Review by Fred Meyer & Chris Chung
Pics by Fred Meyer:
G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Figure Subscription Service 5.0
Advanced Recon – Code name: Sneak Peek
They say that “clothes make the man”; in the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero line it could be said that “the GEAR makes the Joes.” After all, when people think of Roadblock, they conjure images of a M2 vehicle-mounted machine gun. The name “Rock-n-Roll” brings to mind an M-60 while Salvo summons glimpses of a pillbox missile launcher. The nature of the specialization defines the character’s equipment which in turn helps to define the Joe itself. As such, when the name “Sneak Peek” is brought up, a periscope is the first image that springs to mind. This recon specialist has the distinction of having been part of a previous FSS series in this Tiger Force garb. However, as is the Club’s practice, a repainted version in the character’s original deco was included in FSS 5. Is he worth the additional purchase over the Tiger Force version? Read on and find out what two long-time Joe fans think of this version of “the periscope guy.”
Ugh! “Periscope guy.” Not one of Scarlett’s better quotes, thank you very much Devil’s Due Press.
The G.I. Joe brand is no stranger to the concept of the “repaint.” Merely take an existing figure build, give it a new deco, and release him or her as a sub-team variant. Such is the case with Sneak Peek who is a straight redeco of the FSS 4 Tiger Force version, with one exception. Here’s a quick recap of his parts build:
As we’ve already covered in the Tiger Force Sneak Peak review this is a pretty functional build. The parts fit together well and offer a solid range of motion. At the risk of sounding as if I’m phoning it in– there’s not much more to say about the figure’s build that hasn’t been said before– with one exception.
Last time around, Sneak Peek utilized the web gear from the 25th Anniversary Scrap Iron figure, most likely due to the ribbed nature of the sculpt. This caused Chris a great deal of consternation over its vintage accuracy. And this time around they screwed it up again! This time around, the Club opted to give Owen King different web gear– going for more of a tactical look than a vintage homage. As “tactical as light gray, neon green, and red can be… In this case, he’s sporting the same web gear as the Resolute Duke from 2009. Once again, it’s still not vintage accurate but it does help to distinguish this from the Tiger Force version—but at a cost. This particular vest includes several sculpted pockets on the front– presumably to accommodate extra ammunition. This extra raised detail does interfere with the figure’s ability to hold the M16 in a proper two-handed grip. It’s not bad but it’s something to be mindful of.
I don’t like the vest because it still doesn’t fix the figure’s lack of authenticity to the original. It looks like a firing range’s safety officer’s vest: Nice and bright red, easily seen.
I also don’t like the added neon green shoulder straps. The less of neon green, the better. Too bad the Club didn’t tone the hue down as with what they did with Cross Country’s and Psyche-Out’s green.
The thing that irks me the most is, this was a second change to fix the shortcomings of the TF version, but the Club wasted the opportunityto tweak the figure to be more accurate. Instead of using the Resolute Duke arms that more closely match the original aesthetic, we once again got the highly overused Shock Trooper arms that are a bit too short, and have the poorly sculpted ‘J’ grip hands making holding a weapon difficult at best even with the hinged wrists. And wow, this figure’s hands are SUPER rubbery!
Another strike against the figure is the legs. They are not even remotely close to the knee-high snake boots of the original. Sure, some will argue regular combat boots are more modern looking—and that is true, but aside from weapons, the Club can’t have it both ways by claiming their figures are designed to be “vintage accurate”, but then also change things around so it’s less work for them to do when it comes to actually putting the figure together. We all know the 25th Viper boots look like Sneak Peek’s original ones, and they work, as I’ve used them for a custom Night Force Sneak Peek. So why not here?
The single biggest selling point of this figure is its color scheme and in this respect, Sneak Peak is to be considered a success. While the reds may be a bit darker and the greens a bit brighter, the figure is a solid homage to the original 1987 color scheme . I like it– but Chris, I’m sure you will have more to add.
Yup. You know Fred, you’d think a guy who was supposed to be sneaky and blend in with his environment would be dressed in appropriate field colors, right? Well this version ain’t that. With that said,I actually didn’t mind the original colors being untactical onlybecause the Night Force version fixed him in spades and I never had to play with the brightly colored bullet magnet again. The NF repaint was also the most superior version of him in my book. Unfortunately the Club already blew their wad with a Tiger Force Sneak Peek, so I doubt even they would try to do a threesies with him.
