BIG BOA v2 (2013)
When I came home from work yesterday there was a nice surprise waiting for me just inside my apartment. The mailman had been by that afternoon with my third shipment of FSS Joes from the Collector’s Club. Usually he would just leave a tag saying that he’d been by and then I’d have to walk down to the post office to pick up my package. This time around my landlady intercepted the package and set it inside my apartment for me. She’s a nice lady who seems genuinely impressed by my toy collection and I’m sure she’s become accustomed to seeing new packages arrive in the mail. So anyway I tore into it not knowing who to expect. The identity of the two figures actually hadn’t been spoiled for me in advance for the first time (sorry if I’m spoiling it for you). To my delight, this month’s set consisted of Topside who I shall review soon and this guy, Big Boa.
When the Joe Club first revealed the figures that would be available through their exclusive subscription service I’m sure this figure, more than any other, convinced Joe fans to sign up. Many of the figures included in the FSS were new versions of characters we already had or new twists on vintage foreign figures who not many American collectors would have any attachment to. But Big Boa was filling a very big void in the Cobra roster of all Joe fans modern figure collections. I doubt there was a single Joe collector out there who didn’t get excited by the reveal of this figure.
One thing I would like to quickly mention before getting into the review was that as soon as I opened the box, Big Boa’s plastic bubble fell right off the backer card. Hopefully this is a problem unique to my figure as I know many people intend to keep these FSS figures mint on card. I open all mine up so I was actually pleased because it left me with the cleanest backer card in my collection. I didn’t have to tear the card art or leave a plastic ring on the cardboard. Nice.
The first and only version of Big Boa released prior to this came out way back in 1987. At the time, the fictional character of Rocky Balboa was about to be introduced into the Joe collection, similar to how they added the real life Sgt. Slaughter to the toy line in 1985. Big Boa was conceived as Rocky’s nemesis. The deal between Hasbro and Stallone didn’t pan out however and so the Rocky figure was never produced. Hasbro had already completed the tooling for Rocky’s enemy though and it would have been a waste to scrap him and so he was released in ’87 with most fans never knowing about the Rocky connection. Big Boa was described as the Cobra Trainer who whipped the many Cobra grunts into shape. His design was pretty strange but didn’t seem too out of place amongst the other weird and wonderful characters that hung out in the Cobra Terror Drome. Big Boa had some great accessories. Instead of guns and knives BB included a punching bag with stand and removable boxing gloves. The craziest design element was his spiked helmet that included a large removable breathing tube. I don’t believe the helmet was ever explained but he was Cobra so it didn’t really require any more explanation than that.
This new version of Boa is a fantastic update of the original. All of the great design elements are there like the two-toned boots, the padded crotch the studded straps and the crazy helmet. And yet new details like the Cobra tattoo and kneepads enhance the figure that much more. This time around his helmet is explained on the file card: “Big Boa has a face that looks like it has been beaten with the proverbial ugly stick. It’s no wonder that he wears a unique protective helmet at all times. However, he also benefits from all the cybernetic gadgets attached to it. Thermal heat sensors show him the weak spots on his opponents body while amplified hearing lets him know just how quickly their hearts are pumping.” Pretty cool.
Big Boa’s accessories are even better this time around. Sadly the G.I. Joe punching bag is gone but it’s been replaced by some great stuff. He’s got a double sided jousting javelin or whatever you call this thing. I remember the Joes training with them in the animated movie. He’s got a sledgehammer, a barbell, and best of all, sparring headgear that can be placed on any other figure. Sadly Big Boa’s boxing gloves aren’t removable this time, meaning they can’t be placed on other figures, but his hands pop off completely and can be replaced by alternate hands wearing MMA style gloves.
This figure is just totally awesome. The best of the FSS yet and that’s saying something as I’ve liked all of the figures so far. If you can find this guy online somewhere, scoop him up. 10 out of 10.