Direct to Consumer Wave 3 - Grand Slam
name: Grand Slam
Assortment: Direct-to-Consumer Wave 3
Price: MSRP $4.99
Availability: December, 2005
You know, I can't really explain Grand Slam's overall popularity within the confines of the online Joe fandom. He only got two figures in his history, and those two figures were within a year of each other at the very beginning of the 3 3/4" line's history. He appeared in barely a few Joe comics in the early days and really has had no lasting impact or effect on the mythos of G.I. Joe. Yet people love him.
Whether it was his characterization on the filecard, his use of the JUMP jetpack, or the appeal of his red vs. silver pads versions, I'm not sure...but all I know is out of all of the original 13 figures, he has been the last one to get an honest to goodness new version. Perhaps that's the source of the appeal, I don't know, but whatever the case, fans love Grand Slam, and I've had an affinity for him, too. Hasbro has apparently recognized this and decided to give us a new version of this character for the first time in over twenty years. However, they didn't go particularly all out with him, making him a straight up repaint of Bazooka, from head to toe. How did it work? I'll see if I can shed some light.
As soon as the now infamous "Amazon List" leaked, there were scattered hypothesis about the characters listed and what we might see done for them. One consistent pattern throughout was that if a Grand Slam figure was made, we should expect to see some Valor Vs. Venom Bazooka parts, which makes perfect sense. After all, one of Grand Slam's trademarks is his quilt-padded vest and other assorted protective armor throughout the figure, and since he hasn't appeared in any other formats throughout the line's history, we could easily expect that to be his foundation. And sure enough, that's what happened. I do not think, though, that people expected Grand Slam to even re-use Sgt. Bazooka's head sculpt. Luckily, Bazooka's head sculpt doesn't even LOOK like Bazooka, though, so it's not such a big deal. However, it doesn't particularly look like Grand Slam either. Still, though, I don't think it's really that bad a choice, even though a new one would have been nice. As it is, though, he looks fine, and with the brown hair and no moustache, he doesn't even really look like Bazooka all that much.
However, the Bazooka figure does have some underlying problems that a bunch of those Valor Vs. Venom figures did, namely issues with a short torso and long legs, although thankfully it's not quite as pronounced on him as it is on some others. Still, the legs on this figure are a tad long for the torso, but happily it's not nearly as bad as say, Widescope or Red Spot.
The mold itself is very nice. Grand Slam's base uniform is bulky and wrinkled, with every crease and fold sculpted quite nicely. It really looks like a modern day thick, cloth uniform. Where the straps and pads cross the cloth it's properly creased and looks almost real, and there's plenty of straps and such on the uniform to get that effect. Of course the biggest draw of the figure is the chest pad and while it's somewhat understated, it still looks great. The padding is definitely lighter than originally intended back in '82/'83 but it still has a great, realistic effect. Then you have the holster, the detailed belt and cross straps for the pads, and everything comes together pretty nicely. It looks like a nice military-themed uniform and figure, yet still updated just enough for the pseudo-fantasy world of G.I. Joe. The look suits Grand Slam pretty well, too. So in spite of some minor proportion issues, the mold all in all looks nice, I think.
Paint Applications/Color Choices
Paint apps here are a high point, for sure, but not in the ways you might suspect. Because of the similarities between the original Grand Slam and Flash, many people prefer the silver padded look to differentiate the two. I would agree with this, and given the choice, I'd pick the deep, dark green, and silver pad look over the more common red pads any day. However, even though Hasbro went with red, it still looks good, and is obviously the color meant to draw your eye.
However, the complimentary colors here are what really take the cake, I think. Grand Slam's base uniform is a great deep, dark green that looks both nicely military and appealing to the eye. Also with his straps, belts, and other trimming being the classic black, it pays homage to his look of old where the only major difference between him and Flash was the black trim versus the brown. It makes it so, even as a red-pad figure, this still looks like Grand Slam. The paint is simple, but effective, which has kind of been Hasbro's specialty lately. While I sometimes enjoy seeing different colored, interesting deco'ed figures, there is something to be said for simplicity, and this figure is a nice example of that.
The accessories here are somewhat of a mixed bag. He's got Rollbar's helmet, which fits fine for obvious reasons and helps make him look like he should. He comes with a nice pistol, but also comes with a bandolier of grenades, and I'm not sure what those are all about. Not to mention the funky yellow color of them. Grand Slam has never really been a grenade type of guy (and they don't really classify as "artillary") so I don't know what this is about...it would seem these would be better suited for someone like Monkeywrench (and colored silver).
The last thing Grand Slam comes with is a very, very cool looking laser rifle. I love how the handle looks and works, and it comes with the same peg system that makes it work with the vehicles as well as with the figure itself. It also has that pair of smaller holes that some of the other weapons came with, which potentially makes it even more interactive with other accessories. The design of the laser rifle is somewhat simplistic, but it still looks really neat and suits Grand Slam well. I just wish he came with a jetpack, too.
It's been over 20 years, and some would say Grand Slam deserves at least some new parts, but for the most part this figure works as is. I'm a fan of Grand Slam, and I'm glad to see him get some new treatment, and it's a bonus for me because I don't really use the Valor Vs. Venom Bazooka, so this won't really impact the look of my team that much. Decent figure over all, and probably the best of the Joe figures in this wave.
Ratings (out of 10)
Mold : 7
Paint Apps: 7.25
Overall score (not an average): 7.5
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