MUSKRAT v.5 (2015)
The first modern-era Muskat figure was included in the Collector Club’s 2013 Convention Set. The theme of the set was Night Force so all 6 of the set’s Joe figures were wearing their darker Night Force colors. I was glad to finally be getting updated versions of Muskrat, Spearhead and the others but I would’ve preferred modern updates of them in their classic outfits as opposed to their nocturnal sub-team attire. I soon got my wish because it was only a year or so later that the Club announced they’d be including version 1 repaints of those Convention Set Night Force figures as part of their third figure subscription service. Three of the scheduled six FSS 3.0 shipments have arrived thus far and of those repainted characters I’ve already received and reviewed Repeater, Psyche Out, and Spearhead. Next up is Muskrat who came with Slice in the second shipment.
The first Muskrat was released in 1988 and he was described as the Joe team’s swamp fighter. It was actually a specialty that made sense given how many of the Joe team’s enemies hang out in the swamps such as the Dreadnoks and Croc Master. As practical as he may have been I simply wasn’t a big fan of Muskrat. He fell into that category of indifference for me. Maybe if I had owned the original figure instead of my brother I would’ve developed more of a fondness for the character.
The version 1 Muskrat was dressed all in green so he could blend into the murk and he carried a machete and a “swamp skimmer” boogie board with him to help him navigate through the swampy terrain. His most iconic design feature was the floppy brimmed hat sculpted to his head.
In ’89 Muskrat version 1 got repainted in black and blue when he was added to the Night Force sub-team. The 2013 Convention Set Muskrat was an homage to the ’89 Night Force version. It was constructed using a Franken-Joed body with a brand new head sculpt and some new accessories.
I suppose it was a decent update of Muskrat but I only gave the figure a 5 out of 10 in my 2013 review. My problems with it were that I didn’t like the Night Force deco, the head sculpt didn’t say “Muskrat” to me, and I just don’t care much about the character in general.
This latest version (version 5) is the exact same build as the 2013 figure only it’s painted as an homage to the original 1988 green Muskrat. It’s an improvement in my eyes because the colors are better but my issues with the head and the character remain.
I still find the character rather dull and that’s unlikely to change unless IDW starts putting a seriously cool spin on him in their comics like they did with Chuckles. And the head sculpt is fine but it also comes across a little bland. Plus he’s too angry looking; I liked that the ’89 Muskrat looked so friendly.
As for what works, the new paint deco is great. I love the blueish green hue used on his pants, boots, vest and backpack. It could almost be too much green but there are enough painted accessories throughout the figure to break the green up sufficiently.
This figure also has a leg up on it’s Night Force predecessor when it come to accessories. Both versions have a hat, vest, display stand, shotgun, pistol with silencer, knife, and machete but this version also comes with a rifle, the Swamp Skimmer, and a bear trap. I don’t know if a boogie board would really be of much use in a swamp but I’m glad to see it again. This is Muskrat’s first time getting a steel trap accessory (I believe it first came with Pursuit of Cobra Recondo) but it makes a lot of sense for him. The trap is made using three separate pieces so it’s an impressive little add-on.
This is an okay figure and worth getting if you like Muskrat or are a completist like myself. However the Night Force version was my least favorite figure of the 2013 Convention Set and this version is my least favorite FSS 3.0 offering so far. 6 out of 10.