Review by Chris Chung & Fred Meyer
Pics by Fred Meyer
G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Figure Subscription Service 4.0
Cobra Battle Android Trooper- Code name: Inferno BAT
Anyone that’s been reading the reviews at JBL for years can attest to the fact that I’m a fan of the G.I. Joe vs. Cobra era that lasted from 2003 – 2005. Yes, I do have a signed affidavit that attests to this. It was the last time the 1:18 G.I. Joe was targeted to children in earnest and the last time that the new figures were fully compatible with the classic ARAH-era pieces. During this brief run, a lot of vintage molds were reused in new configurations and styles with one example being the 2003 Inferno BAT. Part of a troop-builder six-pack, this automaton was a simple re-release of the classic 1991 BAT v2 molded in red translucent plastic. The effect was striking and it put a fresh new spin on a familiar concept.
You know Fred, as much as I loved robots, mechs, cyborgs, and the like, I was never a fan of the BATs because they didn’t push the envelope enough for me. They looked too human, they wore clothes, and even with their arm gimmick they still seemed uninteresting. But the thing I hated the most was the stupid transparent chest that screamed “Shoot here!” that showcased its vulnerable internal structure. The DTC and Sigma 6 era BATs fixed this problem, but it still wasn’t enough to ever win me over to their inclusion. (And, back in the day it also always felt like Hasbro was copying MOTU Trap Jaw’s arm function.)
As for this figure, right off the bat (no pun intended) it has flaws against it. Who the heck wanted this figure over more requested ones? Two people? We’ve already gotten 25 versions of the BAT! Isn’t that bloody enough?! What; more people asked for the Inferno BAT over Fast Draw, Salvo, Crystal Ball, or Raptor? I think not. This figure was made for someone at the Club who wanted it, not the fandom. Considering they are using our cash to fund every project they do, they should be adhering to the most demanded characters we request instead of doing troop builders or personal faves no one else wanted.
Now, thirteen years later the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club has revisited the concept in “modern era” generation 3 construction. Is this new figure worth the wait? Read on and find out the opinions of two long-time Joe fans.
Here’s a hint: Whoopty-do…
There’s an expression that says “if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door.” It would seem that the folks at the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club are fans of that adage. Instead of merely opting to reuse the same construction that has been used for the 25th Anniversary BAT, the FSS 1 Nano-BAT, and the 50th Arctic BAT the GIJCC designer decided to mix up the recipe a bit. As near as I can tell, here’s the parts breakdown:
Except it wasn’t a better mousetrap…
I’m just going to say it: from a construction standpoint, the Inferno BAT works… from the waist up. Everything that worked so well for the 25 th Anniversary BAT and its subsequent variants continues to work here. (Aside from the plastic, which I’ll address later.) The articulation is still solid, the torso has the extra mechanical bulk of the open chest plate, and the neck still has the sculpted mechanical wires and pistons that give our robotic friend a very Terminator-esque aspect. Again, from the waist up I have no issues. Do you have anything else to add Dr. Chung?
Chest up or crotch down, this thing does nothing for me. But I suspect it may do something for someone at the Club. This is the second FSS slot they wasted on a BAT, and the second one with translucent parts—but this time more of it. I sense fetish. If we get a battery operated translucent BAT with a ginger coloration for FSS 5, we’ll know for sure.
The problems with this figure really begin when we get below the waist. (Get your minds out of the gutter!) Sorry! The Franken-Joe recipe used to build the lower torso and legs combination just doesn’t work for a mechanical soldier in my mind. First, the legs are noticeably shorter than any previous generation 3 BAT, throwing off the proportions of the overall figure. Secondly, the upper leg halves don’t seem to mesh together well with noticeable gaps between the pieces on my figure. Lastly, the lower leg halves just don’t work for me. They’re from the Retaliation Storm Shadow—one of my favorite figures in recent memory. These lowers are ideal for a ninja with lean sculpting and rocker ankles. However, for a robotic soldier they just seem too, well, dainty. I’m sure I’ll be called a nitpicker for this but the lower legs of a robot have to balance the entire chassis as it moves. Considering that the BATs have never been portrayed as particularly nimble or graceful, the parts swap makes little sense to me. Chris, you might disagree with me but these really just don’t work for me at all.
I do not disagree.
Fred, for full disclosure I’m wearing my ballet slippers right now and they look good on my feet. But the Inferno BAT’s unnecessary leg change with its own ballet slippers not only looks lame on a lumbering, slow combat robot, but it also makes this BAT look unstable because the footwear is wholly inappropriate on more rugged terrain. (But I suppose on the bright-side it’s at least better than wearing shorts and clogs the 2004 BAT v.4 was sporting.) I have no idea why the legs were swapped out. Maybe they wanted to avoid backlash by doing a different build than the Nano-BAT. Maybe the factory was having a fire (no pun intended) sale and they got the Arctic Night Creeper and the Inferno BAT lower legs discounted. I think it’s more of the prior; mixed with whoever is designing these figures is not a skilled customizer so their amateurish blunderings bled through to the final design.
