Review by Chris Chung & Fred Meyer
Pics by Fred Meyer
G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Figure Subscription Service 4.0
Intervention Specialist- Code name: Bullhorn
The G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero era underwent a bit of a rebirth in 1990. A brand new animated series premiered in syndication that featured an almost entirely new cast of characters. Some old favorites such as General Hawk, Duke, Scarlett, and even Snake Eyes still made the occasional appearance but those Joes received nowhere near as much exposure as they once did. Instead, the stories shifted focus to what could be regarded as “the next generation” of ARAH team members– Ambush, Pathfinder, Captain Grid-Iron, Colonel Courage, and and a certain “Intervention Specialist” by the code name of Bullhorn. With a decidedly more urban focus, Bullhorn and his team mates ushered in a new tone for a brand that had been going strong since 1982.
Fred, even though I was rapidly getting out of G.I. Joe in high school, I really liked Bullhorn when he came out. His weapons, gear, and colors were all very cool, but I remember even then I wasn’t sold on his filecard. His PMS of “Intervention Specialist”, and his SMS as “Armor” didn’t really match his weapons, as he felt too much like someone trying to be two things at once—in this case a negotiator and a sniper—but the two didn’t overlap very well. (Nor does being a tanker for that matter.)
Twenty-six years after his original release, Bullhorn returns as part of the pentultimate Figure Subscription Service from the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club. Does this figure live up to two-and-a-half decades of nostalgia? Read on, Joe fan, and see what our two intrepid reviewers have to say!
When Bullhorn first arrived I thought there was something oddly familiar about the body construction. It only took a moment but I realized where I’d seen it ALL before. To my eyes (and I’m no customizer), this appears to be the Club’s recipe for recreating the 1990 Intervention Specialist:
That’s it! Honestly, it’s one of the simplest figure builds I can recall seeing from the Club and, as a Hasbro design, it works quite well. Huh?! There’s a lot of useful articulation present and it does a solid job of recreating the very simple uniform of the original Bullhorn. The designers at the GIJCC have a tradition of trying to adhere as closely as possible to the vintage designs and this one is no exception. Yes, at the expense of other factors. Even the color scheme is pretty close—with only the shirt being sculpted in a lighter shade of gray. The combat boots on the Club’s version are a deviation from the vintage design but it’s one that I’m okay with as it makes sense both practically and visually. I’m not okay with that, as I’ll detail below.
Between Hasbro and the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club, the Pursuit of Cobra Dusty head has seen quite a bit of use over the past six years. It’s a generic enough head that it works “well enough” for Bullhorn even though the vintage figure’s hair was combed back and this head features a side part. However, given how few new heads the club sculpts for FSS figure waves I’m not surprised to see a parts reuse here. I will admit that I’m not a fan of the 1980’s headband but that’s more of a personal preference. If nothing else, it makes for an amusing Joe-scale ring toss prop. For further discussion of Bullhorn’s noggin, I’ll turn things over to Dr. Chung!
Sorry Fred, but I got to disagree with you. To put it bluntly, I think the build sucks ass. Why? Because whoever “thought” of this figure is either a no-talent hack, they were extremely lazy, or they simply didn’t care. No effort was put into this! First off is the Dusty head; which has been used to death. There are what; six or seven “different” characters that use this head now? That’s ridiculous for 2016.
We also get to the issue in which I detailed with Barricade: The hair styles are wrong. Vintage Bullhorn has hair styled swept back, while vintage Barricade has it parted to the side. But to be contrary here, Bullhorn was given the hair that is parted to the side that would have worked for Barricade, and Barricade is given the hair that is swept back that would have worked for Bullhorn. How the hell can the Club not see this?! What makes it all the more frustrating is, if you swap the heads so the hair styles are how they should have been done in the first place, it works! So no one can claim the heads wouldn’t have worked opposite of what the Club did. Furthermore, the Dusty head also works BETTER with the Accelerator Suit helmet from Barricade, and the Chuckles head works BETTER with the gas mask with Bullhorn! This wouldn’t have been that big of a deal if we could just swap the heads, but to make it correct we’ll have to remove the camo face paint on Dusty’s head, and repaint it on Chuckles head. Instead of trying to hold true to the characters, the Club tried to hold true to their accessories. This is clearly demonstrated by money being spent on Bullhorn’s bullhorn, Barricade’s missile launcher, Pathfinder’s Weed Eater, and Sneak Peak’s periscope rather than new heads that would make each character unique.
The next issue is the legs. Bullhorn had gaiters over his boots, but this one doesn’t. Sure, if there were no parts with this aesthetic, no biggie. But we do have legs with gaiters, so they were available! So why did vanity figure Surefire get them, but not Bullhorn? So much for “vintage accuracy”.
My other issue with the body design is found in the web gear and it’s a minor one. The sculpted grenades on the harness tend to restrict the motion of the arms when holding any sort of rifle but this isn’t a new issue. From a visual stand point, I think this build is pretty solid. However, I know that my esteemed colleague will likely have something else to say, so I’ll once again pass the keyboard over his way for a bit.
