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Frostbite (Figure Subscription Service)

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Here we go again… figure #13.  A figure that’s been frought with frustration and controversy since the first FSS.  Personally, I still think Blackout was almost the perfect example of a Figure Subscription Service 13th figure.  He’s enough of a draw (I think) to please folks, but he’s not such a desirable figure that it frustrates would-be subscribers.  Grand Slam was too far into the “not desirable” side, and Frostbite, I think, surges the other direction into “must needed” territory.  Personally, I’m fine with that, I’m subbing anyway, obviously, but I can see where a couple folks might be frustrated.

It’s a weird feeling to see the 1985 roster now complete (well, except for Listen & Fun Tripwire, I guess) even though it took quite a while to get here.

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What amazes me, too, is that a character that wasn’t deemed important enough to receive a modern update until the last spot in the roster may possibly be one of the best overall ‘85 redo’s in the line.

Frostbite’s build is exceptionally well done, choosing parts from several different sources and giving us a figure with a nice arctic aesthetic and great range of motion.  He’s not over-detailed, but not under either, blending perfectly between part selections which all fit together amazingly well.  The new head sculpt is spectacular, with layered fur sculpting on the hat and bearded face.  Removable goggles approximate the classic look, but also can slide over his eyes as well for added realism.

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Doing the new sculpting as well as the build, Boss Fight Studio did a great job assisting the Club with getting this formula just right.

The deco is obviously built upon the classic version with lots of white and hints of off white fur, and black trim.  It looks the part perfectly.  This is one heck of an update to a 1985 character that rarely got any screen or page time, even in G.I. Joe’s hay day.


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Along with the new head sculpt, we have newly sculpted fur collar that goes over his shoulders, with a pistol holster built in.  This is a terrific piece of new gear that adds a perfect element to Frostbite, allowing some flexibility for the torso underneath, but also matching the vintage look well.

Two pistols can be removed from his two holsters, both on the chest, and with the 25th Anniversary Zap’s belt, another great addition to the figure.  He also comes with a wrench to fix the Snowcat, the removable goggles mentioned before, and a nice sniper rifle. I’ll say the original Frostbite’s rifle is one of my all time favorite guns in the line, and this is a decent version of it.  All of the accessories make perfect sense and compliment the figure well.

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How suitable is this figure for the mystery 13th?  I’m a bit conflicted.  I think advertising this figure as part of the subscription might have driven more people to subscribe.  But at the same time it feels like a fantastic incentive for folks to subscribe next time.  On the flip side, if the NEXT 13th figure doesn’t rise to this level, we’ll just see disappointment all over again, so the Club is constantly waging this battle with the fandom.  This figure is fantastic.  I love it.  It’s made me care about Frostbite when the original ‘85 version failed, and I’m quite excited to have it in my collection, even though I just got the Tiger Force version six short weeks ago.

  • Character
  • Sculpt
  • Articulation
  • Paint Deco
  • Accessories


The last clinging remnant to 1985 (Listen & Fun Tripwire aside) it’s about time we wrapped up this year in A Real American Hero history. Leveraging Frostbite as the 13th figure in the third FSS is a great idea and will hopefully drive more subscriptions in the future, especially if the quality matches what we see here. Great new sculpting, awesome parts choices, and a flawless deco. A great way to finish the FSS and to finish the 1985 roster.


Night Creeper Leader (Figure Subscription Service)

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It seems like just yesterday that the Collectors Club’s decision to go with the yellow and purple Night Creeper Leader was met with frustration and anger, and now that the figure has been shipped, the reaction has been much the same, but this time focused on the head and blindfold. Early images of the Night Creeper Leader showed him without his black skullcap, and to the Club’s credit they gave him one. The only problem is the paint doesn’t go down far enough to meet the slim blindfold and the result is… well, it’s
not aesthetically pleasant.

Thankfully, I’m sure there are casters right now working on a potential stopgap solution to that.

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So after seeing all the online reactions, I was mentally preparing myself to be really disappointed with the Night Creeper Leader, but once he arrived, I feel quite the opposite. If you can get past the look of the head and blindfold, this figure is fantastic. Yes, fantastic.

