KEEL HAUL v.3 (2014)
Today I’m going to continue on with my mission to post reviews of all the figures from the G.I. Joe Collectors Club’s second figure subscription service. Today we’re going to take a look at Keel Haul.
The original Keel Haul figure was released in 1985 and was only available packaged with the U.S.S. Flagg aircraft carrier, the largest playset known to man. Between us, my brother Doug and I owned almost every G.I. Joe figure and vehicle released in the first 4 or 5 years of the brand but we did not own the Flagg. I’m not even sure we really wanted it. I wasn’t a big fan of boat toys because we never played in water. At best we’d lay down a blue blanket and I don’t know if we owned a blue blanket big enough to accommodate the 6 foot long carrier. But what I did want was Keel Haul. Not that he struck me as overly cool or anything I just loved Joe figures and wanted a complete collection. The vehicles didn’t matter to me as much. Most of the time I only ever wanted a Joe vehicle to get the figure packaged with it. The same holds true today.
We never did get Keel Haul version 1 as kids but Doug eventually scored one at a flea market long after our playing days were over. As a minor character from the golden years of the brand, who hadn’t gotten any love from Hasbro since his second release in 1993, I think Keel Haul was a great choice for the FSS. I missed out on version 2 as well so I was pretty stoked to own my first-ever version of this guy.
The figure is made up of mostly existing parts that manage to replicate the look of the original figure quite well. Thankfully the Club splurged a bit and gave Keel Haul a newly sculpted head. I’d have been very disappointed if we had ended up with another repainted Gung-Ho head like we got with Leatherneck and Cutter. It seems to me that it would have been the obvious, albeit unsatisfactory, choice if only pre-existing parts were available. This new head is great and really makes him a distinct character. The hat has some nicely sculpted and painted detail and who doesn’t love a good mustache?
I think one of the greatest things about this figure is his accessories and I don’t say that often. Generally I don’t care to much about accessories; most of them end up in my spare parts bin never to be seen again anyway. But Keel Haul has some great ones. First off, he’s got a pair of binoculars. We’ve seen them before and they’re not that amazing but it makes a lot of sense to include them with Keel Haul given his profession. They’re even painted two-toned which is a nice little detail. Secondly there’s his coffee thermos. I thought this was brilliant. I found out later that it wasn’t a Collector’s Club original piece, it had originally come with a Hawk figure from the Rise of Cobra line, but it’s still an awesome addition. I imagine Keel Haul spends a lot more time standing around than the other Joes, and on a cold boat no less, so it would make sense that he would like to sip on a cup a’ Joe from time to time (see what I did there).
His third accessory is his display base. Most Joes come with one so I usually don’t even bother to mention them, but Keel Haul’s has a small peg hole in the back corner meant for a flagpole. We first saw this on a Duke figure which I previously reviewed. Rather than flaunt the stars and stripes like his uber-patriotic pal Duke, Keel Haul comes with a U.S.S. Flagg flag. I’m not sure if the Club meant it as an inside joke to package Keel Haul with a flag, though a decidedly much smaller flag than the original figure came with, but I think it’s kind of cute. Lastly, he comes with a rather unexciting pistol.