BULLHORN v.3 (2016)
Last week I reviewed the FSS 4.0 Inferno BAT. Today I’m going to take a look at the figure that shipped out with him in the latest package from the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club: Bullhorn.
The original Bullhorn was released the year I quit buying G.I. Joes as a kid, 1990. The only figure I got that year was Rampart. My little brother Brian had Bullhorn though so I did have a chance to play with him a little bit. Honestly, I was never very impressed with the figure or the character. The guy is an intervention specialist who came packaged with a megaphone so he could diffuse tense situations. Seems like a useless specialty when you’re dealing with a terrorist group like Cobra that isn’t known to negotiate. But perhaps I’m being too hard on Bullhorn because some of my favorite Joes had equally redundant specialties that limited their usefulness in battle like Barbecue the fireman or Budo the samurai.
Bullhorn’s underwhelming primary military specialty aside, the bigger problem I had with him was his bland appearance. He has to one of the most boring looking Joes ever. He’s got brown pants and a brown shirt with grey trimmings. Still somebody at Hasbro thought he wasn’t brown enough so they put chocolate all over his face too. It’s earth-tone overload and dull to look at. The detached expression on the figure’s face made it appear as though even Bullhorn was bored with himself.
Bullhorn may have been as flashy as a cardboard box but at least he was a well sculpted figure and his design was grounded in reality at a time when Joe figures were becoming more gimmicky and outlandish. The megaphone accessory was something we hadn’t seen before plus he came with a full-face gas mask and an elaborate sniper rifle and case which was pretty cool too. I now have two 1990 Bullhorn figures, the one I inherited from Brian and the other came in the Epic Haul I acquired from Eric two summers ago.
When the Club announced that a modern-era Bullhorn would be included in their 4th figure subscription service I was moderately intrigued. He’s not a character I have any particular fondness for but the Club has previously impressed me with their modern-era versions of other 90s characters like Top Side and Big Ben so I was curious as to whether they could win me over on a character that had the visual appeal of a pine comb.
When I first saw mock-up images of this Bullhorn figure online I was indifferent. It looked like a decent approximation of the 1990 figure which is good for authenticity but bad because the original was so boring. It was about what I expected but I was hoping for something more. The one area where the Club had a real opportunity to impress me was the head. If they had given us a unique and dynamic head sculpt this figure may have been redeemed but instead they gave us a repaint of Dusty v.14’s head which has already been reused for both Duke and Spearhead. I didn’t mind when the Club reused it for Spearhead because it kind of looks like him but I don’t think it resembles the original Bullhorn at all. I’m not sure why the Club opted to use it again because I feel there must have been better options available. The one aspect of this head that does suit the character is the bored expression.
Now that my complaints are out of the way let’s talk about the good stuff. From the neck down this figure shares a body with the Cobra Shock Trooper which is an excellent figure. There’s lots of sculpted detail, good articulation, and it’s got some heft. The inclusion of the Retaliation Cobra Trooper’s webgear adds some additional bulk which I like. The webgear doesn’t really match the vintage look, I’m guessing it was selected because of the grenades, but I think it looks good so I’m fine with the choice.
For accessories Bullhorn comes with his megaphone, a pistol that can be holstered on his belt, a rifle, a multi-piece sniper rifle with case, a gas mask, and a headband. It’s a good assortment of gear. The removable headband originally came with Red Dog. The vintage Bullhorn had a headband sculpted onto him so it’s nice that the Club was able to reproduce that look but I prefer the figure without it. I’m not sure why Bullhorn had a headband in the first place. I used to think it was to signify that he was Native American but I can’t find anything to substantiate his ethnicity on his file card or online. The full-face gas mask is a handy way to hide the fact that he shares a mug with three other Joes. I may display him with the mask on but truth be told the face is growing on me. The black hair and the face paint differentiate him enough from the other guys that I don’t think the resemblance is immediately noticeable.