CROSS COUNTRY v.3 (2014)
The G.I. Joe Collector’s Club has been around for quite some time. By signing up as a member you get a monthly newsletter, discounts at the club’s online store, an exclusive action figure, and a few other perks. I signed up for the first time 3 years ago.
The free sign-up figure from my first year as a member was Footloose. That was a pretty cool figure of a character who was sorely in need of a modern-era update. But my brother Doug owned the original 1985 Footloose figure when were we kids and I never felt much of a personal connection to the character. Last year’s figure was Iceberg. He was another classic character who hadn’t yet received a modern update at the time. I owned the original 1986 Iceberg figure so he was a character that I did feel a kinship with; much more so than Footloose. Unfortunately the Club’s Iceberg figure was a bit of a mess. The parts used to build him failed to come together in a cohesive way which resulted in a gangly and disappointing version of the Joe team’s Cold Weather Survival Instructor.
It seems as though the Club heard the underwhelming fan response to Iceberg and stepped up their game this year. This year’s figure is not only beautifully constructed but it also fills another glaring hole in the modern-era collection. This is the first Cross Country figure since 1993’s version 2.
I had the original 1986 Cross Country and it was a figure I really liked. Looking back at him, I’m not sure what appealed to me about Cross Country as he’s pretty dorky looking. Perhaps the fact that he came packaged with one of the coolest Joe vehicles ever, the H.A.V.O.C. (Heavy Articulated Vehicle Ordinance Carrier), made him more appealing than he would’ve been on his own. He had a gray civil war style hat, a confederate flag belt buckle, no weapons, socks up to his knees, red hair, and a fat face with a rather dopey expression. It’s hard to imagine he ever could’ve been a favorite of mine but somehow he was. The originality of his design was probably another part of the appeal; you’d never mistake another Joe for this North Carolina born Heavy Equipment Operator.
Cross Country version 2 had even less going for it than the original. Gone were the silly socks but so to was the HAVOC. Now he had acid washed jeans, an over-sized missile launcher, a large confederate flag on the back of his jacket, and bright orange accessories. I only recently acquired version 2 in my epic haul from Eric.
Cross Country was not a character I was expecting to see in the modern-era style anytime soon so I was delighted when he was unveiled by the Club a few months back. The mock-up they showed looked leaps and bounds better than last year’s Iceberg. I renewed my membership and waited for my figure to arrive in the mail, all the while hoping that the final product retained the quality of the mock-up.
I got an email from the Club in April telling me that my figure should arrive in the next 6 weeks. 10 weeks went by and I didn’t receive anything. It pained me to see everyone else posting pics of their Cross Country online while it seemed mine was lost in limbo. I contacted the Club and they promptly rushed one out to me which I received a week and a half after contacting them. Great customer service by the Collector’s Club.
Now that I finally have Cross Country in hand I can tell you that he is just as awesome as I hoped he would be. I’d say that he’s easily the best sign-up figure to date. His body is constructed of re-used parts which work really well together and do a good job of replicating the look of the original. The proportions and articulation are spot on, no complaints.
The Club had Boss Fight Studios sculpt a brand new head and vest for this figure. Both of these pieces are stellar. The vest fits great and has a ton of sculpted detail like pouches, straps, zippers, and even a name badge. The head is one of the best in the entire modern line. It’s reminiscent of the original but adds so much more personality and realism. The red mullet and sideburns, the flat nose, and the mild smirk really bring this figure to life; it looks like a real person’s face.
For accessories Cross Country version 3 comes with a display base, a rifle, a pistol that can be holstered on his hip, and a wrench. I’d say they all compliment the figure very well. I am pleased as punch with this toy. 10 out of 10.