Review by Chris Chung & Fred Meyer
Pics by Fred Meyer
G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Figure Subscription Service 3
Light Infantryman – Code Name: Hit & Run
Before we begin there was some controversy surrounding Hit & Run that it is worth mentioning. When the Club revealed him, they had used the images of the concept case Hit & Run and they led most everybody to believe that would be the version they were doing. As it turned out, it was not. The Club tried to downplay this first by stonewalling—even going so far as to censor and delete relevant (and even civil) posts on their website and Facebook page in hopes to quell the outcry, but it failed. Eventually things became so heated and the fan backlash so fierce, that they had to acknowledge the discrepancy and make changes to make him more true to what he had been advertised as. This was an important step because this was one of the few times the community seemingly united in outrage over a perceived slight against them, and the outcry was so loud, the Club didn’t have a choice but to make things right. If only more problem figures had similar backlash we might have near prefect figures from the Club by now…
Moving on, for full disclosure, I was never a fan of Hit & Run. It wasn’t anything against him specifically, but he never rose to the prominence that some others fans held him to. To me he was sort’a generic—much akin to Grunt with a duffle bag and face paint. Nothing more and nothing less. (Ironically, this one doesn’t come with the duffle bag…)
How about you Mr. Meyer? Where did H&R fit in with you, aside from your artistic nude sketches of H&R “dressed” only in full body camo paint?
Funny story— I wasn’t even aware of Hit & Run until around the time of the 2001 G.I. Joe vs. Cobra revival when I was hanging at my good friend Mike Breaux’s apartment. I won’t bore you with the story but I included it in my review of the original 1988 ARAH Hit & Run that I penned several years ago. It’s nothing against the character—it’s just that he dropped at a time when G.I. Joe wasn’t on my radar any longer.
As far as the “Hit & Run Gate” PR incident that the Club endured this year—I find it interesting that changes were made to this figure and to Spearhead but nothing was done to correct Night Creeper Leader. However, what’s done is done. Let’s move on to the figure itself.
This Hit & Run is a complete repaint of his 2013 Night Force version. The parts work well, though I’m not a fan of those legs. First off, the left leg is slightly shorter making him difficult to stand without a figure stand or without making him stand straddle-legged. I’m also not a fan of Lifeline’s pouch and calipers that are seemingly used on everyone now. The alternate holster or ammo pouches would have been a better choice. My only other gripe about his construction are the hands. As with most of the modern hands, the thumbs are pointed down giving the hands an anatomically incorrect ‘J’ grip instead of a more stable ‘C’. Thus anything he holds tends to slip out of his grip.
Color-wise H&R is a more muted than his prior incarnations, as this is almost O.D. green. He also has tiger stripes instead of his prior black splotches. I actually prefer his original coloration more, so despite the flaws in tooling, I gravitate more towards the 2009 Cobra Island 7-pack H&R over this one. But I can also appreciate a decent looking tactical color on the FSS one, so I have no complaints on that.
Aside from the aforementioned hand grip issues my only other real concern with the figure is the fact that his helmet really doesn’t fit well on the head. It’s the equivalent of being one scale size too large and as a result awkwardly floats on the figure’s noggin. Too much jostling around and it falls off which is quite disappointing. Aside from this, I do like the very military look and feel of the figure’s design. The O.D.green works quite well and I like the tactical yet practical look of the figure.
I do have a token gripe and that is the “screen printed” beard stubble. It’s awkward and it is not flattering. H&R never have facial hair, so the addition of it; even in the concept case, was misguided (at least to me). So in this case, I would have left him clean shaven because his face is busy enough already with the camo makeup.
I think that the stubble is a perfect example of why digital mock-ups of these figures are a bad idea. Now, I’m no expert but what I’m willing to bet is that the Club sent the digital mock-up of the figure to the factory and it was reproduced exactly as it was presented. Whomever produced the mock-up probably had a background in print media production at some point in their career. To produce a shaded region on a surface, tiny dots of a darker color are printed over the top of the original color. The more tiny dots there are, the darker the shading appears to the eye. In the case of Hit & Run, the X’s used were both too large and too few in number. The result is a stubble pattern that looks more like it was produced in MS Paint than anything else. It’s a pretty major stumble in design that ultimately works against the figure’s favor. I’ve yet to see anyone who owns the figure who thinks this pattern is truly acceptable—especially for the price.
Weapons and Gear:
H&R comes with a SOPMOD M-4 with is a good update for his primary weapon, plus the grenade launcher gives him a bigger combat footprint than either the M-4 alone or his prior AR-15 did. One accessory I was hoping for but wasn’t offered in this version was the duffle bag, but the Night Force version had that, so it isn’t a big deal. His remaining accessories are listed above.
Fans should be aware that his googles do not stay on his helmet very well, and in turn, the helmet doesn’t stay on his head that well either, so care should be taken with both of these parts as not to lose them.
I’ve already commented on this as well so there’s really no need for me to beat a dead horse. (Unless you’re into that sort of thing at which point I would recommend therapy. Immediately.)
All in all, Hit & Run is a good figure made even better by fans coming together and demanding he was made better. With a tactical colors and a plethora of gear, you get the sense that H&R has earned the premium pricing you paid for him so you are getting your money’s worth. No, he’s not perfect, but he’s close enough. I would definitely recommend him.
I feel like I’ve stepped into a strange parallel universe on this figure where Chris is really excited about him and I’m more lukewarm. Don’t get me wrong—there’s a lot to like about Hit & Run and when he originally arrived I proclaimed him “the best of FSS 3” on Twitter. However, the longer I’ve owned this figure the more I find my initial excitement waning. The overall body construction is solid and I like the more tactical color scheme. In fact, as long as he’s merely standing on a shelf in my collection he’s really quite nice. It’s only when I was shooting pick-up shots for this review that my excitement became tempered by some unfortunately realizations. There’s no way around the fact that his hands really don’t hold his gear all that well or that his helmet really just doesn’t fit very well. (It’s about as bad as the 25 th Anniversary Bazooka’s helmet.) Also, once you really see how poorly-executed the stubble pattern on the figure’s face is there no way to “un-see” it. Seriously—it’s like the poor guy has a bad case of some sort of “Alphabet Plague” and he’s got the “X Strain.” Try as I might—I find myself almost wishing that the Club had just left the figure well enough alone from the initial mockup. Yes, I could lament the fact that he wasn’t covered in green camo paint but I could rationalize him as a Club version of the 1988 Alpinista from Brazil. Instead, I have a figure that could have been truly great but instead just ended up as “merely adequate.” Of course, that’s just this Joe fan’s opinion.
The Bottom Line: What could have been a fantastic figure is plagued by some design issues that plagued his 2013 version. In addition, questionable paint deco design diminishes the effectiveness of the head sculpt.