Using Rise of Cobra Arctic Storm Shadow’s bare torso, Renegades Storm Shadow arms, and the Retaliation-themed Ninja figures (with rocker ankles), the build for this figure allows for terrific range of motion, great updated sculpting, and the ability to hold his included throwing stars and knives. The wrist joints give him some great flexibility in martial arts poses…this is a really, really fun figure.

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While many folks aren’t a big fan of this Night Creeper Leader paint scheme, I actually really love it. I find the yellow and purple more pleasing to the eye than the orange camouflage, and as an added bonus, it matches the Club Black Dragons perfectly! That may be meaningless to most of you, but in my Dio-Story, I had created an allegiance between the Black Dragons and Night Creepers, so I really love that there is an update to
that cool looking Night Creeper Leader.


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Night Creeper Leader comes with a ton of gear. The focal point is the terrific double-strapped webgear which was a really great choice for a number of reasons. It looks great, holds tight, and allows for him to hold the twin Mac-10 submachine guns. One might ask why Night Creepers need machine guns, but it’s been pretty clearly established that they’re not JUST ninjas, so using machine guns makes sense, and I believe in an old
Marvel Comic, they actually used some Mac-10’s. I want to say it was an issue with art by Lee Weeks, but I may be misremembering it…

Along with this, the figure comes with two throwing stars and throwing knives, which works really nicely, considering the webgear has those exact weapons attached to it. An automatic crossbow, two swords and the blindfold round out the accessory compliments, and while it’s a little frustrating to have all this gear that the figure can’t hold, I think it
all makes sense for him.

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Yes, the head looks pretty bad with the mispainted skull cap that doesn’t come far enough down his head. I will not argue that at all. But from the neck down, I really like this figure a lot, and find myself thoroughly enjoying messing with it. An exceptionally pleasant surprise.

Night Creeper Leader
  • Character
  • Sculpt
  • Articulation
  • Paint Deco
  • Accessories


A great paint scheme for nearly the whole figure is negatively impacted slightly by the funky look of the skullcap and blindfold. I love the character inclusion and the parts chosen are mostly great. A surprisingly fun addition to the FSS with some slight quirks easily overcome by the majority of the rest of the figure.


Crimson Guard Immortal (Figure Subscription Service)

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Like Big Ben, the genesis of Crimson Guard Immortal comes from the 1991 line of G.I. Joe figures, a run of toys that totally thrilled me as a child.  I was infatuated with nearly every figure in the 1991 line, but especially loved the updated looks for the familiar characters.  By far my favorite Cobra entry in the 1991 line was the Crimson Guard Immortal, which is probably why I was initially so critical of the look of the concept case version.

While a lot of folks seemed excited for the concept case Crimson Guard Immortal, I wasn’t really feeling it.  There are certain elements of the CGI that are critical parts of the figure’s design success, and the chest panels were some of those unique elements.  I just didn’t feel like the Pursuit of Cobra Firefly vest worked in that same way.

Not only that, but the somewhat clugey gauntlets from the G.I. Joe: Retaliation Cobra Trooper didn’t fit my perceived aesthetic either.  I didn’t consider it a great update.

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So when the Club announced they were revisiting the idea in the FSS, I crossed my fingers that they might tweak the design somewhat and bring something a bit different to the table.

Well, a couple of interesting things happened.  First of all, they did follow the formula pretty much exactly, down to the Retaliation Snake Eyes legs.  Second of all, even though I fought against it all the way until cracking open the card, I find myself liking the end result a lot more than I thought.  Aesthetically, I still don’t like those flashy gauntlets.  I understand Hasbro and the Club were going for “ceremonial” but they just don’t look all that great to me.  From a functionality perspective, though, they’re pretty darn nice.  The somewhat longer arms have great range of motion and enable the Immortal to hold his weapon extremely well, and as folks who read these reviews should know by now, I often use that as a big measuring stick towards a figure’s success.  I still don’t love the look, but the feel is downright awesome.

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The Club used Hasbro’s new head sculpt, which is great, but also added some nice deco to the PoC Firefly vest, putting some black in with the silver to add some nice contrast.  I still don’t love the different shades of silver in the gauntlets and the vest, though, and that does detract somewhat from the cohesiveness of the figure.  The base red matches the existing Crimson Guard figures from the Retaliation line very well, and I love this new and updated Crimson Guard corps I’m now able to put together.  Although I’ll admit I really wish the Immortal was easier (cheaper)  to army build…the whole idea of putting troop builders in the FSS argument has been done to death, so I won’t regurgitate that here.  It doesn’t bug me a whole lot (I’d rather just get the figure in the first place than not) but in some cases, like this one, it’s a bit frustrating.


