Review by Fred Meyer & Chris Chung
Pics by Fred Meyer
G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Figure Subscription Service 5.0
Anti-Armor Trooper – Code name: David “Salvo” Hasle
“The Right of Might.” It’s an odd slogan for a character that fights on the side of heroes, but in many ways, it suits the character. Salvo debuted in 1990- a time when popular culture used the term “extreme” to describe virtually everything that was being marketed toward a younger audience. I still have nightmare about everything being “extreme”. From his giant (and I mean “GIANT”) five missile rocket pod to his minelayer, there was nothing subtle about Salvo. This carried over to his portrayal in both the classic Marvel Comics series and the DiC series of G.I. Joe animation. Salvo was large, loud, and wasn’t one to hold back on the use of firepower. Now, after an initial design misstep, Salvo makes his debut in generation 3 construction, thanks to the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club. Was he worth the wait? Read on and find out two Joe fans’ opinions on “the Right of Might.”
In the source material, both comic and cartoon, Salvo has always been presented as a big guy. Not just a tall man, but someone with a physique that can be better described as “massive.” Chris, it makes sense, someone who carries around a giant pillbox missile launcher as a personal weapon wouldn’t exactly be classified as the classic Charles Atlas 98 lb weakling, right?
You would be correct. That’s why it was so infuriating when the Club unveiled the scrawny first draft of this character.
As for the character himself, I owned the vintage one back in the day, and he was cool in his own way. But my biggest problem was he was too plain. I never liked the guys in plain T-shirts without webgear, ammo pouches, or other load bearing equipment. (Outback at least had removable gear.) He looked more like he was ready for PT than battle. Sadly that same deficient look carries over to his modern release. Although the DTC Salvo generated much animosity in his design and build, at least he included a tacvest that made him look battle ready.
I’m not going to belabor the brouhaha that erupted when the Club unveiled their original digital mock-up for Salvo. It’s safe to say that their design failed to live up to the expectations of seemingly the ENTIRE G.I. Joe fandom, who made no secret of their displeasure. Thankfully the Club went back to the drawing board and the result is a build that is much closer to the Salvo that fans have loved over the decades since his introduction.
That was actually an important moment. That showed the Club in that instance they couldn’t just slop some lazy half-assed garbage together and expect to peddle it at $37.00 plus shipping. Too bad the community isn’t more vocal about other figures that also deserved to be better.
The recipe for Salvo appears to be the following:
Let’s be honest– most of this build makes PERFECT sense. The key-word being “most”. Despite the near over-use of the Battle Kata Roadblock body over the past few years, it makes perfect sense for Salvo. It’s a figure build that gives the character stature and size– two things that David Hasle desperately needs. In fact, it’s pretty much the only build that could be used without the development of substantially new tooling. The upper torso sculpt simulates the original 1990 t-shirt nicely while the sculpted straps can substitute somewhat for the sculpted ammunition belts that were wrapped around the legs of the vintage build.
I am very glad they didn’t try to replicate the ammo belts on the figure’s legs like on the vintage one. That was a silly idea that would have looked especially stupid if it was replicated nowadays.
You’d almost say that this is a perfect parts build.
For some reason, the Club didn’t go with a 100% reuse of the Battle Kata Roadblock body. Instead, the figure’s lower legs were swapped out with those of the Retaliation Duke, my least favorite lower legs in recent memory. To make these work with the figure, “RoadRock’s” knee pads are rotated 180 degrees from their original intended position. The resulting combination is… frustrating. Salvo can neither perfectly straighten his legs nor lean forward on his ankles; both of these points of articulation are necessary to help this figure stand unassisted. As a result, the figure can’t stand upright without help and this, in my opinion, is completely unacceptable– especially for a premium-priced figure that the Club had to rebuild after a missed first attempt on the design. Honestly, what would have been so wrong about just re-using the entire RoadRock body? It’s not like the Club hasn’t released straight repaints of existing builds in the FSS series before. Normally I’d question if I was being hypercritical at this point, but after the fan uproar and all of the suggestions to use that very body, I’m left wondering what happened? Instead of a perfect figure, fans now have to use the hot water/cold water immersion treatment or resort to using a hair dryer to fix their nearly $30.00 figures. As our current President would say: “So sad.”
Agreed. Just use Roadblock with a new head. We’re all cool with that. K.I.S.S.—“Keep It Simple Stupid.” But don’t try to get cute and throw in unnecessary tweaks just to shake things up, because it isn’t cute, it isn’t clever, and you look like an ass when the tweaks are more detrimental to the whole than the parts they should have used in the first place. So in the Club’s eternal wisdom, they tossed on Duke’s lower legs to be cute, and those have the ridiculously small and tight ballet slipper-shoes that are not proportionate to the hulking body. And he can’t straighten out his legs. Hey thanks…
One of the most distinctive features of the original 1990 Salvo figure was his strong featured bald head. As the FSS reveals were always shown wearing a helmet many fans wondered just whose head would be underneath the now golden helmet. As it turns out, the Club went back to a head that they’d used twice before– that of the Hit & Run (2013) figure! I’ll be honest– this head works far better in my eyes for Salvo than it ever did for Hit & Run. For the latter I always found it to be a bit too brutish but this time around it works perfectly. (It doesn’t help that it reminds me of actor Dominic Purcell who portrays Mick “ Heat Wave” Rory on the CW series “ DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.” The character of Mick has always reminded me of the DiC interpretation of Salvo!) Devoid of an excess of facial camouflage or digital whiskers, this head has found new life in its portrayal of Salvo and I’m 100% okay with it!
