grip design. This is a step back from the new elbow design that we’ve seen from Hasbro in the past few waves and I wonder if I’m just not recognizing the source of the arms. (NOTE: It has since been brought to my attention that these are the arms from the VvV Alpine figure.) Regardless the short sleeves work well for this figure so I’m not complaining. The helmet appears to be the same one that was used with the first Rollbar figure with some slight cosmetic changes.
Like many DTC figs, Footloose is sporting a brand-new head sculpt. (NOTE: Closer examination reveals that this is just the Shipwreck head repainted. Man, was I having an "off day" with this review or what?) He’s got his trademark moustache and seems to have broken the “curse of the goatee” that Hasbro had been inflicting upon many of the Joes in the past few years. The facial expression is decidedly neutral, which doesn’t bother me too much. He doesn’t look completely lifeless but he’s not sporting some goofy smirk either. There is one other new addition to Footloose and that appears to be the belt rig that he’s sporting. I don’t recognize this particular accessory from a previous figure and it’s just another piece that helps to differentiate this from the Shipwreck figure. Footloose is armed with the same disassembling rifle that came with VvV 4 Duke, which works for an infantryman. Overall, this is a very good update to a classic figure.
Footloose is a figure that showcases the potential in reusing existing molds. When placed next to Shipwreck, there is a uniform feel to the two soldiers yet they do not appear to be carbon copies of each other. The similarities reflect their status as part of the same unit yet the differences make them individual characters. If Hasbro can continue reusing this body and making effective updates to classic character, then more power to them. This approach could give Joe fans a new sculpt Leatherneck, Wet Suit, and even an updated Recoil. As of the conclusion of this review, Footloose will be joining my “active roster” team as a proud new addition to my collection! Well played, Hasbro! Well played!