BOMBARDIER v.1 (2014)
After taking a brief hiatus from toy reviews while I moved across town I’m now ready to get back to work. On the day before I turned in the keys to my old apartment, my second-to-last package from the G.I. Joe Club’s Figure Subscription Service (FSS) showed up in my mailbox. This most recent shipment included Keel Haul and Bombardier. Keel Haul is a great addition to my team. I never owned the original as a kid because he was only available with the massive U.S.S. FLAGG air craft carrier. I’ll sing his praises eventually but for now I want to talk about Bombardier.
I’m old so there was no such thing as the internet when I first starting collecting Joes. There was practically no way I could’ve known about the existence of G.I. Joe figures that were available exclusively in foreign countries. It wasn’t until the brand’s rebirth in the early 2000s that I learned about foreign rarities such as Cobra De Aco, Cobra Mortal, and Quarrel. All of those figures were made up of existing parts from American released figures but they were painted differently and given new personas.
Now, while the World Wide Web was a well-oiled machine by the 2000s, my introduction to most of these figures didn’t actually come from the internet; at least not directly. My searches for figure reviews lead me to Justin Bell’s website, Generals Joes. That site pointed me in the direction of a published archive of foreign G.I. Joe figures published by Ron Connor and Derek Anderson. I ordered the book and it opened my eyes to the vast world of foreign figures. Ron & Derek later published 2 more volumes which covered the expanse of the new-sculpt era in detail. Even though websites like Generals Joes and YoJoe are fantastic resources I would still highly recommend you order yourself a set of these books. I love flipping through them every couple of months.
In the back of Volume 1 there was a wanted-poster-style ad offering an award to anyone who could identify the mysterious Joe figure pictured in the ad. The figure was a repainted version of Flash, the Joe’s laser trooper from the original wave of 13 Joe figures released in 1982. The ad was very intriguing. How could there be a Joe figure floating around out there that nobody in the fandom could identify, even in the technology age?
Well the figure was eventually identified. It was discovered that the figure originated from the UK. It was a prototype from a wave of Action Force (The British version of G.I. Joe) figures which never made it to retail. Once the figure’s history was known he became a hot commodity to collectors. Unfortunately there weren’t any Bombardier figures to be had.
This is one area where the Collector’s Club has excelled, providing collectors with figures of characters that they likely never would’ve owned otherwise. The figures I tagged above are all great examples of the Club producing modern versions of highly sought after foreign figures. It was a no-brainer that they would eventually produce a modern era Bombardier.
I was very excited when it was announced that Bombardier would be included in the FSS 2.0. While I understand why the Club repainted a 25th anniversary Flash to create this figure (an homage to the original Bombardier being a repaint of the original Flash) I wish they had opted to swap out a few parts. I love the original 1982 Flash figure and I was never happy with the modern version released in the 25th anniversary series. I found his legs were too long, his ankles poorly designed so he didn’t stand up straight, his helmet did sit on his head properly, and his face sculpt was ugly. Because Bombardier is a straight repaint of that figure he suffers from all of the same problems. Oddly enough though, none of that stuff bother me as much with this figure. His base has two pegs, where Flash’s only had 1, which takes care of the ankle issue for the most part. The fact that Bombardier has more paint application than Flash tends to make the figure look less lanky, and the cool blue visor hides his ugly mug.
The saving grace of this figure really is the paint job. I think the yellow pads with red trim on the off-white uniform looks great. It’s what made the original, unidentified version so intriguing. It’s a unique color scheme and I think he’ll look great on my Joe shelf once I get it all set up.
Bombardier has a pair of large guns and a cool little tank drone.
One aspect that I really like about this figure is his file card as it’s the first chance the character has ever had to be fleshed out. His file name is Connor Tree which I’m quite sure is a nod to the Joe fans that uncovered the mystery of the original figure, Ron Connor and Dave Tree. The card says that Bombardier was captured by the Red Shadows (The Action Force equivalent to Cobra) where he was tortured and forced to watch his entire family be executed with the exception of one family member who was a sleeper agent of the Red Shadows. I’m sure the Club is going to follow up on this story line later. Another solid figure from the Club who’s rating suffers a bit because a mediocre figure was used as his base. 7 out of 10.