What’s really cool about the GI Joe Club’s modern style Figure Subscription Service is it pulls from all corners of the Joe universe. We’ve seen International figures and side characters in the mix, as well as Modern Era updates of some classic Real American hero figures Hasbro never got the chance to update in the 25th and modern collections.
The third installment brings us a pair of classic characters receiving well deserved updates– for the Joes, we get combat engineer Toll Booth and for Cobra’s forces, a new Desert Scorpion soldier. While both figures’ place in this series is well earned, Toll Booth is the big winner.
Toll Booth is one of the oldest RAH Joes to not see a modern update until now, and he was worth the wait. Decked out in his classic green shirt, brown pants and orange hard hat, this Joe is a welcome sight on his own… but on top of the all new headsculpt and classic look, he also gets a variety of cool, appropriate accessories. Toll Booth is one of the least-armed Joes, with only a pistol and holster for traditional weaponry, but he also sports a pick axe, sledge hammer, roll of barbed wire and two orange traffic cones. Yes, we have seen all these pieces before… but Toll Booth’s gear is all painted, from the metallic silver of the hammer to the white stripes on the cones. Little nuances like these make the figure feel worth the considerable markup for a short-run exclusive such as this.
Not everything is perfect for the latest Joe, though. While I admire the removable vest, the Night Fox piece isn’t very on model to the simpler gear of the vintage Toll Booth. While the arms and legs are ore on model, the parts used don’t mesh very well– the knees are incapable to standing up straight, leaving Toll Booth’s legs slightly bent at all times. And he gets the lousy 25th bare arms, which look too skinny for the body and feature the awkward bent right hand I wished we would never see again.
Overall, despite these drawbacks, Toll Booth is a solid take on the classic hero, and his cool, copious accessories make him one of the best Joe Club releases in a while.
I wish the same could be said for Desert Scorpion, one of the more exciting figures announced for the sub lineup. While the figure nails his early 90s design, which his garish yellow mask and shirt really standing out against his brown and black armor, The parts used here look awkward together. Desert Scorpion uses Croc Master’s arms, which fit okay on the 25th Zartan upper body, but are way too big for the legs, which are made up of the skinny 25th greenshirt thighs and padded shins. The overall effect leaves this Cobra trooper looking quite top heavy.
While I understand the need to limit new tooling– and while I think the use of the Resolute Snake Eyes for this figure’s mask is genius parts reuse– I am left feeling underwhelmed that this guy is 100% a kitbash. He’d be a good custom, but if I’m paying as much as I am from the Club, I would have liked to see a little bit of new tooling.
Still, he uses some of his parts to great effect, and small details like the hyper-tanned bare arms on Desert Scorpion make him nice to have. He comes packing a rifle, spear, backpack and robot scorpion, recast from the Valor vs Venom era but in a striking black and red deco. The scorpion features articulated legs and weaponized claws, and matches its master very well.
Both this month’s Joe Club figures are good, and I’m glad to have both join the ranks of the modern era. Toll Booth is one of the better figures the Club has done in some time, but Desert Scorpion– like many of the other recent releases– is cool, but definitely underwhelming. If this guy had been a custom, he’d be a very smart one. If he has been a mass retail release for $10, I’d probably pick up a few. But bridging the gap between those two, as the Club’s releases do, he’s just not up to par with what the Club and Hasbro have proven they are capable of.