I must agree on this point as well. I think most us speculated Serpentor’s head would be Salvo’s, so it was a nice change of pace seeing this portrait. And as you mention, Fred, it works better here more-so than it ever worked for Hit & Run, because on H&R it was just a bizarre (and quite frankly) fugly head.
As I stated early, the original Salvo figure came with a weapons kit that could only be described as “heavy firepower.” This also carried over to the DTC version of Salvo, clearly setting a precedent for what should be included in the figure’s kit. The club opted for this combination:
In keeping with a recent theme, the Club opted to retool one of Salvo’s vintage accessories. Now, don’t get too excited– it’s not the missile pod. It’s also not the minelayer. Nope, it’s the briefcase– now identified as a landmine case on the file card. I’ll be honest– this one’s a head scratcher for me. Literally, aside from the figure’s original helmet, the briefcase is one of the most easily obtainable vintage accessories on the market currently. I can only speculate that the case was retooled because the Club has plans for a reuse down the road.
We’ve gotten at least five new briefcases since the 25th, so anyone one of those would have worked fine. Here it seems like a total waste. Some characters have signature weapons that make them iconic. And while I frown upon tooling new weapons instead of new heads, if a weapon or accessory is vital to the character’s iconic core, it should be included or retooled. But sorry, no one cared about Salvo’s briefcase. Can I get a hand of those who used it? See, no one raided their hands. And why would they? Again, it boggles my mind how out of touch some of these Club people are.
For the rest of the kit, the designers at Fun Publications opted for the spring-loaded rocket launcher that was included with the Rise of Cobra desert camouflage Duke action figure, an oversized .45, and the Pursuit of Cobra Sci-Fi helmet. I like the pistol as it finally gives Salvo something that he can use at close range without proving to be a danger to himself and those around him. It’s not a great fit in the figure’s hands but at this point, beggars can’t be choosers.
Fred, I read some people had difficulty keeping the gun in the holster. Did you have this issue?
I’ve had no real trouble with the holster. However, the pistol is crazy loose in either of the figure’s hands. Go figure…
The rocket launcher is probably the closest accessory that the Club could come up with aside without taking some creative liberties. As for the helmet, well, it’s just too darned small. The first time I tried to remove it the figure’s head came along for the ride. This happened the second and the third time as well so eventually I opted to buy a vintage helmet on eBay. It looks great on him and fits far better than the included accessory. As the French might say: “le sigh…”
Yup. As with his mismatched knees, the second biggest gripe I’ve also heard were TONS of complaints that it’s very difficult to get the helmet off the head without pulling the entire head off the neck post. Form over function is the norm, so why are we always surprised when this is demonstrated?
As for his rocket launcher, I agree on the reasoning why the Club might have included that particular model, but it’s ironic in the meta-fiction because the FLASH was essentially a modern-day flamethrower, not an anti-tank round, so Salvo’s function as anti-armor is slightly displaced—and treads into Charbroil’s territory. In this case the Club should have spent some money to tool his original 5-shot launcher. That would have at least made good on his codename.
At the end of the day is Salvo worth purchasing? Gods, this is a difficult question for me to answer without standing on my soapbox and launching into a fanboy rant of near epic proportions. The core figure is pretty solid– and is MILES BETTER than the mock-up that we were originally shown. Miles better! Whoever designed that first draft was obviously clueless about the character, and the fandom. The size and stature are there and I really dig the Hit & Run head this time around. The Club even got the lettering on the t-shirt right this time. However, the figure’s knee issues really give me some pause on a full-fledged endorsement. To be honest– it’s bad design to have a figure that just cannot stand. It’s the type of design oversight that the Club seems to get away with because these are considered “adult collectibles” rather than kids toys. A figure like Salvo shouldn’t have to be posed as if he’s suffering from osteoporosis in order to stand. Period. As such, I have to say that this figure falls into the category of “Buyer Beware.” If you snag him, just know that you’re going to have to do some extra work to salvage the Club’s build into a useable figure. He’s fine if he’s just left mint on card but openers like me are going to have to take extra steps. After his sketchy debut, I expected much better for my money.
Again I mention this not to be redundant, but in case people haven’t read any other FSS 5 reviews yet. I skipped FSS5. I could not justify the cost based on the amateurish offerings. First-draft Salvo was one of the reasons. While it was appropriate the Club listened to the fans and revamped him, they should have never have been so sloppy in the first place. That speaks volumes about their core operating philosophy, and the “talent” of their creative staff. Yes, this figure is an improvement, but not to the degree he should have been improved. As Fred mentioned, he can’t straighten his legs, you can’t take off his helmet easily, and he can’t stand up. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? That is not a recipe for success in my book. And certainly not at the greed-inflated prices they are selling these figures at. Couple with no recognizable weapons from the vintage fig, and you can see why I passed on him. What makes him any different than Bazooka or Zap? Nothing. I do still recommend him simply because he looks decent carded despite his flaws—and for the fact many wanted to see him. But no matter what we say that’s positive, Salvo is still damaged goods.
The Bottom Line: Salvo is a figure that looks great if left on card but openers are going to have to work to fix some pretty serious design issues in the knees.