SPEARHEAD & MAX v.4 (2015)
I’ve been slacking off on the reviews lately but it’s not due to a lack of toys. I actually picked up some fantastic new action figures this past week. I hope to share them all with you over the next couple of days but I’m going to start off with Spearhead and Max.
Spearhead and his bobcat Max were first released in 1988. I loved when Joes came with animal sidekicks so I was pretty excited about Spearhead back in the day and almost equally stoked for Max. Max was the first, and remains the only, G.I. Joe cat. The sculpt on the original Max was pretty good but he was just a solid hunk of orange plastic with absolutely no paint applications or articulation. Some painted eyes and spots would’ve been appreciated but unpainted pets were the norm back in the 80s. As for Spearhead, he isn’t exactly a beloved G.I. Joe character amongst fans in general and I can understand why.
His bright orange camouflage was pretty garish and unrealistic and his helmet sat very high on his head which made him look kind of dorky. Plus his weapons were comically oversized and molded in a dull gray that made them look particularly plastic. Despite all that I really liked Spearhead. The helmet did look stupid and the colors were loud but they didn’t bother me much and the sculpt of the figure was pretty good overall. I liked his padded, almost quilted, vest and bandolier. I especially liked his neutral face sculpt. Spearhead had an angry scowl on his blister card art (as most Joes did) but the figure looked like a friendly next door neighbour type of guy.
A 2nd version of Spearhead was released in 1989. Version 2 featured the exact same parts but they were painted darker colors because Spearhead was now part of the Night Force sub-team. Even Max got a greenish-black makeover in ’89. I never had the Night Force version when I was a kid, in fact I didn’t even know it existed, so I have no nostalgic ties to that look.
When G.I. Joe returned to toy store shelves with a vengeance in 2002 after a decade long hiatus I was quite excited by the prospect of getting new versions of my old favorite Joe and Cobra characters. Sadly Spearhead, C-list character that he is, never got an updated figure during the new sculpt years of 2002-2006.
When the modern era/25th anniversary figures launched in 2007 Spearhead seemed likely to be passed over again since the line was focused on iconic characters. By 2013 Hasbro still hadn’t produced a modern-era Spearhead so the Collector’s Club took it upon themselves to fill that gap in our collections. Spearhead was included in their 2013 Convention Set along with a few other C-list Joes who had been neglected by Hasbro. I was happy to finally have a modern Spearhead but I wasn’t thrilled that the theme of the box-set was Night Force so all of the Joes were wearing their dark Night Force uniforms. I thought the parts chosen to construct Night Force Spearhead were pretty good though and that was the most important part. I figured that now that the Club had gone through the trouble of making these characters chances were pretty good that they would rerelease them in their classic colors eventually.
And so they did. Last spring the Club announced that Night Force members Spearhead, Muskrat, Psyche Out, Repeater and Hit & Run would be released in their classic colors as part of the Club’s third figure subscription service. I wasn’t in any rush to get classic colored versions of the other guys but I was very happy to hear a classically colored Spearhead would soon be part of my modern era collection.
The wait is over. Spearhead and Max, along with Vypra, arrived in the mail last week and I am very happy with the results. Less so with Vypra, who I’ll review later, but Spearhead is great.
This figure features all the exact same pieces used to create the Night Force version in 2013. The body originally belonged to a Cobra Trooper, the appendages to a Cobra Shock Trooper and the head to Dusty. Reused heads really frustrate me most of the time but I don’t own the Dusty figure that first used this head so it feels like an original Spearhead head sculpt to me. The way the hair is styled it almost looks as though it should have been Spearhead from the start.
I liked these pieces for the Night Force version but I love them now that they’ve been painted tan and orange. I’m actually shocked at just how much better this figure is than the 2013 version. What a difference a paint job can make. This looks like the Spearhead I loved as a kid and just looking at it makes me happy. I’m sure many would disagree with me but I think this may well be the highlight of FSS 3.0.
Max got a fantastic new paint job too. It’s the same sculpt as the 2013 version (which I don’t love because the legs are too close together so he topples over) but the deco on this version is far superior. He has orange fur (like he’s supposed to) but also a white underbelly which is a nice touch. He’s got the same black spots and white teeth as the 2013 Max but this one has added paint apps on the face such as black lips, a black nose, and a pink tongue.
Spearhead also came with a display stand, a helmet (that fits good), a couple of rifles, a knife, and a large backpack. Good job Collector’s Club. 10 out of 10.