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The Club also added some nice flair to the accessories for the Crimson Guard Immortal as well.  I totally hated the rocket launchers the vintage figure came with, and while the Club does include that, along with three rockets, they also give him a fantastic machine gun and a great Crimson Guard themed flag that are awesome additions.

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Conceptually I really wasn’t a fan of the look of the Crimson Guard Immortal in the concept case, and my feelings didn’t change a whole lot with the FSS rendition, but I’m happy to say in execution, I find myself enjoying it a lot more than I thought I might.  There are still some changes I would have loved to have seen made to make it perfect, though.

Crimson Guard Immortal
  • Character
  • Sculpt
  • Articulation
  • Paint Deco
  • Accessories


This wasn’t my favorite looking figure from the Hasbro Concept Case with funky arm gauntlets and mis-matched paint on the vest, but I’m happy to say the end result is significantly better than I feared. There are still some elements that could use some improvement, but I enjoy this figure a lot more than I thought I would.


G.I. Joe Convention 2015 Kre-O Six Pack

Big BrawlerDial ToneLifelineRecondoSgt. Stalker
WreckageGeneral MayhemIron AnvilMetalheadUndertow Officer
UndertowIron Anvil OfficerAnnihilatorAlpineFrostbite
SkystrikerTiger Sting w/ BazookaTiger Shark w/ FelinoTigerhawkMantis
Con Set RecapKre-O Six Pack


With G.I. Joe Kre-O all but gone at mass market retail, it was questionable as to whether or not we’d even see a Kre-O set at the Convention this year.  I’m happy  to say the Club came through with one, and it’s pretty nice to boot.

Like previous year’s, we got a multi pack of good guys vs. bad guys, this time featuring (appropriately) the Tiger Force vs. Iron Grenadiers.  Unfortunately the Iron Grenadiers side focuses on the Undertow crew, which is a shame, as I would have loved to have seen Metalhead’s crooked smirk and funky goggles in Kre-O form.

We’ll look at the Tiger Force set first.

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Stalker leads the Kre-O Tiger Force crew, and they did a great job approximating his Convention look.  I really like the painted green webgear, and I was nicely surprised at the expressive look on his face.

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Recondo was the second Tiger Force figure included, and I fully expected it to simply be the same retail release Recondo tampos on a Tiger Force deco, but it’s actually totally different.  The holster placement is completely new, and it doesn’t rely on previous deco at all.  Very interesting choice.

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Wreckage is the third Tiger Force member, and like Recondo, I immediately compared him to Firefly, and while he’s a very close comparison, he’s also not exact, with a slightly tweaked collar.  I’m not sure how Kre-O deco’s work, maybe they have to be more individualized, but I do find it curious that tampos that could have been reused weren’t.

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For the Iron Grenadiers, we have the Undertow Officer, who looks neat enough with a separate masked head and unmasked head as well as a separate hairpiece and a ton of accessories (including a fish!).

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The two Undertow troopers came out pretty well, too, and all three of these figures have great little Iron Grenadier logos on them to boot.  The bad guys are loaded down with separate heads and gear.

I was quite surprised to see the Collectors Club doing a Kre-O set this year, and was pleasantly surprised that it actually sold out at the show as well.  The character choices are nice (though as I said, I’d have loved a Metalhead/Iron Anvils team on the Iron Grenadier side) and the execution is certainly Hasbro level.  Whatever is happening with Kre-O at retail, I’m glad the Club is continuing it and giving those of us who love it some outlet for more product.  I also really like the new display stands they went with, a lot lower profile and more functional than the old blocks.

Pretty good set.

Kre-O Six Pack
  • Character Choices
  • Deco
  • Accessories
  • Builds


I’m thrilled the Club is continuing the G.I. Joe Kre-O theme and the execution here is solid. I would have preferred some other Iron Grenadier character choices, but the deco’s are unique and express the look and feel of the characters well. A decent set, and I’m glad we’re getting some new kind of Kre-O product.


