The last couple of years as I sat down to write this up, I think ‘oh, this will be easy this year…there was barely any product’!
Then I go through all of my reviews over the past 12 months and realize that for a line that is supposedly on prolonged life support, we still got some GREAT stuff in 2015. Really great stuff.
Now, I migrated to a new review system in 2015, one that makes calculating review scores a bit more granular. But, I’ll be honest… I still went by the seat of my pants on this rundown, and looked at these figures from the perspective of a 100 mile view. It can be tough to write up a review “hot off the presses” right when I get a figure in hand, because honestly, that’s often when I’m in love the most. It can be tough to be impartial that close to the newness of that toy for the first time.
So I whittled down the list and ultimately looked at figures that I could step away from for a little while and gauge my appreciation.
The results are after the break.
10) FSS 3.0 Repeater
The third iteration of the Figure Subscription Service was filled with some fantastic updates. Many fans sort of turned their nose up at the selection of figures, mostly because there were several Convention Set repaints, but honestly, I thought some of those repaints were extremely well done and most appreciated. Repeater was a great update to the original, presented in his far more familiar 1988 paint scheme. While he didn’t come with a trusty stedi-cam machine gun, he had some great modern tooling and an amazing new head sculpt. Repeater was a winner.
A very pleasant surprise from the 2015 San Diego ComicCon, I don’t think anyone expected a Kre-O set to be included, much less one of this quality. Sgt. Slaughter with his Marauders and trusty TTT were cool enough, but add in the great Iron Grenadiers, and this was a set that stood out far above the crowd. Looking back on it now makes me sad that G.I. Joe Kre-O appears to be phased out, and just reminds me of how much fun that line was while it lasted. I still can’t believe I resisted being pulled into it for so long.
08) FSS 3.0 Muskrat
Like Repeater, Muskrat was a Convention figure repaint, converted from Night Force to a more familiar 1988 color pallet, and including a brand new sculpted boogie board. Muskrat was an improvement in almost every way to the Night Force version (which was pretty damn good to begin with), using lots of relatively modern parts and building out a terrific update to the G.I. Joe Swamp Fighter.
We get so accustomed to seeing figures repainted and carried forward, that when new tooling is introduced it feels like a major victory for the collectors. I’ve gotten to the point where I am absolutely sick of the tooling for the AWE Striker. It’s been used so often with some minor tweaks here and there, but the essence of the AWE Striker has remained consistent. With the FOE Striker, the Hasbro design team brought some great new things to the table, with newly tooled accessories that blend into the vehicle itself perfectly. They nicely compliment the base vehicle, and add some great new elements.
Along with the FOE Striker itself, Chuckles appears pulled directly from the IDW COBRA comic book with a newly sculpted head and desert deco scheme. The end result is a highlight of the 50th Anniversary line and one of the 10 best G.I. Joe toys of the year.
As one of the biggest Stall sibling fans in the G.I. Joe community, I was ecstatic to hear that Bombstrike was getting the FSS treatment, and once I got my hands on the figure I remained ecstatic. She is one heck of a great update to her new sculpt original, with very nice parts selection, really great accessories, and a beautiful Boss Fight Studio headsculpt. One of the highlights of FSS 3.0 and one of the best figures of 2015 for sure.
Speaking of beautiful Boss Fight headsculpts, this year’s G.I. Joe Convention featured Tiger Force, a concept I’m not a huge fan of. Even saying that, though, Stalker stood out among his fellow Tiger Force compadres with a great assortment of modern components, several intriguing accessories, and yes, another great new headsculpt with a removable beret. Far and away the best Tiger Force member of the boxed set, Stalker is one heck of a fine looking figure.
Narrowly edging out Stalker for the best overall figure in the boxed set, the Iron Anvil is magic. Based on one of my all time favorite convention figures (and potentially high on the list of one of my favorite o-ring figures in general), this Iron Anvil update also features a great new headsculpt and some amazing parts selection. Great articulation, an awesome, sleek body design, and some fun accessories all come together to give us a highlight to the 2015 Iron Grenadiers piece of the boxed set.
Yeah, I cheated on this one, and I’m not afraid to admit it. Coming in the tail end of the Figure Subscription Service as well as in a Convention 3-Pack I just couldn’t see using two separate slots in a Top 10 list for one figure with different paint. The new parts for Frostbite make all the difference with a great new head sculpt and fur collar, all on top of a great parts formula. This is a terrific update to the ’85 original and not only did the FSS version complete the entirety of the 1985 run, but the Tiger Force version brought him to the jungle, and only proved to get more valuable mileage out of a terrific figure.
Ever since he first appeared in the Concept Case at the Convention a couple of years ago, the fandom has been clamoring for Gung Ho. With a ton of new tooling, this version of G.I. Joe’s first Marine is far and away the best version of this timeless character, and from a purely structural standpoint, easily the best figure of the entire 2015 roster. Great paint applications, terrific articulation, all the necessary gear, this figure has a LOT to love, and succeeds in all the right places.
In almost every circumstance he would have topped the list of best figures of the year, but for 2015 there was another consideration that even the best figure couldn’t quite get over.
Purely from a design standpoint, let’s all face it…Sightline is no Gung Ho. His parts are all reused, and even the deco is the same, with just some color swaps turning him urban rather than the familiar desert of G.I. Joe: Retaliation Duke.
But that’s not why this figure is #1.
As most everyone should know by now, in February of 2015 the G.I. Joe community lost one of its most powerful voices and one of its most ardant supporters. A man named Gary Head, who came to the community loud, fast, and strong, and as one might expect, was gone in much the same way. Passing away early this year, to Hasbro’s credit, they acted fast, getting the support of his family, and almost immediately announcing that a figure in the 2015 G.I. Joe line up would be based on Gary.
That figure is Sightline, and for that reason alone, he remains the top of the list of the best figures of 2015. There’s no new tooling, there are no new accessories, and even his paint scheme is a somewhat “been there, done that” design. But push all of that aside, and you have a plastic representation of what Gary meant to the community and meant to the brand, and not even the most immaculately sculpted bare-chested Marine in the world can beat that.
We miss you, Gary. Rest in Peace.