WIDESCOPE v.2 (2013)
We are officially half way through the second G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Figure Subscription Service (FSS). I now have 6 of the figures on my desk with 6 more to come (plus the mystery 13th figure which ships out at the end). I would encourage any Joe fan to sign up to the FSS. I’m hoping that if fans keep supporting it then the Club will continue making figures. We’ve gotten some highly anticipated figures and some obscure hidden gems over the course of one and a half subscriptions. Having said that, the cost of these figures is quite high, especially since you gotta pay for them in a lump sum (there is also an option to break the cost into 3 payments), so I wish that more of the kinks were worked out during the production stage. When I buy a figure at Wal-mart for ten bucks only to find out later that he has gimpy legs and has trouble standing up; that’s annoying. When I pay nearly forty bucks for a figure online only to discover later that he has a construction issue; that pisses me off. Skull Buster’s arms are goofy, Tollbooth’s head continuously stares downward, and Desert Scorpion doesn’t stand upright. That means half of the figures I’ve gotten from FSS 2.0 so far have suffered from minor construction issues.
Of the other 3 figures, Tiger Force Shipwreck and Airtight are both well-constructed but they were hardly characters I was clamouring for; and then lastly there’s this figure, Widescope. I have zero complaints about Widescope – this is a great figure.
When I was a kid my favorite G.I. Joe figure was Shockwave; the Joe team’s SWAT trooper. I tended to like figures with full face masks and masked good guys were few and far between. There was Snake Eyes of course but he was a tad over exposed and it seemed lame to name him as your favorite. Then there was Beachhead but my brother owned him. When Shockwave came out in 1988 he was exactly what I wanted in a Joe figure. He had a full facemask, a good color scheme, interesting camo, a cool primary specialty, and a good cache of weapons. Shockwave became my Joe team’s resident ass kicker.
When the Joe brand was revived in 2002 in what has become known as the “new-sculpt era” many classic characters returned with new toys and a bunch of brand new characters were introduced. Shockwave did not get an update during the new sculpt years. Instead Hasbro gave us a very similarly attired new character named Widescope. Widescope was also SWAT, wore a ball cap over a full face mask , and had a blue camo uniform…just like Shockwave. I figure that it was probably intended to be an updated Shockwave figure originally but for some reason they changed the name before it went to market. Perhaps it’s because the name Shockwave is so prominent in Hasbro’s other major property, Transformers. Even when a new Shockwave figure was finally released during the modern era his name was changed to Shockblast.
Back in the early 2000s I had a Joe diorama set up in my apartment spread across 3 fold-up card tables. My vintage and new sculpt figures were displayed together. I viewed Widescope as Shockwave’s protégé and the two of them were displayed together, along with Widescope’s dog, Lamont.
Widescope only ever got the one toy and he was never featured in any cartoons or media ties-ins. For those reasons, and because the entire new sculpt era is widely maligned by Joe fans, I never thought I’d see a modern version of Widescope. Luckily all of the parts were available to make an awesome new Widescope figure with no new tooling required and that’s what the Collector’s Club has done. His body is borrowed from the Cobra Shock Trooper which makes a ton of sense since they’re urban assault soldiers akin to SWAT anyway. His head originally belonged to Beachhead.
I think this figure looks fantastic. It would be easy to write Widescope off as a Shockwave knockoff but I don’t see him that way. Sure he’s similar to Shockwave but it makes sense that there would be consistency in the uniforms of the Joe team’s two SWAT troopers. And truthfully this figure is superior to the modern Shockwave figure in just about every way. The sculpt is better, the color scheme is better, the articulation is better, and the accessories are far better.
Speaking of accessories, Widescope comes with a good mix of stuff. In addition to his cap and web gear he’s got a display stand, machine gun, riot shield, removable gasmask, radio, and of course a leash for his trusty dog Lamont. The Lamont sculpt is the same one we got in the new sculpt era but it holds up well and works fine with this figure. Lamont is nicely detailed with just a minor paint applications on his eyes and harness.