Review by Chris Chung & Fred Meyer
Pics by Fred Meyer
G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Figure Subscription Service 4.0
Military Police & K9 – Code name: Law & Order
1987 had the potential to be an exciting year for the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero brand. Hasbro was in the midst of a major theatrical endeavor with feature films of many of their properties developed for the big screen. G.I. Joe: The Movie was poised to hit theaters and would have showcased a brand new roster of Joes, dubbed “the Rawhides”. Along with fan-favorites such as Lt. Falcon, Jinx, Chuckles, and Tunnel Rat, the Rawhides roster included a brand new K9 trooper and his trusty partner, the wise-cracking Law & Order. Sadly, after the response to both Transformers: The Movie and My Little Pony: The Movie, Hasbro shelved the release of the Joe animated feature and even ended production of the Sunbow-produced animated series. Yet, in spite of this set back, Law & Order have maintained a steady fan base over the years and now, as part of FSS 4.0 fans are able to own a generation 3 update of this classic duo in their original color scheme. Was this release worth the wait? Read on and find out two Joe fans’ opinions!
This will be the third Law & Order we’ve gotten, but these weren’t characters we needed to see again—not when we have over a hundred characters that have never seen a modern remake. Yes, it is true the TRU RoC Desert 5-pack Law was generic, but with the exception of the ridiculously large badge, the Renegades version more than compensated for the TRU version by giving us a great looking figure and dog with a fresh, modern take. This new Law is a step backwards, done by uninspired “fanbois” all in the tired mantra of trying to bring back empty nostalgia by making his colors look like the original figure. Sure, maybe if he had a newly tooled head to look like Bozigian I’d be more enthused, but as it stands I’m fairly ambivalent about this because it was wholly unnecessary, and it wastes a figure slot that could have been used for someone else.
Law’s colors are fairly accurate in terms of recreating the original, and I must admit the odd combination of green, blue, and red isn’t as off-putting as I feared. (Though with that said, I still feel the Renegades coloration was superior.) I was also pleasantly surprised at two aspects: First, the Club thankfully didn’t change his hair color to red—which they’ve done a lot to brown-haired characters over the years. And second, his weapons were black instead of the usual “Club gray”; though do be careful with the nightstick, as the plastic is weak around the ‘L’ handle and if you accidently bend it, it will leave an unsightly permanent white stress mark.
Apparently Chris has “Hulk-like strength” as I didn’t have any issues with the night stick.
Unfortunately, the tampo badge decal placed over a crease in the vest looks tacky, and it’s too low. For anyone who has ever worn a badge, there is a reason why we wear it over the heart. I would have been fine with not even having one if this is the best they could do.
As it seems that I’m pretty much just agreeing with Chris throughout this entire review I’ll continue that trend here. The placement of the badge was a bit buzzling to me. I get why the badge is so much lower—because the use of the 25th Anniversary Wild Bill vest doesn’t allow the tampo to go anywhere else but I don’t necessarily like it. I don’t know what part I would have used instead but this vest just isn’t it.
Parts: Head, Torso, Arms, Legs: Renegades Law & Order
For his parts, Law and Order are repaints of the Renegades Law and Order, but this time he has a problematic “new” vest swapped in courtesy of 25th Wild Bill’s, which we’ll detail below. As aforementioned, I may have been keen on this Law if his head matched the card art and we had gotten a newly tooled Kirk Bozigian head—because you know, I could always use more realistic likenesses for my Voodoo dolls, but this head never felt like Law to me. More-so it felt like a proportionally correct and aged General Hawk head to fix that much-to-small head they used for Hawk in the 25th and again in PoC. Hell, the head is also a dead ringer for General Iron Bear’s likeness in the 2012 convention comic, but I digress.
Law looks decent, but he is not completely accurate. While the Club did their best to emulate the somewhat unrealistic blue on the vest, they paid no attention to the fact the original Law bloused his trousers into his boots, and here the pants are not styled that way. Granted I think we know why—it was simply easier to use the whole Renegades figure, but it tends to lessen the Club’s arguments of why on certain figures they went backwards instead of forwards because they “wanted to be true to the original”.