Thanks Fred. The last thing I wanted to add was the deco: it’s close, but not entirely correct. The grays and tans are too light compared to the vintage figure. I was also irked his belt sculpting was left unpainted because it’s glaring against the brown.
The original 1990 Bullhorn came with a pretty full kit and the FSS version is no exception. Here’s the breakdown of his included gear:
When it comes to the figure’s gear, the Club did their best to recreate the original 1990 kit and from a form standpoint, they succeeded. While no new tooling is on the body (boo!), the classic bullhorn accessory is a newly tooled item based on the sculpt of the original. The opening gun case, assault rifle, and gas mask further recreates the feel of the vintage figure’s gear. (I’m still not sold that this is actually a bullhorn as there is no sculpted microphone on the back, but that’s covered in my vintage 1990 Bullhorn review. No need to rehash it here.) In fact the newly tooled bullhorn is a dead ringer for the vintage original which will appeal to the purists out there. From a form standpoint, this kit is pretty solid!
Yeah, frack the figure so he has the wrong legs & head, and not-quite correct colors, but keep his accessories dead-on. That certainly sounds like a “successful” recipe to satisfy the fandom… As stated above, the Club decided accurate gear was more important than accurate portraits or uniforms, so money was spent on making a bullhorn instead of making a new head that would actually LOOK like the character. Never mind you can buy a vintage bullhorn accessory dirt cheap on eBay. Or never mind anyone who has the 2008 con set has the bullhorn when it was retooled then. And really, who even uses the bullhorn aside from displays?
And then there’s the sweatband/headband… It doesn’t work. Not. Even. Remotely. On his head it ends up looking like a Dutch pancake braid. Sure, maybe if it was paired up with some leg warmers and a Olivia Newton-John VHS tape it could work as Jazzercise attire, but not here. Here it just looks embarrassing.
In any of my reviews of Club product I usually delve into a discussion of form vs. function. The Club almost always strives to recreate the form of a classic design, often at the expense of function and this figure is no exception. Freddy, don’t get ahead of yourself. They didn’t strive to make his form correct either. Bullhorn’s two rifles recreate the original figure’s kit as much as possible but he can’t hold either of them worth a darn. At all. In fact, the Steyr AUG is pretty much only good for show as there is no way he can hold it in anything resembling a realistic firing pose. Yes, it’s the same sculpted rifle that came with the original but I’d much rather see Bullhorn be packaged with one rifle and an MP5—which he could ACTUALLY hold. It doesn’t help those Shock Trooper arms are a tad too short. In addition, the figure has no place to store the silencer and bipod that came with the M-200. (The suppressor doesn’t stay on the rifle barrel very well, so if you tip the gun, it will slide off.) To avoid losing these parts fans will have to leave that rifle assembled, rendering the backpack superfluous or they’ll have to toss these extra bits in a parts bin. I’m not a fan of packaging figures with more accessories than can be stored on the figure itself and this is no exception. If Bullhorn has a real weakness in my eyes, it’s found in the functionality of his included accessories.
I think the entire figure is a weakness. To me, he’s a waste. He brings nothing new to the table except a stupid accessory most people won’t ever use.
Is Bullhorn worth purchasing and is he a worthy addition to a generation 3 construction G.I. Joe Collection? I’m going to lean toward a yes but with some caveats. The figure build is solid and the color scheme is an excellent recreation of the classic 1990 design. The head sculpt works “well enough” but does lack the “WOW factor” of some of the Club’s other releases. Bullhorn comes with a good selection of accessories but ultimately only a few of them are actually useful, in spite of the increased articulation found in the figure build over the original figure. So while he warrants a purchase I wouldn’t recommend breaking the bank for him unless you’re either a huge fan of the character or the DiC era Joes in general. He’s good but the strict adherence to the vintage design limits what could have been a fantastic figure. Of course, that’s just this Joe fan’s opinion.
The Bottom Line : Bullhorn features a solid figure build but is packaged with gear that is very limiting in terms of poseability. He’s worth a purchase but keep your eyes peeled for a bargain.
For my bottom line I’m going to say no, he’s not worthy. With the exception of his color and gear, he doesn’t look like vintage Bullhorn. And no, he is not worth the cash. Think about it: this same exact figure is sitting in the clearance aisle at Toys ‘R Us right now, and can be made with body parts in a 2-pack, a head from a 3-pack, plus some paint—all at around $25.00. But the Club wants you to pay $40.00+ for him. For what? A bullhorn that looks the same as the vintage one, but is more flimsy? Recycled guns we’ve already gotten that can’t be properly held or parts that won’t stay on the guns? Yet another body using those same tired parts? What are we even getting—another Dusty? This figure offers nothing new. Whoever made this figure should be ashamed of themself, because NO talent was involved here. This is just another half-assed figure tossed out with an attitude of “it’s good enough”, and another example of wasted opportunity that sadly has become synonymous with the Club.