MTF: FIELD OPS TROOPER (2015)
A couple of years after I started buying G.I. Joe figures as an adult collector in 2002 I discovered Marauder Gun Runners; a website that sells custom-made guns, weapons, and accessories for action figures. The Marauder homepage explains it best:
“The source for weapons & accessories scaled for use with ALL collectible 3-3/4 inch action figures. We carry accurate 1:18 scale miniature replica versions of authentic looking weapons or designs based on military & science fiction originals. Sturdy & highly detailed items are NOT “soft & bendy” rubber or “fragile & brittle.” Similar feel to vintage 1980s 1:18 scale weapons. The weapons are perfect for the ADULT COLLECTOR to “upgrade” the equipment of their collectible 3-3/4 inch (1:18 scale) figures or to finally provide those incomplete or custom figures with COOL & INEXPENSIVE accessories.”
Basically, it was the perfect website for guys who wanted to replace the crappy blue rocket launchers and pink ninja swords that Hasbro tended to include with its figures. I appreciated what the gun runner guy was doing (a fella who goes by the name Marauder John) but I’m not really a weapons guy. Perhaps it’s because I’m Canadian. Of course I would’ve preferred for all of my Joes to have cool, realistic looking weapons but it wasn’t so important to me that I’d pay for them separately. John also made accessories like folding chairs, ladders, and flags which were great for collectors who make dioramas but my figures are displayed rather statically so I never had much use for chairs and computer terminals and the like either. I placed one order of guns with John just so I could see his stuff up close and to lend my support but that was many years ago. Since then I’ve just admired his handiwork from afar.
Nearly a decade later I had another chance to support one of John’s endeavours. In April 2014 he launched a kickstarter campaign in hopes of funding his own line of action figures called the Marauder Task Force (MTF). He recruited Boss Fight Studios to sculpt the base figure which was a great idea since they’ve worked on a ton of great toy lines like G.I. Joe, Transformers, and Star Wars. The prototype Boss Fight produced for the MTF trooper looked fantastic. If the kickstarter achieved it’s funding goal of $29,500 the figure would be released in 3 different variations: Desert-Ops (tan camo), Urban-Ops (grey camo), and Night-Ops (solid black). I had never backed a kickstarter before but this one seemed like a no-brainer considering the quality of work produced by those involved. I knew I was going to back the campaign but I wasn’t sure how much I wanted to contribute so I waited to see how things went.
Things went well. By the end of the month backers had contributed just shy of a quarter of a million dollars ($244,155).
As the funding skyrocketed John announced that additional figure variations would be available: Special-Ops (green camo), Security-Ops (solid blue), Arctic-Ops (white camo), and Command-Ops (solid red). Besides the figures themselves you could also purchase accessory packs. I contributed enough to get all 7 figures plus one accessories pack consisting of 4 alternate heads, a gas mask, and some goggles.
Shortly after the campaign ended backers such as myself received an email from John giving us the opportunity to purchase an eighth figure, a solid green Field-Ops trooper. Apparently he had received several requests for an all green figure and I’m glad he did because the Field-Ops trooper is one of my favourites.
All of the figures are essentially the same so I could’ve lumped them together for one large review but instead I’m going to focus specifically on the Field Ops Trooper today. The body on this figure is excellent. He’s wearing a wrinkled jump suit detailed with sculpted (and painted) zippers, straps, and pouches. I really like the boots which have armoured shin guards. There’s articulation at the ankles, double-jointed knees, ball jointed hips and shoulders, and swivel joints at the elbows, wrist and neck. The body is constructed almost exactly the same as modern G.I. Joes so an MTF figure can be displayed seamlessly amongst your Joe collection. One improvement that Marauder John and Boss Fight made to the body is that this figure has waist articulation like the vintage Joes instead of the awkward mid-torso joint that you see on all modern Joes. Not only is the waist joint more realistic but it’s easier to hide at the belt line. I’d praise this figure even if it didn’t come with any accessories because the base figure is just that good but the accessories are what really make the MTF figures shine.
All the MTF figures came with a bunch of stuff but this guy came with the most. With the other figures you can buy additional heads and vests but the Field-Ops figure came with one of everything. I was going to list everything but figured it would just be easier to show you so see the checklist at the end of this review.
Needless to say, this thing is absolutely crazy with accessories and customizable options. If you mix in the pieces from the other seven figures there are even more variations. You could spend all day just swapping out parts so it’s really tough deciding how to display them. For my Field-Ops trooper I think I’ve settled on the armoured vest, the masked face from my Night-Ops figure, a pair of goggles and a beret. As soon as I put that combo together I thought that this guy looks like a leader.
I could go on and on about this figure but I should save some stuff for the other MTF reviews. 9 out of 10.