Law comes with the same basic gear as his original plus an added pistol—but no silencer, so that holster is incomplete.
The vest aesthetically is passable, but crap physically. It’s far too rigid, and the arm holes are not cut to facilitate Law’s arms, so they will always be forced out in a 35 degree angle at the armpit. Fred, this was a particular sore point for you, wasn’t it?
I don’t want to come off as someone who never finds anything positive in a GIJCC-released figure but I do take issue with the vest used for this figure. From a form standpoint it’s a decent match to the original design found on the vintage figure. However, from a function standpoint, it’s a hot mess. Simply put, the arm holes in the vest are too small for the shoulders of the figure and severely restrict the range of motion. Law cannot put his arms down at his sides because the narrow holes limit just how low the arms can go. This wasn’t a problem on the recently-released 50 th Anniversary Gung-Ho because the design too into account the fact that figure needed to be moved. In this case, the Club chose a vest that looks the part but fails to life up to the range of motion of a G.I. Joe body. It’s just another sign that these are really just adult collector figures that aren’t designed to be removed from the card and are there just to be looked at and never moved.
Another issue is the helmet. It is not really build for that head, so it will not stay on. Sure, you can squeeze it to make it sit tight, but once the plastic expands a few seconds later, it will fall off.
The shining star in the set is a very nicely detailed Order. His colors are very well done with beautiful detailing on his face, mouth, and teeth. But I’m not a dog person, I’m a cat one. So it irks me why poor bobcat Max got the awful “Chester Cheetah” treatment in the prior FSS set…
I’ve got to agree with Chris once again on Order– he’s pretty much “da bomb.” (I shouldn’t be allowed to use slang like that. Let’s just forget that it ever happened and move on.) The colors are sharp and the paint apps are crisp. In fact, I’m going to go ahead and say that this version of Order actually surpasses the Renegades version with its darker palatte. The only issue I had is with some warpage on the front legs but that’s something that can easily be fixed with some boiling water and a little patience. (I had to so the same thing with the FSS Max last year.)
In-and-of-itself, Law and Order are decent but unnecessary figures who harken back to their vintage counterparts. Not entirely successfully, but close enough. However, when we look deeper, this figure is a classic example of why this hobby is flatlining, because the majority of designs are inbred with no real thinking outside the box, and the majority of the makers and fandom are Ouroboroses endlessly stuck in a circle—never evolving, only reinventing the wheel. It’s like Lady Jaye and Beachhead—much (but not all) of the fandom always demands the same basic design, and Hasbro or the Club placates this tired meme, but nothing ever quite hits the mark the originals had set. But in this case, I don’t feel Law and Order set any precedence what-so-ever, except to satisfy those who want vintage Law, but just not vintage Law. Thankfully there are others like Boss Fight, Marauder Task Force, and some others who do “get it” and think outside the box, and these are probably our best new hope when the ‘Joe line is eventually taken off life support.
Freddie, you wrote a great article mirroring a lot of this, so can you post a link?
I think that Chris is referring to my slightly self-indulgent editorial on Toy Fair 2016.
At the end of the day, is this version of Law & Order worth owning? That’s a good question. 1980’s purists are going to love the fact that they can finally get Law & Order in a color scheme that is as close as possible to the original 1987 figure. Had the Renegades version never been released, I might have been one of those fans but, in all honesty, the Renegades Law & Order figures are pretty much as close to perfect as we could hope for. They’re a perfect combination of classic homage and modern sensibility that they don’t appear dated in the slightest. As such, the GIJCC FSS version is going to suffer by comparison—especially considering that they share the same basic body construction. In many ways, I wish the Club had chosen the easy route and just re-released the Renegades version in the classic colors. Sure, it wouldn’t have been a perfect match to the o-ring figure but it would have been a solid combination of both form and function, something that this version isn’t. At the end of the day, as much as I love the characters, I find myself disappointed with this version—and wish the Club had put as much effort into this figure as they did the FSS 1 Surefire figure.
The Bottom Line: A nice addition to the collection of MoC generation 3 Joes, this figure suffers by comparison to the Renegades version and ends up just feeling superfluous. Most folks could pass and save a few $$$.