G.I. Joe Convention 2015 Tiger Sting w/ Sgt. Katzenbogen “Bazooka”

Big BrawlerDial ToneLifelineRecondoSgt. Stalker
WreckageGeneral MayhemIron AnvilMetalheadUndertow Officer
UndertowIron Anvil OfficerAnnihilatorAlpineFrostbite
SkystrikerTiger Sting w/ BazookaTiger Shark w/ FelinoTigerhawkMantis
Con Set RecapKre-O Six Pack

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I think most of us saw this coming, what with the release of the 50th Anniversary VAMP Mark II last year, but it’s still pretty neat to see it in production.

Like the previous VAMP and the Stinger, Hasbro added some key parts to make the VAMP MK II for Toys “R” Us retail last year, and the Club has now leveraged that into the Tiger Sting, a Tiger Force version of that same VAMP.

Like the retooled vehicle, this one is bulkier and has more “bling” than its vintage counterpart, plus a nicer rocket system with tubes and other tooling adjustments to make it stand out from the original.

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Step-for-step this updated Tiger Sting is painted like the vintage version with the yellow and black stripes as well as the unique faded white towards the nose of the jeep. The technique is pretty flawless, and one has to wonder if that was part of the “complicated deco” that lifted prices a bit higher this year than they have been in the past. It’s a great look, even if those of us in attendance did have to fork over some extra bones for it.

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The vehicle feels solid and sturdy, and I’ve been a big fan of the modern retools of vintage vehicles since they started doing them. On the surface, it’s tough to tell many differences between this vehicle and a much less expensive vintage counterpart, but if you’re using modern figures and getting your hands on the vehicles often, you will certainly notice the difference.


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Then of course, we have Sgt. Katzenbogen, AKA Bazooka behind the steering wheel. Both Bazooka and Roadblock were rumored 25th Anniversary figures before the line phased out in 2009, and so you had to think they would make an appearance here somewhere. I’m actually a bit surprised that Roadblock didn’t appear somewhere in the Con set, but considering his new role as Hollywood icon in G.I. Joe land, it probably makes sense that Hasbro wants to keep him in their back pocket for future use.

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Bazooka simply uses the same base figure as the 25th Anniversary version, which is fine, because he was a later generation 25th Anniversary figure and looks pretty good. He’s got a very unique appearance with his baggy football jersey and moustached face, so rather than reinvent the wheel, it totally makes sense to carry that look forward into Tiger Force.

His deco is spot on for the vintage, with the new white jersey and green pants, though it’s an odd departure compared to the rest of Tiger Force. It actually speaks to some of my issues with Tiger Force to begin with… I mean what are they really? They’re supposed to be a cohesive subteam, but there are so many different looks, colors, and decos going on… I struggle with it.

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But Bazooka maintains that vintage look nicely into a modern format, and part of me smiles at the fact that they put him an Alpine together in a Con set. It makes sense.


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Pretty much the typical stuff here. He comes with his helmet (mine has some unfortunate black splotches on it), rocket launcher, with four rockets, and his familiar backpack which holds the rockets. He’s got everything he needs to have.

The rockets feel a bit soft and “gluey”, and I’m not entirely sure why, but that’s a minor little issue, I suppose.

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For vintage fans who are looking for new versions of their Tiger Force favorites, congratulations, the Tiger Sting does that for you. It’s not necessarily what I’m into, but the Club executed it really nicely, so fans who are looking for that (and I understand that many of you are), go crazy. It’s a fun vehicle with a great paint scheme and comes with a really nice looking rendition of Tiger Force Bazooka.

Tiger Sting w/ Bazooka
  • Vehicle Design
  • Vehicle Paint Deco
  • Vehicle Play Features
  • Figure Character
  • Figure Sculpt
  • Figure Articulation
  • Figure Paint Deco
  • Figure Accessories


With the 50th Anniversary line bringing us the VAMP Mark II, its appearance in the Tiger Force Convention Set was all but assured. Looking back at the box art for the Tiger Sting, too, we should have guessed who would have come with it. Bazooka comes to us as a straight repaint for his 25th Anniversary version, something that would kind of irk me originally, but Bazooka’s tooling actually still works pretty well, and he matches his vintage colors well. A good update that fits with the Con theme nicely.