Review by Chris Chung & Fred Meyer
Pics by Fred Meyer
G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Figure Subscription Service 4.0
Z-Force Communications – Code name: Jammer
Way back in the day before I knew anything about Action Force and when ‘Joe sites first started popping up, I had read on a forum that Jammer was Jamaican, and his codename was to reflect jammer-style beach shorts he wore when not in uniform. In hindsight it was obviously a facetious posting, but having no other foreign character point of reference; and not knowing he was a communications guy, I took it seriously until that became my mental image of the character. After all, in 1995 would the alt.GIJoe text sites on the World Wide Web reached by Netscape lie? Imagine my surprise years later in the 2010 convention set when I found out was an American!
In the words of Night Court’s Bull Shannon: “Ooookay…” I’m one of those people that actually wanted to see more variety in the FSS. Bring on characters from other eras such as the Adventure Team, Sgt. Savage, Super Joe, or even *gasp* G.I. Joe: Extreme! Comic and cartoon for me over those.
So Freddie, why am I mentioning this embarrassing aspect of my past? Because his filecard states he joined a British SpecWar team. Umm, huh? Why not an American who joins an American SpecWar team? The Club could have done a much better job explaining that, because that makes him seem like a weird expatriate who couldn’t cut it in the United States.
I have to admit that his nationality also left me curious as to how he came to be a part of Action Force. There’s a story there—and a potentially interesting one at that, but the file card sadly doesn’t cover it.
Anyway, this is the second Jammer the Club has made. Granted one was O-ring, but that doesn’t change the fact he’s a twosie. From my perspective I feel that we should get “real” G.I. Joe characters over foreign ones that were later retconned in. Because how many figures haven’t seen a modern release yet? And yes, it’s nice to get a different ethnicity, but why not Hardball or Stretcher—who are both easily made with existing parts?
Jammer is composed of:
Jammer is primarily a repainted Zap body with the Shock Trooper arms, and the convention TF Stalker head. While the head is now fairly iconic as Stalker’s I suppose the Club needed to get some more bang out of that tooling, so it’s no surprise it was used again.
I’m not at all keen on the torso. It’s too short compared to modern figures, and it was even too short then. I also don’t like the lower legs—specifically the ankle holster. That design is a very humorous and telling visual that whoever initially created these legs never wore an ankle holster in real life. Although some manufacturers do make ankle holsters for full-sized pistols, no one in their right mind would wear one in that style because it’s too heavy around the foot; it’s horrible to run with it on; it’s meant for concealment; and it would catch on stuff if you weren’t careful. (Fred, I personally carried a back-up pistol in an ankle holster, but it was a tiny .380 that’s only good for short range—and even that gets heavy after 8 – 10 hours on the leg. I can’t imagine wearing a full-sized .45!)
I actually don’t mind the parts used for this figure but I’ll admit that the torso looks a bit short when compared to many of my other ARAH generation 3 figures. It’s a result of using some of the earliest 25th anniversary tooling but it’s not a deal breaker by any stretch of the imagination.
As for deco, Jammer has a great modern looking tiger stripe pattern over a lighter green on the BDUs. (How cool would last year’s Tiger Force set had been if the Club would have used this kind of tiger stripe pattern instead of the sloppy “Cheez Whiz” style?) The result is a nice modernization to the original Action Force toy.
I concur—the camouflage pattern is pretty darned awesome. In fact, it’s almost TOO awesome for a mere communications specialist! Again, a wasted opportunity to use with Tiger Force.
Jammer also uses a lighter skin tone than Stalker, and it not only helps differentiate the two men, but the skin tone is also realistic unlike the reddish coloration used on Alpine and Iceberg. (It’s also interesting to note the flesh tone on his hands was simply painted over the Shock Trooper’s gloves.)
My only issue with the deco is the big red Z-Force tampo patch on his chest. Yes, the original had that, but it was questionable then and it’s questionable now. It completely runs counterintuitive to his tactical presence by giving him a nice bright sniper bullseye on his sternum. The shoulder harness helps to cover some of it, but I think a smaller unit patch would have been more appropriate.
Once again, this is an area in which Chris and I differ. I actually love the fact that he’s got the Z-Force emblem emblazoned across his chest as it further helps to differentiate him from Stalker. Yes, it’s a bit too “superhero” to be tactical but then again, neither was the Z-Force logo on the original figure. It’s a signature element and I love its inclusion here even if the web harness does obscure it a bit.
Jammer comes with:
Jammer’s primary weapon is a G36 in a very rare bullpup configuration with the additional stand-off firepower of a 40mm grenade launcher. (Outside of individual conversion projects, the only other bullpup G36s I’ve ever seen in real life are Airsoft BB guns.) A M1911 acts as his back-up piece.
As the communication guy, he includes the Dial-Tone backpack, but this time in a matching green. While not O.D. green, it’s still a better color than gray. (I’d also like to throw in I appreciated black weapons this time around.)
I do have two gripes about his gear: The first is his beret will not stay on the head very well. The plastic is too rigid to grasp tightly so it falls off very easily. I personally don’t care because it’s red, and I’d rather give him a more tactically colored hat—but this may be important for others who want to keep the figure as-is. My second gripe is the somewhat awkward manner in which the Club tries to shove his handheld GPS device into a waist pistol holster NOT made to the device’s shape.
My only other issue with the figure’s kit is with how the backpack interacts with the web harness—namely that it doesn’t! If you look at the pictures of the figure’s back view, you’ll notice that the hole for the backpack is all but invisible, completely obscured by the figure’s web gear. With some careful manipulation the harness can be slid up enough to allow access but the result isn’t a great fit with the boom mike hitting my Jammer figure square in the mouth. As such, I just tend to leave the mouthpiece folded up and out of the way if I have the figure wear the pack at all. Otherwise, the included kit makes perfect sense for someone like Jammer to carry.
Overall Jammer is a nice looking figure that’s a good modern update on the original, even if his parts aren’t the most ideal. I have no nostalgia for most foreign figures; nor do I have any feelings pro or con with Action Force, so this figure didn’t do much or me. I would have preferred this slot be used by someone else, but for those of you who are keen on the character, he likely won’t disappoint you.
Is Jammer worth picking up? Normally this is where I talk about how nostalgia for a particular character can influence this answer but in my case I have ZERO nostalgia for Jammer and yet I’m completely taken with this particular figure. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s so evocative of the original 1982 Stalker (who was my first single-carded Joe) or maybe it’s the fact that my lack of attachment gives me a clean slate with the character but I really like this particular figure. His deco is simple but effective, his parts build is solid and includes hinged wrists, and I love the reuse of the Tiger Force Stalker head to help him stand out from my 25th Anniversary Stalker figure. As such, Jammer has become one of my favorite figures in FSS 4 thus far! If you can find one for a decent price, snatch him up as he’s a lot more fun that you might expect. Of course, that’s just this Joe fan’s opinion.
The Bottom Line: Jammer is a true surprise hit in this FSS roster. Solid build, solid deco, and a decent kit make for a nice bit of international flavor in any collection.
And to reiterate, he’s NOT Jamaican!