Let’s face it– as this figure is a repaint, we already knew what head sculpt was coming. It’s the 25th Anniversary Airborne head which has seen more than its fair share of reuse in the past few years. I don’t mind it so much as I’ll seldom be displaying Sneak Peek without his helmet but I have to admit that I’m getting tired of seeing this sculpt reused again and again. It’s a sad testament to the state of the line today when we’re getting more reuses of head sculpts than we did outside of the very first year of the classic ARAH line in 1982.
Chris, what do you have to say on the subject? (I’m saving most of my comments for the General Flagg review.)
What do I have to say? Every time I see this head I want to hurl. Now eight different characters have used this, and that’s a proverbial kick to the groin: Airborne. Hit & Run. Rollbar. Kickstart. Footloose. Grunt. Freefall. General Flagg Jr.. And it’s now used twice for Tiger Force and normal Sneak Peek. This is ridiculous! Why not use Mouse’s head for a change up? I am never surprised anymore at the Club’s amazing ability to be as cheap and lazy as possible, because there is no basement floor to their shortcutting.
I sound like a broken record but once again, Sneak Peek comes with the exact same compliment of accessories as his Tiger Force release from last year . To recap:
The only real difference this time around is the neon color used for his periscope. It’s a bit more “Eco-Force” than I’d like in hue but that’s just me. The vintage version was pretty garish as well so at least the Club is being true to the original. Not quite. They are cherry picking what they want to be true on.
Sneak Peek’s filecard says he was once forgotten about and left in the field for weeks before being called back. Perhaps that was a misprint and it was supposed to read “left in the field for years”, given he’s carrying a Vietnam Era M-16 that was already retired when the vintage figure was made! I mean, look at that dinosaur! It only has the 20 round magazine! In this case, the Club should have given him a SOPMOD M4 as a modern weapon so he didn’t look so bloody dated.
Another thing that is dated is his periscope. There have been a lot of advances in optics technology since 1987, and miniaturization and next-gen materials have made them smaller and more compact. Because of this, I would not have minded if he came with a more modern and smaller take on the periscope, but I will also concede his iconic periscope is what made his character. But really, if they were going to tool a new one, would it have killed anyone to add a backpack peg so he could carry it on his back when not in use?
A helmet, vest, radio, dickie, and a recycle of Duke’s binocs finish off his kit. Collectors should take note the radio’s antenna is removable and it comes off very easily. It would be a good idea to glue it on if you don’t want to accidently lose it.
I gotta say Freddie, I’ve got mixed feeling on Adam Riches’ card art. Too much of it is hit or miss; the miss being the same chubby faces that look far too similar on too many different characters. That, and on some art the clothing detail is well done, and on others it is very bland. I wish the Club had more variety in their art repertoire. However, to be fair, at least Sneak Peek’s face isn’t based on the real Owen King’s little boy face plastered on an adult body like the original card art.
At the end of the day, is the FSS 5 version of Sneak Peek worth owning? Honestly– if you have to get one version of the character that’s been released by the Club, this is the one. He’s a pretty solid update of the original vintage design, has some solid articulation, and doesn’t come in the garish Tiger Force color scheme. I’ll be honest– the only time that Sneak Peek was ever truly on my radar as a Joe collector was when he originally died in the Marvel series and then again when Hama brought him back (by accident?) in the IDW continuation series. His death was pretty intense for a “kids comic” mostly due to Dusty’s actions and his return was shocking only because it seems more like the author forgot how he’d killed the character off in the first place. As such, I have no real attachment to the character. However, if I had to get one version I’d much rather own the original color scheme than the Tiger Force version. If that sentiment mirrors your own then this is the version to get– at least until the Club gets around to releasing a Night Force version. Of course, that’s just this Joe fan’s opinion.
The Bottom Line: Sneak Peek is virtually identical in build to the Tiger Force version but has the advantage of a better color scheme. This is the definitive version of the character to own.
I agree the colors are less obnoxious than the hipster wannabe TF version, but they still suck compared to the Night Force version. But I’d rather not see any more slots taken up with Sneak Peek.
As for my bottom line, like with much of this FSS wave, I really can’t justify spending cash on this unless he’s someone’s favorite character. His aesthetics are incorrect, his uniform is wrong, and the only thing that really indicates he is Sneak Peek, are the colors and the periscope—at a $40.00 price tag. Not enough was done to make this figure shine, so all he feels like is a cheap and lazily produced “LBC” fan custom—which is exactly what he is in reality. This time around the Club didn’t need to spend any cash on retooling the periscope, so they should have spent some money on a correct vest, or a new head. But they didn’t. No surprise there.