Review by Chris Chung & Fred Meyer
Pics by Fred Meyer
G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Figure Subscription Service 3
Forward Air Controller – Code Name: Bombstrike
One thing that I love about the GvC era of G.I. Joe was the fact that the line introduced an abundance of new characters into the G.I. Joe mythos. Sure some of them were nothing more than substitutes for classic characters whose code names had been temporarily lost due to copyright oversight but it was great to have new blood on the team. Characters such as Hi-Tech, Hard Drive, Kamakura, Major Barrage, and even Red Spot were a breath of fresh air in the world of familiar faces. Yet as great as those guys were it was always nice to see a new female addition to the team’s roster. Such was the case with Bombstrike, a character whose backstory had already been hinted at in prior file cards. Now, ten years after her introduction, Bombstrike is brought forward into the “modern era” of G.I. Joe in one of the most anticipated figures in FSS 3.0. Was she worth the wait? Read on to find out the opinions of two long-time Joe fans!
Bombstrike is listed as a “Forward Air Controller”, but that term is archaic in the modern U.S. military lexicon and only the Marine Corps uses that term now. All other branches of service call it Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC), so unless Bombstrike is a Marine (which she is not), it would have been nice if the Club would have done some actual homework instead of falling back on an acronym that was replaced over a decade ago. (Even her 2005 filecard was also incorrect in this regard.) Not a big deal, but the little things also matter.
Bombstrike’s parts are made from a Renegades Scarlett torso, RoC Cover Girl legs and arms, and a newly tooled head from Boss Fight Studios. While she is bare-boned and simplistic, so was her original incarnation. Thus the new parts combination works well to add a familiar but updated look, and the head was a welcomed addition—though I do have some issues with it. (See paint below.)
I really like the body design, actually. The overall visual of the figure is both practically and appealing, with just the right amount of colors to make the design POP without coming across as garish. I even like the G.I. Joe on the torso although I think that the film’s eagle/star logo would have worked just as well. The only issue that I’ve had with my figure is that the right wrist tends to pop out of the socket incredibly easily. I’m debating contacting the club to see about getting a replacement simply because it seems to be getting worse instead of better.
The body deco used is fine, as it carries forth her original look nicely. However, the flesh tone paint on her arms and face is very problematic. For whatever reason, it seems nothing G.I. Joe related can get the flesh tones correct. We had sloppy skin painted on the 50 th, and we’re now seeing that with the Club offerings as well. Bombstrike’s flesh tone on her arm is very uneven, and it shows black streaks under the paint; the black seam lines on her arms were not covered so they are visible, and already the paint is starting to flake at the elbows. The result is half-assed and amateurish. In addition, the great head and face sculpt is partially ruined by having the face paint applied so thick, that her hard line have been smoothed over by too much paint. The consequence is her cheeks and nose are especially thick, giving her a fat, puffy look that was not intended. In addition, her eyebrows are painted in a light blonde which tends to disappear into her flesh tone making her look like she doesn’t have eyebrows, and the left eye of mine didn’t have the eye lashes painted on whereas the right eye did. So despite a good looking body, an otherwise attractive face is marred by overly thick and sloppy deco on the face. Too add a final bout of insult to injury, mine has a small paint blob on the left side next to her chin and on the tip of her nose that even ruins the smoothness of the face paint. This is one case in which the head should have been made with flesh color plastic. That way there would have been no worries about thick paint making a slim face look pudgy. I can only imagine how Boss Fight feel seeing a great sculpt minimized by bad paint.
Another issue of paint is the gold detailing on her belt buckles. Both of mine have spots where the paint wasn’t full coverage, so it looks like her belt buckles are chipped.
Did yours fare any better Fred?
My figure actually looks pretty good although I’ve got some uneven eyebrows. However, I want to take a moment to talk about the single best aspect of this figure and that’s the brand new head sculpt by Boss Fight Studio. Over the past few years this group of former Hasbro sculptors and designers has consistently turned out some of the best product released by the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club. Without their talent and effort, many a convention and FSS figure wouldn’t be anything more than just another repaint in a line of repaints. Bombstrike’s head sculpt is exceptional! From the feminine chin to the sculpted golden tresses there’s a lot of character that shows through in this small piece of plastic. I might be overanalyzing but I even detect an incredibly subtle smirk in her expression and that’s just awesome!
Sadly, Bombstrike’s head is a single piece of plastic which means that either the hair or the face was going to end up being painted in the proper colors. For whatever reason, the choice was made to paint the face and regrettably the paint apps are a bit thick to the point of muting some of the details found in the head sculpt. It’s a shame too as the sculpt is really quite good too, even if it seems just a touch large
Her gear includes:
It’s interesting to note as with her original version, she comes with a USC which is the civilian version of the military UMP. You’d think it would be just the opposite, but perhaps Hasbro didn’t know the difference when they armed her back in 2005; which was carried over to now.
One thing that’s becoming an increasing problem, are the Club’s accessories being made out of thinner, more fragile plastic than the normal Hasbro offerings. For example, with the FSS and convention figures, the weapons are especially prone to show white stress marks after normal handling. To make this worse, the holes in my UAV where the guns fit on are showing white stress marks, and this is right out of the package. I don’t know if the Club uses a different factory than papa-bear Hasbro or not, but the differences are stark.
Since Chris has addressed the issue of the softer plastic I’ll leave it alone. I do like the gear choices that accompany this figure as Bombstrike has been given the role of drone operator, something that is very relatable in today’s military operations. While I’m growing tired of the computer case with the MP5 its inclusion actually makes quite a bit of sense here and the sidearm pistol is always a nice touch. I do wish that Bombstrike had a working holster in which to store the pistol but that’s a personal preference. The 25th Anniversary era spoiled this particular Joe fan and now I almost expect every figure to come with a working holster.
Overall Bombstrike had great potential to be the best new female build since Agent Helix, but she is short changed of that honor by having factory paint application globbed on that’s much too thick and sloppy on the face, but too think and watery on the arms. Add in flimsy accessories, and you have to wonder why exactly are these priced so high when the quality is so low? For fans who are not as discerning about the nuisances of aesthetic detail, I would recommend this, but for those who demand more, you will probably be disappointed this wasn’t a better figure.
At the end of the day, is Bombstrike worth adding to your collection? Honestly, I think most folks have already made up their mind if the prices she’s bringing on Ebay are any indication. Bombstrike has a lot of positives going for her: a solid body design, a dynamic color scheme, a new Boss Fight Studio head sculpt, as well as a fantastic back story. She’s the last part of the Stall family story which played out in the original file cards of Barrel Roll, Blackout and finally Bombstrike in the GvC era. For some reason the Club chose to omit that entirely from their version but that’s not enough to diminish my enjoyment of this particular figure. Even with her loose right wrist and the thick paint apps on her face I still find that she’s my favorite figure in all of FSS 3.0 thus far, even ahead of last month’s Hit & Run. Honestly, as long as it doesn’t break the bank, Joe fans are going to want to add Bombstrike to their Generation 3 collections. After all, new blood on the Joe team is never a thing, especially when that new blood looks this good! Of course, that’s just this Joe fan’s opinion.
The Bottom Line: Bombstrike is quite possibly the best figure in all of FSS 3.0. Solid visuals, a great head sculpt, and a practical kit make her a welcome addition to most collections.