G.I. Joe: 25th Anniversary Firefly
I would say, without a doubt, that the "Boba Fett" of the G.I. Joe universe would have to be Firefly. During most of the comic and all of the cartoon run, he only appeared sporadically, not ever having a real focal part of the series (until the Ninja Force fiasco(s) of the 90's) yet was always near the top of everyone's favorite characters list. He just had that style and that look that appealed to fans, even though most of them hated his characterization as the "Faceless Master" in the comics. He was a masked terrorist who blew stuff up...how could you go wrong? His inclusion in the 25th Anniversary line is a total no-brainer, especially when they give you a figure of this quality and awesome appearance.
Hasbro's philosophy of reusing tooling has gotten mixed reactions from fans across the 'net, but I don't think anyone would argue that the parts reuse actually works exceptionally well here. Even with the textured commando style sweater that Firefly never wore, the figure overall works perfectly as both Firefly and Beachhead, especially once you throw webgear on the figure to separate the two (not to mention different head sculpts). The overall look of the figure is different enough from Beachhead to work, and simply looks great as Firefly as well.
Firefly, from head to toe, is simply a terrific figure. Even though the bulk of the figure is the same as Beachhead, the new sculpt head is absolutely fantastic. They went the route of the America's Elite version (and Devils' Due version) with the twin seams on his smooth face mask, and I gotta say I LOVE this look. I don't know what it is about that facemask design, but I absolutely love how it looks on the comic page, and I really enjoy how flawlessly this is translated into plastic form. The material works, the intense stare in those eyes works, it all works great, even though that's the only new part of the base figure itself.
Even though the figure is mostly reused, it's immediately obvious that this figure was originally planned to be Firefly to begin with, judging by the instrument on his left leg, and those familiar boots. Perhaps that's why the figure works so well as Firefly, because the tooling was originally designed for that, then reworked a bit to work for Beachhead as well. Regardless of the order of characters chosen, I love how Firefly works with this sculpt, absolutely love it.
As we've come to expect, too, the major difference we see here is that Firefly has the additional webgear on his torso, used to differentiate him from Beachhead some, and also allowing Hasbro to continue using the same base figure for other characters. It would appear that Hasbro has moved away a bit from the removable gear, going more for a permenently attached look. The Wave 2 Buzzer had a shoulder strap that was attached permenently, as did the Lady Jaye. Firefly's webgear also suffers from this. I should point out that this post on JBL from madmac41 indicates that he was able to remove the webgear from his Firefly, but as for myself, I have been unable. There is a buckle of sorts in the back (where the backpack hole is) but mine is glued tight, and I don't want to break anything. If you're determined enough, I'm sure that buckle could be separated and the webgear could be removed, if you choose to go that route.
As for the webgear itself, the end result to me is a bit mixed. The detail work on the belts is fantastic. Elaborately sculpted pouches, grenades, and magazines all look terrific, but the compromise for the excellent sculpting is that the pouches end up riding really high up on the shoulder and crowd his head a little bit. With the grenades on the other side, he looks a bit "busy" from the neck up, and seems like it might really impact how he can move his head. It's not a major problem, but I do kind of wish the webgear was more movable so it could be adjusted. Still, from a design perspective, they are beautifully sculpted and very reminiscent of the vintage look.
The colors on this updated version of Firefly are a bit lighter than the vintage one, but the paint choices are still great. Very much like the original. Adding black and silver trim works remarkably well, too...I really love the color scheme.
We can't help but talk about the articulation of the figure as well, and this is the first proof positive that Hasbro is definitely listening to fan complaints about the range of motion in the figure's hips. As you can see, even though Firefly reuses Beachhead's tooling, his hip sockets have been retooled, allowing for much more motion in the hips and legs! This is the best news I could possibly expect, and I'm absolutely thrilled that Hasbro is taking steps to improve these figures where they need to. It should be noted, though, that the articulation change here is a "running change". Not all Firefly figures have this improved articulation, so check before you buy!
As the line has moved on to Wave 3, there have already been leaps and bounds in improvements to the overall sculpting and design of these figures. Even though I enjoyed the first run of 25th items, these latest offerings make them look almost bad.
Other articulation in Firefly is the same as Beachhead, with nice jointed shoulders, a great mid-torso joint and swivel wrists at the base of his gloves. As with some other figures, I do wish there was a bit more movement in the elbow, but besides that, articulation is pretty darn great. The double-hinged knees top everything off as well. Very nice in the articulation department, and an improvement over Beachhead, which was somewhat unexpected, but very much appreciated.
Firefly's accessories are also very cool. The pistol in his holster fits nicely and is a good enough pistol, and he comes with the same trusty walkie talkie Firefly came with back in the day. His machine gun is terrific, too. It's very reminicent of the one he came with back in the day, but has an excellent folding stock. Also the trigger guard fits Firefly's trigger finger perfectly, which is cool, too.
But without a doubt the shining part of these accessories is his backpack. WOW. With a design based off of his vintage backpack, yet newly sculpted, newly tooled and with several different paint applications that make the detail just pop. The backpack looks beautiful. From the coiled cord going around to the front side, to the tools in the opening compartment, the remote detonator...everything...this backpack is the bomb (literally). Excellent.
Head to toe, even with reused Beachhead parts, this IS Firefly. It perfectly captures all elements of the classic version of Firefly, yet updates the look to perfection. That seamed facemask, textured sweater...everything. This figure is just plain fantastic. Any complaints I have are small and nitpicky, but Hasbro should be damn proud of this figure, it captures the spirit of Firefly, and is a very fun figure to boot. An absolute must have.