As for the upper legs, I don’t know whose parts those are. I sold my figure MOC and mailed him off the same day I got it, so I didn’t have any time to study the construction. I also can’t tell by looking at the photos online. That, and I simply don’t care.
I also don’t care about the deco, but I suppose I should mention it. It’s bright red so it sticks out like a sore thumb, and instead of having just a translucent chest plate, now you can see through almost all of it and aim for its vulnerable parts…
In terms of kit, the Inferno BAT comes equipped with the standard “modern BAT” kit, with one new addition. Included with this mechanical foot soldier are the following:
The first four are pieces that we’ve seen before but the last piece has been absent for some time. The large sabre blade original debuted with 2003’s BAT v3.2 and I’ll admit it adds a nice bit of variety to this particular model. I don’t know if whoever designed the parts combination intended for these Club Inferno BATS to be more agile than their 2003 predecessors but this blade does give that impression.
Is the blade flimsy like the original one?
I’ll let my hastily shot cell phone pic speak for itself. Surprisingly, it’s a decent fit on the arm pegs too! The only downside is that there’s no real place to store this extra piece on the figure unless you slide it between the figure’s back and the backpack.
Truth to be told, I’m not even keen on the BAT’s swappable arms because if or when the peg breaks, you suddenly have an arm that’s completely useless.
There’s one thing that I feel I should point out before concluding this review. I alluded to this early but the quality of plastic on this figure deserves mention: it feels cheap. When compared to the 25th Anniversary BATs this figure just feels lighter. When I went to swap out the figure’s hands there was a very real moment in which I wondered if the arm pegs might tear off—something that has never been an issue with any other Hasbro-produced BAT. You had to careful with the vintage ones. Especially now; 30 years later. I assume this is due to the translucent plastic but even the Nano-BAT never felt like this. Combined with the lack of paint applications on the body the quality of plastic used makes this feel more like a knock-off figure than a premium-priced Club exclusive and that’s a bit disappointing. Did you notice this also Chris, or am I just going crazy?
Likely you’re going crazy, but I’ll still have to defer to you. As mentioned above, I sold my figure MOC, so I didn’t have a chance to handle it.
It’s for the question that every review should answer: is this figure worthy of a purchase? Now, I’m surprised that I’m going to say this but there’s no way that I can recommend this figure in good conscience to any Joe fan out there. Trust me, I’m as surprised by this as anyone. (Except maybe Chris.) Nope. Remember that night in Annapolis? Nothing surprises me after that. From the quality of the plastic to the odd parts choices, I’m not excited about this figure at all. When it was first announced I was LOVING the fact that we’d be getting a modern update to the Inferno BAT. Considering the 25th Anniversary BAT was one of my favorite figure in that entire line this one should have been a no-brainer and yet, much like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice it utterly fails to live up to its potential in nearly every way. Seriously… this feels more like a Joe knock-off than a premium-priced Club figure. Label me as a “Club hater” or whatever you will—this is likely to be the biggest disappointment of FSS 4. Of course, that’s just this Joe fan’s opinion.
I don’t personally see this as the biggest disappointment of FSS 4. I think the entire set is a disappointment so far because it sounded so good on paper, but most of the figures we’ve gotten are executed in a sub-standard fashion nowhere near the quality the price demands. Case in point: I recently joined the Matty Collector Thundercats subscription service. For $12.00 less per figure FSS figure, Matty Collector gives me a 6” tall figure with 18 points of articulation, a newly tooled head, newly tooled body parts, newly tooled weapons and gear, and cartoon accurate portraits and colors. Huh. I wonder what the better deal is. (Rhetorical question.)
Oh! And yes, you’re totally a Club hater! You’re also an ungrateful peasant, because who are you to criticize items that you should just be thankful you’re being allowed to buy—at an inflated price point?! In fact, you should be grateful there aren’t more flaws; unless you enjoy doing apologist/justification podcasts dripped in desperation. I don’t even know why I associate with malcontents like you. In fact you’re so contemptible; I revoke your license to be a Mouthpiece of the Community. Turn in your keys, decoder ring, and parking pass on your way out.
Anyway, there are plenty of fans who are troop builders or are BAT fans who will buy this up and not worry about aesthetics, and if that grants latitude to the figure for them, that’s fine. But if you don’t fall into that category, then this is a definite pass. This wasted yet another figure slot better used for someone more desirable, and it’s a clear sign of inbred thinking when the Club can’t think of anything better to do except tweak a FSS 1 offering. The final nail in the coffin for me, is, it’s more expensive and less cool than any other recent BAT that came before it.
Bottom Line: Poor parts choices, minimal paint apps, and cheap plastic make this BAT a real hot mess. Save your pennies, kids! (Don’t forget a filecard that tries to justify an imbecilic design and deployment of this unit.)