We saw a nice mix of characters in the GI Joe Club’s first Figure Subscription Service, but the most exciting offerings were definitely the new 25th/ Modern Era updates to classic 80s/ 90s figures such as Cover Girl, Big Boa and Topside. And for the third wave of figures released, we get two of those much-desired classic updates– Big Boa and Topside.
Both figures are excellent, and very welcome additions to the modern GI Joe collection. While there’s a few design issues with Topside, the Naval security officer is quite solid, while Big Boa is every bit as amazing as we all hoped.
Topside made his debut in the early 90s, and his updated figure captures the same look for the Joe– blue shirt, grey pants and helmet, and a life preserver. He looks good, retaining one of the more realistic designs of his era of Joes, and the use of the Modern Shipwreck body is wise, giving Topside a uniform look with his fellow Navy Joe. Topside includes a removable helmet, a fantastic new portrait, and quite a few relevant accessories– the security guard is packing a billy club, revolver, semi-automatic, and a hook.
While this figures features some strong parts use and just the right amount of new tooling, there’s a few drawbacks. The biggest is his arms, which for some reason are painted a skin tone, instead of being cast in that plastic. It’s a problem in that neither tone nor consistency matches the flesh-tone plastic of his face, and painted elbows may lead to lots of chipping and paint rub, if he is posed too much. I like the use of the recast life vest as well, although it is markedly different than the puffy, full vest worn by the classic toy. I get not making the piece just for one figure, but since it could have been utilized for both him and Horror Show from last year’s Oktober Guard set, I think the Club could have earned their tooling dollars back fairly easily.
The Cobra side of this month features the vicious trainer, Big Boa. I admit, I know Big Boa should be ridiculous, with his Mad Max gear and Darth Vader helmet, but I’ve always had a soft spot for this guy– his vintage figure was one of the most cherished in my collection, with his removable boxing gloves and punching bag. He was unique amongst Cobras and I actually dug his concept as the man responsible for turning these mercenary terrorists into warriors.
The Joe Club really did justice to this guy, and his new updated figure is incredible– easily the best we’ve seen in the Subscription series so far, Big Boa is right up there with the best of the modern Joes. The use of the Resolute Roadblock body is perfect, giving Boa the right amount of definition and height. His spiked harness is realized perfectly and looks just like the classic piece, as does his helmet, an all-new sculpt based on the classic design. There’s new little tweaks that only add to his character such as his Cobra insignia tattoo and his impossibly cool new accessories.
Much like the vintage figure, Big Boa has removable boxing gloves… however, unlike the old figure, whose gloves slipped on and off over the hands, the new one sports swappable parts. The boxing gloves and normal hands can be interchanged very easily and both look great. While the Cobra trainer lacks his vintage punching bag, he more than makes up for it with some great new pieces– Big Boa includes a dumbell, a double-sided pugilist staff, and a sledge hammer. He also includes one piece for his trainees, a fantastically sculpted sparring mask. The mask is pliable enough to slide over the heads of most standard Joe figures, and it’s such a fun concept to tie Big Boa in to the rest of the Cobra collection, I have to applaud whoever came up with this concept.
It was a great month for the Joe Club, and these are exactly the caliber of figures I was hoping for when I signed up for their first sub. If you didn’t sign up, keep checking GIJoeClub.com, as they will likely be listing both Topside and Big Boa for sale on their site in the next few weeks. Topside is a welcome addition to the Joe team for any serious fan, but believe me when I say– even if you’re a fairweather Joe fan, Big Boa is so cool, he is a must-have for any collection.