Review by Chris Chung & Fred Meyer
Pics by Fred Meyer
G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Figure Subscription Service 3
Arctic Operations Specialist – Code name: Frostbite
1985 was a darned good year for the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero line. It was the year that, after the success of two previous mini-series, saw the launch of the syndicated Sunbow cartoon series. It was also the same year that many fan-favorite characters were inducted into the line including Alpine, Bazooka, Dusty, Flint, Lady Jaye, and Quick Kick. It was also the year that Snake Eyes donned what would become his most famous uniform for the first time. However, there were a lot of great secondary characters that were added to the motor pool as well, including an Alaska native who drove a half-tracked arctic vehicle that would see reissues to this day. That’s right—I’m talking about Frostbite who just happens to be the 13 th figure in this year’s FSS subscription. Was he worth the wait? Read on, and find out two long-time Joe fans’ opinions!
I think most of us knew when Frostbite showed up in the Tiger Force JoeCon set, it was a foregone conclusion he would be the FSS 3.0’s mystery figure. But wow, what a difference this bonus 13 th figure was to the awful, sleazy “Bland Scam” Grand Slam figure we got last year! Instead of a repaint of a repaint of a repaint, we actually got a desirable figure complete with new parts! In a nutshell, Frostbite is an amazing figure: simple but highly effective!
I’ve never had a strong affinity for the cold weather figures but I have to admit that parts choices used to build the FSS Frostbite do a pretty terrific job of recreating the original 1985 version. The original Snowcat driver had a fairly simple uniform consisting of what appeared to be insulated pants, a long sleeve fur-collared jacket and gloves. The parts used recreate that simple uniform without sacrificing articulation and poseability. However, the use of existing parts alone couldn’t have recreated the original figure’s jacket and so a brand new torso overlay was designed, presumably by Boss Fight Studio. It not only simulates the classic jacket but it also allows for Frostbite to keep his shoulder holster. It’s solid work all around in this Joe fan’s eye!
Frostbite’s deco is simple and plain, but that’s exactly what makes him work. The only major switch up is his blue polar bear patch swapping shoulders, but that was simply done because of the sculpted fabric wrinkles on one arm versus the relatively smooth area on the other. No complaints there.
One of the best aspects of certain Collector’s Club produced figures has been the brand new Boss Fight Studio heads and Frostbite is no exception. The design is immediately recognizable as the vintage ARAH figure and yet contains enough extra detail to bring him firmly forward into the Generation 3 styling. The jawline is strong, and the expression is decidedly neutral. Yes, this is a break from the toothy grin that was sculpted on the 1985 version but I’m okay with that. I also like the fact that the sculpted fur on the hate blends seamlessly with the detail on the fur collar.
One thing to be cautious of—the goggles are an extremely tight fit on the figure’s head. Once I got mine situated on the figure’s hat I left them in place as I can’t exactly run out to the store to snag a replacement if they break.
The brand new head richly captures Frostbite, and the rest of his body while looking dated on other figures, looks surprisingly fresh and bold on him. The result is a wonderful looking figure that is very faithful to its vintage counterpart.
Some possible issues could come from his face. His skin-tone is painted on, so it might run thick on some figures or distort some of the fine details such as the nose or eye sockets—like with what we saw on Bombstrike. There are also a few spots in his beard where the black paint isn’t thick enough, so it show his skin-tone underneath, but that’s easy enough to correct. Thankfully no major issues.
Moving on, the furred webgear/holster is a new part that perfectly encapsulates the look and feel of Frostbite and this is a double bonus with also coming with a new head. One word of caution with his goggles: they are very tight and don’t fix on his head very well out of the package. To avoid breaking them, run them under warm water until are soft and malleable, and then they will fit on his head with no problems.
In terms of accessories, Frostbite is packaged with the following:
His rifle is interesting, as it’s a Russian sniper rifle. Sure, I get what the Club was trying to do: give him a weapon with a huge-ass scope like his vintage version’s M-16 w/Starlight Scope, but in this case the closest one was the VSS with its Night Vision device. But it strangely works, given his proximity to Russia and a possible trade or captured weapon.
THIS is why I keep Chris around—he’s a veritable encyclopedia when it comes to the included weapons. I’d have just said something like “the same rifle that came with the 25th Anniversary Zartan. I’m not a huge fan of all white weapons but that’s just a personal preference. However, I do like the fact that he came with the same giant wrench as the 2014 Cross Country figure. Yes, it’s molded out of the same incredibly soft plastic but it makes a lot of sense given his specialty. I do approve of the fact that every single piece of his gear can be stored on his person and I don’t have to worry about extra parts getting separated from him once he’s on display. (This will kill my OCD!) A solid kit for a solidly designed figure.
(To interject something quick: speaking of his geography, I will say it was poor writing on his filecard to mention he lived “unpatriotically close” to Russia. I mean duh he lived in Alaska. As long as he’s on an inch of American soil, it’s not unpatriotic if he isn’t. What a stupid comment to make. Fred, do we have a rolling eyes emoticons?)
Any closing words Fred?
Actually, I really like Frostbite. While I’ve never had any strong attachment to the character (mostly from not owning a Snowcat as a kid) I have to admit that this is exactly what I want from an FSS figure. Frostbite is a well-designed functional figure with a brand-new head sculpt that most likely wouldn’t have seen a Generation 3 update outside of the Collector’s Club. Sure, the body consists of previously created parts but they’re used in such a way so not to come across as a lazy repaint. Instead, Frostbite breathes new life into a classic 1985 figure. The fact that he manages to fit into my GvC Snowcat is just icing on the cake.
The Bottom Line: A solid update of a vintage figure that makes excellent use of existing and new parts. The 13 th “bonus figure” ends up being one of the strongest in the entire FSS 3 roster!
The end result of Frostbite is a wonderful entry that makes up for the Grand Slam fiasco of last year, and also fixes the half-hearted and weak attempt at Frostbite in RoC. He is a faithful tribute to the original, and an amazing looking figure overall. Even if you aren’t into arctic theme characters, this one is a sure win and a figure I highly recommend.